Why Do People Riot?
Last night my wife and I were watching news from Pakistan. There was a clip that showed police beating demonstrators mercilessly. Many were bleeding and some had fallen down and were being carried away by others. I asked my wife, “Aren’t you happy we don’t live in a place such as that?”
She countered me with a question, “Why should you go on the street, when things like that happen?”
I did not have a good answer. Indeed, I am a coward and would not venture to where the police are shooting with live bullets. These things only happen in the third world anyway, and I need not think about it.
Then I saw this morning that police were again firing tear gas shells and charging batons to disperse rioters. Only that this time it was happening in the cradle of Western civilization: Greece.
It was the biggest public outcry from the time Greece’s debt crisis jolted the EEC and rest of the world. A trade union leader, Riannis Panagopoulos, was attacked by the crowd when he tried to address them. He was saved from his assailants with clothes torn and blood oozing from his wound.
In Athens, people wearing masks attacked riot police inside the Greece’s highest administrative court and attempted to break into the Labor Ministry. Rioters also smashed glass fronts of banks, hotels, a mobile phone store, and a fast food restaurant.
Who are these people? Why do they risk their lives doing things such as these? Something must be ailing them, suffering from that which is greater than the suffering they risk partaking in such violence.
If these incidents can happen in Greece, it can happen anywhere.