By Alastair Wanklyn, FOX News Radio
The sign outside the pawnshop said 'Gold Bought, Checks Cashed'. Looters smashed the counters and seized every watch, necklace and ring. This happened a half a mile from my house.
In another street a Florist's was ransacked, potted plants strewn across the sidewalk. "I can't understand it," said a young woman watching police photograph the debris in Ealing, West London. "What's the matter with these people?"
The matter, says Britain's Prime Minister, is that Britain has bred a generation of hooligans. David Cameron is alleging poor parenting, lax discipline in schools, and social security payments that reward idleness. "It is a complete lack of responsibility," he said. "People allowed to feel that the world owes them something; that their rights outweigh their responsibilities; and that their actions do not have consequences." Well they do have consequences, Cameron said, overseeing a near-tripling of police officers on the streets of London.
Police were quick to bring prosecutions. Among the first to come to court Wednesday: a junior-school teacher who admitted looting a electronics shop, and an 11-year-old boy who admitted stealing a kitchen waste bin from a department store. Another looter was arrested on a warm August evening wearing a bodywarmer with its store security tag still attached. Guilty, he admitted.
If Britain does one thing thoroughly, it's security cameras. They line many streets here. That brings effective prosecutions. But to observers the images have been alarming. Young people laughing and sneering as they mugged and stole.
"I'm shocked and ashamed. Ashamed to be British," said one man surveying the broken glass and trash cans tossed in the road outside Ealing Broadway railway station. We could still smell the smoke from a ransacked Mom-and-Pop store in the area. After three nights of rioting, vigilante-type groups began to patrol some neighborhoods. Police chiefs criticized this, but the groups reflected national indignation over the damage. "We're making a stand," said one man swaggering down the street in Enfield, north London. "We ain't having all these people coming up here and ruining our place. "And if Britain's Prime Minister wants a conservative revolution in this often left-leaning nation, he might just have support for it.