An Open Letter To The Rioters Of Tottenham

August 7, 2011

To the idiots who set Tottenham on fire last night.

I hope you enjoy the Nike trainers, PCs and mobile phones you looted from shops. I hope you enjoy the nice warm feeling that comes from torching buses, cars and businesses. The smaller businesses in particular were not set up to push their riches in your face: they were the result of hard work by the people who owned them. And they served a community. It was probably all they had. I hope you feel deep joy at the domino effect, which comes from burning down the flats above the shops, making people homeless. I hope you enjoyed the stupid machismo that spurred you to threaten and attack firemen for having the temerity to try and do their job, putting out fires you started. But most of all, I hope you are very proud of yourselves, because a peaceful protest from family and friends trying to get answers as to why their loved one was shot by the police three days ago and is now in a box, has been hijacked by opportunistic, lowlife scum like you. And the good people of Tottenham (yes, there are some, in spite of your best efforts) are once again scarred and stained.

Oh, by the way, just in case you continue to tell yourself your actions have no consequence and basically don’t give a damn, read this from a friend of mine who actually lives there:

I know every building that has gone, some were grade-listed beauties. I know the people who now have no jobs or income in my local shops. I now can’t buy my sons favourite things for his packed lunch in Aldi or chat to the kind man in the post office who prints off my photos. The elderly can’t pay their bills nearby, the unemployed can’t sign on tomorrow. The solicitors with people case folders has gone. The shops have been boarded up for the night ahead.

Happy days to you, good sirs and madams. Happy days.


  1. Bravo Pie,
    Well put and I can 500% agree with all of it.

    I’m sorry that Mark Duggan died, but I hope and am sure that his family are decent people who NEVER would have wished this willful violence, theft, agression and destruction to have taken place in his name.

    I can only hope that Kama pays some of these looters and trashers a very looooong visit.

    • They have said as much and it has been reported on some of the news websites. It just takes the focus away from what the (peaceful) protest was really about. I bet half those tools neither know or care know who Mark Duggan is.

      As I write this, it’s getting a bit tasty in another part of North London. In Enfield, some shops have been looted and a couple of cars set on fire, but it’s nowhere near as bad as what happened in Tottenham (so far).

      • Pie, I just saw on the BBC website that huge gangs of youths were on the rampage, looting and buring buildings.

        I feel SO sorry for the innocent families and business owners caught up in this. Some of them must be terrified. Where are the water cannons? tear gas? (I don;t like those at all but it seems it’s come to this)

        Where does the youth of today get off with this sense of entitlement? the complete disreguard for right and wrong?
        I’m speechless…

        Reports say that some of these kids are VERY young… if I was a local parent and my kids came back with stolen stuff I’d be dragging them by the scruff of their necks to the local nick to turn them in. And community Service would be *nothing* on the punishment this Mama would be dishing out consisting of a loooooong list of work and restitution I;d have lined up for them to (try) and make amends and I wouldn’t care how many years it took either.

        I can only hope that all of those CCTV cameras you have are put to good use to bring as many of these louts face to face with the consequences before the law.

        • The rioting is spreading across the capital and there seems to be no end to it. We’re all being told to stay indoors, particularly those living close to the hot spots. It feels like my city is burning down. I’m very, very tired.

  2. It’s a total travesty- I feel equally for the family whose grief is being distorted by the actions of these people, and also for the many who have been affected by the looting and fires. But like you say, these people probably were just after an excuse. It’s a sad and terrifying story.

    • It’s not good and it’s getting worse. On Sunday there was looting and violence in Enfield, Walthamstow, Edmonton and Brixton. Today, as I’m writing this, it’s kicked off in Hackney, Lewisham and Peckham. Peckham in particular has been left to its own devices. Apparently, there are no police in the area. The little shits have been left to smash and grab. I can’t imagine how frightening it is for those who live there. I’m just waiting now to see if we’ll get to enjoy the same entertainment here in Tower Hamlets. I hope not.

  3. Well written Pie and oh so sad that it has come to this. Don’t you think though that the powder keg has been sitting there, just waiting for a spark to hit?

    • Yes, absolutely. However, there are people who are just in it for the looting now. They know police numbers are low and they have the social networking sites and BBM on Blackberry to organise themselves. It’s an opportunity that could not be missed.

      Meanwhile, after refusing to cut short his holiday and getting the name of the dead man wrong twice at an interview, such is the respect he has for us as Londoners, our esteemed mayor, Boris Johnson will now be back in London tomorrow. Someone probably told him the rioters were practicing the opening ceremony for the Olympics next year.

      • Sitting here in the US getting lap-burn on my lap, glued to bbc.co.uk(which annoyingly keeps crashing) and twitter and shaking the head I hold in my hands. I am beyond disbelief at what has taken DC and BJ so long to return to the UK. Who knew so much could happen in Croydon??? And how much the looters can stuff into their hoodies???

        • You were beyond disbelief? Imagine our anger and frustration at our leader’s inability (or unwillingness) to return and give us some direction, or at least comfort. Our city was burning for three days before they deigned to grace us with their presence. David Cameron, and Boris Johnson in particular, when they eventually returned, got the reception they deserved.

  4. Pie, even without London burning it always cheesed me off to see Tony and Cherie Antoinette summering in Italy and the Caribbean. Why don’t leaders holiday at home? The job doesn’t exactly last a lifetime. And leaders who take their countries into far away wars might think twice if it were mandatory that their children do active service.

    Sorry Pie, I have issues and politicians bring them to the top. London has become such a polarised city which has been brewing for ages, way before this current govt limped over the finishing line.

    My head is here in the US at the moment, my son is in Clapham.
    That photo of PM Cameron with the Italian waitress will haunt him forever. As for Boris . . .
    All best wishes and hopes for better, fairer times for all!

    • And safer days for your son.

      I don’t know about the PM and the waitress, but everything you’ve said about politicians in general is valid, in my opinion. I’m sure you’ve heard the latest statement from the head of our country. With fighting talk like that, I fear things could get a lot worse…

  5. […] to Pie, who posted an impassioned letter to the looters who succeeded in using and abusing the death of Mark Duggan for their own vile […]

  6. This is sick.

    The protest which somehow started a chain reaction that led to this rioting (and looting) was somewhat pointless to begin with. As far as I understand, a criminal fired a shot at the police with his illegal firearm and was shot dead as a result.

    What’s there to protest about? That dude had it coming. Come on! He fired a shot with an illegal weapon at the police! What kind of world do we live in when people can be so self-deluded as to think that police officers have no right to defend themselves against people who are trying to kill them?

    As for the looters, they are just opportunistic bastards I am sure. Even as I disagree with the motive for the original protest – which was peaceful according to my sources – I will be fair and say that the looting bastards probably weren’t directly influenced by it.

    I have met opportunistic scum like that and trust me, it doesn’t take a lot to set them off. Sometimes, just being in their immediate vicinity is enough to tempt them.

    ~ A Mall Cop

    PS: Long time no see!

    • You must’ve finally finished your book… welcome back, Mallcop!

      Snippets of information has come out from the enquiry into the shooting, though it will take a while before the full facts emerge. This is what we know:

      1. The bullet that lodged into the police radio was police issue, not from the gun of Duggan.

      2. Duggan was shot once in the chest.

      3. Duggan didn’t fire a single shot, which means he wasn’t shooting at the police. So what was going on there?

      As for the rest of it, even if there were some people with a real grievance, the rest were just jumping on a bandwagon and have ruined many lives as a result. As I’m writing this, London seems to be a bit calmer, but it does feel edgy. This is turning out to be a summer none of us will ever forget.

      • Ah thanks for providing additional snippets of information.

        I didn’t know he wasn’t actually shooting.

        But you are right, we hav o wait for the enquiry to be completed first.

        As for my book, it is not completed. I posted an update to my blog explaining my long absence though.

  7. as someone who has owned a lot of small shops all over America, losing small things hurt your local retailers and now I can see the entire store being looted on the TV….it’s so sad… I feel not only for the merchants, but for the community that depends on having a thriving economy around them. those stores equal jobs, those jobs push the economy…

    My heart goes out to you… the retailers of Britain….


    • Thanks for that. The retailers and the rest of London really appreciates your concern and best wishes. Things have calmed down a bit, so I feel able to breathe now. But the week ain’t over yet…

  8. Bravo for that incredible letter. I am so sorry for the decent people in your country who have to go through such a disturbing time as these days have been. I saw on a newscast here in New Zealand about whole communities coming out in affected areas trying to help and to clean up after the riots and it surely did gladden this sad heart.

    • Yes, there have been many examples of community spirit, positivity and bravery as a counterbalance to this terrible situation. I will put this up in my next post.

      Welcome to my blog.

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