There was a small piece in the corner of page something-or-other-well-beyond-3 in theipaper this week. It was about an emergency sitting of courts the day after an atrocity. Forty two young people were being charged with offences of looting and theft. 'Has it come to this?' A local resident, recently bereaved, might have said.
The piece was in the 'On this day' corner and described events following the bombing of London in 1941.
'Youth has no regard for old age, and the wisdom of the centuries is looked down upon both as stupidity and foolishness. The young men are indolent; the young women are indecent and indecorous in their speech, behaviour and dress.'
(Peter the Hermit, 1114, quoted by the late Mark Ashton in Christian Youth Work, Kingsway 1986.)
I am not convinced there is any one reason why our towns and cities fell victim to such outrageous behavior last week but:
1. It seems the perpetrators are gradually being rounded up and charged.
2. Opportunistic looting and peer-pressured rudeness seem to have been with us for quite a long time so it was probably not as extraordinary as some might make out.