“Angry mob justice” is no justice at all

shoreditch mob

Now what do you suppose that’s going to solve?

Last night, an angry mob of 200 people descended upon an East London cereal cafe, the much-maligned Cereal Killer Cafe, splashing paint and daubing the word “scum” on the shop windows and setting fire to an effigy of a police officer. The mob consisted of people wearing pig masks and carrying flaming torches. They claimed that the shop represented gentrification and inequality in the local area, while the self-declared “protesters” did little more than terrify the customers inside the shop. Ladies and gentlemen, the angry mob has struck once more.

Of course, anyone with even half a brain can tell that angry mobs have never done anything good. The Shoreditch mob was simply the latest in a long line of angry mobs flailing mindlessly in their vain attempt to dispense a hopeless interpretation of justice. They say they oppose gentrification and inequality, but if that were true, why attack a small cereal shop? You may as well be attacking a specialist cake shop, and it would be equally ineffectual. Furthermore, if they really believed in their case, then wouldn’t even be hiding behind their masks. Of course, only real reason you’d ever hide behind a mask is if you were committing a crime, and that’s all angry mobs really are – a band of petty thugs without cause.

Let’s take a moment to examine the kind of people who started the attack. They claim that their community is being ripped apart by foreign businessmen, using xenophobic language to point the finger at businessmen from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Texas, all while failing to clarify what they have to do with a small cereal shop. In fact, none of the rioters would clarify where they came from, so the East End mob comes across as little more than a gathering of angry morons who, rather than targeting large conglomerates, have elected to scapegoat a small business that does nothing more than sell cereal at an unusual price. The rioters probably thought of themselves as brave, but they weren’t. And by the way, setting up an Indiegogo page just to fund a “banging sound system” has nothing to do with fighting gentrification, and everything to do with shameless self-promotion, and the very kind of money-grabbing they claim to oppose.

If you ask me, so-called mob justice is a dangerous relic of the Dark Ages. It’s basically what happens when fear and impassioned hatred overcome the masses, and the end result is nothing more than pointless violence for its own sake, fuelled of course by demagoguery and self-righteous furor. I recognize that gentrification is an open-ended problem, but attacking a small business and terrifying the customers and staff inside can only do more harm than good. That’s the only thing that happens in an angry mob, and in this day and age, there’s no chance of it doing anything but spread fear and panic wherever the mob goes.

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