It cannot be overlooked that the vast majority of the rioters are young (many teenage) males – the same demographic that has been responsible for most violent crimes ever since record-keeping began. They have the highest levels of testosterone they ever will have.
One hundred years ago, these young men would be out in the work force or raising families. If they did riot, it would be for higher wages or better working conditions.
However, in our modern society, we have created the “teenager” (this term has only been around since the 1930s). Our high school system and laws put them in a limbo state between childhood and adulthood. They live at home with their parents. They want to feel like they have control over their lives, but they don’t. As a result, they become frustrated and angry man-children.
I live in Vancouver now but grew up in Surrey in the ’80s and ’90s. I was raised an atheist, in the same capitalist, commercialized, media-bombarded world as these rioters (and those who rioted in 1994). I was treated as a child by high school and society at large, but my parents treated me like an adult from an early age. Their approach made me feel empowered, and so I was only rebellious for a short time in my early teens. I felt a sense of control in my life and was trusted. Thus, I put my youthful energy into productive activities.
Maybe the problem is not simply a lack of spirituality, an excess of capitalism, or bad parenting. Maybe it’s that our whole societal structure treats young men, and young people, like children for far too long.