I think we’re all a bit shaken up after the recent events happening across the country. Whilst unrest was on the cards I know I certainly didn’t expect it to the extent that it did occur. So many people were injured, businesses destroyed, goods stolen and damaged and people’s livelihoods obliterated.

Watching the videos of it all unravelling, listening to the young people embroiled in such displays and acts of violence and blatant disregard for… well… anything, I was angry; no — furious. But at what or at whom? “Who is to blame?” was one of the first questions cropping up in people’s minds, alongside “How could they?!” and “Why?”. In essence people were grieving very shortly after the destruction not only for the material goods damaged, lost, stolen or burned but for the displays of violence, anger, pain, disrespect, greed and so many other qualities we don’t like to think of. Humanity; humility; modesty; shame; pity even? Where were any of these qualities in the people on the streets erupting in what can only be described as wild behaviour. That said, I can’t help but think that some wild animals would only display such emotions and behaviour with good reason. And so the question on everybodies lips is just that, “Why did this happen?”

I, my family, friends and colleagues have all had the conversation that is the topic of the week or soon to be month and just discussing it raises temperatures and emotions. Theories are ranging from “wild disregard and a lack of respect” to the unsurprising “state of the economy”. I would like to add to that my own “state of society” theory. What is “under the surface” or under everyone’s skin? What is behind the scenes and what is the root cause for all of this?

There is no one reason. It comes back to the nature vs. nurture argument – was it genetic or was it how they were brought up? I believe that it is both, all and everything. Now that may not sound very helpful but bearing in mind so many people were involved (all with different genetics and different upbringings) you can’t really bring it down to any one reason.

I can’t deny that whilst scary, I was not in the slightest surprised at the riots nor that many of them were young people. Being in school at the moment and considering a future must be very intimidating bearing in mind the recent increase in fees at university, the general malaise amongst society with regards to jobs and combine that with an existing population that is very deprived such a reaction and unrest could only be expected. The word that comes to mind is despair. I am by no means justifying their behaviour or what they did. Not at all! But in trying to find a solution to the problem, we must first understand the cause. Otherwise we are all guilty of simply putting a “sticking plaster” on what is now turning into not a cut or a scratch but a gaping wound. It is undeniable that there is great pain behind the riots, both in cause and effect.

I don’t claim to understand the “whys” of the riots but I want to be a part of the solution. I believe that the solution is in a very special word, a very special action and a very special structure – Community. We seem to have lost any sense of community in our society and broken families don’t help that equation. I have a dear friend who visits me from his town in Hertfordshire. He openly says that he feels a greater sense of community here in the West Midlands and that he knows more of my neighbours here than in his own town! For me that speaks volumes.

My friend is also a keen allotment holder. Now whilst I am not an allotment holder I am a keen veg grower and I have visited a few allotments over the last few years. Both my friend and I agree that allotment holders are some of the nicest people you can meet! On the other hand I have met some lovely people in places that I wouldn’t have expected to – from trains, shops, pubs and buses to dog walks and queues (have you guess yet that I use public transport a lot?!). And it’s in these people that we meet and the friends we make that we can remember what community really means.

A perfect example of community was just after the riots here in Wolverhampton. The streets were strewn with glass and debris and people were scared. I was in town the day after the riots and there was a clear air of fear, paranoia and intimidation. Heads were down and eyes did not make contact. However, through facebook, a mighty clean-up crew (two actually) was born and although much had already been cleared and cleaned up people still came to help out. The spirit of community was very much alive and this is an example of the result.

You can’t help but smile.

The residue from the riots is still settling but as we slowly try to return to a “normality” we should try and remember our humanity, community and think of others. If we can help, we should. Be selfless. As the Sikhs say “seva” or “selfless service” is what we need right now.

I would be very interested to hear what others think and feel.