Civil Unrest in US More Likely Than Ever?

The London Riots are causing reflection on the possibility of similar problems in the United States and other countries.   “London Riots 2011: Could Such Disturbances Happen in the U.S.?” talks to causes and similarities, but also talks to the moderating factors in the US:

A British blogger wrote of the factors behind the riots: “Cuts to everything, including welfare and education, have created an atmosphere where the poor and alienated feel that the basic means to the ends of success are no longer available. Moreover, at the same time that austerity is expected of the poor, who are simply meant to swallow their lack of opportunity, it is, of course, business as usual for the rich who continue to consume and the mass media which persists in selling everybody a consumer fantasy. “

This scenario could apply almost perfectly in the U.S.

Sean Snaith, an economics professor at the University of Central Florida, opines that the United States has “a large middle class and generally a standard of living that even for the lower class, is far superior to that of billions around the world.”

Snaith adds: “One thing America does offer is a chance to transcend the socioeconomic class into which you are born. I feel that in the U.S. anyone has the chance to work hard so that you, and maybe more importantly your children, can have a better life. This fact quells some of the discontent that inequalities in wealth in the U.S. might otherwise foment.”

“10 Signs That Economic Riots and Civil Unrest Inside the United States Are Now More Likely Than Ever” takes a more extreme view:

All over the United States we are already seeing some very troubling signs of the violence that is coming.  The following are 10 signs that economic riots and civil unrest inside United States are now more likely then ever….

#1 Going to the state fair used to be such a fun thing for American families to do.  But now no place is safe.  The following is how one local ABC News affiliate described the “flash mob” attacks that took place at the Wisconsin state fair recently….

Milwaukee police said that around 11:10 p.m., squads were sent to the area for reports of battery, fighting and property damage being caused by an unruly crowd of “hundreds” of people. One officer described it as a “mob beating.”

Police said the group of young people attacked fair goers who were leaving the fair grounds. Police said that some victims were attacked while walking. They said others were pulled out of cars and off of motorcycles before being beaten.

One eyewitness said that the flash mob attacks at the Wisconsin state fair absolutely overwhelmed the limited police presence that was there….

When I saw the amount of kids coming down the road, all I kept thinking was, ‘There’s not enough cops to handle this.’  There’s no way.  It would have taken the National Guard to control the number of kids that were coming off the road.  They were knocking people off their motorcycles.

#2 According to a new Rasmussen survey, 48% of Americans believe that reductions in government spending are “at least somewhat likely” to result in civil unrest inside the United States.  Unfortunately, perception often greatly influences reality.

#3 U.S. consumer confidence is now at its lowest level in 30 years.

#4 Joblessness among young Americans is at an epidemic level, and when rioting does break out it is usually young people that are leading the way.  That is why the following statistics from an article in The Atlantic are so troubling….

One in five Americans are between 15 and 29-years old. And one in five of those Americans are unemployed. For minorities and the under-educated, the picture is much worse. Black teenagers have an unemployment rate of 44 percent, twice the rate for white teens.

#5 We are starting to see mindless violence in a lot of areas that used to be considered safe.  In Kansas City on Saturday night, three young people were hit with bullets as they walked the streets of the Country Club Plaza.  Mayor Sly James was about 50 yards away when the gunfire erupted.  Authorities in Kansas City are considering a stricter curfew for that area.

#6 “Flash mobs” have become such a problem in Philadelphia that the mayor has imposed a strict curfew on young people.  Now all teens between the ages of 13 and 18 must be indoors by 9 o’clock at night.  The mayor also says that teens need to start pulling up their pants….

“Pull your pants up and buy a belt ’cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”

#7 All over the United States we are seeing that many struggling Americans will do just about anything for money.  For example, in Detroit recently three masked men crashed a vehicle through the entrance of a gas station and took off with an entire ATM machine.

#8 Desperate people do desperate things.  Many of America’s “forgotten poor” are trying to survive any way that they can.  For instance, a group of vagrants recently set up “a makeshift camp” near Prospect Park lake in Brooklyn.  According to the New York Post, many nearby residents have been disturbed by what these “drifters” are doing to survive….

The drifters have been illegally trapping and cooking up the critters that call the park home, including squirrels, ducks and swan-like cygnets.

They used crude tactics to hunt their prey, including barbed fishing hooks that ripped off the top half of one poor gosling’s beak. They then cooked the meat over illegal fires. Some of the animals were eaten raw.

#9According to CNN, sales of safes and vaults are absolutely soaring right now.  One store owner told CNN that she believes that she is selling a lot more safes now because people are scared that civil unrest could be coming….

“Folks are worried about the decreasing value of the dollar, burglaries on the rise in their neighborhoods … and even the possibility that the unrest we are seeing in other parts of the world slipping over to our country.”

#10 Over the past 100 years, the American population has moved steadily into our big cities and the surrounding suburbs.  This has created virtual “ghost towns” in our rural areas from coast to coast.  Back in 1910, 72 percent of Americans lived in rural areas.  Today, only 16 percent of Americans live in rural areas.  But when you crowd huge masses of people close together that makes riots and civil unrest much more likely.

Most Americans are already fed up, and the economy is not even that bad yet.  One recent survey found that 73 percent of Americans believe that the nation is “on the wrong track”.  Another recent poll found that only 17 percent of Americans now believe that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed.

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