Yesterday, my boss came in to work with a story – she had been driving through a tunnel and just at the exit, a group of youngsters were throwing bricks and stones at the cars. They aimed a huge chunk of pavement at her window – luckily missing it – but denting her door. She drove on, and stopped at an intersection where others had stopped to examine the damages caused to the cars. The youths had lit a fire as well, and smoke rose into the air along with the angry voices of those whose cars had been damaged. Just two days ago, I’d been heading through that tunnel on the way to visit a friend, and the youths had managed to block it, so a police force had been deployed to clear up the mess and reroute the traffic.
Also, yesterday, a huge group of youths had caused trouble in front of the highschools where my daughter had graduated from. The police managed to control them – and there were no injuries or reports of excess violence – but there were over a hundred arrests.
I read the comments in the comment section below the article and noted that most people congratulated the police on staying calm and gaining control of the situation without hurting any of the children. But some people called the police fascist pigs (I’m guessing they were brothers and sisters of the ones arrested?) and some were saying that the kids were just doing what ghetto children always did – destroy things (I’m guessing those were white asshole supremists).
Anyhow – it occured to me that the violence has been trickling down in ways the economy never did. It started, if you’ll remember – with protests against the diesel tax. The protesters were all in their 40 – 50’s – working men, truck drivers, setting up road blocks and lighting tires on fire (a woman of 50, a protester, was run over and killed when a driver panicked and drove into the crowd) . Then there were the prostest marches that degenerated into destruction of storefronts; and that was done by people aged 30 – 40 mostly, according to police records. The march was followed by college students running around and breaking things (you gotta love those college students, they learn so fast when a subject interests them). And now, it’s hit the highschools.
Yes, trickle down violence. It works so much better than trickle down economics. The adults show the way. Lighting tires on fire, parading around in their yellow vests, bellowing insults at the police and president, showing how they despise rules and regulations – and getting filmed and shown on TV all day long. How romantic to the younger set – they want to be on TV too. So off they go, after listening to their parents reminisce about May ’68 – and they dig up the paving stones from the roads and hurl them at cars, and make road blocks, and have no real idea why they are doing this – except thats what their elders did!
Trickle down violence. It works well everywhere. Something that should have been nipped in the bud managed to get out of hand because the adults couldn’t manage the “good example”. And here we have it too. The protesters are getting younger, and more enthusiastic (it’s a lot more fun to throw rocks than go to school – look! Ten million years of civilization up in smoke!)
So while the young are criticized, it would behoove the adults to stop and examine their own behavior, and admit that it was “them who started it“, as Eliza Doolittle would have said. And “Them” who started it better start showing a better example before we all end up back in the stone age. It seems a small step from protesting fuel prices to blowing up a city – but a handful of those enterprising teen protesters had broken into houses and stolen butane gas cylinders, and had tossed them on the fires some of their buddies had started. Thank goodness the gas cylinders didn’t explode, and the fire department quickly put the fires out – otherwise there would have been injured people.
This weekend, there is another march programed for Paris. I hope the adults will show the youth how to behave – believe me – they are watching and learning. Monkey see – monkey do. If only trickle-down economics worked as well as trickle-down violence – we’d all be better off.