Scum. How else do you describe the low-lifes who robbed a dazed and bleeding Malaysian student, while pretending to help him after he had had his jaw broken by a gang of youths during the London riots?
The hoodlums smashing windows, burning buildings and looting shops in Britain are not social activists, despite the BBC's misguided description of them as protesters. They are not protesting against government spending cuts or the police shooting that sparked the first riot. Nor are they showing solidarity with the genuine protesters trying to win democracy in the Middle East. They are simply opportunists using the confusion of the moment to acquire new television screens, trainers and clothing they have not earned.
As the sorry procession of offenders through British courts reveals, they are not drawn purely from the ranks of the economically disadvantaged or the very young. In addition to the unemployed, their number have so far included a teacher's assistant, business students, a scaffolder, a lifeguard and a charity volunteer, and their ages have ranged from 11 to the early 40s.
Put simply, they are scavengers, devoid of any moral responsibility, as happy to prey on the have-nots as the haves. Their attitude was summed up by the looter going by the nom de riot E Nan, who spoke to a reporter in the London borough of Hackney: "We heard that other people were getting things for free, so why not us?" The sooner British police clear him and his ilk off the streets the better.
Nevertheless, the rioting is a reminder of the importance of maintaining social cohesion and public confidence in the institutions of the state.
There is no excuse for the wanton destruction of homes and workplaces, looting or killings that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This is a hard-hitting editorial piece, but we reckon that the writer is right on the money. The mugging of assault victim Asyraf Haziq will be one of the abiding images of this week's disorder, and it's hard to imagine a more callous. For those who haven't seen this footage, here it is, thanks to YouTube:
One can only imagine what, if anything was going through the minds of those who robbed Haziq; that's if anything at all was. The leader writer was dead right; this was the work of scum.
Could such a thing happen here? Of course it could; if it hasn't already. But what can be done to avoid a repeat of London's anarchy on our streets? We're rather hoping that John Key might have some solutions and a fresh way of looking at welfare dependency when he addresses the National Party faithful in Wellington tomorrow.