Dear London rioters, please stop setting cars on fire

Was the cause of the London riots police brutality or bored youth? I'm not sure, but I sure as hell know it wasn't the cars, so please stop torching them. People like cars. Set fire to things English people don't like: traffic cameras, toothbrushes, and Rupert Murdoch.


I should know. Americans are worldwide leaders in setting cars on fire and tossing them around. But have you seen the cars we set on fire? The college teaching assistant collecting insurance money for a 1988 Dodge Dynasty on Michigan State University's campus is probably grateful.

What's alarming is London's disaffected youth, when not stopping for tea or stealing boxes of trainers, are taking their angst out on Mercedes, Peugeots, and freaking Miatas.


Are you kidding me? You know the guy who drives a Miata is cool. He's probably getting constantly hassled by the cops already because it's red, and dimwitted dudes who think it's a "chick car," too. He understands you. And as soon as I see a photo of a crispy sports car I immediately stop caring about the dim prospects you have or austerity or how embarrassing it must be to be represented on the world stage by Piers Morgan.

I just see a burning Miata.

Here's a report from reader Dave Bateman in Liverpool — not even a part of the main riot — who ended up getting stuck in the middle of it:

Literally hundreds of cars have smashed windows and several have been burned out. There is no reason for the rioting, it's just copying what's kicked off in London! They also set fire to my local Tesco.


The root of my problem may be empathy. It's not easy to own a car in London, where they've declared a war on cars that protestors are now taking quite literally.

Imagine how these men and woman in their hoodies and Jordans would react if, all of a sudden, they knew the pleasure and freedom of motoring. It would give their life a purpose they lack. How many of us go to work every day and follow the rules of society merely so we can afford to buy and maintain a car?


Picture it: they'd come upon a new Ford Focus ST with their cricket bats, ready to charge when a younger one in a balaclava all of a sudden intervenes.


"Wait, my mate's got one of these. Great in the twisty bits. Let's go set fire to the London Eye instead," he'd say.

"Huzzah!" they'd scream and go about their terror in a way more generous to the average motorist. Besides, all you protestors really suck at burning cars anyways.


Photo Credit: Dan Istitene/Getty Images

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