It saddens me that opinion writers have a lot of theories on what causes different riots, but very rarely back those theories with proof. I'm afraid that most of this article is just one more unfounded rant.
In London, there have been some great studies mapping riot locations onto charts of local quality of life. From this, we can indeed conclude that classism (and likely racism) were a factor.... in London.
But this article has no proof to back up its claims that the riots were caused by (1) latch-key kids, (2) sexual promiscuity, (3) recreational drugs and (4) class-driven un(der)employment.
And the first three claims are ridiculous.
(1) Lax parenting: Mr. Mair, you claim a lack of parental discipline is at fault. If you look through newspaper opinion columns for as long as there have been newspapers, you'll see writers blaming riots on the new wave of lax discipline. What causes it? Maybe television. Or motor-cars. Or, according to this article... working mothers. And working mothers only seem new if one presumes that all families have money, two present/living parents, and a mother who wants to stay at home.
(2) Promiscuity: I stopped and re-read this article to double check that this article actually blamed The Pill and promiscuity. There are two problems with this.
First, "The Pill" generation was not heavily represented among the rioters - likely because they were too busy planning for retirement. Were the rioters of a promiscuous generation? I don't know, but pretty much everyone under the age of 35 hit puberty during or after the AIDS crisis. As a consequence, most of us are far more cautious and disciplined around sex than our (grand)parents ever were. As for “The Pill?” For the hetero-mating among us, "The Pill" comes after using blood tests, condoms and/or using one's mouth.
Second, if we are more promiscuous (which, as far as I can tell, just means "knowing your own sexuality through experience,") what would that have to do with riots? Unless riots are a sign of the Wrath of God.
(3) Recreational Drugs: Do you think people on MDMA/ecstasy or cannabis are going to riot? No, they are going to dance and snack.
(4) Class and unemployment? Maybe. But where's the proof linking this to the riots? Espescially in Vancouver? Have you interviewed rioters? Do you have proof that they were impoverished? How much does a Canuck's jersey cost anyway?
Here's my question: do we believe that riots are a social evil? A sign thereof? Or are they free entertainment? If they're entertainment, let us speculate all we want as to the lax moral character that has overtaken our youth since the passing of His Majesty King George IV. But if they're a sign of social problems, then we need hard data to plan a fix. This means testing our hypotheses (or at least giving them some critical thought) before we expound on them in public.