Violence and looting are inexcusable, and London has been shaken in the last few days by an excess of both. I think it's been a double edged sword; for many it has brough attention to issues that a number of preceding peaceful protests could not while for others the aftermath and media focus has detracted from those same issues that cause ordinary people to turn to such measures.
Remember when you're watching the news that no single event sparked those fires, and that the minority of opportunist criminals taking advantage of the situation do not represent the legitimate concerns of people living in the affected areas. While the government is prompt in it's condemnation, so far it has expressed only interest in reprisal for those engaged in criminal behaviour and not in the unrest and unhappiness that allows such events to blossom in the way that they have over the last few days.
Dismissing the riots as a spree of violence and looting is a mistake. There are real people here experiencing real suffering and that is the more important concern to address. Nothing is ever all that black and white and the riots are not the whole picture.