We usually think of our British cousins as rather reserved and well-mannered. So it is a shock that news from London -- and other major British cities -- tells us there have been several nights of rioting, looting and vandalism among young people.
The British police have been hard-pressed to subdue mobs rampaging in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool. Prime Minister David Cameron rushed back from vacation in Italy to try to deal with the problems.
What's it all about? There was no good explanation -- and certainly no valid excuse. The outbreaks reportedly had no single cause, although some rioters said it was their way of protesting cuts in government spending.
The unrest began after police killed a man last week under unclear circumstances. Racial friction in some immigrant ethnic communities has caused trouble in recent decades and may explain part of the violence.
At any rate, it is all very unfortunate -- and very "un-British."