Friday, 24 August 2007

17 and rising

17 teenage gun deaths in London this year, most recently Brixton this month. A gun killing of a biker on the M40 a few days ago and now an 11 year old killed in Liverpool by a BMX teen cyclist with a shotgun.

Gang culture is ascribed as a form of belonging, often with violence as entry price. Social deprivation, petty crime and the spiral to drugs and organized crime become the challenges for the projects trying to stabilize and turn the tide. A family is supposed to teach independence, but a gang seems to drive dependence.

Ethnicity is in the debate but only a few days ago a white male gang leader was sent to prison following violence based rule of Nottingham. The Krays have gone, but there is still organized money making at the edge of the law.

Pop Culture also features; number one on Billboard is Underground Kingz with lyrics about 44's, glocks and Ks (guns) and 454's (shot gun cartridges). Teens of all types face gory Playstation options as influences.

Intellectualising about missing context and cultural references being replaced by Americana doesn't do it for me. The 'only amongst themselves' arguments also seem rather convenient. Near enough to where I live we've had both a drive by shooting at a petrol station and a gang related murder (years apart but in memory).

So what to do? Socializing, Governance, Education? All have price tags and timescale implications. Heavy policing? Risks of escalation. The thing for sure is to bring this into the agenda. We all need it to be better.

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