Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bang bang you're dead - hole in your head

I'm not entirely sure why, but it seems that wherever I go rampant levels of gun crime follow. During my three years at university in Nottingham, great concern surrounded the city's escalating levels of shootings and the city was portrayed in the media as the 'gun crime capital of the UK'. Now I'm in Manchester and the situation seems to be mirrored.

Reports of gang-based shootings surface several times every week, and just last weekend a 16-year old boy died in hospital a couple of weeks after being shot in a William Hill bookies a short walk from where I'm living. On Saturday, while taking what seemed to me an innocuous enough shortcut through the park after dark, we were stopped by a policeman and warned never to do it again: "These gangs will shoot each other for your stuff", he said. I think I'm quite unlike the 95% of the population who are guilty of spreading panic and hysteria about the lack of safety on the streets. If anything, I'm probably guilty of being a bit too blase when it comes to things like that. I always assume any potential ruffians and ne'erdowells will see my imposing figure and elegant yet assertive gait and just scarper from the scene, saturated with fear. I'm probably wrong though.

Gangs aren't anything new in Britain, but their distressing youthfulness and the number of guns in there hands is. I don't want to come over 'all Ross Kemp', but it really makes you wonder what is driving startling numbers of young men and boys to chase around killing each other within their own communities. Is it that gangs offer the chance to be 'part of the pack', and a rare opportunity to enjoy some form of shared identity? When the individualist mindset rules to such an extent that any notion of society is widely regarded with suspicion, it should be of little surprise when the apples at the bottom of the pile turn rotten. If you grow up shackled in chains of poverty and, as a result, are excluded from the privileges many take for granted, it's a recipe for disaster to be told to just look after yourself regardless of the consequences of your actions on others (the dominant British ideology of the last thirty years). Thatcherism has a lot to answer for: 'Thatcher Fucked The Kids'.


Blogger Dan said...

I agree, as so often, and so don't need to write anything useful.

Instead, I'll allege that you were only particularly bothered about this recent incident because it makes going to the bookies potentially less safe.

February 15, 2008 9:13 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

The pigeons follow you, the guns follow you... It's surely not long until the two combine in some ugly feathered massacre.

February 15, 2008 9:23 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

Yeah, some people are all about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but I'm all about the pigeons, guns and gambling.

February 18, 2008 9:39 pm  
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