My son came up to me the other day and said "You know what, Dad ? You were right".
When I'd recovered from these rare - nay, unprecedented words, "What about ?"
"That kid who got shot in Liverpool. You said that everyone would say how awful it was, and something must be done, and nothing would be done. I didn't believe you."
Ah yes. I did say something like that to him.
"But what really upsets me is that I know nothing will be done about it. Everyone will say how awful it is, and something must be done, and in six months we'll be watching a different set of relatives. I've seen so many of these interviews in the last thirty years, and the crimes get just that little bit worse. It makes me feel angry - and helpless."
A couple more kids in London this week, just typical stuff. Urban gun crime is the bastard child of the Scarman Report.
The death of Congolese immigrant Biendi Litambola has seen the traditional mourning rites being observed.
Today around 20 of his pals laid floral tributes to their friend at the murder scene and spray-painted "E6 Gangsta" in the doorway of nearby flats where it is understood two suspects were arrested.
But Ilford and Canning Town don't have any literary types nearby. Stoke Newington does, so the shooting of Etem Celebi was a little too close for comfort.
Suzanne Moore in the Guardian on shootings and urban child-rearing :
Most teenage boys act harder than they are, don't they? They have to. Unless they withdraw into their rooms smoking skunk, listening to angsty music, waiting till the next time they get mugged.
Baroque in Hackney on shootings and urban child-rearing (and more from her here):
"The Urban Warrior, my older one, is more philosophical, talking about other people he knows Etem was friends with, including one who was done last year for all sorts of egregious things; he sounds pretty hard. I don't want my kid to sound hard. But he's bought his hardness dearly, and he knows how to work the streets. He's hard because he can't help being part of it, because he's a teenage boy. The only alternative is to sit in your room like his brother."
Sounds like the Guardianistas are breeding a 50/50 mix of intelligent street-smart kids, young warrior Beowulfs, and frightened victims. Back to the future !
"We have created the classic conditions for the emergence of a warrior class: separation of economic activity from family maintenance; children reared apart from fathers; wealth subject to predation; and male status determined by combat and sexual conquest."
The CiF comments are impressive too :
Has anyone seen that episode of the Simpsons where Flanders uber-liberal, beatnik parents go to the psychiatrist and complain about their inability to control his behaviour? "We've tried nothing Doc, and and we're totally out of ideas!"
"I give thanks every day my boy returns home safe. What kind of a society produces a reaction like that. He lives in London ffs, not Gaza."
"for those of you who dont live on a council estate and believe that people just wilfully will not deal with the police. Let me break it down for you. If you snitch to the police and the thugs find out, you will be killed/stabbed,/beaten up/ hounded out of your house, depending on the ferocity of who you snitched on. People who go about their day to day business not killing, using drugs, and all the other stereotypes abounding on this thread are hostages to the area they live in. It is not out of choice that they do not 'give up names'. Get real."
"all this is a spectator sport for a lot of middle-class white liberals. They LIKE a bit of deprivation and anti-social bahaviour, even the odd murder (not too close to home). It gives them a vicarious thrill. In Nick Hornby's 'Fever Pitch'. He talks about how despite coming from a nice house in Maidenhead. he's always wanted to come from a rough part of North London: "With a tube station and a West Indian community and terrible, insoluble social problems.""
"As a veteran criminal lawyer, I've got to say I've been alternately amused and disgusted by the clueless bleatings both of the column, and the various flavours of lefty who want to blame 'society' (or 'capitalism', or Thatcher, or whatever).
I actually have a clue, because I have known many, many, many of these thugs on a professional basis: my clients.
It's not the poverty.
It's not guns.
It's not the TV.
It's not Iraq.
It's not insufficient public spending, as if you could simply bury the problem by shoveling money at it.
The problem is the criminals.
The criminals, violent, selfish, callous sods; as well as a considerable segment of their subculture which worships the same idols: easy money, contempt for honest work, law enforcement, and decent society; and fatherless households going on four generations of workless state-supported existence, supplemented by thievery and narcotics.
What is the answer? Simple. Real law enforcement with serious sentences- not ASBO's or six months at a holiday camp, but hard time. You would be amazed at the change in a hardened thug's expression when he learns that *this* time he's looking at five years mandatory minimum, no parole. Serious incarceration also gets them off the streets, reducing the spread of the infection to the impressionable younger ones on the cusp.
And it *does* work. At this point somebody will bring up the USA's very high rate of imprisonment- and that's true. But it's true *because* thirty years of namby-pamby penology of the sort that plagues Britain produced an explosion of criminals, who all had to be placed when we finally got serious about it again. The price we had to pay for our hand-wringing softly-softly folly, as reflected by America's plunging crime rates over the last ten years. Yes, Britannia, your rates of serious crime are now *higher* than ours in all categories except murder, and you're rapidly overtaking us there.
You want to solve this problem? Lock 'em up. By the time they're 18 it's too late- concentrate on saving the younger ones. Make sure that minor vandalism and shoplifting are punished, not laughed off. Don't allow poor estates to become warzones of graffiti and broken glass. Give the poor jobs, not handouts. Make it abundantly clear that the law applies everywhere, not just in the leafy suburbs- then you'll see a change."
"Like Suzanne I lived, as I said, in the inner cities; when it came time to choose my lad's first school I walked in to the playground, clocked the looks I got from the older kids there, added that to the four shootings within two hundred yards of our house in eighteen months, and put the house on the market. I took a 50% wage cut to get out and head north, and it was a bargain. Anyone who makes their kids grow up in london when they don't *have* to, needs their head examined."
And the last word to commenter Peel :
This left wing commentator laments the products of the wholesale reconstruction of a culture, reconstructed by the cultural left.
It dug up the old moral ethos. It assumed that ethos was just part of the atmosphere, not the result of centuries of Christian civilization.
Now she realises the tide is coming in fast, there are no moral absolutes or norms, all is a sea of relativism and multi culturalism.
The people who suffer most from this liberal elite destruction are the poor, and poor blacks worst of all.
Well done Ms Moore - please don't think you and yours are not deeply implicated in this grotesque social catastrophe, as is most of New Labour.