Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Snippets ...

From the Mad Mahdi's thread ...

I don't know what planet you live on, Bunting, but it clearly isn't near Earth.

I share a communal garden with three other families, all of whom have young children. It was invaded a few minutes ago by five 12-13 year old thugs. They frightened the children, they tried to wreck their toys and when my neighbour told them to leave they told him to "f*** off", laughed at him and gave him the vs. I came out and shouted at them and told them to get off my property or I was calling the police. They ran off, but I was told by the neighbours:

"You want to be careful about messing with them. Parents are a bad lot, dad of ***** is just out of prison".

You might think this vindicates you. I bloody don't. If you'd seen them wrecking other kids' things and laughing and jeering at the adults who remonstrated with them - they're not deprived (they were all well dressed and carrying toys and gadgets, including a realistic toy gun), what their background has given them is a sense of extra entitlement; the knowledge that because they are feared, and their parents are feared they can do whatever they damn well please. And idiots like you are only making the matter worse.

And if this is what they're like at twelve: what will they be like when they're eighteen or nineteen?

A thought experiment

Suppose that, tomorrow, with immediate effect it were no longer illegal to give a young person who was engaged in an illegal or anti-social act a swift slap or to forcibly eject them from whatever place they were blighting . Think not about the kids who commit really extreme acts of violence or anti-social behaviour, but kids who bully, who vandalise, who trespass and who verbally abuse passers-by - what effect would it have on their behaviour?

So many times where I live in London I've seen kids do awful things: spit at commuters, behave intimidatingly toward women, trespass on private property, shout at and abuse members of the public, steal milk bottles and smash them on people's doorsteps... And when they were remonstrated with, in every case those children (not youths, children of between 10 and 13 years of age), laughed and jeered at the adults who tried to check their behaviour, because they knew that the adults could do nothing.

What if all those kids, stepping out their front doors tomorrow, knew that now the same behaviour would earn them physical chastisement? And that, when they complained, the first question would be: and what did you do to deserve it? And when their behaviour was uncovered, no would no one sympathise, or call the police or complain to a social worker - instead, the child could expect further punishment from all these figures of authority.

What effect do you think that would have on anti-social behaviour in this country?

The 'thought experiment' existed in reality for most of the 20th century. I think KW74 needs to get out of London, like millions of his countrymen.


August 28, 2007 9:58 AM

Every time I leave my house to go somewhere by car or foot I wonder if I will return. Will I get stabbed or shot. I live in Edgware, a nondescript region of NW London, that has become in parts very run down. We used to look at the reports of violence in Brixton and East London and think thankfully we don't live there. Now it has come to our part of town as well.

It will only take a glance in the direction of some of the youths hanging around on the streets to elicit a "What the f*ck are you looking at?"

I wonder, will my daughters get involved in an argument with one or more of these unpleasant individuals who demand respect but refuse to give it to others.

The murder of Rhys like the murder of all the other people by knife or gun wielding youths will not be solved by platitudes or 'social programs'. They are lost to us now and will only be prevented from causing more damage once they are banged up for life. Social engineering whereby estates are 'broken up' and the 'social housing' is provided for new developments will never work. No middle class family is going to want to buy a property near a problem family. The police may catch and society may imprison those who murder for fun or kudos but that won't stop others from doing it. The sense of 'right' and 'wrong' has been lost along with it the hierarchy of respect.

The caretakers who look after the grounds in my mother's block of flats are second generation Caribbean immigrants. They are the most charming, helpful gentle guys you could possibly meet. There's no hint of aggression and they go out of their way to assist the residents. So what has happened to cause some of their grandchildren's generation to descend to such anarchy?

Working in Investment Banking in the city, the office is a melting pot of all colours, religions and races. Admittedly most companies are predominantly white, but not exclusively so. In all cases, the cleaners are black and so are those in catering.

We have deep social problems in this country. The old norms of hierarchical respect that existed died away after WWII as the social upheaval of that event still exists today. Morals and guidance that were provided by religion have by and large been lost because Christianity has largely been abandoned in this country.

Speaking to all in our circle of friends, the main conversation is who can sell up first and move elsewhere, perhaps abroad. If we were in a position to do so then I'd leave tomorrow.

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