Tag Archive: Gun Crime


Sunday Morning

Ruth and Daniel are dressing for church.

The sun streams through their bedroom window catching suspended dust particles that shimmer like sequins.

It’s a special Sunday, a baptism.

Daniel, in a black three piece suit, struggles with a collar stud in the full length mirror on the closet door, sucks his teeth.

Ruth is in Lucian’s room, the room she keeps just for him.

A white sheepskin rug is thrown back revealing a loose floorboard prised up.

She wears a floral patterned dress the colour of cheap wallpaper.

There’s a flash and the air in the apartment implodes.

Then a smell of cordite.

Blue-grey smoke thickens the atmosphere.

Lucian is stretched out in the Sunday morning lobby with the top of his head gone and a halo of blood and brain mess oozing, expanding outward from what is left.

We’re all open to re-use, we all get re-cycled.

The important thing is you have to kill, or be killed by, the right person.

That’s what makes murder alright.

A comment on gun crime in the UK

Below is a comment by Ms Vaughan, which I received in response to my Gun crime in the UK post (11/09/06). I decided to publish it here because of its current relevance.

22 February 2007, 12:31:43 | Ms Vaughan
I am a Connexions Personal Adviser working in South London and I come into contact with young people everyday.

In light of the recent shootings in the Black community involving young people, I feel that it is now time for us to offer practical ways to tackle the problems and move forward.

I believe that everyone in our community should be coming together now. I think that they need to be shown that they can overcome all things with only a little determination, confidence in oneself and nurturing from family and school.

I am pleased to share with you a web site that promotes this and will be of interest to everyone in our community: http://www.school-info4u.com

A particular demand exists for a web site that delivers clear and specific advice to parents and carers who are raising African-Caribbean children.

School-info4u.com has the leverage to make a difference.

This free resource aims to tackle many of the problems that are causing these young people to ‘go off track’. This might be in relation to various issues, ranging from school exclusion, gang culture etc.

I guess most people might find it deeply uncomfortable talking about what’s really going on with the state of our youth. But as long as we choose complacency over awareness, we can’t change the status quo. In fact, the problems will likely grow in magnitude until people are finally forced to open their eyes and deal with the consequences. As is the case now!

The sooner each one of us decides that we do want to know, and that we are willing to invite others to open their eyes too, the more easily we will be able to turn this situation around. I guess that this won’t happen overnight, but I retain optimism…a flicker of hope in these difficult times! 

For me it’s all about trying to do my little bit to try and transform our community…’ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach’.

I believe that any small thing that one person can do to help another will make all the difference and I feel as though I am doing this with the School-info4u.com project.

Take a look at http://www.school-info4u.com

Kindest regards

Ms Vaughan

You see, Nico hasn’t killed anyone yet, so I guess he’s still salvageable. Sure, he’s hurt people — stabbed them or cut them — but he’s never shot anyone at close range, has never bundled some guy into a car, taken him to his mother’s house, stripped him naked and blown him in the mouth while mummy stands there crying and begging and wondering how the f**k is she going to clean the blood and brains off the new carpet, the recently hung wallpaper and the unpaid-for furniture.

“Because I’ve got a little bit of heart, you know,” he tells me. “I turn away when them kinda things happen. But it happens and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Turn away? Somewhere is a little grieving girl called Shanella.

I feel like I want to leave but the lies fascinate me.

Then he lights a cigarette, blows out the smoke and stares at the floor and I know what he’s thinking. One day his name will come up and he’ll have to do one.

“Otherwise it’ll be me with a hole in my face.”

That’s the way it is. You can’t remain a foot-soldier for ever, you either have to move up into the inner ring or they make you take a fall and spend a long time in prison to protect one of the higher-ups. And if you refuse you get blown away and somebody else goes to jail.

This is his life for the last four years:

At 14 he leaves school, no certificates, nothing, not even an encouraging word.

His father is a junkie, f**king low-life, robs betting shops and liquor stores and goes down when Nico’s 12.

He never sees the “lovely life – nine to five, kids, settle down” –- only the grime. “Yeah man that’s what we call this life, the grime, and this is all there is. I’m on the run, lived in fifteen places just like this in as many months.”

“This is it: Slumberdop.”

Slumberdrop. It’s like a bunker in a battle zone. There is a bed, a busted suitcase full of clothes, rubbish on the floor, a small black and white television, the remains of a pizza. No carpet on the floor and no furniture except a broken up old foam rubber sofa with no upholstery.

Slumberdrop. This is where they do everything, count the money, sell the drugs, stash the guns, carry out enforced conversions.

Slumberdrop. They’re an affiliation of gangs, known collectively as the Muslim Boys, beginning to fan out beyond London now. They hold up banks and post offices, deal in guns and tax drug dealers.

Slumberdrop. Things used to be different. You could hook up with a crew and get out any time you liked. Now that’s all over. It’s a cult thing, it’s for life, that’s what it’s all about. It’s their way to keep a hold of you. You can’t just come in and leave the next day like you could before.

“Now you either get wasted or step up to the hard core — if they want you.”

There is one other way. He knows about a couple of the guys who’ve done it like this:

“You do a certain amount of murders. You know, sensitive deals, things no-one else wants to do. Then you can get out on the last one and you got respect. Maybe they set you up with something nice, like a little club or something, or a cab stand. Then they leave you alone, you’re home free.”

But you have to do the first one, let them know you’re up for it, that you’ll do anything, kill anyone: women, kids, whatever. Whoever they need to blow away for whatever reason.

Slumberdrop.

Gun crime in the UK

While gun ownership in the UK is perhaps more tightly controlled than in any other European country, with gun crime constituting less than 1% of total crime, it is a fact that guns and incidents involving firearms are a quotidian feature of modern city life. So much so that out of the almost 11,000 firearms offences committed each year in England and Wales, most are not even reported in the media.

In London there is a shooting once a day; there are on average two and a half fatal woundings each month. Figures are higher up north. In Manchester two and a half offences occur each day; most of those are committed by young men between the ages of 15 and 20.

The latest victim of UK gun crime, in Manchester’s Moss Side district — dubbed ‘the British Bronx’ — was not gang-connected, according to detectives. He was a nice kid, a softly spoken 15 year old, his mother’s “precious baby”, who often helped his pastor at the local Seventh Day Adventist Church.

He stopped 3 bullets from a semi-automatic weapon. Police said yesterday they believe the killing was a case of mistaken identity.

Last night his mother spelt out his name in candles on the patio of the house where he lived.

His name was Jesse James.

Click here for Teens and Guns: The Shocking Truth

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