The proliferation of “knife crime” and street violence is a concern which is disturbing to everyone. The traumatic effects of such an event can be critically detrimental to both victim and perpetrator, though in perhaps different ways.
The perpetrator feels empowered by his action within that moment. He feels excited, vibrant, alive. But in the quiet times away from his peers, when he is alone with the images of blood and violence playing out in his mind. With perhaps the death of another human being or their severe injury stamped into his consciousness and credited to his psyche, the feeling may not be so glorious.
At least 37 people have been fatally stabbed and 62 overall, killed in London alone, since the beginning of the year. The local administration blames government cuts to police budgets. The Government blames a lack of available funds. The police blame the proliferation of gangs and drug dealers.
In truth it is quite probable that all of these things have a part to play, but is that really the whole story? Is it just a simple case of too may gangsters and not enough police or do we need to look a little deeper?
Watching a documentary on this issue recently, it struck me that the fifteen year old being interviewed who was the owner of a massive hunting knife with a serrated edge, clearly a murderous weapon, was neither a psychopathic killer nor harbored real murderous intent. His main reason for having such a weapon In his possession, was self protection. In other words, this potential murderer was a very frightened and very vulnerable juvenile.
A young individual, so scared by the effects of an economically stressed home environment and a school system with a main stream curriculum that while promoting education as a path to success, fails to address the real impact of discrimination and other unfair practices on the “ideal world” vision and innate sense of fair play, of the young and the innocent, that the certainty of “kill or be killed” jungle law, makes more sense and holds more value than the pursuit of educational success.
So what is left to this young person as a vision for their future? What is the likely end result of succeeding through education? After perhaps twenty years of formal education and preparation for life, the individual is faced with severely limited options for achieving an above the poverty level standard of living.
Very few twenty-five year olds or even thirty year olds after graduating and gaining five years of commercial experience can walk into a job where they command a salary of £30,000 or £40,000 a year, which is the level of income needed to maintain a healthy life, in many communities. It is more likely, that many will not get that job so, even as graduates, they are relegated to restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
With this picture in mind, the path of educational success, does not look so enticing. Add to this the level of discrimination and unfair treatment that is applied across certain groups of society such as BMEs or women and the picture becomes down right unattractive, even disagreeable.
Naturally the concept of enduring a 20 year indoctrination process, to secure a position of employment with which he can barely feed himself and cannot even buy a home, as well as the lack of expectation of being treated, or paid fairly is wholly unappealing. In fact by now it can be placed in the category of “why would I want to do that?” Is there some other way?
Any adolescent on the planet, can see that given the scenario presented they are about to enter a dark world of excruciating pain and suffering. A world that though defined by material wealth, affords the average, individual, adult, very few accessible options for acquiring any real financial security.
They can already appreciate that without money or a legitimated means of acquiring quite a lot of it on a regular basis, their existence is one which is overwhelmed with frightening unknowns, unanswerable questions, insecurities, uncertainties and real life dangers, giving rise to even greater fear, increased anxiety and crushing disillusionment.
What looms in their futuristic vision is not Olympian gold and glory, but needs un-met, poverty, prison and perdition.
They still have desires, nice car, nice house, nice clothes. They still have ambitions, beautiful wife, beautiful kids, beautiful life. How are they to achieve this without the hope of educational success or an expectation of fair treatment?