As Posted In Edify Magazine
Gang violence, everyone has an opinion but few are taking steps to improve the situation in Britain. With stories of stabbings, shootings and brutal attacks of our youth every day in the newspapers, surely someone should be working on a solution. But due to certain priorities, ignorance and transference of blame no one is willing to make a change.
The initial response is to blame the parents, maybe if there was better parenting the child would know that it was wrong to carry weapons, fight the defenceless or give in to peer pressure. But in numerous cases the victims have no involvement in crime or gang culture, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time or victims of mistaken identity. Normally weapons are carried purely for protection and status within their peer groups, not with the intention to hurt somebody, this need for protection comes from fear within a society that values money and material possessions higher than life. Weapons are normally used as a scare tactic, the carriers do not comprehend that it could worsen the situation. Offenders only use their weapons to prevent becoming the victims or to prevent losing their respect. If anything, their actions are caused by their peers not their parents.
The media is also a common source for blame, maybe if these children were not exposed to such violence on television, in music lyrics and in video games they would not think it was cool to get involved in the gang culture. However as much as we like to pretend that the media is the sole reason for the young aspiring to be respected gangsters, we have to take into consideration that millions of teens are consuming this same media and not trying to kill each other, so surely the reason is deeper than that. The media may portray crime in a flattering light at times, but surely teens should consume it with the knowledge and maturity to know that in reality it is not glamorous; there are severe consequences to their actions and their morality should tell them that hurting other people is wrong, and doing so will only leave them with soul consuming guilt. It is only the uneducated or ignorant that looks at violence and thinks copying what they have seen will benefit them, so maybe the problem is with education.
Gang violence has been a major issue in America for decades and it has progressed into organized crime, gun fights, and drug wars, prostitution rings, and human trafficking. Perhaps if we learn to tackle the issue now it will prevent it escalating in the way it has in America, and many innocent lives can be spared. The main social structures to tackle are primary and secondary socialisation, in which parenting and education can be improved through parenting classes and lessons which bring awareness about gang crime and the negative emotions and experiences that come with being part of a gang; to de-glamourize crime and open their eyes to the reality.
The main question we have to ask is why these children are feeling the need to join a gang to feel acceptance, and in some cases to find the family love they have never had. If a child has grown up witnessing domestic violence, not having strong role models or being taught a sense of morality then they will be desensitised to violence and will see it as the norm. If a child is friends with people that all believe there is nothing wrong with violence to get ahead or get your way in life, they will believe it too. Most gang members joined to find acceptance, respect and social status. They believe everything they hear is for their own good and out of care, when in reality a lot of gangs are run by people that just relish the power and find it easy to let their members take responsibility for their criminal actions.
More laws need to be made to ensure that this awareness and education is made in schools and homes, and that harsher punishment is given to the ringleaders who are leading younger members astray as a deterrent. More role models and organisations like the one run by victim Damilola Taylor’s father need to be created, so that disadvantaged youths can find other hobbies and talents to find acceptance and success through. Perhaps more age restrictions or warnings should be made for certain films, video games and music to prevent those not mature enough to handle them, to not be influenced in a negative way. So next time you are quick to judge and pass the blame, maybe you should take the time to see the bigger picture and think about what needs to be done for positive change.
Gang crime isn’t the only violent issue affecting Londoners, football hooliganism is also a problem. Find out more about the Chelsea Head Hunters below:
Although murder can be quite the grey area when it comes to motives and sentencing, some people still believe that the adequate punishment should be execution. What are your thoughts?