As the media tally up the 15th murdered victim of violent youth crime of 2008, the government unveils a £3 million advertising campaign against knife crime.
The posters, which feature graphic images of real injuries inflicted from such attacks, are hoped to shock youth into realising the reality, severity and fatality of knife crime. Real images such as a knife piercing through a victim’s skin are amongst some of the emotive images featured. The government have also posted a reconstruction of a street stabbing on social networking sites in the hope that such shock tactics will prove effective in deterring such crimes.
The truth of the matter is that the youth of today are numb to such images because in a society where they have access to mediums such as violent video games and the internet, which admittedly contain far more disturbing images, it has become the norm to them. Yes, the government must appear to be doing something about the situation, and indeed yes the campaign is a tick in the box of Parliament’s to do list, but I doubt it will actually save lives. These images shock parents not the youth.
I’m sick and tired of people blaming communities: “There aren’t enough youth clubs”, “There isn’t much for youth to do.” My take on that? Absolute rubbish. As someone who from the age of 17 was forced to look after myself with no support or role model, I think it’s just a poor excuse. The facilities are there but for some reason the youth refuse to take advantage of them and opt for criminal activities that provide cheap thrills. To them going to the library or community centre is seen as ‘uncool’. To them street cred carries more value than academic success.
In theory, I was the perfect candidate to be sucked into that dark world of violent gangs: no guidance, little money, little power etc. But I found things to do with my time i.e. focusing on education and my career.
I knew where I wanted to go in life and it wasn’t a four -letter word that begins with J and ends in L. What happened to young individuals taking responsibility for themselves and their own actions? Going out there and making something of their lives; being innovative?
Statistics claim that those involved in such crimes come from working class, low-income, single parent families. Is this an excuse for the current climate of youth crime? If so, again, it’s a poor one.
Some say the parents are to blame. Parents who, for example, work such long hours that the only time they get to see their children, if at all, is late at night when they return home. Parents of whom have failed to establish the key foundations of regular communication with their children from an early age and therefore think that it’s the responsibility of their community to bring up their child and instil in them sound morals and respect. These children crave acceptance and a sense of belonging and unfortunately some end up finding it in violent gangs, leaders of whom become their role models.
This spate of cold-blooded murders infuriates me to the point of disbelief. Unless this ‘badge of honour’ mentality of these youths stops, the media’s tally will continue to rise. Unfortunately, I think things will have to get far worse in order to get better.