Friday, July 04, 2008

Stab victim dies in Thornton Heath


Dear Editor,

I had moment of ‘déjà vu’ whilst listening to the radio this morning. The presenter of the news headlines on the radio announced that a stab victim had died in South London. Automatically, I felt dismay and then I wondered where the incident had taken place. The report went on to say that the teenage victim was stabbed in Thornton Heath. Hasn’t this happened before?
A quick check on the Internet and reports suggest the victim was stabbed repeatedly by six hooded youths on Thursday afternoon.
To try and evaluate and analyse the spate of knife crimes in Croydon and London cannot be done in a single letter to the local paper. I am not even sure a thesis on the issue could address the complexities of this phenomenon. There are so many elements: community policing; media reporting; status and respect; self protection; relative poverty; demonisation of young people; tougher sentences, social mobility; school exclusions, family breakdown and peer pressure are just a few that are banded about. One other element that is put forward is the young persons’ unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions. This idea interests me because you can take it further: the moment that a young person decides to carry a knife then somewhere along the line a malfunction has occurred. Someone or something has failed. If a young person deems it necessary to carry a knife, be it for their protection or to gain status and respect, then someone needs to take responsibility for this failure.
Therefore it is incumbent on parents, schools, police and the authorities to also take responsibility for their actions and work together with young people to tackle the root causes of this knife carrying phenomenon.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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