Saturday, 27 March 2010

Allen Road shootings

As I walked to the first hustings of the Parliamentary campaign on Thursday, I saw some 'Police Do Not Cross' tape cordoning off part of Allen Road, near the Shakespeare pub. As I soon learnt, there had been another shooting - and it involved one of the young men who had already been shot in November, on Howard Road.

I posted my thoughts on gun crime, its causes and its solutions after that tragic incident in November, and my understanding remains the same. Gun crime isn't something that we can deal with simply through tougher enforcement, or through isolated action in one community - though both of these things might help to some extent. Ultimately, violent crime amongst young people is caused in the majority of cases by deprivation and hopelessness - and until there is a wider movement in this country dedicated to reducing levels of inequality (both economic and political), we will not be able to make significant headway against this problem. Young people who behave this way are acting out and demanding respect in the only way that they can envisage - a way that is twisted and malformed because of the environment they find themselves in relative to others in society. We need to allow people the opportunity to earn and find respect in other ways.

On a related topic, this post on StokeyTalk points out an interesting aspect of this latest incident - the increasing use of social networking by residents to find out what is going on, in near real time. I wasn't too impressed by Twitter when I first started using it - but things like this show me that sometimes it can be an incredibly powerful tool. The idea of "citizen journalism in the information age" couldn't be a bigger cliche - but its potential is astonishing, for all that.

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