Saturday, 10 May 2008

"Another one bites the dust": more dead teenagers

The newest member of the Dead Teenager's Society is Jimmy Mizen, aged just 16, apparently killed by an attacker of similar age at the bakery shop where he worked in South East London.

He joins twenty-six other members so far this year, murdered in various circumstances, often by people of similar age:

Lyle Tulloch, 15
Robert Spence, 17
Adam Paton, 17
Jack Steadman, 19
Ashley Horton, 16

Amro Elbadawy, 14
Devoe Roach, 17
Ross Davidson 19
Ryan Hyden, 19
Joshua Mitchell, 17

Nicholas Clarke, 19
Samantha Bennett, 19
Michael Jones, 18
Ahmed Ibrahim, 17
Ofiyke Nmezu, 16

Tung Le, 17
Sunday Essiet, 15
Joe Dinsdale, 17
Fuad Buraleh, 19
Christopher Johnston, 17

Boduka Mudianga, 18
Bradley Whitfield, 16
Faridon Alizada, 18
Alexander Thomas Holdroyd, 19
Henry Bolombi, 17

Louis Braithwaite, 16

I'm sorry if I sound as as though I'm trivializing these deaths. Nothing could be further from my intention. Rather, I'm trying to draw attention to the enormity of what is happening. Often these cases involve more than one assailant. Yesterday no less than five young men - or rather, older children - were jailed for just two similar murders.

The arrest rate in these cases seems to be quite high, with a corresponding conviction rate. Given this fact, I wonder how many people in our prisons currently serving sentences for murder began those sentences in their teens.

I also wonder when anyone in our political or social leadership is going to start taking this seriously. These murders are now happening on a more-than-weekly basis - something that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. In another post today I have suggested we suffer from an inherent collective dishonesty about murder. A society which gives one person eight years for GBH and another just twice that for murder, yet calls the latter a 'life sentence', is clearly in denial about its attitude to killing. And it is easy to believe that the realization of this fact has something to do with the situation now blighting the lives of scores of individuals.

(By the way, if you think the title for this post is inappropriate, its from Queen's track of the same name, the words of which are very fitting if you allow for the fact that in real life there is no romance to gang warfare.)

Revd John P Richardson
10 May 1008

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