I find it unbearable to look at the face of Melanie Jones, the mother of Eleven-year-old Rhys, who was shot dead by some thug this week. Her raw grief must have pierced through the heart of every parent.
I remember the horror when the abduction and the murder of the toddler Jamie Bulger happened. The horror of it was enough for the Nation to cry out in horror. And when the two young boys, both under sixteen were subsequently arrested and then convicted, we all were aghast. It was the first time that someone so young was in court accused of murder. I remember reading article after article of soul searching in almost every publications, offering endless solutions and comments.
But now it is almost everyday news. In the last eight months of this year, eight young people have been murdered. Almost one death for each month of this year. So what has happened?
It is not that the government has not done anything. Since their inception almost 98,000 Anti Social Behaviour Orders(Asbos) have been issued. But have they achieved anything? Not really, some youngsters even treat these as a badge of honour. Something, which shows that they are anti-establishment and don’t care. And now the Home Secretary is talking about having “good behaviour contracts” between the young people and their local councils. Do they think that once somebody signs a paper to say that will be good, will they stick to it?
But what can be done, we all have a responsibility to play a little part in trying to make things better for the society we live in. Those who are on this site and those who read the Telegraph are am sure responsible and respectable parents who know this, but obviously there are enough parents out there who are ignorant and its their offspring causing this problems. Let us not just blame immigration and people of other cultures for this evil. Sometimes I wonder that we all have become so involved and focused on the issues of immigration, that other crimes have escaped our attention and condemnation. But not all the youth problems are from the immigrant community.
How about good teachers, good policing and parental responsibility? The police numbers have increased significantly, but the ordinary citizen feels more vulnerable than ever before. You don’t see the police in neighbourhood or on the street, and when they are their hands are tied. If they see young people misbehaving, they can’t just go up to them and tell them to go away. Without reading them the rights and filling up lengthy forms inn triplicate. The same is true of teachers. They can’t discipline children without the fear of litigation, and abuse.
We all turn a blind eye to youngsters misbehaving in our neighbourhood, and other places for fear of retaliation. But is this indifference, which has made youngsters feel that they are beyond reproach?
I wonder about violent video games and films too. If killing and “zapping” is seen as a game does this take the horror out of murder? I don’t know. But it is true that we have become more and more tolerant and used to violence and killing on the screen.
So may be it is time for us to look at all aspects of our own behaviour and surroundings to see what can be done so this cycle of violence can be stopped. And not just avert our face from the grieving face of the mother. Because it is all of us who will have to buckle down and do something. So there are no mothers who are grieving for their children in the news.