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article imageOp-Ed: Blood on the streets — From Eltham to Sandy Hook

By Alexander Baron     Jan 5, 2013 in Crime
London - Twenty years ago this April, Stephen Lawrence was knifed to death on a South London street; the exploitation of that murder is in stark contrast to that of the Sandy Hook Massacre.
For those unfamiliar with the murder of Stephen Lawrence and how it has been exploited by agenda driven special interest groups to drive a bus through the rule of law in this country, some background can be found here, and a more detailed assessment (prior to the convictions of Dobson and Norris) here.
While one can and should sympathise with a grieving mother even twenty years on, the pronouncements of Doreen Lawrence in the two decades since the murder of her son have grown increasingly remote from both the act itself and any possible causes.
In spite of all the drivel espoused by Sir William Macpherson in the report into the 18 year old's death, we know precious little about the real motives of his killers. We don't know if Stephen Lawrence was known to any of them, ie if this was a personal grievance, a case of mistaken identity, or if he were killed simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The best hypothesis is that he was murdered not because he was black, but because he was young and black, which is not quite the same thing. It is a matter of fact that gang culture has been a strong factor in street crime, and that in the two decades since his death this culture has grown worse rather than improved.
In March last year, three youths were convicted after a shooting in South London left 5 year old Thusha Kamaleswaran paralysed for life. All four involved - the intended victim and his three would-be assailants - were black. It remains to be seen how the murder of Stephen Lawrence was either more or less tragic than the murder of any other youth on our streets, but apart from his parents - who naturally wanted their son's killers brought to book - the majority of those who involved themselves in the campaign had little or no real concern for Stephen Lawrence as an individual. Indeed Doreen Lawrence and her then husband Neville realised this at the time. In September 1993, five months after their son's murder, they wrote to Marc Wadsworth and Palma Black of the Anti-Racist Alliance to dissociate themselves publicly from that organisation because “To our dismay we found that the political agendas and rivalries of different organisations began to take over the meetings.” They stressed that their son’s name was “too precious to be used in a cynical way”.
At the end of the day, this was, or should have been, about one murder, although there were other, peripheral issues, like youths carrying knives. We have at times seen and are still seeing the police and other agencies warning youths especially of the dangers and consequences of carrying both knives and guns.
If the police are to combat this practice, then obviously they need the powers to do so; one of their major weapons against knife crime (and to a lesser extent gun crime) is the power to stop and search people in the street. This is not so much reasonable as plain common sense. The question is: who do they stop? The logical answer is young males (around 14 and upwards) and to a lesser extent females, in inner city areas, the suburbs, and places where gangs and similar types are known to operate. In some such areas the majority of those stopped are black, but according to Doreen Lawrence (and the usual suspects) this is unfair, racist or whatever, which is one of the things she was blathering on about last Friday when she appeared on TV looking resplendent in her new wig.
This is the old nonsense of statistical racism yet again; the reality is that it is very easy to find correlations - real and imagined - between racial and other groups and all manner of statistics, which are then touted as evidence of oppressive discrimination. The bottom line though is that she can't have her cake and eat it. If Doreen Lawrence and others (especially mothers) want to stop youths carrying knives in order to rob people or stab each other over some mindless triviality, then someone has to get his hands dirty, that someone in this instance being the police. A question that never seems to be asked is do the police really enjoy stopping and searching people in the street, fumbling in their pockets, pulling out dirty handkerchiefs, feeling up their crotches, and so on? Probably not!
Now, contrast the approach to street crime in the UK with that in the US. At the moment the big talking point - including by the lunatic fringe - is the Sandy Hook massacre.
The law relating to especially firearms is not uniform throughout the US; in some states it is permissible to carry a concealed weapon. In July 2011, a South Carolina hotel worker of 50 plus shot and killed a man who was robbing and may well have raped or even murdered her.
This begs the question, is it worth the trade off? How many innocent people, including perhaps children, can be saved from both ruthless armed criminals and deranged individuals like Adam Lanza by permitting or even encouraging an armed citizenry?
In spite of the cultural differences, in particular America's love affair with handguns, there is a great deal of common ground. Even after a number of mass shootings and lesser outrages, there is nowhere in these islands with the exception of some turbulent areas of Northern Ireland where the public or the police can be said to be genuinely apprehensive of being shot or worse while going about their daily business. It is difficult to believe any American would rather live in a society where this was not the norm, the big question is how can we bring this about? Neither the drivel spouted by Doreen Lawrence or those with darker motives on the one hand, or those who would drag America back to the days of the Wild West on the other has any real solution to the problem of guns, mindless violence, or freedom under the rule of law.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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