Sunday, July 06, 2008

South London Murder No.6 - in one week

The headline in last Friday's South London Press - Five Murders in Five Days - was out of date before it was even on the stands. On Thursday night Shakilus Townsend (left), a 16-year-old girl from Tanners Hill, New Cross, was stabbed to death in Thornton Heath crying out in the street: "I want my mum, I don't want to die."

Ross at Save Catford is right to note the lack of reporting of the earlier murder of John Howell in Milord Towers in Catford last week. Bloggers too can collude with this media indifference. As I said in the comments discussion on the earlier post, I do think we need to acknowledge these horrors, if nothing else out of respect for the victims, rather than just go on about our wonderful metropolitan South East London lifestyles as if nothing had happened.

It's easy to kid ourselves that this is nothing to with us, especially if we don't fit the profile of most victims - young, black and male. But it is happening on our streets, in our communities and it impacts on all of us in many ways.

6 comments:

bob said...

This is the comment I just tried to post at Save Catford, but the comments are suffering from something technical, so I'll post it here instead, hoping Ross is checking in.

Ross, you are absolutely right that it is an outrage that this got a news in brief item in the locals, and next to no (or none at all?) coverage in the nationals. I don't think I agree with your interpretation though. I don't think it is any local conspiracy to cover up bad stuff on Milford Towers. Instead, I think it is part of a wider trend that decides that kids getting killed is sexier than adults getting killed, that white people getting killed is sexier than black people getting killed, that rural and suburban people (e.g. from Soham or Little Bookham) getting killed is sexier than urban people getting killed, that photogenic people getting killed is sexier than ordinary-looking people getting killed, that females getting killed is sexier than males getting killed, and, above all, that middle class people getting killed is sexier than working class people getting killed.

Anonymous said...

i feel for all those who have died and been injured by this growing menace

especially the French students, who we should formally recognise


Getting political

The last thing we need is Boris to make another stupid statement about how easy it is to fix gang and knife crime as he did during the Mayoral election

Should remember that the most common victim of crime in South East London is a black person

ross said...

here's me thinking the reasons i don't get any comments is because no one reads it!

bob your view and mine are not mutually exclusive,more mutually reinforcing i'd say. your view is purely looking at this from the position of the media, my 'theory' is less media centered and more police/council/govt centered

the police/council/govt are obviously helped by the fact that the media take the positions that you describe, so they all (police/council/govt/media) get what they want

my point is a more general one than the specifics of milford towers though, this kind of containment policy is crucial to most local & national administrations (i.e. working class areas are lost causes and most don't vote anyway so nothing to lose by containing crime to these areas, unlike the crucial middle class areas where elections are won & lost on the basis of a few thousand votes here and there) and certainly so in areas where gentrification & regeneration are in action, this helps perpetuate the myth that gentrification reduces crime & antisocial behaviour when in reality all it does is disperse & contain it to other not so lucky areas

i agree with your last point most of all bob, look at comparisons of media/press coverage in the first few weeks of maddeline mccan going missing compared with that of shannon mathews for example, a nakedly bare example of the vicious hatred, contempt & despisement of the working class by the media

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is an actual policy of containment of crime to areas like Milford Towers, but you are right that places like that don't figure very highly on political priorities as long as their problems don't spill out and start affecting better off citiizens elsewhere. If this kind of crime wave were happening in a better-off area, the papers and blogs would be full of it, local people would be furiously lobbying their councillors at dinner parties and school fete. Something would be done - although in real terms what a council can do to deal with crime is probably quite limited. This will continue until people on places like Milford Towers get as well organised as the middle class and make their own demands - not easy I know.

bob said...

Re anonymous 1: why "especially the French students"? Why are their lives more precious than, say, Shakilus Townsend's? Why shouldn't his death be "formally recognised"? (But I agree with the second half of your comments!)

Re Ross: yes, I think we agree!

Anonymous said...

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lets promote the positive young people instead of the negative.

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