London is dangerous for teenagers

May 26, 2008

CNN reports this piece of news , as have other news outlets off the wire. The tie in is that it involves a minor actor in an unreleased "Harry Potter" film, who will have to appear in it posthumously:

LONDON, England (AP) — A British teenage actor playing a minor role in the upcoming "Harry Potter" film was stabbed to death during a brawl in London on Saturday, police said.Rob Knox, 18, was stabbed after he got caught up in a fight outside a bar in southwest London early Saturday, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.Knox plays Ravenclaw student Marcus Belby in the upcoming film "Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince," the sixth installment of the popular series set for release in November.Warner Bros., the studio that is producing the film, said it was shocked by the news.
Knox was one of five young men taken to various hospitals after the brawl, police said. Among them was a 21-year-old who has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.The fight did not appear to be gang-related, police added, but it puts the number of violent teenage deaths in London at 14 so far this year.


Unfortunately, a very bad trait the British have is that public drunkenness and fighting is a widely accepted pattern of behavior. I’ve personally confronted drunks at night in London. It’s practically unavoidable on weekend (or even weekday) nights.  The authorities of course know this. Several years ago the closing hours of pubs was extended in an attempt to curb last minute binge drinking at last call. I’m not surprised that the killing wasn’t gang related. The victim may have had nothing to do with starting the fight or knew who his killer was. If were gang related, he may have simply been shot, since the streets of London, I understand, are flooded with illegal handguns. The death toll of 14 teenagers so far this year in London works out to about an annualized rate of 30 – 32 deaths.

This year started out with a call for fighting the scourage of teen murders, it was said by one ward representative to be the top issue for the year . A BBC article from December 2007 recounts the teen murders of the past year, and what measures are being taken to deal with the issue. Sounds a lot like the situation in US cities, including the need for the black community "to take responsibility." So far, whatever measures are in place aren’t working. In 2007 there were 27 teen murders in Greater London. As stated, London is on pace to break that record. One murder of 2008 caused a row concerning the now former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who said that "he was not responsible" for a 14-year old’s death. A series of deaths this January led to call for tougher laws on knives! Handguns in London are supposed to be pretty much illegal already. But even controlling the flow of knives won’t stop all of the killing. One murder of a teen baker occurred when some thugs broke into the shop he working at and stabbed him in the neck with a piece of glass from the window they smashed in. Another teen this past April was killed with a sword . This was an act of black-on-black gang violence. Reading this May editorial makes one think that maybe the UK is becoming a de facto part of the US. One of three UK children lives in poverty? Is this a legacy of Thatcherism?

OK – NYC isn’t so safe  either.



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