164 Muggings a day


During my usual evening route to South Kensington Tube Station with a couple of mates I was pulled into a violent atmosphere in front of a pub just across from the station. A man was stumbling, flailing his arms around as if here fighting the wind, he charged at a small, hunched over woman covered in charity shop clothes. She had two small dogs with her, one looked like a chihuahua. The dogs stood stunned as the maniac hit her in the midsection. She screamed in pain, falling to the ground her head nearly hitting the big, red double decker bus behind her. She laid on the pavement in a pre-natal position, her face nearly touching her knees. People flooded out of the pub, one tried to stop the aloof attacker who’s eyes were blank, emotionless, hollow. It all took place within a matter of seconds. So surreal that it faded as quickly as it had erupted. I urged my mates to walk with me in the opposite direction of the pub as people continued to gather about staring at the maniac as he walked into the street, stumbled into nothingness

These incidents are not unfamiliar to the Londoner whether they care to take notice or not. While London for its size is generally a safe city to dwell in, it is far from escaping the maw of violence that blends into its urban environment. Thankfully, it is no New York City (although according to recent stats NYC crime rate is dropping) or even *gasp* the city of peace, love, bullets and blood, San Francisco. Sometimes the scars of the city go so deep they blend in with everything else. According to the Evening Standard, London has 164 muggings a day. Whether you think this is too many or too little is up to you. CCTV cameras and police beats aren’t going to prevent crime in themselves. It’s time to heal. Quit worrying about the bloody Olympics (it’s not until fucking 2012). We need to be in the present. There is much work to be done in relieving the illness of poverty, violence, alcoholism and a whole list of other crimes that set human evolution into retrograde.

2 Comments so far

  1. sean (unregistered) on January 25th, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    164 in a city of how many millions? Anyway, the ES is hell bent on creating a sense of moral panic as it seeks to undermine Ken’s bid to get re-elected. Good piece though. If you read P Ackroyd’s London you’ll see its always been a violent place (in places) and it will always be. London can’t nor should ever be a peaceful utopia.

  2. BreTT (unregistered) on January 26th, 2008 @ 11:58 am

    Thanks for your comment and I agree, compared to its population, London has little street crime. Should it be utopia? Less suffering overall would be great, but an ideal society is definitely not happening here. In regards to politics, indeed, that’s what runs the newspapers. Very good point to make about how media is constructed. Sort of the opposite took place in NYC not long ago where Giuliani’s neo-fascist response to crime and homelessness in NYC was framed as a god send by the media (but certainly not everyone thought of him this way mind you, today it’s the reverse). Now the bastard’s running for president.

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