Are we really powerless to do something?

It’s not often that I experience a strangers trauma. It’s very rare to hear the true extent of a strangers pain first hand. Road accidents, terrorist attacks have brought people up close to horrors they can not unsee. We often find ourselves powerless in these situations as we can only call the emergency services and pray. If you’ve found yourself inept as a remote viewer then you’ll know how I feel, but this account is even more debilitating as I listened to a womans suffering as a passenger on a train, over hearing a phone conversation that I had no right to involve myself in and this terrified me. I’m normally sheltered from the daily commute into London City and have yet to harden myself to the crushing and merciless sensibilities of modern day Londoners who crave their own space, but very rarely achieve it. No matter how bright London shines it has a dark foreboding. A concrete shell that the flesh is forced to mimic. I know better than most how thick that shell can become, I have a masters in Youth Crime and Criminological Theory and was once a gang leader stricken with the responsibility of being part of a gang to survive. We’re talking 3 decades ago and the streets of London’s most impoverished communities are worst than ever. Generations of kids grafted through a system of hard knocks and a sub culture glorified by mainstream media and Internet fame. Their shells have become so dense in order to survive the perpetual stress and dysfunction. The sad thing is, that the “one for all and all for one”, mentality that I grew up with, has been replaced with; “as long as it isn’t me, as long as it’s somebody else.” Statistically, crime is said to be going down, but it feels more that the strangle hold of criminal gangs has gotten tighter. Nobody dares to speak out and the crimes are no longer crimes, just a culture that propagates the belief that they aren’t worthy of any better.

There are no fictional Batmen or Robin copycats willing to devote their lives to ridding us of the scourge of violence in the underbelly of our society. Who works for free these days and would they be celebrated or lampooned for daring to impinge the human rights of a person hell bent on harming others with impunity?

Battles are fought on our streets everyday and we shrug and accept this as a consequence of maintaining our god-given freedoms.

Many of us can shut our eyes and close our ears because crime, the kind that’s perpetrated on your person every day gets overlooked and unrecorded because it is very much a culture of excuse and abuse and acceptance, instead of recognition and refusal and prosecution. They have labelled this black Culture and they are so mistaken. It is a sub-culture born out of greed, envy, poverty and victimhood. I was the only one out of a family of 7 that was drawn into this culture and I have since left it and I am still black. It is as far removed from me as any claim that I have Royal British blood.

Anyway, I am desperate to recount this tale to help you better understand why I’ve bothered to tell it.

On my way home from visiting a friend in Notting Hill, I hear a voice in great distress, we all do. I’m sat on a train and this woman is only feet from me. I’m sat at a window seat. Her speech is fast and nervous and she is repeating an experience that only happened moments earlier, but it felt like she’d told it many times before. She spoke of the suffering of anothers child, but someone close to her. Whilst being on the train, she had received a call from a boy who’d been attacked. She’d witnessed his throes and suffering and I was immersed in her response.

Like all the other passengers, I wanted to shrink into my seat. I didn’t know how to help. I know in my heart that I would have done something had I witnessed it first hand. No heroics just instinct. I know it sounds adolescent of me, but I’d rather die than live in shame.

She wasn’t speaking to me, she shared her woes with every passenger onboard because her wounds were deep. She spoke of a boy who had been attacked only moments earlier. This boy had just relayed his dreadful ordeal to her in a last ditch attempt to survive his injuries.
I wanted to grab the phone as she repeated the tale to a colleague on the phone, I wanted to offer some assistance. Yet this was the present and everything had happened earlier. Long enough to have a life snuffed out forever. Enough time to change the world or end it. So much had happened only minutes earlier before I’d taken my seat. She had called the police and was now answering their questions. She’d learned that the boy was safe (as safe as one could be after a harrowing attack with the potential of more harm). He hadn’t been stabbed, well she wasn’t even certain of that, but he was bloodied and an ambulance was on its way. she was so deeply distressed and couldn’t escape her motherly instincts.
What if it had been her son in the same situation? What would she have done then? I could share more of her verbalising but I don’t think she’d appreciate that. She is still beholden to the rules of these communities.

This attack was just another in a long sequence of attacks that happen so often in Britain and they are so rarely prosecuted. The attackers wore balaclavas, this new dress code that goes unchallenged by police and defended by mothers just like her who are outraged when young men are searched by police and it is not intelligence led. What happened to instinct and the gut? It was my gut that was now telling me I had to do something for this woman, should I ignore it?

I myself experienced a savage and unprovoked attack in my late twenties. The coldness and brutal disconnect of more than a dozen young black brothers hell bent on making me and my best friend suffer for having more and being different, because if your black and male you cannot be different. Anywhere else in the world it’s called being middle class or educated. In the UK it’s called being different, worst still “not black enough”. Well it at least feels that way. I was unable to fight back as I had too much to lose, (well that’s what my manager shouted) and it is this that these gangs seem to count on. They don’t have anything to lose and we have become so guilt ridden that we almost invite their cruelty to make us feel better about our own privilege. We did not report this incident to the police.

From what I gathered from her numerous calls to whoever might listen, she lived in extreme fear. Her son lived in extreme fear too, all because the gangs in her community terrorised them with impunity, just like the gang that attacked me and my friend. We would have lost our livelihood had we called the police.

London has become a place of two halves, the Haves and Have nots and the communities springing up from a culture of victimhood have no consideration for anyone and their violent control of the estates has become crippling for the youth of today. I don’t say this out of an impulsive reaction to an emotion overload. I have been observing for years and know that things are becoming untenable for those exposed to this culture and have no way out.

Mothers are simply terrified and we’ve allowed that.

We simply think by doing nothing that things will get better. That these kids will grow out of it, just like I did. I can assure you that I am 1 in 1000, 1 in perhaps 10’000. The people who attacked me were in there mid-twenties and the men who attacked this individual were in their early twenties. I had escaped the gangs by the time I was 18 years old. It took me years before I had shook off the mentality and ideology that had been ingrained in me.

Whatever we are doing to change things isn’t working.

I sat on that train and said to myself, if she gets off that train then I have every right to chalk this up as one of those unfortunate days. If she stays on, I have to speak to her. We soon reached a popular station and she stepped off the train. A sense of relief came over me, then to my surprise, she got back on.

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