Wow. Lot’s of feedback on the last post. Many thanks to everyone who contributed, even if there were one or two bigoted comments I’d rather not have heard.
Details are still sketchy; there are one or two stories, but none contain anything more than we already know. It’s still unclear whether the boy who died, Jamail Newton, 19 years old and known as ‘Big Show’, had any involvement in the fight or was just in the wrong place at the wrong time — mind you, judging by reputation, Aristocrats is pretty much always the wrong place.
If Jamail was involved with gangs using guns, it’s hard to sympathise with him; these people endanger lives. If he wasn’t, then it’s a tragic waste of life. My condolences to his family in either case.
One thing I can say with certainty is that I don’t know what it’s like to be a young black man. It’s easy for me to be judgemental when I have no idea of the circumstances of his life and death. I watch football in a pub with a varied clientele, and can easily discuss the match and the sport with people from different backgrounds; but outside of our shared interest, I have no idea what they think, where they go, or what they do. So thanks very much to the commenters — especially Realme — who’ve tried to explain a different life to us.
As I said in the comments below, I don’t think that closing Aristocrats is necessarily a good move; it’s putting a plaster on a cancer victim, addressing a symptom and not the disease. By all means force him to take more responsibility for the people he lets in, but if the problem is moved on from there it will surface somewhere else.
There is no quick fix to this problem; education, employment, less value given to a culture that urges “Get Rich or Die Trying”, more options at night than a club frequented by Yardies. Throwing your hands up in woe and moving to a different area is not an answer; sooner or later, the problem will land on your doorstep again. We need to create a community that involves everyone, that hears and responds to everyone’s concerns.
Get involved with SE5Forum; even if it turns out to not be right for you, at least you might meet other people who share your worries. If not the SE5Forum, think about another local group; there are countless in Camberwell, all working towards a better future. We need to let the council know that we’re not content to sit quietly while the area rots around us.