Guns don’t kill people, idiots do

There was a shooting outside the (ironically-named) Aristocrats nightclub last night. According to the BBC, three men are being treated. The radio news this morning said that one man is critically ill, and the shooting was provoked by someone letting off fireworks inside the club.

I was going to ask what kind of idiot lets off fireworks inside a club, but I guess that it’s the same kind of idiot who carries a gun.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

144 thoughts on “Guns don’t kill people, idiots do”

  1. If it was in Aristocrats, maybe it was Lord Henry.

    Was that the reason for the traffic mayhem this morning?

  2. Hmm shootings at this aristocratic venue seem to be all too frequent, is there cause to raise concerns as local residents with the council to have their licence restricted? I’m sure the Police will be doing so. As I understand it they are currently open to 1am Mon-Thu but if they are attracting shooting maybe they should be shutting earlier.

    Tricky one though
    ‑was the shooting related to the club or did it just provide the backdrop — was it a did you spill my pint/ are you looking at my bird kind of nightclub situation that got out of hand or is it a deeper problem (I assume as they had guns that it is deeper)
    ‑is it the club’s fault that it attracts people who want to shoot each other
    ‑will these people not just shoot each other elsewhere in Camberwell if Aristocrats is not open
    ‑who goes out clubbing on a Tuesday night

    All these questions
    Oh dear no easy solutions. Its sad though that our area is reported in the news merely as the scene of shootings/ mentally ill people/ other bad things

  3. Hi
    They are covering the story on

    Does anyone know what’s happening the licensing of Cube — the nightclub on camberwell grove?

    The council were due to decide on the licensing of it today..and there were protests that peckham gangs had moved up to camberwell and using this as their den.

    Baby carrot

  4. The shooting (or at least one of them) took place on my doorstep. I had to be escorted out of the cordon by officers this morning, jumping over the blood and bullets being examined by forensics on my doorstep, and trying not to look at the three deep bullet holes at headheight on the wall next to my door.

    aristocrats is a sink for the very worst camberwell and surroundings has to offer — crowds of pumped up, fronting, aggressive (and tooled up) people most nights at 3am. Not surprising someone got shot if they threw fireworks in, and hardly surprising given the venue’s history.

    I for one am now questioning my continued residence in camberwell (which i do l have a lot of affection for). this was a wee bit toooo close to home. quite literally.

    I had heard the fireworks last night, and got up to close the window to my front room. 10 minutes later three distinct bursts of automatic fire. and then a pool of blood outside my flat. nice start to the day.

  5. ewookie — if these people were customers at Aristcrat this is solid grounds for requesting a review of this places license.

    You will probably find that the police will be sympathetic to this. No one should have to put up with people being shot on their doorstep.

  6. And lo, as I predicted, Aristocrats’ Bi-Annual Shooting Event has come to pass! And with eight weeks of the year to spare!

    You could track the development of the club if you lived nearby. First the optimistic glass windows. Then the half-glass, half-wood combo. Then all-wood. And finally, full-strength metal. Maybe they’ll have a tank outside there someday.

    Aristrocrats will eventually close, then look for the increased gunplay/stabbings taking place at Miuro.

    But then again, to paraphrase Bugsy Siegel, They only kill each other.

  7. hannah — i’m taking steps — and i think teh police would welcome official complaints. the police said as much when i gave my statement this morning. perhaps this is something for discussion at se5forum?

    proper scarey when it’s outside your door. bloody machine guns!

    lord H — the front aspect has indeed been telling. along with the no search/no entry signs, anti drugs messages, and strong smell of skunk that seems omniprescent.

  8. Well yes i think that the apparent increase in gun related incidents in bars and clubs in and around Camberwell does need to be addressed urgently and raised with the council.

  9. Ewookie — you could probably hit them with breaking at least one of the four licensing objectives “prevention of crime and disorder” if not all four really.

    Remember if you feel at all intimidated you are entitled to ask the council not to reveal your details to the licensee.

  10. I think we definitely need to talk to the council about this as the Red Cube at the bottom of Camberwell Grove has also had shootings. However more need to be done to address the issue of gun crime in the borough. It’s crazy!

  11. I used to live in the building that ‘Aristocrats’ occupies the bottom floor of. This was in the late 80s and the ground floor was a shipping abroad service, the owner of which was also our landlord. I lived on the 1st floor. and, yes ben patio, the shooting was the reason for the traffic chaos this morning. I ended up walking to Oval tube cos on BBC TV they said it was Camberwell New Rd that was closed. pah!

  12. Lord Henry, whenever I go past Miuro it looks tranquil and civilized. Am I there at the wrong time of day?

    I quite fancy their leather settees.

  13. Carole — Yeah Miuro is quiet, if you disregard the double stabbing in the first week of its opening. It also has a curious “membership” policy. The Venue in New Cross used to have a similar “membership” policy, which involved black people being turned away. Miuro is the Yin to that Yang.

    Amanda Fuller — Eyo Henshaw is not long for Camberwell, methinks!

    Or should that be Eeyore Henshaw? Eeyore, you ignorant donkey, wherever you are, you faciliitate acts of violence on your premises, violence that spills out into the community. You are scum. Bugger off now and leave us all in peace.

  14. There was a recent double shooting in McDonalds in Brixton last month. I will be asking the council/police to review their licence forthwith. McDonalds has a reputation of attracting the worst sort of low life carnivores and this is borne out by the excessive violence taking place in their eateries. SHUT DOWN McDONALDS!

  15. Further to my above post, I am quite certain that the moment the offending ‘restaurants’ are closed down we will see a year on year decrease in the scourge of gun violence.

  16. Interesting point, Rob. I can think of at least two murders that have occurred outside the McDonalds in Camberwell in the last 10 years, murders that have spilled out from the restaurant onto the street.

    Surely if Aristocrats can be closed down as a result of this latest incident, then the same law can apply to the McDonalds?

  17. Has anyone noticed that, according to the reports, the police were on the scene at 2.06.

    The shooting happened at 2.26.

    Wherefore art thou, P C Plod?

  18. It was no surprise to me that there was a shooting outside this venue yet again, we can expect the annual slaying outside McDonalds/Butterfly Walk any day now too, no doubt…Plankton with guns, that’s all they are…

  19. Let us spare a thought for Jamail the young man who lost his life yesterday. He used to live in the same road as me, yes, he had some troubles which I believe related to his school not getting the best out of him, and then him not being given appropriate direction and support by the Job Centres in the area, he was therefore not given appropriate direction and never had a chance to shine.

    Jamil lived with his grandmother, an upright churchgoing lady, who certainly tried her best with him, he was also always nice and polite to me and other locals — we will miss him and I offer my sincere condolences to his family, as I believe should others.

    May God bless his soul!

  20. My condolences to his family on their loss. If, however, he was carrying a gun and put other peoples lives at risk, I’m afraid I can’t mourn for what he was, only for what he could have been.

  21. There seem to be so many shootings in the area at the moment, all over Myatts field at the moment. Truly living the dream in the hood me thinks

  22. There are hilarious “Nothing to do with me, mate” notices pasted up on the exterior of Aristocrats by the management. Check them out. Absolutely sidesplitting in their wilful ignorance. There’s even a statement along the lines of “closing down black nightclubs is not the answer”.

    Let’s look at the facts concerning local bars with late licenses –

    The Castle — no gun crime.
    The Funky Munky — no gun crime.
    The Dispensary — no gun crime.
    The Black Sheep — no gun crime.

    Cube — a shootout on the street outside.
    Miuro — a double stabbing in its first week of opening.
    Aristocrats — at least three shootings within the two years of its opening. One dead.

    Work out the common denominator for yourselves.

  23. I am really saddened by some of these posts. A young man has died. He is only 19. He has a loving grandmother, people who care aboout him. I too have a 19 year old son. He has no criminal record, got good GCSE resuults and is in further education. Yet in his teenage years he has been stopped and searched by poolice 30 times or more, only once with any paperwork, put in handcuffs on three occasions, for asking what he was being stopped for, stabbed in the chest and nearly killed for chatting up someone else’s girlfriend.The police’s immediate response to this crime was to search our house for drugs! Old ladies shy away from my son and shopkeepers all think he’s a thief. Imagine how that feels. Can’t we stop and think? My neighbour has a 19 year old son and he has very little hassle. The difference? The only one I can see (and they grew up as friends and went to the same schools is that my son is black and he is white. I think that it’s time we all stopped and looked hard at what is happening under our noses and the causes behind what is going on. It is already too late. Too many young men are dead. Instead of worrying about moving away and the prices of your proerty, perhaps you could do something to help. Try and understand what life is like from a young black person’s perspective. Smile at the group of youths on your street corner instead of being afraid. Believe that the majority of black youngsters are not criminals, but feel criminalised. Ask why the police are troubling little boys on bicycles instead of finding where the guns and drugs are coming from. Sort out your own backyard. Don’t run away-do something, no matter how small.

    I chose to bring my children up here in Camberwell, where their father grew up. But my 19 year old son is more frightened than any of you. Ans so are most young black men. Your fear only makes it worse.

  24. Hi Realme,

    Thanks for the comment, and believe me, I do understand. I agree with your point, but I think that in the case of the boy who died, if it turns out that was the way of life he chose, then that was the way of death he chose. Imagine how many innocent people could have been killed when a sub-machine gun was fired indiscriminately into a crowd. Ewookie (who commented above) lives right by where it happened; a stray bullet could easily have gone in his direction.

    I completely agree that the answer is not to give in to fear and move somewhere else; neither is it to start victimising entire groups for the actions of a few. But there’s an undeniable fact: some young, predominantly black, men are involved with a gun (and knife) culture which is taking lives. But it’s not just a problem for the black community, it’s a problem for the whole community. Closing down clubs is not an answer; it moves the problem elsewhere. But forcing those clubs to take more responsibility could be a step in the right direction.

  25. I take what you are saying-especially about it being an issue for the whole communtiy, but my point is that much is stacked against youngsters in a society where everyone expects them to be criminals just based on their clothes, music choice etc.

    My son has had to make choices, but it is very tough for him and at time touch and go. I have to trust that he will pull through adolescence without being arrested or killed. Half the time he walks the street in fear of his life just because he lives in Peckham, is 19 and black. He can’t go near Lewisham or Brixton. I have to beg him not to carry a knife himself-even though he is in very real danger and was nearly killed on a Sunday afternoon at 2pm in Bellenden rd picking up a pizza.(No-one helped him by phoning an ambulance by the way despite his pleas) He is not a gangster, but an ordinary younster with teachers for parents.He has the benefit of a loving mother and father still together after 25 years-many do not. Fear of violence on a daily basis is not a good way for youngsters to live. So what are we going to do about the situation ultimately? Camberwell always prides itself on being a happy mixed comminity‑a place where we can all get on. Why are youngsters shooting each other in our midst? That’s not very nice is it? Why can’t a whole section of the community feel safe to walk the streets. (The section I am talking about is black youths)

    What is the answer then folks? Suggestions would be good.….we’re a happy mixed local community-we should be able to think of some positive strategies.…

  26. Realme; all of you.

    What is truly great and totally unusual about Camberwell as a community is just how many wonderful people, from more kinds of backgrounds than we collectively can imagine, are here and able, given the chance, to get on very well with each other.

    The vast majority who live in Camberwell are well balanced, caring and decent people whether black, brown, coloured, whatever that means, white, pink yellow, blue or white collar, rich or poor, well educated or ignorant. Most are well socialised, generally well rounded people with views on life that easily accommodate other people’s differences – We, as a community, just don’t have the possibility of meeting in contexts where we can get on with each other. And we don’t get what we, collectively, deserve when it comes to ‘quality of life’ in our area in spite the collective richness of our roots and backgrounds.

    We lead parallel lives, all directly affected one way or another profoundly by the reality of the Streets around us, without the chance to come together properly to enjoy have a healthy, vibrant, integrated well functioning community.

    We can change this.

    Our legacy for our children should be that we don’t leave them to pick up the pieces of the way it is now.

  27. There’s something wrong with computer clocks here my post and realme’s got totally mixed up there…


    a part answer would be that your son and friends get involved with SE5 Forum (it’s not just necessarily SE5, it’s about Camberwell / whatever is local to us) and put their voice and views forward and help form what we want to achive — making the are better for everyone.

  28. I just posted again and ended up before you realme, makes for an odd thread. Peter will probably sort this out when he sees it.

    1) SE5 Forum — — join.

    2) Get in touch with me via a personal message on the Forum website.

    3) Encourage your son to do the same.

    4) Let’s meet up and try to get something properly positive going.

  29. There is no indication in the reports that I have read that the boy who died was one of the gun men. People who new of him have commented that he was a decent young man. Maybe people have other information, but it is a tragedy that a young man is dead and I’m not sure it is a good time to be make assumptions about his involvement in crime.

  30. I live in camberwell since 3 months now and I’m from holland, things like this do happen over there, but not this close to your home and that many times, it does scare me a bit.. But on the other hand.. I’ve never felt threatend or scared in my neighbourhood.. maybe it is because i’m quite open-minded and I don’t really care what people look like.. if they’re black or white, skater or gangster. I don’t feel comfortable in Brixton though. Maybe that’s because it’s more like a black-people-only neighbourhood, of course it isn’t, but that’s the feeling I get when I walk on the street in Brixton. Plus there are a lot of homeless people and junky’s on the street there.. Please, I don’t mean any offence but you all probably have the same.. when a black man who came from a poor family and lived all his live in a very tiny house, with 10 little brothers and sister.. and then all of a sudden he leaves his places, goes to a white neighbourhood with nice big and proper houses where he doesnt know anybody and is the only blackman around, he wouln’d feel comfortable too, would he?

    To give a quick reaction on Realme; In Holland we have a really mixed culture with al sorts of nationality’s.. and as you may know we are very open-mined and liberated people.. The majority of the Dutch people think that you can wear whatever you like to wear.. It doenst matter if you are gay, black, asian, ugly or pretty.. most of the time you won’t be judged by your looks, unless you are going for a job interview or something like that of course.

    You said that your son has been searched by the police even more than 30 times. I don’t want to mean any disrespect, but I can’t believe that they did that just because he was walking on the street. It was either his looks, his friends with whom he was hanging out, his attitude or whatever what got him into trouble. I understand that the police search people with cartain looks.. I mean.. if you choose to look like a “gangster” that’s fine with me, but you can expect to be searched every once in a while.. You can think about the consequences (don’t know if I spelled that right) before you do something, and that’s the same with your looks.. If you want to look like a gangster, that’s fine, but please do know that gangsters (most of the time) are not very kind people and other people (the society) will be scared of you. In my opinion it makes sence..

    Please note that I don’t mean any disrespect or something, my english isnt that good yet, so sometimes I can’t find the right words to tell exactly what I mean 😉

  31. “Instead of worrying about moving away and the prices of your proerty, perhaps you could do something to help”
    I’m not sure that this is very fair. Ewookie did have people firing machine guns outside his front door. Also, I think it’s only you has mentioned property prices (not sure this is really the issue)?!

  32. Realme — I have sympathy with your son’s situation. It is a fact that young black men are often hassled by the police unfairly. It is sad that so many young people have to grow up in such a stressful environment.

  33. Thanks for all your posts. I will join the SE5 forum Mark. I also wanted to say that I don’t have any sympathy for gun toting criminals.…but what I think is important is that sometimes we examine our assumptions. As a white person living within a black family for many years I know how damaging those assumptions can be. The instant assumption that the boy who was shot was a criminal.….just as the police assumed my son was a criminal when he got stabbed, instead of looking for the perpetrator. Our assumption are what damagages our community and we need to keep our eye on them always. Love to you all.

  34. Realme :

    Your posts have humbled me. I will admit that I initially thought about the recent shootings only in terms of how they could affect me. I even went around reassuring people who were concerned that I live in the area that ‘I’m safe because these armed gangs only shoot each other’. Your postings have brought home to me what an ignorant viewpoint this is.

    I am ashamed that I was more bothered about how the event would affect Camberwell’s reputation than the death of a young boy.

    You are right — this is a problem and a tragedy for all of us, not an inconvenience to some and a tragedy to others. We all need to directly involve ourselves in discussion and try to come together as a community to solve these issues. I realise this is no easy task.

    I am sorry your son is scared. I think we are all scared — scared of each other and scared to do the right thing. It’s easier to batten down the hatches, freeze people out and live in our own secure, gated little worlds. What a very sad situation.

  35. I agree Amanda. Many of us act as individuals, when what makes a society is its people. Camberwell has such a wonderful mix of people, great pubs and lovely parks. But all too often there are people among us who ruin it and create an atmosphere of animosity – whether it be through gun crime, littering, leaving their loosely tied Somerfield bags next to a huge wheelie bin so the foxes can spill open the contents all over the street (major bugbear!). I feel if people just took the time not to push past each other, have respect for their environment and speak to each other with benevolence, we’d have less of these type of tragic events taking place on our doorstep.

  36. A strange footnote: a friend of mine tells me of a Ugandan minicab driver who picked up a customer, on the night of the Aristocrats killing, who held a knife to him and told him to drive round the backstreets of Camberwell. The fare was a black and paranoid man. The cabbie eventually saw the police cordon and drove through it. The police immediately saw the situation and hauled the bloke out. There is much to be said for having police on the streets.

    No wonder we are scared or prejudiced when we don’t know the truth and are just given euphemisms. The magpies in Lucas Gardens probably know more then we do — sometimes you can see seven of them, seven for a secret never to be told. The gun culture men are hardly going to tell us on Camberwell Online the secrets of their pecking order, or why they wear guns like aftershave, or why it’s cool to kill, or whatever it is. It’s probably all boringly obvious, like Northern Ireland, just nasty, and not all dark voodoo like we fear it is. Still, we are lucky to have Realme explain a few simple things to us so carefully, we can be a bit less scared. We really do live in a daft, scarifying Daily Mail culture. We should think in different ways.

  37. Welcome, Realme. Your comments have really made me think about these situations.

    I think a lot of these horrible, tragic scenarios come about from two simple human faults: 1)The misconception that revenge actually solves a problem, and 2)The fear of losing face in front of our peers.

    I really try not to prejudge people that i see, even when they appear intimidating; hanging out in moody hooded clusters in bus shelters etc, but the media propagates fear and, over time, gradually wears even the most optimistic people down into a state of terror at the sight of certain groups. (Currently it’s young black males, before that it was Indians, a hundred years ago it was the Chinese community in Limehouse). Ultimately, this makes people from these ethnic / cultural groups feel alienated, defensive and downright persecuted, and quite justifiably, resentful and angry. It seems that currently that resentment and anger is taken out on easier targets (ie each other), rather than being focused toward the root of the problem.

    I saw a young black kid get onto the bus the other morning, there were plenty of other school kids on there and as soon as he saw them the lad’s expression changed into the most aggressive “don’t mess with me i’m psycho” screw face i think i’ve ever seen. It’s horrible to see that young people have to be like this as a means of a kind of preemptive self defense. really makes me sad actually.

  38. A black on black gun murder has happened, and it keeps happening around here. And to some extent these crimes do cast a shadow across your percption of black people you don’t know. So you are always having to override that initial negativity in your mind, especially if you are walking around Camberwell at night — if you go past two black guys with their hoods up, the worst does cross your mind. And I think, if you don’t want me to be fearful, let me see your face. But they are probably thinking ‘fuck you, you already think I am going to mug you, well I’ll play along with that and shit you up some, as you already think the worst of me anyway’. I am not sure how all this links together: gun crime, fear of crime, teenagers hurting one another, parental responsibility, schools, personal responsibility. It does seem very intractable to me. What can we do, someone help.

    I am not sure teenagers feeling threatened by other teenagers is peculiar to the Black community. Young men are mostly likely to be attacked by other young men whatever there colour and to some extent whatever their class too. The difference with this neck of the woods, although it is not unique, is the gun and knife culture, which makes it more lethal.

  39. hi Rocky, Yeah I fully agree with your points here. People bully and hurt each other whatever colour or culture their from. Kids at my (reasonably good) school used to force other kids to eat dogshit if they didn’t ‘fit in’. But the knife and gun culture makes stuff much, much more frightening even than that. I do reckon there is a fair bit of tough guy street cred bullshit to be had from moodily swaggering around with your hood up, but i also think its used as a self defense tactic because of this. And there’s a lot of scared kids out there who think that the only way to protect themselves is through acting like the big man. It must be really easy to get sucked into some dark and dangerous life choices if you’re already in that kind of mindset.

  40. Lulu (and everyone else) — I seem to remember a mad old bint called Margaret Thatcher (or something like that) once stating that “There is no such thing as society, only individual men,individual women and families” …I happen to think that maybe that’s why we have young kids who should be concentrating on more positive ways to pass their time maiming and shooting each other dead in 2006…Never mind the carrot,what a golden legacy she left behind

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