- Posts: 128
- Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 pm
Death of a Teenage Father Highlights the Plight of Britain's Gun
Terri Judd and Ian Herbert, Independent (London), 9/2005
Ramone Cumberbatch, a proud teenage father, had been seen regularly
pushing his new son's pram near his home.
But on Tuesday, the day before his 19th birthday, a gunman turned up at
his house in a leafy Manchester avenue and shot him dead.
Yesterday, police released a picture of the young man neighbours
described as "one of the nicest boys you could meet" cradling
three-month-old Amarno, as they appealed for help in tracing his
killers. Officers are investigating whether his death in Chorlton is
linked to a multiple shooting last week, after which a 16-year-old was
The murder of Mr Cumberbatch provides the latest tragic evidence that
young people are now at the heart of gun crime in Britain. Research and
interviews carried out by The Independent reveal that schoolchildren
are increasingly carrying weapons that give a lethal dimension to
fights that break out over items as trivial as PlayStations.
Youth workers estimate that as many as 80 per cent of youngsters from
tough inner-city areas are involved in gangs. Three fifths of those
"People get killed over stupid stuff. Because I scratch your car and I
don't want to pay for it. I know people of 14 who have their first gun.
It is a fashion accessory," said one south London teenager yesterday.
For those with the right contacts, firearms are readily available and
sub machine guns are the current preferred weapon. "They are easy to
get hold of. It is as simple as someone older asking you to hold on to
it," explained the teenager.
A third of those convicted of possessing guns are now under 18, with
campaigners revealing that children as young as 11 are wielding
firearms-whether imitation or real.
One of the country's foremost experts in the field, the head of
Scotland Yard's Operation Trident, a special unit to combat
black-on-black gun crime in London, has revealed that the most common
age of suspects and victims he now dealt with was just 19.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles explained that when the unit
was launched six years ago, most of the perpetrators were in their
twenties. Now the age range is 17 to 25.
Det Chief Supt Coles explained that the youngest offenders were just 14
and referred to a recent case when a gun fight broke out in south-east
London between teenagers over a game console. "That was one of the most
ridiculous things I had heard, a disrespect issue over a PlayStation,"
Just weeks ago, a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old were charged with
shooting Zainab Kalokoh, 33, dead in front of guests at a christening
party in Peckham, south London.
In the first eight months of this year, Trident charged nine young
people in connection with shooting incidents, whereas there was only
one such case in the same period last year.
Today, the Metropolitan Police and its partners in the community are
trying to educate children as young as seven as to the dangers of guns.
"The 19-year-olds of today are the group who were about 13 or 14 when
we started and didn't receive that kind of attention. They are now
emerging as the new generation committing these crimes because they
have not had that attention either operationally or in terms of
intervention," Det Chief Supt Coles said.
He blamed underlying social issues, such as lack of education and
dysfunctional families, as well as the availability of guns coming in
from former conflict zones. Whereas once, organised criminals used
firearms specifically and temporarily for a crime, now they are often
carried routinely and fights which might once have been settled with
fists are with handguns.
"Kids see it as normal life. They carry the guns mainly for machismo
and power. They fear if they have not got a gun they will get shot.
They get into disrespect issues and they fire the gun.
"They want everything fast, the cars, the ladies. They think 'I am only
going to live to 25 so I might as well have it now'. There are
thousands in circulation. In the past two weeks we have seized three or
four Mac-10s [machine pistols]."
Pastor Nims Obunge, of the Haringey Peace Alliance, agreed: "It seems
the ages are getting younger. I know of a girl of 11 who used an
imitation gun to rob somebody of Ã‚Â£5. I also heard of a youth worker who
confronted a young boy and got shot in the foot. That is not the norm,
but it shows that if a young person feels disrespect they will take it
out on you."
He agreed that many vulnerable teenagers he dealt with considered it
normal to carry a gun or a knife. They told him they felt "untouchable"
with a weapon, a sign of the underlying fear behind the practice.
"I was speaking to young people a few days ago. Whereas we think it is
sensational [for them to be carrying guns], they do not. It is their
reality," he said.
Ishmahil Blagrove, a documentary maker who has worked with gangs,
blamed a breakdown of family values and a culture of greed dating back
to the Thatcher era. The 35-year-old said: "When I was growing up, if
you were a teacher or worked in a bank you earned respect. No one wants
to grow up and work in a bank or be a teacher now."
In June, the Government announced that it would be clamping down on the
availability of imitation firearms under the Violent Crime Reduction
Det Chief Supt Coles is convinced of the need to continue fighting the
spread of all guns-imitation or real: "We have to keep going otherwise
there will be mayhem on the streets."
- Posts: 13566
- Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 9:44 am
Tony Blair has seen to it that only criminals have the guns
- Posts: 10163
- Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 1:00 pm
Since there's a gun ban, doesn't that mean there should be no guns? Well, no legal guns, anyway.... :yh_eyerol
Bullet's trial was a farce. Can I get an AMEN?????
We won't be punished for our sins, but BY them.
- Posts: 24818
- Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 8:33 am
Someone knowledgeable can argue about Thatcher. If the problem is family values, and I believe it very well may be, is there a way to reinstate such values? Would it not take at least a generation of concentrated effort?
- Posts: 1037
- Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:35 am
The big unsaid truth is that the highest number of killings is among black gang members, a large part of whose culture is copied straight from Compton and elsewhere. It's always said that we are 10 years behind the USA in these matters and sure enough crack is now becoming very widespread.
The one thing the gun ban did was reduce the number available to steal although if you know who to talk to they are not that difficult to buy.
It's the willingness to use them that is scary.
Abbey may have an input here as I know Manchester has had more than it's fair share of shootings for it's relative size.
As usual whilst it's quoted that a lot of the shootings are for minor "disrespect" I would put my mortgage on the basis being drugs. One day we may wake up to the fact that drugs are the blight of our age.
Blaming Margaret Thatcher is absolute bollocks, although the "I want" society part is true she did not create that. It works like this if you want a pair of Ã‚Â£100 nike trainers dont earn the money, go and steal it. That has nothing to do with MT. These "Vunerable" youths with no job no money etc live in acountry where unemplyment has never been lower, the job centre boards are full of jobs, a lot of these jobs are considered too menial for these little darlings, I mean what cred have got sweeping up at McDonalds when you can deal a few rocks and be a name.
- Posts: 24818
- Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 8:33 am
The prohibition of anything doesn't stop the thing, but simply relieves any obligation to common business courtesy and safety rules.
- Posts: 187
- Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:21 pm
Prohibition of fireams of the LAW ABIDING (that's the key here folks !) does nothing to stop crime of any kind, in any form, using ANY type of weapon.. all it does is create MORE food (law abidiing defenseless citizesn) for the criminal type predatory animal.
Research your history and you will see what happens when you disarm the total of the law abiding.. they not only fall prey to the crims, but an unchecked
government as well..... lambs to the slaughter !
I would like someone, anyone to cite me once instance, one city or country where the law abiding civilian population was disarmed where the criminal element DID NOT obtain firearms (illegally) for their own use ....
tick tock, tick tock... count down is on... answers "?
The difference between Congress as envisoned by the Founding Fathers and the Congress we have today is one of them inspires patriots to support it, and the other inspires patriots to buy extra ammo (Angel Shamaya)
- Posts: 5191
- Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:57 am
If someone breaks into a house in England and not only wants to steal but do harm to the people - and the owner of that house has a gun - and protects his/herself - they will be in more legal trouble than the person committing the crime????
- Posts: 1037
- Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 1:35 am
It has been said many times in discussions on FG but there is a huge difference between the UK and USA on this. The right to bear arms is a constitutional right in America, it is not here and never will be. From what I read the two opposing camps in the USA debate endlessly whether the need for a well armed militia ststed by the framers of the constitution still holds water today. We have never had that, we do not even have a written constitution.
I will try and ask one question that I would like my American friends to have a stab at.
I got these figure from a study at Wharton School in the USA
USA population = 275 Million
Gun Homicides = 10,801
EU population = 376 Million
Gun Homicides = 1,260
The major difference being the availability of firearms, how can this be explained?
I feel I should state my personal position, I was the legal holder of a firearms certificate and shot a few rounds here and ther when I was in the army so I have no particular beef against anyone owning guns as long as they are considerably harder to obtain legally than they were.