Mother who told her son: Don’t for­get your knife

The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Ben Ellery

AS A teenage boy leaves the house, his mother hands him a bag with a fe­ro­cious com­bat knife in­side and tells him: ‘Don’t for­get this.’

This chilling mo­ment wit­nessed by a so­cial worker re­veals the ap­palling law­less­ness into which much of Lon­don has de­scended.

The tear­ful mother passed on the weapon – a ‘Rambo knife’ – only as pro­tec­tion be­cause she be­lieves the po­lice can no longer as­sure her son’s safety in a city in which chil­dren as young as ten are rou­tinely walk­ing around with blades.

The youth worker – who has asked to re­main anony­mous – told The Mail on Sun­day: ‘I was go­ing to pick up one of the young kids I men­tor and as he walked out his door his mum said ‘Don’t for­get this’, and gave him a JD Sports bag with a Rambo in it.’

He said: ‘ I was gob­s­macked. I spoke to him about it and he said that it’s part of his re­al­ity be­cause the po­lice can­not guar­an­tee his safety. I spoke to the mum and she had tears i n her eyes. She is ter­ri­fied for her son’s safety but she sees the knife as mak­ing him safer. Young peo­ple see a knife as of­fer­ing pro­tec­tion – if some­one comes for them and they pull out a knife then it might make the other per­son run away.

‘ Many young peo­ple at the mo­ment are morally bank­rupt. They’ve be­come de­sen­si­tised to killing and be­lieve that if you’re not pre­pared to stab some­one then you are vul­ner­a­ble.

‘I know ten-year-olds now who are walk­ing around with ma­chetes. I’ve heard kids ac­cus­ing oth­ers of be­ing weak be­cause they only stabbed some­one once – they per­ceive them as soft be­cause they didn’t stab them sev­eral times and kill them.’

The worker, who runs a youth club, be­lieves part of the blame is drill mu­sic, a vi­o­lent form of hiphop. He said: ‘I see kids walk­ing around at 8am lis­ten­ing to head­phones and the mu­sic is all about stab­bing and killing peo­ple.

‘Mu­sic is a very pow­er­ful thing and th­ese kids are re-en­act­ing what they hear in the lyrics.’

For­mer gang mem­ber Shel­don Thomas, founder of Lon­don-based Gangsline, is not sur­prised that par­ents are telling the chil­dren to arm them­selves. He said: ‘We have a prob­lem in the black com­mu­nity with fa­ther­less chil­dren.

‘Th­ese young­sters have no pos­i­tive role mod­els and ev­ery­one needs to stop turn­ing a blind eye to the is­sue. It has been hap­pen­ing for

‘Ten-year-olds walk­ing around with ma­chetes’

years and it’s only when it’s too late that politi­cians want to do some­thing about it. I have warned about this for years.’

Pas­tor Dan Wat­son works for the Hill­song Church group in Lon­don and has around 800 peo­ple at­tend a weekly youth club.

He said: ‘What is so scary is that a lot of th­ese kids be­ing killed are com­pletely in­no­cent but were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

‘I would not feel safe if one of my kids wanted to travel around Lon­don on a bus.

‘I came from a back­ground with a vi­o­lent fa­ther, I was ar­rested and was able to turn my life around. I’m try­ing to pass on that mes­sage of hope. Our church is a lot dif­fer­ent to the old style church – it needs to en­gage the youth.

‘We have role mod­els come in to talk to the kids, there’s games, mu­sic – we are try­ing to get out a mes­sage of pos­i­tiv­ity.’

So far in the cap­i­tal alone this year there have been 119 killings, ap­proach­ing l ast year’s t ot al of 123.

A t hird of t his year’s cases in­volved vic­tims aged 16 to 24, and 22 were teenagers.

In the lat­est, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Tulse Hill, South Lon­don on Mon­day.

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