Only animals hunt!

The brutal killing of 15 year old Keon Lincoln should make us all feel ashamed. This teenager was set upon near his home in the Handsworth area of Birmingham by other teenagers – in broad daylight – the middle of the afternoon. Why?

Is this yet another example of black versus white? Or was the reason for this killing much deeper? Most of us struggle to understand such behaviour. I also struggle to understand the mentality of how children can kill other children. Yes – children! It is hard to get our heads around such an act. Even harder, when it has happened only days after the killing of Olly Stephens (13) – again by children around his own age. Olly was diagnosed as autistic.

On the 10th and 17th January I posted blogs, suggesting that parenting, as THE most important job ever, needed to be upgraded to a top level, managerial post. From the perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, I also outlined how the absence of these needs significantly affects the outcomes – as children become adults. Let’s consider them – physiological (food, warmth, shelter), love and belonging, safety and security – leading to self-actualisation. What happens when these needs are not present? Do humans take on the behaviour of animals? It would seem so. Yet, only animals hunt in packs – normally for food or survival. Not for hatred! So have these child killers turned (or somehow been turned by circumstance) into a species worse than animals? Is there such a species of life? No. There is surely no category of living things to describe ‘child-killers’.

But I am white, middle-class and living in a relatively safe area where I am not afraid to roam the streets, even at night. So it is hard to imagine that there are areas where wild and dangerous animals roam the streets of Britain.

Keon died from gunshot wounds and stabbing. Olly died from stabbing. What is happening in our cities and how are children getting hold of these types of weapons? If this latest murder stems from ‘black versus white’ – then we should all admit that Black Lives Matter is alive and kicking in OUR society! We need to root it out. Olly was autistic. Did his particular learning difficulty have anything to do with his murder – or not? How far was mere difference a factor? Does difference create fear for no reason?

Back to these killers. What has exacerbated their lust for violence? Is it poor parenting? Or has this pandemic, and lockdowns, turned these children into something they were previously not? What part do communities play? Where are the community leaders? Each time one of these tragedies happens – do any even consider getting together – forgetting their differences, religious or otherwise – in order to focus on sorting out the problems within their community?

But now is the time to act! Britain should be proud of its community support services: Psychologists! Social Workers! Teachers! Charity support workers! Police! So what has gone wrong? How have these child killers bucked the system? Where are the sources of help that can prevent tragedies such as these from ever happening again? It’s not always about money. It’s about people. About values! About empathy, caring, kindness – and the determination to stamp out hatred. It’s not just about government either. It’s about communities. Once upon a time – British society had these – where have they gone?

Sylvia Edwards

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