Thursday, 16 August 2007

Youth Violence: The Boys

Maybe just a quirk of scheduling, but "The Boys" (1962) was shown on BBC2 on Wednesday. It is a film about the trial of four lads accused of murdering an elderly night watchman. The film first shows the prosecution witnesses and all their disagreeable encounters with the Teds and then switches to the defence, where the other side of the story is shown.

What is interesting is that the loutish behaviour and random violence did exist and the general public did feel powerless even then - one incident had a woman bribing them just to 'go away'. The boys were routinely challenged but the challenges were confronted and faced down at each turn. These were the grandparents of today's problem youth.

It is a fantastic film as it captures the post 1950's world before the 1960's got going, much as "Victim" (1961) did a year earlier. Housing, work environments, entertainment, dating, human interactions in the home and between layers of society - all can be seen. 4,000 people on the Council housing list in Tottenham, it seems! "The Blue Lamp" is another very useful film, especially the beginning, where the scene is set and the problem of unconstrained youth violence in post-war Britain is outlined.

The fate of such boys could well be the death penalty in 1962. In the 2007 world of New Labour/NeueArbeit, they are likely to get between 19 and 62 months, with any people they encountered charged with assault "to keep the numbers up".

I am not in favour of the death penalty, which this film takes a tilt at, but bad housing, broken radios and a pair of winkle-pickers trodden on by yer mom is no exuse for crime. It was interesting that special treatment was given to the (closed shop) union member amongst them - his union card was a permission to work, the error of which probably never dawned on the films audience nor its creators.

We see another upstanding young man killed by mindless violence after they confronted feckless and anarchic youth. Each time someone dies, all decent people die a little, too. Each time someone is assaulted, all decent people are themselves assaulted. Maybe this is why our so-called 'leaders' and representatives have acted like they feel nothing for at least a decade. Remove the targets and paperwork. Let the Police do their job and let property owners and decent people be able to robustly defend themselves. Yes, yobs should know that if they start trouble it will only be they who get arrested and no mind to any blows they get in response to their crime, for they have only themselves to blame and have lost rights in the committing of their offences. Right now, however, the more wrong you do, the more "rights" you seem to get, while the more law abiding you are, the easier prey you appear to the bureaucratic target hunters.

2 comments:

Patrick said...

Well I am in favour of the limited use of the Death Penalty, as I am in favour of limited abortion, and limited war and violence to restore order.

You are right to point out there was no "youff" golden age, but there is something sinister that is different now.

I was no angel as a Kid, we had fights, drank a little cider and annoyed old ladies, but even then we knew were the limits where, be did not kick people in the head, we did not carry knives or guns and more or less what our parents wanted or demanded they got from us...and that applies in large part now, the majority off kids are just kids like we were, but the minority who are basically feral, are growing and the better kids and parents are coming into contact with this growing minority who have really gone outside the norms of normal existence. You could say that now middle class kids are being infected with the same attitudes as the feral kids.

As I pointed out last night the stat that really hits you is 38% of 16 year olds who are not living with a both birth parents.

Now take the governments proposals of marriage and co-habitation, for middle class people, the majority, these ideas are fine and dandy,nothing to get upset about BUT where they will have a big devastating impact is at the bottom ends where parenting is already hard as you don't have the recourses that middle class parents do.

So we will get a continued breakdown of the idea of marriage as a contract to bring kids in the world, more kids without both parents, especially boys who need fathers to knock them into place now and again (yep i needed it as well) more feral youth at the bottom end of society, infecting more kids from better backgrounds, and the problem will just get worse over the years, slowly but surly.

What is needed is a complete change in social policy in the UK, and i dont see it happening, the Middle classes have got cash in their pockets, they can use it to go to better areas, put in security devices, and keep their kids indoors until they are older.

The main question is will there be a tipping point where this situation really starts to affect them and they start voting accordingly.

Roger Thornhill said...

I think I tackled how the Courts should tackle knife and "kick in the head" crime earlier.

But no, they put up CCTV as if EVERYONE is guilty of wanting to attack somebody and carrying a knife seems to be treated more harshly than actually USING IT.