Killing for Trainers – What’s gone so wrong?

Last night on BBC 3 there was a docu-drama called ‘My Murder’ based on the 2008 murder of 16 year old Shakilus Townsend. It was about how the young lad was set up by his (potential) girlfriend and led into a mob of men who stabbed him. Three things struck me about the murder.
Firstly, the fact that there didn’t seem to be any real motive for the murder. Secondly, that someone would actually be willing to lead someone to their death. Thirdly, that as Shakilus lay dying in the middle of a housing estate, no one went out to sit with him. Okay so they phoned the police, but they left him to die alone. Perhaps I’m naïve about this third point. People are terrified of reprisals, of being hurt themselves, but it is a poor reflection of what our society has become.
We ended up discussing it in Sociology GCSE today. One of the lads in the class had been to a school abroad and did not find the murder shocking at all. He claimed to have witnessed a couple of stabbings at school over things as trivial as someone successfully tackling the ball off someone at football and someone chatting to someone else’s girlfriend.
At first I was sceptical as he told me his experiences, but then I remembered the incident on Oxford Road, London during the January sales where someone was stabbed to death over a pair of trainers. I asked them if they knew why people would be willing to go to such extremes over what seems such trivial incidents. They didn’t know and a debate about nature and nurture ensued. However, since then I’ve been thinking about it. The only thing I can come up with is that it is down to a need for control/power. In ‘My Murder’ the leader of the gang who killed Shakilus was in danger of losing his girlfriend. He seemed to control her through fear. He could control any danger of losing her, by eliminating the danger. He did not have the social skills to deal with the situation, so he used brute force. Maybe they resign themselves to not having control over the big elements in their lives and so over compensate when they attempt to control the smaller things. I don’t know, it is certainly something I tend to do more research into.

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~ by envisioningutopia on March 27, 2012.

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