by Adrian Rigelsford

Let’s take a moment to consider how people react to watching the news on television, specifically when they highlight the tragedy of teenagers, or even younger children being killed.  We’re not talking about accidents or warfare, where casualties are  inevitable.  No, this is more urban, when children kill each other, be it in schools, be it in the streets, or even in playgrounds.

You tell me.  You don’t smile, do you?  Anything but.  In fact, I bet there’s a sickening sense of horror, and behind that a growing sense of unease.  Why? Because you know that it could happen anywhere, maybe somewhere near you… To be honest, can you deny that it doesn’t make you think that it could even happen right on your street or outside you own home?

Anything is possible…Children are no longer allowing themselves to be children.

No matter how old you are, culturally things have changed.  Yes, that’s inevitability, its part of progress, kind of a consumerist evolution, but do you stop and think that it was never like that when you were young?

The intimidation of fashion, of music and of the opinionated world of trends casts a heavy and influential shadow, and again the consumer trends are guilty of dictating populist images, stressing that you’ll only look cool if you wear this, this, or that, no matter how much the mark-up, it’s still a must.

But, that’s an easy way out.  It’s easy to say that rap music is behind this atrocity, or that the lyrics insinuate that women should be treated badly and cops even killed, but what about opinion?

Is it really that difficult to say no?  Are people weak enough to not stand firm against what trends dictate our lives should be like? Perhaps not.  Let’s say you have a family.  Children, young ones, say 10 to 15 years old.  How often are you asked to butythings for them because ‘he’ has them, ‘they’ have them on Television or the magazines say it’s just ‘cool’ to wear them, play them or listen to the beat?

What we’re talking about, well, this is more insidious. Is there a malaise in society?  An undercurrent of resentment and anger amongst the adult population, resentful of the global economic crisis, or even just something as simple as not being able to get a job?

A rot sets in, a despair.  How can you escape from the rat trap of being told you’re not good enough for this, not eligible for that or simple not qualified to sit behind that particular desk?

We’re intelligent in so many ways.  We walk upright, we forage, we drink, we mate, we sleep.  That’s evolution.  That’s nature.  But, what about nuture?  The instincts and attitudes we pass on to the young from the surroundings where we care for them.

They’re not blind.  They absorb the anger, the attitudes, the fears, and they adapt.  They project what they understand their reactions should be, judging from the cultural environment that surrounds them.

So, if anger surrounds them, is it not just possible that it infects them as well?  And that’s where society feeds their susceptibility… view this, listen to that, try this drug… The adults survive, and so will you.

You’re forced to grow up now before your time, and the expectations weigh heavily saying prove yourself, prove you can and prove that you’re worth accepting.

Is it any wonder that some minds take things too far?

Adrian Rigelsford is a London based writer