Four stabbings in four East London locations within ninety minutes and it doesn’t even make the news. That tells you a lot about the state of London (or Stab City, as it is increasingly known).
The British Capital is witness to daily violence that is as unrelenting as it is overwhelming. Under the Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan, homicides are the highest in a decade and knife crime offenses are at record highs.
It is against this backdrop that these horrific stabbings have become something of everyday life for Londoners, too mundane to trouble a newsdesk and too routine for a reader to care.
Sunday’s victims were all found in East London: Barking, Dagenham, Hackney and Ilford (shown on the map below). Not the sorts of places you’ll find tourists taking selfies, but all in the vice-like grip of powerful gangs, organized by postcode (zip code) controlling the supply and distribution of drugs on their patch.
Being part of a gang is a way of belonging for young lads brought up on inner-city estates, often without a father figure, desperate to find a way to belong. For many, being part of a gang is a tenuous means of survival.
Stabbings are meted out as a mechanism of initiation, retribution or control, as ubiquitous as the mopeds used to courier their drugs, or the drill music that forms a soundtrack to their lives.
One gang member said: “I don’t even know what this war is about anymore. All I know is if I step out of my territory people want to kill me, and if people come into mine, I want to kill them. It’s as simple as that.”
And it is not just gang members or their rivals being killed. In November 2019, Jodie Chesney, a 17-year-old Girl Scout, was sitting in the park near her home with a group of friends. Two teenage boys unknown to the group, walked up and stabbed Jodie in the back in an unprovoked attack.The seven-inch wound passed straight through her body and she died screaming where she sat.
At the sentencing of her murderers, Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC told jurors these young gang members took a “casual approach to violence” in a world where knife crime was “routine.”
“The drug dealing world is one of turf wars, rivalries and pathetic claims for ‘respect’. When drug dealers fall out, they do not take their problems to the police. Instead, they take matters into their own hands.”
And so the violence continues, one death necessitating the next, like some ghoulish relay race in which the baton is replaced with a knife.
If we overlay the area of London where four stabbings happened (on Sunday 16 February) with the gangs alleged to operate there, the scale of the problem becomes clear. Each colored block represents a gang and its territory. These demarcations are invisible to a stranger in the street, but a kind of no man’s land for rival gangs just the same.
Map: Known Gangs and Locations in East London where stabbings occurred
Which begs the obvious question; if kids are being stabbed in the street because of the gangs and we know where the gangs are located, why isn’t something being done?
There is a simple answer, but no one dares say it.
These gangs are mostly young black men; some of their foot-soldiers are as young as ten. But because they are mainly killing each other, isolating the problem to their own kind, no one in power needs to care.
Politicians know these black lads are not voters. They have no voice in the media. No one is howling with indignant rage. Even the mothers of the slain are silenced by the gangs they fear. Those who should be held to account can look the other way.
And they do. Sadiq Khan (who is about as effective as Mayor Bernard Young of Baltimore) is desperate to talk about anything other than the young black lads being knifed on his streets.
Khan has obstructed the Metropolitan Police in their efforts to grip the gang problem in London.
Elected into office on the promise of reducing stop-and-search in London playing on his BAME (black African minority ethnic) credentials, he reduced the abilities of officers on the street to check suspects for weapons. The sharp fall in stop-and-search corresponds with an equally steep rise in knife crime.
When the Metropolitan Police created a Gang Matrix as part of its War on Gangs, Sadiq Khan set up a task force to review whether this matrix was racist in its intent.
The Met claims the matrix, informed by intelligence, helps identify and assess the most harmful gang members in each of London’s boroughs, based on violence and weapon offenses.
Individuals are classified – given a computer-generated harm rating of red, amber or green, meant to reflect the risk an individual poses to others.
So far, so sensible. But of course, the left, Amnesty International, and other bleeding-heart liberals were outraged by this sensible approach, calling it: “Racist policing in its purest form. Of the almost 4,000 names on the matrix at any given time, 78% are black and 9% are other ethnic minorities.”
They demand to know why this shocking disproportion exists.
And there is no answer to give, because the numbers are not disproportionate. They are representative. They are an accurate picture of the demographic makeup of gangs.
In London, two-thirds of knife offenders under 25 were black or minority ethnics. Almost half of murder victims and murder suspects in the capital are young black men — way out of proportion to London’s population, in which 13% are black.
Fearful of this truth, Sadiq Khan demanded gang names be removed from the matrix, obstructing the work of the Met Police, enabling the gang leaders. The Metropolitan Police have been forced to remove 374 names after the UK’s data watchdog found they breached data protection laws.
It is a measure of the madness in which we live. While black lads as young as twelve are being stabbed to death in London, the Muslim mayor is more concerned with the privacy rights of members of the gang.
No one dares speak the truth of this slaughter for fear of being called a racist. It’s racist to say these London gangs are mostly young black men. It is racist to say most don’t have a father figure. And it is racist to point out most have no education or qualifications. It is racist to say it is young black men killing each other. Even when the statistics prove this to be true.
Until you can be honest about a problem you cannot begin to solve it. And until a leader is willing to defy the racist label and speak the truth, the stabbing will continue.
In the words of one young gang member from South East London: “This is the only life we know, we just have to keep doing it — there’s nothing else for us to do.”
And while Sadiq Khan knows he can rely on the votes of others voting by religion, the death of children, young black children, is no cause for alarm. It looks like Stab City is here to stay.