a death in the community

by Joe Thorne

On Friday night, at around 1am and at the bottom of my road in Hackney, Jahmal Mason-Blair was stabbed in the neck and dead within the hour.   He was 17, the ninth teenager murdered this year on the streets of London.  The boy who has been arrested for Jahmal’s killing is 13 years old.

At a nearby  cafe yesterday morning, Jahmal’s murder was still on the minds of locals.  Jahmal was what they call a ‘good kid’.  A talented, ambitious footballer, someone who knew where he was going.  People say he was trying to break up a fight.  But the talk in the cafe is all about punishment; capital punishment, preferably.  I point out that they have capital punishment in the US, and it’s worse there.  Nobody listens.  One guy tries to talk about prison; but others pipe up about not wanting their taxes to go to buy food for the prisoners, let alone Playstations.  “If I could, I’d get a machine gun…” are the last words I hear as I walk out the door.

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