It is exactly a month since London riots kicked off in Tottenham. I am sitting in my lounge listening to sirens going off and wondering what on earth could be going on in my corner of London today? I'm sure there were lots of sirens to be heard before the riots but I didn't really notice them then. Now things have changed. I have changed. I hear the sirens and always wonder what has happened and where. I didn't realise it at the time but the riots have had an effect on me. They have made me more aware of my surroundings and what is going on in my community. The knock on effect is my shiny sparkly view of London living has been tarnished. It is making me question whether this is where I want my son to grow up?
Over the last few weeks there has also been stabbings and shootings in Ealing where we live and while I know these things happen everywhere and often go unreported it just feels a bit too much of it is happening right here, on my doorstep at the moment. I don't want my son growing up in a community where there are people walking the streets brandishing knives and even worse guns. Perhaps I am being paranoid or a little extreme in my views but I really don't think so. I just read some tweets from a person in another part of London whose fourteen year old son got mugged during the day today. He was told he would be stabbed if he didn't hand over his five year old mobile phone and newly acquired second hand bike. One of the tweets by his mother in reply to a question asking her sons age was "14. The age where they start getting mugged...". That's just not acceptable to me. I cannot stand the thought of having to worry about Ben falling victim to such acts at that age.
I find myself again questioning the kind of society my son will be growing up in and wondering where you have to go in the UK to find a safe environment for your children to grow up in. Does such a place even exist?