What has happened to my country?

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Gang Killing of 11 year old shocks the U.KChildren in the U.K killed by guns this year

By Ben Cohen

If you ask most people in U.K whether the United States is the most violent country in the Western world most will looked shocked that you would ask such a question. Of course it is. Flooded with gangster movies and hip hop culture, people outside of the U.S cannot be blamed for perceiving the America as such a dangerous place.

The truth of the matter though, is that the U.K is a far more dangerous in terms of general violent crime than the U.S is.

Following a spate of teenage killings across the U.K, 11 year old Rhys Jones was executed in a gang land killing in Liverpool last week. It was a crime that shocked the nation, and has served to high light the appalling levels of violence in U.K inner cities.

Violent crime in the U.K is double that of the United States with London, the capital, being one of the most violent city in the western world. An astonishing 30 million crimes are committed every year, with most people in urban cities living in fear every time they leave their houses.
The murder rate in the U.K is still fairly low compared to the U.S (London saw 156 murders in 2005 compared to New Yorks 540), but it has been climbing over time. London has a slightly smaller population than New York, but its crime rate is 7 times higher, with twice as many street crimes.

The situation, particularly for young people, has lead to some parents buying body armour for their children to go to school in. Knife crimes occur at about one every eight minutes in Britain (175 a day), creating a sense of panic and total distrust in the government to deal with the situation.

It is always difficult to pin point the causes of crime, but the disconnect between today's youth generation and society is widening alarmingly. Groups of teenage gangs roam the streets with little to do and no prospects of a fulfilling life. The lure of a minimum wage job in the service industry does not entice them, and they seek to attain status via other means. Increasingly violent acts are committed in a vicious arms race to achieve  superiority in the streets, destroying communities and lives in the process.

The traditional law and order solution will not, and has not worked in the U.K. Increasing sentences and prison populations has not reduced crime, and it is high time a different approach was taken. Life in modern Britain is not pleasant for the majority of people. It is a low wage economy in a high price country, with ever increasing working hours and little financial reward.

Out of all industrialised nations, Britain (and the U.S) scored lowest in terms of social mobility. They have the highest poverty rates and the greatest disparity between rich and poor. Despite the promises of corporate capitalism, the majority of the U.K population has seen little of the enormous growth achieved by upper classes. While the rich get richer, the poor are left to serve them food and clean their houses.

This does not excuse the terrible acts of violence so often seen on British streets, but it is a recipe for disaster, and we are finally seeing its results.

Photo from www.telegraph.co.uk