A violent approach to a solution



Guest blog. After the death of Glendon Spence I have called on someone who knows what it is like to walk in the shoes of men like Glendon. You can read about Glendon Spence HERE and why I want you all to know his name. Our guest today  knows what its like to face violence on a daily basis growing up. I have called on someone like me to speak to people like you…


Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mr Paul Mckenzi.


A violent approach to a solution


The impact of violent crime and young people is yet to be felt. We are in the midst of a change in the interpretation of popular culture. For many this may seem like a shock, but to those working with young people it’s more of a prediction or a prophetic event that has been spoken about for many years. The reason I say prophetic is because part of this issue is due to the lack of preventative measures taken in the run up to this latest trend.


When I was growing up there was a presence or undertone of violence always, this level of violence has always been present in specific communities and the fact is it always will. Where you find a lack of self-esteem coupled in with poverty and the presupposition of racism, there will always be violence.


The short term consequences of violence among young males is looked at as almost laughable by these groups and they see prison as a rites of passage. Many of these young people will be affected by trauma and other emotion challenges in the future.


The challenge for parents, professionals, carers and others working in the youth sector, is how well best are we prepared for the long-term impact of this present trend of violence?


The current trend would suggest that we as the above must adapt and become flexible in our approach to alternative ways of working with young people. The majority of youth do not share the same values or beliefs that we as responsible adults do. For example, most adults would interpret the lyrics of group of hooded boys as violent. Some would even go as far as saying it is a display of barbaric rituals taking place right in front of our screens but not in our leafy, wealthy neighbourhoods. This interpretation is in fact misinterpreted by the very young people they are trying to impose those values on to. In short there is a whole divide in communication between the two generations of thought. Think of a time when there was no violence in the world. Can you? Never! Because violence is so deeply rooted in our society that it almost seems unfair to blame it on young people alone, when almost half of the murders that took place 2017-2018 were by suspects over the age of thirty with a significant number of those from a white background.


So instantly there is a breakdown in communication as almost 100 percent of these murders shown on television or on social media were portrayed as black violence.


You can only imagine the impact on a generation of young men and women already struggling with identity and acceptance challenges to have this image imprinted in their minds.


Is violence colour specific, age specific, gender specific or just simply what we have become?


In summary, I guess that the real question that we need to ask is the one that is steering us in the face.

Has violence become simply a part of the very fibre of our modern-day society?

Paul Mckenzie

You can follow Paul on Facebook Here

Follow Out of the Shadows on Facebook Here


2 Comments Add yours

  1. David Hart says:

    Paul, I am so glad to see you collaborating with Kendra and Out of the Shadows.
    I enjoyed reading your take on our current situation , and if you recall we have discussed this at length before, and the reason we were able to have such interesting discussions is I think we both speak from personal experiences of the exploitation of young people and the violence that is
    associated with it and as part of an incredibly effective business model or criminal enterprise. Different experiences but way back then we were different sides of the tracks. Now we share a passion to try and do something about this.

    Yes the violence has always been present, and gang related violence has always been present, mods and rockers fighting on Brighton Beach? Tis being a very white British phenomenon of the 60’s. But this current gang violence that people like us are so worried about seems to me from my perspective to have originated when British street gangs (possibly aspiring to the American experience), began to control the frontline drug trade previously the domain of Yardie and Turkish gangsters. Violence was initally used to protect a criminal enterprise . That was then gang culture and the violence has evolved over the last 20 or so years and yes I think we may have lost a generation to this issue, and the extreme violence has become more of an integral part of youth culture and the exploitation of young people has become part of this business model. All of this despite people like yourself, Kendra, and others trying desperately hard to make a change, successive governments have been too slow to respond in the right way. Why? Probably not enough words to cover it, but I think you’ve eloquently captured some of the main reasons.

    I normally don’t have an issue with music associated with gang culture but the influence of drill music and ‘call out’ videos has been a significant and undeniable contributing factor to the propagation of the current escalation in knife crime and violence, you only have to remember other names other than Glendon Spence such as Marcel Addei to realise this to be true. Yes I get the need for young people to have a medium for commentary of their experiences, but don’t use it as a tool to incite or provoke such abhorrent acts of violence?

    Paul once again thank you so much, sorry if this seems a bit of a rant , but you have done what you are good at, you got under my skin and evoked my impassioned response. Keep on keeping on, I hope our paths cross again soon.

    Kindest regards,



  2. David Hart says:

    Just read my comment a thought I better qualify one of the comments I made.

    When I spoke of Yardies a Turkish gangs, I was speaking about a particular area of London that both Paul and I were, at that time.
    And as to why British street gangs rose to prevalence, I think Paul has already signposted us in the right direction for an explanation as to why that happened, I don’t disagree with his observations.




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