HOOLIGANISM – DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR IN MANCHESTER.
Louts, yobs, ASBO merchants – the general opinion of today’s youth in Manchester are low and often, but not always deserved. A few exceptional children have moved me to see the attraction of being more paternal.
Many however, are intolerable. Some kids as young as seven are out until gone midnight. Latch-key kid culture has gotten to the point in North Manchester that ice-cream vans sometimes come round long after dark knowing that here would be plenty of kids hanging around to buy lollies.
As a kid in the 1960’s and 70’s I was rather spoilt and over-protected. I would be called home long before dark, much to the amusement of pals who could stay out even a little later. My mother was paranoid about ‘gypsies’ abducting kids in the area.
Discipline was not too necessary for me. My father would just threaten to hit me with his belt. He never actually did it. Even when I went through a phase of stealing from my parents, he never got angry, though seeing him genuinely shocked and upset by my behaviour gave me an insensitive to stop. I was about thirteen.
As I’ve grown, with my values altered irrevocably by my collision with Eastern Mysticism, (See BRAINWASHING) and my reversion to atheism, followed by study of philosophy, I have found myself distanced from the younger generation. I have never married or had children. I don’t particularly like the noise and distraction of younger children, and I find many older ones insolent and surly. I also think the World is not a very pleasant place at times in which to raise a family.
My sister, a year younger than me, having been born in 1963, has three sons, the first one of who was born out of wedlock. That leaves me feeling as if I have missed out on a great deal, though I like the independence of being the eternal bachelor.
There have been a few short-lived relationships, but nothing durable. Without kids of my own, I wonder if I should have the right to comment on other people. However, seeing kids throw rocks at cars, treat house gardens as playgrounds, scrape keys down the sides of cars, and systematically terrorise local old people, and bully other children, I feel silence is inappropriate.
Most kids, if unchecked, get up to mischief. Few reading this will not have knocked on doors and ran away for a laugh during their youth. Today however, we seem to be seeing something out of Golding’s Lord Of The Flies in our urban and suburban communities.
Incidents known to me in Lightbowne, Moston, where I live. 1/. Children kicking people as they ride past the adults on bicycles. 2/. Children shouting abuse, racist, and sexist (usually homophobic) remarks at passers by. 3/. Children smearing dog excrement onto the house windows of local elderly people. 4/. Wilful vandalism to people’s fences, gardens, hedgerows, and cars. 5/. Refusal to stop running through people’s gardens, or climbing on people’s cars. 6/. Loud music being played with total refusal to stop. 7/. Bouncing a ball repeatedly off local ‘No ball games Allowed’ signs posted by the police. 8/. Children standing in people’s immediate path, refusing to step aside to let them get by. The children then insist that if the adult dares to push them aside, the kid will do the adult for assault. I have to admit that I did pick one such oik up and physically shove him out of my way. He never made good on his threat.
In one case, a kid of about ten was repeatedly throwing small stones at my upstairs bedroom window as I worked on my computer up there. I went out and apprehended him. He made no effort to resist or escape, as I took him to see his father. His Dad opened the door to the house, and aggressively demanded to know what my problem was. When I told him, he said that as no glass had been damaged, there was nothing for me to complain about and slammed the door in my face. Fortunately, the son at least chose not to push his luck any further with me.
The worst excesses of such juvenile tyranny have mercifully largely been curtailed by good community co-operation, and pressure on the police and local Council to do more. Several kids and their parents within streets of my home have received ASBO’s (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders).
The argument from the people seeking peace and protection from local kids is that the parents of the kids seem indifferent to their children’s antics and what late hours the kids keep. It is asked understandably, why the kids use the streets as a park when there is a perfectly good public park within minutes of our properties (my house back garden literally backs onto Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne). The parents usually plead that they find the park to be full of paedophiles (the bogeyman that has now taken over from the gypsies my Mother feared so much). They want their kids to go out, but not too far away. They expect their neighbours to tolerate the kids running free in the streets; they do not see the kids as most people do – free as in positively feral. The children are turning savage and wild. Also, given that the parents never seem to tear themselves away from their soap operas and beer long enough to peep out the front doors, the bogeymen paedos could abduct the kids by the sackful within two doors of home, let alone in the park.
The kids are not allowed to be disruptive at home, and possibly respect their parents, but outside, they are totally undisciplined. If they do something wrong, it is merely the killjoy neighbours making unfounded allegations. If the parents don’t see a crime committed, it hasn’t been committed. There is a very definite ‘out of sight out of mind’ mentality in effect.
Where has such chaos come from? Many kids are becoming parents too young. They haven’t had the pleasure of a life outside of marriage, despite the availability of contraception and even abortion. Such kids try to give their own kids a greater deal of freedom, preferably away from home. After all, a kid who is out isn’t making demands on the parents. Few such young parents ever seem to go anywhere with their kids; i.e., taking them to the park instead of expecting them to go out unchaperoned.
Added to this is contempt for authority. The young parents were not happy at school, and they will object to any teacher taking a harsh line with their own children. Some object to the assumption that their children should learn anything. The kids adapt a defiant air to their teachers and educators – they brood with a sullen threat to complain at home about anything they dislike. The teachers can’t hit, strap or cane the kids – nor can the headmaster, and just being told off means nothing to the child. Words are reduced to being mere words. If there is any threat in anything said the child and his parents would exploit it to get at the education system.
Teachers, social workers, the courts, etc, have now learned to treat kids with kid gloves – political correctness prevents any form of discipline at all, so many kids exploit the system to do pretty much what the Hell they like.
Solutions – an education programme in applied social ethics, and the importance of community and respect for others is essential. The only education is in self- service – winning the rat race, beating others. Kids care for little beyond football, TV and computer games. Once bored, the kids resort to petty crime, bullying, - theft, vandalism, happy slapping, etc.
Political correctness has made children the new leaders of the pack. Adults are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals. Two people this week alone have died trying to get local teenage gangs to desist in causing local damage or creating nuisance noise. The solution is simple – adults need some of their teeth back. Some kids just need to know that ‘no means No!
Now it needs to be seen that I am not saying we need to start thrashing our unruly naughty children with cats-o-nine tails or our fists, though some mild spanking can help, and kids should be sent to bed without supper more often. And by sent to bed, I mean bed – not to a bedroom that has a TV, Hi-fi and computer in it where they can have more fun. Being sent to your room should feel like a night of solitary confinement. I am not of the ‘spare the rod and spare the child’ school, but I am also not of the softly softly to the point of letting them get clean away with their actions school off thinking. Parents need to take responsibility for their children, and even be educated in child rearing. Under-age pregnant mothers, and their boyfriends, should take classes in how to raise their offspring and those classes need to include how to deal with naughtiness.
There are sadly genuine paedophiles in the World, but not behind every tree in every park. The parent concerned about their kids being too far from home should make sure the child is supervised and the way to do that is a/. Supervise them yourself b/. Hire a baby-sitter you can trust. Sadly, many parents wish to unleash their kids before the presence of the local community, hoping the neighbours will guard their kids for them while they enjoy a night free of parental responsibility (every night, not just every now and then). The problem is then that the neighbours don’t act as guardians against al that might harm the child running rampage, but will see the rampaging brat as the problem and react to both child and parent with hostility. This creates friction that can tear an entire community apart, and both sides in the civil hostilities have a feud that can drag on for years, as each sees the opposition as neighbours from Hell. The only way out of this is for greater communal spirit and teaching pour kids to respect their community as well as their immediate parents.
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