Ben Kinsella: time to lay down the knives

The tragic and violent death at just 16 of Ben Kinsella has shocked people all over Islington. My heart goes out to Ben’s family and many friends, it’s so awful.

It was late on Sunday night, after the football, that I heard that the latest victim was Ben. The death of a young person is equally tragic whoever they are; when it is someone you know, it is all the more shocking.

Last night I was out in Finsbury, collecting signatures for our post office petition, but the talk soon turned to Ben, whose family is well-known and well-loved across the area – not because of TV fame but because they are such a strong part of the community.

So many people are touched by this. Just the other day, Ben & I were chatting on the same Facebook group about our local Woolworths closing down. My friends’ teenage children are devastated at the loss of one of their own.

We all pray that good comes out of tragedy. Islington has lost other dearly-loved boys. Martin Dinnegan’s death inspired the Islington Commission on youth crime. Nassirudeen Osawe’s death, in broad daylight, reminded us that knives are everywhere. Just last week, I joined Greg Foxsmith, chair of the Commission, at a local Lib Dem discussion on the issue. On Friday, I had lunch with a local Somali youth worker; knife crime was on the agenda then. I never dreamed then we would all be mourning Ben now.

Now Ben’s death has shocked and touched so many people, perhaps the knives will be laid down. Brooke is a local heroine, I remember her being mobbed by delighted kids when she came to open the summer fete at a local housing association. Brooke’s fame may be a mixed blessing for her and the family at a time when they want to grieve in private. But if the Kinsellas’ star quality brings an end to kids carrying knives, then I can’t think of a better tribute to Ben.

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6 Comments »

  1. Noemi said

    as a local parent of a 13 & 3 year old I despair at how local politicians (liberal democrats who I would have liked to vote for nationally) have consistently & continuously destroyed basic provision for children

    the message children get everywhere is that there is no place / space for them:

    Leisure Centers: instead of running cheap & accessible sports clubs for teenagers leisure centers are misused as sports facilities for city workers in a drive to generate revenue rather than opportunities for growing bodies testing their boundaries in a safe & controlled environment.

    How have local kids benefited from the new Arsenal development? 600.000 for a pitch in Rosemary Gardens) Can every local child (deprived of parents able to ferry them around) participate in a sport of their choice? do Islington secondary schools have adequate sports facilities for teenagers to excercise their bodies as well as their minds?

    the Sobell Centre has also become just another property development opportunity

    Swimming Pools: ironmongers row bath: children are only allowed to use the pool between 3.30 & 5.00 outside of school!

    Primary School sites merged & sold: Golden Lane Campus: double the number of children on the same m2. where children were previously surrounded by cherry trees they now see fences.

    Playgrounds: rather than having small easily accessible playgrounds the town hall is pushing for larger prestige projects & and not maintaining smaller estate playgrounds (Islington Tribune)

    in the end it comes back to Cat Stevens: Where do the children play?

    could you as a politician start lobbying for space for children. a welcome for children: free leisure center clubs, reduced theater tickets and and and. these things should not be one off gimmicks but reliable long term commitments to children rather than fancy projects, buildings.

    on the other hand as the school sites, the leisure centre loose in market value by the minute the market might even mend it after all. again children will be able to take possession of the abandoned newly worthless sites forgotten by adults.

    come on please lets stop talking and help teenagers find worthwhile challenges…

    best wishes Noemi

  2. Lorraine said

    The tragic death of Ben Kinsella has again highlighted the need for something to change in our society.I was heartroken that we’ve lost yet another talented young person. At the same time i also know that across the country this happens daily, most of these stories nobody hears about.
    2 years ago i witnessed an 17 year old boy shot in the head at point blank range following an argumemt over a bike.This happened in broad daylight & yet it hardly made the papers.
    The area i live in is crime & drug ridden, mopeds & motorbikes fly around the estate at all times of the day & night & drugs are openly sold on the street.
    Our country is on the verge of total breakdown & no one who has the power seems to be able to do anything to stop it yet they don’t seem to find it necessary to ask the people who know how to stop it & thats the people who live it everyday

    Lorraine

  3. Pernickitywitch said

    Whilst it is a tragedy, what was he doing out at 2am? Youth centres aren’t the answer at that time of night! The CHILD should have been at home in bed. All parties need to take responsibility.

  4. Shay said

    Perfect solution: death penalty.

    Burn the perpetrators at the stake on national television, medieval style.

    Young thugs will think twice about picking up a knife after witnessing that.

  5. northldn said

    r.i.p martin

  6. northldn said

    http://www.youtube.com/nrthldn

    tribute video

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