Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fear Mongering, the Helpful Way

If you are the type who believes everything they read in the media (as you should be), then you will be well aware that it is currently impossible to leave your house without being stabbed in the face by an 11 year-old gang member. That's right; hoards of 'hoodies' are roaming our streets so they can brutalise you and steal your money for crack...or football stickers. Then when they are finished taking photos of your bloodied corpse on their (stolen) mobile phones, they go home and watch Pokemon. Kid's today eh?! Utter cunts, the lot of 'em. However hopeless this situation might seem, especially to those of us who don't have teenage kids and quite frankly assumed they were all just violent, gum-chewing shits anyway, some people haven't given up the fight. On the BBC's website today there is a feature about a home office booklet for parents, which teaches them how to recognise the signs that their children might be in a gang...because it wouldn't be painfully fucking obvious if you were the kind of parent that actually paid attention to what your kid was doing.

The booklet; possibly entitled "You spawned an ASBO" gives a handy list of bullet points advising parents to look out for certain changes in behaviour. Here are some of the things to look out for:

  • Has your child started using new slang words?
If your little darling came home yesterday speaking a language that sounded unfamiliar to you, there's a chance he was out last night with his mates, raping the elderly and smoking the drugs spliffs. Don't panic though; scientific research has concluded that as a child grows, his or her vocabulary WILL inevitably increase. So, if your offspring starts using words like "wicked", "cool", "awesome", or "blog", then they probably aren't in a gang. Chances are they will just bug the shit out of you for the next decade or so. What the booklet should have said was; If your child came home last night and instead of politely asking when dinner was ready, said something along the lines of; "Yo bizatch! where the fuck's my munch at blood, i'll cut you yo, I ain't no fool", then you are probably fucked.
  • Do they have a new nickname?
Again, nicknames are quite common during adolescence. If you overhear you child's peers calling him/her something along the lines of "four-eyes", "fatty" or "badger flaps", then it is quite possible that they are just grossly unpopular. The chances of such a child being admitted into a gang are slim to none, so you can rest easy, the apple of your eye is much more likely to turn into a serial killer or internet porn addict than a bonafied gang member. On the other hand, if little James is now known as "Killer" or "Razor" or perhaps "Stabby", then it may be an idea to hide all sharp objects in the house and perhaps start suggesting a career in the military.
  • Has their appearance changed? Are they dressing in a particular style or "uniform", for example, wearing a bandana?
This one's a bit tricky. Obviously children between the ages of 11 and 19 never change their appearance. They already have a firm grasp of who they are and realise that any attempt at experimenting with different styles of clothing would just be futile. However, if your child is stoned or possibly retarded, then you may realise one day that they have become 'emo', or maybe even a 'goth'. Although both of these trends do involve 'uniforms' it is far different to being in a gang. 'Goth's are actually quite cuddly and emo's are far too depressed to think about stabbing anyone. The real tell-tale sign of your child being in a gang is if they start dressing like a hip-hop star. It goes without saying there is no chance that they might just like hip-hop, or that they find baggy clothing comfortable. If this happens, it may be a good idea to ship your kids off to their grandparents. This way if things still go wrong, you can blame them.
  • Do they use graffiti style "tags" on possessions such as schoolbooks?
This is A BIG WARNING SIGN. That's why I have written that in BIG FUCK-OFF LETTERS. If your child draws graffiti, or in fact shows any sign of artistic expression whatsoever, then he/she is, fo' shiz, in a gang. The best cause of action from this point on is to repeatedly hit your child over the head with a shovel when they have their back turned. You may feel some initial guilt after this, but rest assured; you will have saved many lives and helped fight the war on drugs. Also the little shit was probably about to stab you with a kitchen knife anyway, so you can plead self-defence when the police come round. Be sure to use the graffiti as evidence.
  • Do they have unexplained physical injuries?
Obviously the only way your child will ever get any bruises, scratches or cuts, is by being in a gang. That is unless you, yourself, are abusing them. Are you? That's okay we don't have to talk about that now. Anyway if your child has any type of unexplained physical injury, you should tie them to their bedpost and throw holy water at them shouting; "the power of Christ compels you!". If this works then their head should spin a full 360 degrees and they will projectile vomit everywhere. If this fails to work, see the above shovel technique.

Despite the booklet offering much sound advice for the proud parents of troublesome pre-pubescent bastards, youth worker Shaun Bailey apparently thinks it's a bit shit. He states that once you notice these signs of gang involvement it's "way, way too late". However not being the kind of guy to piss on the government's bonfire without then handing them a match, he does offer an alternative; "The best way to keep your child out of a gang is to keep your child a child". The man is clearly a genius. The truth of the matter is that if you can find a way to perhaps cryogenically freeze your child, or maybe inflict some kind of psychological torment on them so as they never properly age, gangs will be a thing of the past. Problem solved! Cheers Shaun!
The real booklet entitled: "The Gangs: You and Your Child is available at

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