Khan’s London: Gang Warfare Kills More than Terror, Despite Tightest Gun Controls Firearms Are ‘Easy’ to Buy
A teenage boy has been shot dead in London, just minutes after a man in his thirties was stabbed in the head elsewhere in the increasingly crime-stricken British capital.
How London's knife culture is being fueled by jargon, social media and music
In the wake of the recent surge in knife crime — 31 people, including 10 teenagers, stabbed to death in London so far this year, a rise of 30 per cent on the same period last year — the Standard sought to delve deeper into how knife culture takes hold. Where do these words come from? How is this lexicon tied in to the rising temperature on the street?
“The words originate from Jamaican patois and then get mixed up with new swag from the youngers when they in prison,” said Wayne. “Jail is where the new words come from. Jail is like school for gang members. Every area goes there — you get eastmen [east Londoners], northmen, southmen all mixed in. It’s a hothouse. And when you come out, you spread the new lingo to your area.”
He added: “If you wanna understand blade culture, you got to get into the head of how people on road think. The public just see ‘gang member’, but there are different levels. The lowest is roadman. He’s the guy with the handbag, always on road, dealing drugs.
“The next level is what we call a hitter. He’s a thug who will hit you up and not care. The highest level is mad man. He’s done heavy stuff. You don’t want to test him. A mad man will take on a whole gang on his own. The aim is to get to the next level. To get there, you got to be more violent.”
What advantage does the next level bring? “Power, status, girls, especially girls.” Did Wayne, who is black British, think you have to be more aggressive today than in the past to earn your stripes? “In the last 10 years, since the Somalis and the Congolese came to London, they taught us a whole new level of violence,” he said.