These last weeks it would be easy to believe that we have descended into dystopia: mass shootings in the US, gang violence bringing unprecedented death to the streets of London. The tragic toll of stabbings and shootings continues to spiral at a terrifying rate. Hopelessness and fear could engulf us.
We can’t, shouldn’t, ignore these statistics. But on page eight of this week’s magazine you will hear from people who have chosen to approach the fearsome complexities behind these problems and put into action ideas about how they might be fixed. The common theme is prevention – also a core ethos of The Big Issue. Rather than mopping up after crime and violence, throwing more police officers at it, why not try to stop it happening in the first place?
The strength and resilience of people, communities, especially young people, stepping up with the bold ambition of changing the world, is genuinely striking. Rejecting fear for hope, choosing to believe they can make the world safer and better.
The kids in America now reaching out across the globe with their March for Our Lives message, empowering themselves and encouraging others, are nothing short of extraordinary. And doing it in the face of a baffling volley of spite and vilification almost exclusively from adults. Wanting to ‘take away’ Americans’ right to guns. What do they know, dumb kids?! Their smartness, wisdom, dignity and wit in the face of those attacks trumps the haters every time.
Judgment is easy to dish out against the young. ‘London is besieged by feral, greedy, careless kids, shedding blood on the streets’. Blame those who are supposed to guide, mentor or shape them: lazy, unfit parents, broken communities, out-of-control schools and cops who fail the public. There is no shortage of opinions on what is wrong, and largely these ignore the vast complexities behind these problems.