Kids or Gang Culture?

I live in a little village in the outskirts of Bradford, West Yorkshire. I’ve lived here my entire life, bar a stint at university. It has always been a sweet place with a decent community. And this is still the case for the most part.

We converse by our Facebook groups, support the local shops and generally have a quiet life style. That is until the last six months to a year, when our village has been terrorized by teen gangs.

It has come to light, especially since the festive period that we are over run by ‘kids’ and their idea of fun. It stops being fun when people are feeling threatened, unsafe and victimised. Some residents have had personal dealings with these ‘kids’ and agreed to speak with me, they shared shocking truths about what had happened.

A source told me: When the weather was icy her younger brother (23) who has Autism, had been targeted. The gang of children threw ice balls at her brother while he was on his motorbike, they hit his helmet and almost knocked him off. He hadn’t been riding long, so his confidence had been knocked by the hit to the head. He continued home to be followed by the group where the abuse continued.

When he had entered his home, the group tried to trash his bike. He went back out to confront them; to tell them to leave his property alone, this is when they picked up steel bars from a near by building site and swung at him. They were about 15 years of age and there were 5 of them in this group. With Autism, there is an increased risk of an angry outburst. With age difference, we all know that the 23 year old would be the one arrested in this situation if anything was to happen.

My source has had multiple dealings with these teens, and continued sharing what had happened.

A daughter, of 3 years old in the house with her mum. The village had icy weather about a month ago and this young family was targeted. The teens threw ice balls at the 3 year old child, who lucky shut the front door before she was hit with the ice.

The same mother was again targeted by our village park. She’s had bricks throw at her, barely missing her face. The police were called. They never came out to the call. This mother has had threats of her home being smashed up, and her car being smashed up.

As residents we shouldn’t have to live in fear of barely legal teenagers. We shouldn’t have to worry about going out after 6pm and being confronted by idiot pre-adults who get a kick out of acts of terrorism. The most punishment these single cell organisms have had, has been a 48 hour ban from the village. [Picture taken from Google]

They’ve wrecked buses, bus stops, local family run businesses, bigger stores. They’ve smashed windows of vans and attempted to cause physical harm to residents, and I am sure there are stories we are not privy to. They’ve shot cats with air rifles, and caused harm with fireworks. They’ve stolen and damaged private property. They’ve cause brawls at the local academy and pubs.

We need as a community to realise this isn’t kids playing mischief. This is gang culture. Gangs trying to rule territory and dominate the locals. It has to be time to introduce a more strict way of handling things before vigilante groups start popping up and dealing with issues themselves.

The age of these miscreants shouldn’t matter. If they do the crime, they should be paying the price. I hope that council members can help, I hope that the police can step up and seriously hope that was get our village back.

Have you ever had any dealings with teens like this? It would be great to hear from you and what your opinion is or what you experience has been.

Xoxo, L.

Why I Handle Things The Way I Do.

There’s certain things in our life that mould us. Situations that make us react in certain ways and influences everything that happens in our lives. This can be good, bad or indifferent.

I remember in the first year of sixth form I was taking psychology as one of my classes. It was an outside tutor that appeared once weekly to talk about his self and every achievement he had ever accomplished. Class A bell-end. A conceited, haughty, selfimportant twit decided it was his job to preach his life freaking story once a week to a bunch of teens who wanted a psychology A-level.

Despite the douche-bag’s demeanour, psychology was an interesting subject and one that has kept my interest for all these years. I’d complete the reading and homework each week. I’d enjoy the classes; well the content at least, but never the teacher. He wasn’t relaxed enough to have a good report with any of his students and I’m pretty damn sure the rest of my class felt the same way.

We were almost a full year into the course and exam preparation had started. I remember the classroom. We sat in a room in the sixth form building. It was a class of about 15ish students. There was a whiteboard with a projector pointing at it where we would see the pompous bastard’s weekly slides. We’d answer questions in class while discussing the topic of the week. One word answers required or at least simple arguments for or against what ever a study had shown. Each of us took notes, but the class discussions were mainly opinion based.

One particular week the class had been set the task to complete a practice test paper. The test paper was comprised of essay style questions. Long answers. Write in paragraphs, opinions backed up with studies. We had never, in class prepared for this, or been told about it. Each of us tried the best we could and handed it in the following week.

The week after hand in, I wasn’t in class. In was away, at home sick. After he had marked the classes first attempt at the practice papers, there was a mass failing in the air. Every single member of the class did crap. I’m talking no one got higher than a D. Now, as I’ve already mentioned I was away from that class. This, unfortunately for the toolbox teach, was the week he decided to make an example of my work.

He slated my paper for a full 30 mins of a 45 min class. He trash talked me in front of my peers. In front of friends. In front of everyone else who had done equally as badly as I had.

BIG MISTAKE CHUFFER!

If there was one thing I loved about sixth form, it was the solidarity between students. Despite the clique you belonged to, your social background, whether you got on in high school or hated each other; sixth form happened and against the teachers, the students stood united – no matter what. They told me everything that verbally vomiting, micro organism had said about me and my paper.

I’ve always been good with words on paper (apparently not so much in a psychology practise paper – lol). So naturally I put pen to paper. I wrote a letter and addressed it not only to him but to our head of year. This caused some chaos. He probably regretted using me as a target for the class. Using my work as his shooting range in his highly unapologetical rant at how shit the class he had taught was.

A few point I stated in my letter:

1. Is it fair to make someone who isn’t in the room a victim of your slating in front of their peers?

2. Is it fair to say that speaking about your own life, and how amazing you were to over come the obstacles you have faced has mainly nothing to do with Freud, other psychologists or theories they have presented?

3. If the entire class failed miserably on a practice paper, isn’t this a reflection on the teacher rather than the class?

We were pulled into a meeting to discuss and I let him have it, both bullets in front of the head of sixth form. He apologised (but not publicly) for humiliating me in front on my peers. He offered to re-teach the last year to me in a one-on-one situation to which I replied “I wouldn’t waste my time”. His egotistical nature had him deluded him into thinking he could teach in the first place. I wasn’t going to fall for that one.

I gave my official notice and never attended his class again. At the end of that same term, he was moved on. Now I’m not saying that was my doing. I’m only saying I hope I had a little helping hand in having them realise the man was full of BS.

This incident still holds some resonance with me. I’m still that sassy girl. Quiet, understated and when cornered – a full on queen bitch. And yes, I am proud of that. Sometimes arrogance needs a mirror holding up to its ugly face…. sometimes you have to smash the mirror over that ugly face.

Till this day, I will take so much agro from someone before reacting. I’m okay with that. It builds up, and builds up until I flip the switch and make sure the agro stops. I might be wrong in how I deal with certain situations but it’s the only way I know how.

How would you deal with this situation? What do you do when you’ve had enough of the BS?

(Some of the sixth form girls, I’m in the red, looking giggly as we had just photo bombed this pic. Each beautiful woman in this picture will always be welcome with me)

Xoxo, L.

Nicknames, and Where They Came From

Scarecrow

I remember being in middle school, year 6. This means I would have been about 10 years old. I was essentially one of the newer girls in the school having being moved from over the boarder the previous school year. There was only one other that moved from my first school with me. I had made friends, but they were ever changing and I never settled with one particular group. I had long, dark blond coloured hair that I used to blow dry upside down while singing along to the tune of the moment. It was kinda frizzy, but naturally straight and well before the time of the hair straighteners.

There were two boys in my class that decided that my hair was going to be the centre of their taunts. Thus beginning the start of ‘Scarecrow’ and the never ending name calling from two boys. They made most classes hell-ish with no escape because most teachers sat their classes in alphabetical order and with no kids surnames starting with E or F I had to sit next to the “ever so charming” boy with a G name and his equally as lovely friend. They’d pull my hair and use scarecrow as if I’d answer to it – I tried my best to ignore it. Some days I cried because of it. Some days I fought back. Some days they indian burned my arm and came after me in the playground.

These taunts lasted till we left middle school when we filtered out in to high school. Which thankfully, put more space between me and them and rendered that nickname obsolete. After all there were different kids to belittle.

Fat Bitch

Yes, this was a particular favourite. I was about 11. I used to ride my bike and kick around with a few of the girls that lived on my street. Now looking back on this, I know I was never a fat kid. I was however, bigger than the stick thin girls I used to hang about with. Now I know I was just a different shape. Then I wasn’t so wise.

I remember going to knock on their doors to ask if they were coming out to ride bikes. My bike was pinky purple and I loved it. I remember I was wearing a lavender spaghetti strap dress when I went to call on the girls. Both of them said they were busy, so I rode the block a few times on my own.

A little time passed and they both came out. Together. So this was the first thing that stung. They’d chosen not to hang out. I’ve always preferred my own company, even as a child and mostly only reached out when encouraged. Even still, being rejected by peers had an impact. They walked passes and I said hello. One of them shouted “go away you fat bitch”.

I was heart broken.

I rode home, I was inconsolable. I remember feeling so hurt by what these girls said. It didn’t matter what nice things anyone said to try bring me out of the funk. I started to hate myself that day. I never understood what I had done to deserve being rejected and then insulted that way.

I never rode my bike again. It’s something I grew to despise, and my beautiful pinky purple bike lay to rust in the garage. For a long time after this I wore more loose fitting clothes to hide my perfectly normal figure. I hated changing in the locker rooms for school sports. I hated changing in front of myself. I could not look at myself (full body) in the mirror for years.

Stupid kids right?

Guitar Girl

I got my first ever guitar at 8 years old. And once or twice a week I would walk to school with my guitar in a gig bag along with all my other school stuff. The walk was a 2 and a half miler, and lots of the other kids didn’t walk as far as me and my brother. I played my guitar like it was the only thing that ever really mattered and I was very good in high school. But, like I said, I had to carry a guitar around with me all the freaking time. I didn’t mind most days.

In high school I managed to go under the radar for pretty much the entire three years until sixth form. This meant when people did need to refer to me, I got “Guitar Girl” because they didn’t know me. They didn’t know my name or anything about me other than the fact I carried a guitar and practiced alot because I was always by the music rooms.

I never minded this nickname. It always worked for me. I didn’t want them to know me, I didn’t want them to know my name either. This nickname was okay.

I’ve been lucky enough to go by my chosen name since. Life lessons learnt; kids are cruel. The view point of an adult over things that happened as a child and teen is beautiful. It doesn’t help as child, or in difficult teenage years though.

As an adult I thank the little brats who bullied me and gave me cruel nicknames. You guys helped me learn I don’t need to give a crap what anyone things. The only valid opinion is my own. What others think and say doesn’t have to have any impact on how I live. I just wish the 10 year old me knew the same thing.