Black, young and shot to death on the streets of east London


Woman hold her head and cry, ‘Cause her son had been shot down in the street and died From a stray bullet. Woman hold her head and cry; Explaining to her was a passerby Who saw the woman cry (cry) Wondering how can she work it out, Now she knows that the wages of sin is death, yeah! Gift of Jah is life. (life) She cried: Ah-um, I – I know! “Johnny was a good man,” I – I know! (never did a thing wrong) “Johnny was a good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good, good man”, (Johnny was good man) she cried – she crie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ie-ied!

Bob Marley…Johnny Was A Good Man

Some time in the early hours of Saturday 23 October, Samuel Adelegun’s mother was paid a visit by Newham police, to tell her, her 16 year old son had been shot and killed on a Plaistow, east London street. I don’t know if she was given the details of his death right then. If she was, she would have heard how her child and his friends were gunned down by a gang of two, clad in black attire complete with balaclavas. A bullet to his chest killed him. He didn’t stand a chance, but one of his friends, a 15 year old, miraculously survived and is in stable condition in hospital, being treated for a gunshot to his abdomen.

Samuel is the 16th teenager to be killed in London this year and the fifth to be shot dead and as usual all the papers are ending their reports with, “Scotland Yard’s Trident unit, which tackles gun-related crime within the black community” as they always do when these dumb asses take each others lives.

The cops are still trying to figure out what went down and who’s behind it, but people in the neighbourhood are already saying it was gang related and that Samuel was a gang member. Usually I’d caution myself from thinking that way, I mean innocent people get shot, but this child was out on the streets at 3am in the morning and let’s face it good kids are not walking the streets at 3am nor do good parents allow them to do so.

He’s the 16th teenager to be killed in London this year and the fifth to be shot dead. I yet have to get the figures of how many of those shot and stabbed are black, but I think they are the majority.

How did it get to be this way? Kids carrying out the type of execution murders that once was the preserve of hardcore criminals and gangsters. Oh wait, I forget these children really do think they are gangsters.

The media sensationalizes each of these murders and after a few days they are forgotten. Peers of the victims and other ghoulish kids who never knew them, post memorial messages on face book in text talk and streets slang, which I’ve always found disrespectful and insincere. They just don’t get it.

In time we’ll find out more about Samuel Adelegun’s life style and if he was one of the good kids or part of a gang. Whatever he was, he like all the other children killed in gang wars, don’t deserve to die.

His surname tells me he’s Nigerian or of Nigerian heritage, I’ll even go as far as saying he’s parents or at least his father is Yoruba. A tribe from the western region of Nigeria, the same as my father.

Although I was born in London, I spent a lot of my formative years cris crossing the Atlantic and lived in both the UK and Nigeria. This sort of thing just didn’t happen amongst my peers, we aspired to so much more, because of our parents….failure was never an option.

Our parents knew where we were at all times and although I am child free and fast approaching middle age…OK, I admit I think I’m middle age already…I can say my brother and sister know at all times where their children are at 3 am. They’re usually tucked in bed…

Oh and the 19 year old niece? On the times she’s doing what all 19 year olds want to do, we know where she is…the boy friend almost pissed himself when he met her mum and dad and called her scared from the top of the road to say he was almost there.

Outta respect for my niece and my sis I didn’t case their street to check him out, as they didn’t want me to scare him. I was barred from their home that Sunday, any way.

Samuel Adelegun is not going to get to be 19 and be the scared boy friend of a nice girl from a nice family.

I hope his family find peace at some point. Let’s not look at the police or blame them nor should we expect our school teachers to be guardians of our children….children’s welfare, up bringing and moral values are up to their parents and extended family, and in the case of the Black community, WE ARE ALL responsible. If in any doubt take a look at the Hasdic Jews in Stamford Hill and Upper Clapton.

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