And adolescent boys who have good reason to fear attack, and that is an awful lot of them, have precious little protection. There's almost no one they can turn to. Adult authorities can present as dithering, indifferent, canting or downright callous: full of fire only after something disastrous happens, rather like the politicians who, as Gary Younge puts it, "respond to the coverage not the crime". They often think the same way as boys with knives do. The demand for more cops, more stop-and-search, tougher daddy figures, is a demand for bigger and better weapons: implicitly to protect the 'innocent' from the 'wicked'. It's what you get when working class lives only become visible at the point of catastrophe, as a pathology to be stamped out. It's fairy tale logic, magical thinking for adults, faced with their own helplessness.
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