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I don't want to get involved.

Another one of my very honest posts about the world out there in sunny Cronx.  And this one is a huge problem.  It's a major factor in why our town is going down the toilet.  'I don't want to get involved' is really very dangerous stuff.

I've encountered it for a long time now.  Phrases like 'we don't want drama' and 'we don't want to get involved' are used by so many of the youngsters around here that, well, that's the problem.

They don't want trouble.  Fair enough, no-one does.  But how do you remain trouble free in a venue?  Do you a) Grass the bad-guys and get them removed?  Or do you b) Turn a blind eye and let the bad-guys off?   Far too many of these kids are choosing b).  As they 'don't want the drama'.

When you let off the bad-guys the bad-guys spread & grow.  They think they can get away with it because they are getting away with it, & slowly but surely they then do more and more bad stuff.  The situation escalates.  You might get more punch-ups for example, and then someone might actually die.  And in the end a lovely venue has become a den of thieves or a bomb-site.  The kids then complain as their venue has been closed.

In many ways I'm amased that the youngsters these days are so stupid ( I did warn you this was going to be honest ).  But then I forget how strange my life has been.  My life has been far from normal.  I've partied with squaddies, rescued people from drug over-doses, known some truly incredible women ( sexy as hell & loving it ), squat partied, raved, rocked, and also seen a side to life that is so off-the-scale cruel that I would not wish it on anyone.  I've seen love, I've seen betrayal, and I've seen both destruction & repair.  And I know full well that the only way to fix up a place is for the people in it to get involved.

Think of it this way:  The Cops are the ones that are allowed to chase a bad-guy down the street with a big stick.  We aren't allowed to.  And the Cops can't do that if no-one tells them where the bad-guys are or what they are doing.  The Cops are not psychic.  They need the community telling them what is needed and where, or they simply won't be able to catch the bad-guys.  So if the community 'does not want to get involved' then, well, the bad-guys are free to do whatever they want.   And that means gangs, violence, and ultimately the closure of your venues.

Do you see how stupid 'I don't want to get involved' is?  You can kiss your venue good-bye if that's your attitude.  And yet so many kids are opting for this.  Why?

It's the drug laws.  Now I have been very honest in my previous blogs about what I have seen & experienced of the drug-scene out there.  And I'm the first to admit that things have changed since my day, and that the substances out there are now stronger ( and as such considerably more risky than what I was used to 15 years ago ).  So my old viewpoint that 'drugs are harmless' is no longer correct.  As the drugs themselves have changed.  But...  These kids do not have the benefit of that experience.  All they are seeing is a bunch of other kids getting hammered of a weekend and giggling away.  They haven't seen the bit where it goes wrong yet.  So they will protect drug dealers, and they will let off gangs, and...

I genuinely believe our Govt needs to stop waving the offence card and actually start using real science when it comes to drugs.  The more we can get away from the gangsters the better.  Professor David Nutt was sacked by Labour for telling the truth.  And we ( Labour ) became a laughing stock in academic, student, & generally educated circles at that point.  The Torys are now broaching this subject, and I am hoping all parties will show courage and actually start working with the real facts.

Billions of pounds are spent each year on drugs.  All that money at present goes to gangsters.  And then you wonder where the money for the nice cars and guns comes from.  Our drug laws are what is allowing this to happen.  They need a review.

If there is a safe dose for cannabis then clearly there is no problem with selling it like alcohol.  And that's a billion less going to the gangsters.  But we have to find the safe dose first, and the only way to do that is with the use of science.

If Ecstasy is safe when it is impurity free is it not obvious that getting it impurity free is the best thing to do?  Millions of these tablets are munched every weekend after all.  If it was made in proper Govt labs there would be no impurities ( like washing powder or heroine ) getting in to it.  But the scientists need to check first to see whether it is safe in a purer form.  Again, if a safe dose is found that's another billion moved away from the gangsters.  And that's a lot less guns on our streets at that point. 

Ecstasy is a big one for drug smuggling.  It comes in from Europe in many a way.  I encountered this down South in a port.  Hells Angels.  Who had mates on the continent.  Who were involved in the Great Nordic Biker War.  Where the bikers were so well armed ( they had assault rifles, grenade launchers, all-sorts ) that the National Guard was needed to shut them down.  Google it, it's real.  It really happened.   And that is an awful lot of firepower that someone had to buy.  Where do you think they got all that cash from?

Our drug laws have actually empowered many a gangster over substances that, well, some of these substances are actually a lot safer then the papers will tell you ( source: Professor David Nutt ).  And that is why we need to look at this subject properly and work out what is safe and what is not for real.

The kids know this ( the drug safety factor ).  That's why they turn a blind eye in so many ways.  But at the same time they're turning a blind eye to gangsters at the minute, and the end result is a town like Croydon sliding down the tubes.  If these substances were provided by The Govt ( like alcohol ) those gangsters would be considerably weaker and less able to take over areas & ruin them.  But you can only sell these substances like alcohol if there is a safe dose.

I'm not saying legalise, I'm saying scrutinise.

But, until a Govt does this, we're kinda stuck.  The kids will continue to turn a blind eye, the Police won't get the evidence they need, & the gangsters will continue to rule the roost.  And these gangsters are not a good crowd to have ruling the roost.

Most of my observations come from the Croydon Heavy Metal scene these days, but at the same I have also seen enough to know that this is true in every and any nightclub ( I have been invovled in many a club-scene over the years ).  Most people just want to have a boogie and a laugh.  But for some ( usually a minority ) it's about taking over & controlling an area.  It may be to sell drugs, it may be because they are mentally ill and so afraid they need absolute control of their patch, or it may be as they're simply not very nice.  But either way it's about control.  If you 'don't get involved' they will win.  And then, as I have said, things will go very wrong.

There is good and bad in every nightclub.  The good needs to win, or that nightclub will go down the toilet.  And then no-one gets to have any fun.

So I'm afraid you need to get involved, and you need to check the 'drama' over. It's just how it is.  And the nightclub owners need to 'get involved' as well.  Turning a blind eye is just too dangerous.  It's commercial suicide, and also kills scenes that can be a lot of fun if run properly.  If you have a bad crowd in your venue you must throw them out.  Or all you'll have left is that bad crowd.

Get involved.  I've seen the good times in safe venues, and they are awesome.  Fashion, fun, frolics, love, & laughter.  It's worth getting involved.

Christian Wilcox is the Chair of the Croydon Mental Health Forum ( politically neutral ), an NHS Executive ( Advisory ) for the South London & Maudsley ( politically neutral ), and works for the Labour Party privately.

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