...My pain is no less than the mothers of “innocent” victims. My son is also dead. My family have the same feelings of grief, sorrow, regret and frustration that the family of all other victims share.
Leon was also somebody’s son, somebody’s fiancé, somebody’s father, somebody’s brother and somebody’s friend.
He was my child and I love him and miss him dearly. He was my friend, my confidant, and my heartbeat.
Statistics about exclusions, violence and black deaths belie human tragedies, and Leon is yet another tragic victim that can all too easily be forgotten.
If you want to know about the humanity behind victims and perpetrators of 'knife crimes', this is the story your tabloids won't tell you. Black families like Leon Francis's very rarely get to tell their stories; when you read Jackie Ranger's Socialist Worker articles here and here, you realise that our mainstream media are missing out on insightful, poignant stories of everyday humanity behind the headlines - stories of the reality of crime and punishment which could provide some much-needed perspective in the current hysteria about knives.
Or, we could simply ignore articulate voices such as Jackie Ranger's, demonise the young and the black, and put in place an ever more punitive system against the vulnerable, disadvantaged, poor and minorities, separating Green Zone gated suburbia from our society's untouchables.
I know which option the Government and Her Majesty's Opposition would prefer.