An anonymous comment left on this blog notes:
The location of the shooting is a cul-de-sac that separates Kennings and Penwith Manor Estates. Poorly-lit and with no CCTV, it's a gift to local dealers servicing the demand from local pubs and elsewhere. Whether there are 5 gangs in the immediate location, there is a drug problem that nice parts of Kennington don't see. Police have now cleared off, and there's a shrine at the spot where the shooting took place, so it appears there's something to the gang link.
I'm not clear on how a shrine points to the gang link, but I wish it didn't take deaths for poorly-lit, unobserved alleyway areas to be brought to public(?) or council (?) attention. Of course, that presumes that somebody is paying attention at all. I've often used that particular cut through from Kennington tube station (and will continue to do so), but I admit that I tend to use it before dark, because it sometimes does involve walking past groups of youths. I refuse to be intimidated by groups of people, but I can see why some people might not like it.
I've been doing a little questioning of the "5 gangs" in the area figure, quoted by the unnamed source. It seems that two things are at issue:
a) What exactly "this area" refers to. The local estate? (which is what I was presuming). Kennington? Kennington and Oval? Kennington and Vauxhall? Further out to encompass Camberwell, Peckham and Brixton, as well as Kennington? I was thinking that 5 gangs sounded too high for the local estate. However...
b) The guy who runs The Assha Project blog (a blog about a gang conflict mediation programme in Tower Hamlets) has pointed out to me that the unnamed neigbour might have been using a wider definition of "gang" than I was anticipating. I was using "gang" to refer to a group of people that routinely hang around together with some criminal intent. I wouldn't use the word "gang" just to describe some friends who hang around on the street, with no criminal intent. I realise that there is a fine line (especially because groups comprise some people who might have some criminal intent, and others who might not), but it does seem that the former involves illegal elements, whereas the latter is actually still legal. A group of friends who hang around on street corners might be disapproved of by some UK citizens, but I figure that freedom to congregate peaceably hasn't been made illegal yet. If the unnamed neighbour is using the word "gang" in this looser sense, then I concede that there may well be 5 gangs on that particular local estate.
One issue that I really appreciate the anonymous poster commenting on is drug supplies to local pubs (and I believe that Camila Batmanghelidjh brought this up in one of my favourite interviews for the BBC) when she said:
Adults - it's y'know, adults - some people who work in the city running crack dens y'know, to make extra money. And it blows my mind, because the people who ring the 'phones of my kids are city workers, who ring for their drugs. And yet they're the same people who judge these children y'know? But they keep the drug trade going.
And I was thinking that a lot of libertarian type people who don't object to taking drugs, or having friends who take drugs, might not think about the people whose hands the drugs pass through... Theoretically, in one guise, I'd be one of those people who said something like, "well, if people choose to take drugs, and they're not harming anybody else, then it doesn't bother me that they're doing something illegal". But it seems that drug-taking is harming other people, just not the people actually taking the substances in question. (This of course, raises more questions about whether any drugs should be illegal?)
Being that Vauxhall, and its numerous gay clubs are around the corner, continually fueled by newer and more ingenious ways to get high, it can't be an accident that we'll end up with shootings in the area as well. The whole supply and demand chain is on our doorsteps.