Anorak

Anorak | Rhys Jones Is Everyone’s Pet Cause

Rhys Jones Is Everyone’s Pet Cause

by | 24th, August 2007

rhys-jones.jpgRHYS Jones dominates the front pages.

“RHYS JONES 1995-2—7,” says the Mirror’s front page. And there’s a quote from this mother Melanie: “My son, my baby. He was only 11. Shot in the back of his neck from behind. My baby.”

“MY BABY,” says the Sun’s lead headline. “WE’VE LOST OUR BABY,” says the Mail.

There’s a picture of Melanie Jones. Her grief is raw. Her son died in her arms. She cannot stand it. She cannot believe it. Her husband Stephen is devastated. Their son has been shot three times in a pub car park after playing football.

This is a rare crime, the assassination of an 11-year-old boy by, as police believe, a young teenager on a BMX bike.

Looking For Reason

The shock is in the age of the victim. But the Express senses more. “A boy of 11 shot dead…just what has gone wrong with our country?”

“Is gun crime now totally out of control in Britain,” asks the paper. The answer is ‘No’. Gun crime remains rare. The murder of an 11-year-old is extreme. As the Sun says, eight youngsters have been shot dead in London this year, one in Manchester and now Rhys Jones.

But a senseless murder needs to be part of something bigger. This story would be enough for many, but the papers want more.

“RHYS JONES,” says the Sun “VICTIM OF ANARCHY IN THE UK.” And: “How did we sink so low? How do we put it right?”

What’s with the “we”? Only one of us has killed a small boy in his football kit. The rest of us find it appalling and want the culprit found and put away.

But while we wait we need something to blame. And there is not shortage of people willing to point the finger.

Pet Concerns

Frank Soddeen, of Alcohol Concern, blames “BOOZING CULTURE”. Professor Alan Smithers, chairman of the Centre For Education And Employment Research, blames “BAD SCHOOLS”. Norman Brennan, a policeman, blames “LACK OF POLICE”.

The murder of a little boy is now the chance for people to push their own agendas, perhaps even to secure some more funding for their pet causes.

“Let this change us as a nation,” says the Sun’s editorial. This is important. The Sun has no Page 3 today; even Nikki cannot make sense of it.

But the Sun wants to know. So a Sun writer journeys to Liverpool (a place that hates the paper) and visits a housing estate. Sue Evison senses: “Brooding menace on the bleak streets Rhys called home.”

Rhys lived on a private housing estate. While no Eden, it is not bleak. He had been playing football in the park. Evison sees a “square of scrubland – you could hardly call it grass”. TV pictures of the murder scene show a lush expanse of greenery.

Maybe Evison is a green campaigner? Maybe she cannot comprehend how such a hideous crime can occur in so ordinary a place.

It’s hard to make sense of any of it…



Posted: 24th, August 2007 | In: Tabloids Comments (14) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink