On Saturday night, well, early Sunday morning, when many people were enjoying the aftermath of bonfire parties or, like me, were safely tucked up in bed after lovely evenings with their families, 21 year old Billy Dove was stabbed in Hemel Hempstead town centre. Obviously I can’t speculate as to the circumstances, but the end result was tragic: Billy died.
As the parent of teenagers, this terrifies me. My lovely nephews live in Hemel Hempstead. They mix in the same circles as Billy. They’re out in the town centre at night. You can’t help but think: what if it had been one of them?
A 17 year old boy has been charged with Billy’s murder and another, also 17, is still being interviewed. 17! What on earth goes through the head of a lad just 6 months older than my son to make him disregard his own life and that of another so much that he can carry a blade, and worse – use it?
Of course, ‘society’ will be blamed. Joblessness is at an all time high. Hemel Hempstead town centre is a shadow of its former self. Still, the majority of young people are decent, honest and law abiding. Nearly 10,000 people have paid tribute to Billy on the Facebook page created in his memory. Most of the commenters are young and local. They’re all horrified by what’s happened. So can we blame this on unemployment and/or social issues when the vast majority are horrified and appalled, and wouldn’t dream of committing such an act? I just don’t know. Should we just accept that every so often, a real scumbag is born (or made) and nothing any of us can do will stop that happening?
All I know is that it scares me. It makes me worry for the future of my teenage boys, and it makes me sad for the parents and friends of a young man who are mourning a future and a life cruelly wrenched from them.