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To Live & Die

We went up to the St Ann's area of Nottingham late on Saturday night to talk to a family who live in a council house on a notorious road called Kingsthorpe Close. While we were driving there, the white taxi driver told us that he hoped we were wearing...
VICE Staff
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Photo by Alex Sturrock

She was 14 years old. What had she done?
Nothing. She was totally innocent. So why did it happen?
What people don’t realise is that people who shoot people are just normal people and a lot of it comes down to drugs and territorial issues. It can come down to really minor beefs as well. Somebody will get beaten up and they’ll go back to their guys and then that’ll start a war between them. So when you see one of them you’ve got to beat them up and then it just builds and builds and then you start to use weapons. Do you have a weapon?
No. But, last week, a boy of nine was just playing around the corner with a stick and he poked the stick in a bush and a handgun fell out. Around here it’s that easy for anybody to bump into it and it’s easy for anybody to get a gun. I don’t know who’s organised and bringing the guns in but somebody is definitely doing it. So there’s a lot of drug dealers here.
The reason why people resort to drugs is because there aren’t any jobs. It’s not because they’re black or they’re mixed race or white or because they live in the ghetto, it’s because there is not enough help in this city to get a job. Round here there’s definitely a lot of heroin and cocaine. On this estate where I’m living now there’s lots of drugs. There’s different blocks in St Ann’s, the Brewsters side, the Cadbury’s side. There’s loads of addicts and stuff like that and it’s the younger generation that run the drugs operation around here. Photo by Andy Capper Memorial graffiti covers pretty much every wall in St Ann’s. If you’re involved with the heroin and the cocaine then you’re involved in everything. If you’re getting your weed off somebody he will obviously know who to contact to get in touch with the other stuff. But what about getting a job that won’t get you shot?
There is a Job Centre but I’ve been there and it’s not worked for me. There are some people who have normal jobs but there isn’t much employment. I left school three years ago and I’ve been looking for a job for that long. If there were jobs, I would have got one by now. If I’ve been trying for that long to get a job then there must be something wrong. I mean, McDonald’s is definitely going to employ you but there isn’t a lot of jobs. I don’t really know anybody with a salary. Did you hear about this £55 million that the council has to spend on the deprived areas of Nottingham?
That money hasn’t been used to help people in the community because the only thing I can see that they’ve built in St Ann’s in the last two years is the new flats which the students are going into. That’s not helping the community. How is that helping the people in St Ann’s?