This article originally appeared on VICE UK
Is it ever OK to laugh at violent crime? It's just—it's just, read this opening sentence, from the Standard:
A gang of men robbed a teenager of his Segway 'hoverboard' in Enfield after getting out of a passing car and punching him in the face.
In many ways, for everyone other than the victim, his loved ones and other fearful swegway riders, this is the perfect combination of words. "A gang of men robbed a teenager of his Segway 'hoverboard'…"—those inverted commas absolutely dripping with contempt, contempt getting on the floor and on the surfaces, you're trying to carry this sentence to the sink as quickly as you can but you still get contempt all over your suede shoes, the contempt thick and viscous like a burst sandwich bag full of wallpaper paste "…after getting out of a passing car and punching him in the face."
After getting out of a passing car, and punching him in the face. The perfect 13-word description of a crime. "After getting out of a passing car—" the men just cruising through Enfield, not up to much, hungry maybe, the men, one in the back saying, "Shall we do Micky Ds? Anyone else feeling Micky Ds?" and then they see him, a small teenager on a swegway, and someone says, "Lol, does anyone want a swegway", and another man—a harder man—says, "I think I could down him with one punch, not even lying," and the car screams to a halt and—"and punching him in the face." They just laid the kid out, one punch, dazed on the floor, and they're gone, spirits in the wind, his swegway thrown roughly in the backseat, Chicken Selects all round.
Imagine the teenager having to explain this to his mom. She's absolutely fuming in the kitchen. "WHERE'S YOUR SWEGWAY?" she's saying. The teenager bought the swegway himself, in this version of the story, a swegway bought on the toil of late shifts. Had to get it imported, pay that annoying customs charge. Delivered it to his mom's office because he was at college that day. She had to wrestle it home on the bus. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, PUNCHED IN THE FACE?" Absolutely hitting the roof. "WELL, I'M NOT GETTING YOU ANOTHER ONE." Teenage dreams, so hard to beat. Every time, you sweg down the street.
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Anyway, the police have released a vague description of these future criminals—this is not the last hoverboard-related crime we will have to report, here, is it, this is the cusp on the future of crime, this is the domino that ripples through a warehouse full of them until they are toppling en masse while a small crowd of tired MIT students clap and cheer, we are now one step closer to headlines like "ROBOT MURDERS WILLIAM HAGUE" and "HOVERPOLICE 'ACCIDENTALLY' KILL INNOCENT DETAINEE" and "A HOLOGRAM OF TUPAC JUST ROBBED A LOAD OF APPLE WATCHES." The four men exited a black Ford Focus and crowded the victim on Enfield High Street towards Ponders End. One was described as 5'11", black, largely built and with a small beard. The other three men were described as black, one being thin and wearing a black hooded tracksuit, one with a small scar under his eye.
Although I suspect, should the police want to find them, they should maybe just look for "the four dudes taking it in turns to find their balance on a swegway."
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