On the Saturday evening, August 4th 2012, there was yet another clash between two gangs in Rosengard, Malmoe, southern Sweden, where I live. A knife was used and two shots fired, but no one was wounded or killed this time… luckily. The Malmoe police arrested two people involved. This part of town often is mentioned in media when bad things occur. Rosengard is a combination of good and bad forces, high unemployment, a mix of well-educated and people with little or no education, entrepreneurs, a mix of many ethnic backgrounds, several good attempts to make the situation better and improve the reputation for those living there and the area as such. That’s why it’s saddening every time these violent clashes occur. When people feel angry and frustrated for being neglected, looked down upon or not given honest chances to prove their real worth they get angrier still. That’s when these clashes happen, but it’s a lousy way to solve the situation. To end up in police records, in jail, to get killed unnecessarily or drawn further into a life of crime and/or alienation is devastating. People need to feel respected, to get fair, honest chances to education and employment, but segregation, violent ideals, oppression, racism, negative attitudes towards women, unemployment and romantic descriptions of crime are some of the factors for clashes like these.
Not long ago the new Batman movie had its opening. At a movie theatre in a suburb to Denver, Colorado, a young man named James Holmes dressed as the Joker came in and killed 12 people and wounded several others. He had also set a trap in his flat for the police when they entered and now he will be charged for his crimes. Holmes will be taken to court by District Attorney Craig Silverman. I’m absolutely convinced that the young man most likely had had his mind twisted by movies like this Batman film, internet war games, and maybe but not necessarily problems in his social life. Ideals like those in the Batman movie prevail in many places and can be a strong influence especially on youngsters, but also on adults in emotional crisis. I’m not surprised that something like this has happened again. It’s tragic, but many changes have to be made in many places of society to improve the situation at least to some extent.
When the Batman movie also had it’s opening in Hederslev, Denmark, my western neighbor country the police got a call from someone that a bomb had been seen in the movie theatre. They arrested a 37 year old man, but it was false alarm this time. “The bomb” was merely a box containing two bricks. Maybe the visitors had been frightened by the mass killing in Denver and feared a copy-cat.
Violence is many times used for solving conflicts, but peaceful means could be used much more frequent than what we see today. When it comes to spousal assault for example especially women are victimized. Women of all ages and with various ethnic, religious and social backgrounds suffer from wife or partner battering, rapes or attempted rapes. One rape myth is that the rapist mostly is a suspicious stranger lurking in the bushes, but social surveys have shown that nine of ten rapes are made by someone close to the girl or woman, a husband, boyfriend, ex-partner, class mate, date, father, boss or something like that. One of the means that have been made to predict and prevent violence against women and spousal violence especially is called SARA, Spousal Assault Risk Assessment. The Malmoe police introduced the system as late as April this year. They now have a SARA guide with a check list with questions to predict the risk for wife and partner battering and rapes in close relations. Asa Skotte is the female police officer who’s these questions as part of her job. More often than not women are given assignments like these, and are many times neglected or not given their rightful place. Problems and issues like these are not women issues, but valid for everyone in society, irrespective of gender or age.
Anders Moberg, November 8th 2012