Imagine that you, a young 'black' man, aged about 16 years, one of a family of nine, live peacefully, legally and respectfully in a 'white'-dominated lower middle-class UK neighbourhood. You are the youngest of seven siblings, six boys and one girl. Because you are 'black' you, like your siblings, go to a 'faith' school across town wearing your school uniform. Each school-day, you walk 'against the traffic' as it were, to a bus stop 400 metres away while local youths, alighting from a bus, walk from an adjacent bus stop past you en route to a 'state' school nearby. Similarly, you complete your return journey home 'against the traffic' as 'state' school students hurry past you en route to their bus.
Your older brothers and sister have never experienced any difficulty en route to or from their 'faith' school other than the effort to catch a bus to town in time to reach class or to get home in good time. In any case, by this time, all your siblings have 'left home' and you live with your now elderly parents.
However, one day in the early 1970's without warning, on your way home after stepping off the bus and almost home, you are attacked and seriously assaulted by unidentified person/s. Passers-by help you home. The assailants are not identified but are described as being state school students by way of their distinctive school uniform. For unknown reasons, police are not informed about this crime by the 'Samaritans' nor by your family.
A few years before the incident, a serious, violent, long-lasting (1966-1998) political conflict had erupted in the UK region where you lived . Your family members have never been involved in anything unlawful - indeed several of your relatives have served with honour in local and overseas state police services. Nor are they actively 'political' other than in voting in state elections.
During your remaining school-days and until you acquire a motorcycle and attend university, you are 'escorted' by your father or a sibling or a friendly neighbour to your school bus. On your return journey, you alight from your bus early and stay in a friend's house (the H family) until you are again escorted home.
Although the incident was reported by phone shortly after the event by one of your siblings to a senior school staff member (unidentified, refusing to give his name) this person dismissed the incident, noting that as it allegedly took place away from the school campus, involved unidentified assailants, and was not (yet) reported to police, nothing could or would be done by the school. This was stated defensively and without any expression of sympathy for the injured person.
About 15 years later, the victim of this assault died by suicide. It's clear to me, based on my own detailed knowledge of the victim, his family, the local neighbourhood and a then current, poisonous lawlessness feeding off a 'low risk of detection', that this assault was carried out by aggressive, criminal bigots. The assaulted person would have been identified to his bigoted assailants as 'one of them' (a hated minority 'black' outsider) by his school uniform.Since the victim was on his own, these cowards were able to carry out their dirty, unprovoked assault without fear of detection or redress.
I think about this unsolved crime often. I deeply regret that it may well have been an unfair, unjust, illegal 'lighting of a fuse' that created at least a contextual element for the catastrophic, personal explosion that killed an innocent man years later.
I wish that I had been able to do more at the time of the assault and afterwards. Requiesquat in pace (1989).