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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Knife crime - influential report highlights Government failure

It is shocking to see a knife crime happens every 24 minutes in this nation - that's 5,500 serious crimes involving knives in just three months this year. (For more info, see The Independent article.)

As echoed in this blog since it started in 2006, a new report shows a failure to draw up a coherent Government strategy appears to be the major factor preventing violent knife use.

Study more details about this finding on the BBC site. The report is by King's College London criminologists.

Contrast this considered report with facts such as: fewer than one if five criminals using knives are jailed - see story in The Telegraph. And the occasions in which a knife was used in successful muggings have soared, from 25,500 in 2005 to 64,000 in the year to April 2007 (The Telegraph).

Once again it becomes clearer and clearer that the Government must step up to the task.

(Think I may have solved the technical problems with my blogging tool - I'm using a new computer! So, I intend to keep tracking knife crime matters vis this blog. As I've been away a little while, I'm going to work to better measure the knife crime landscape and put together a fresh assessment about what's going on, who's doing what etc. Watch this space...)

I've added a couple of new features to the blog so you can more easily track and read posts - you can now easily subscribe by e-mail or RSS feed. Just use the links in the top right section of this blog site.

For those who don't remember, I went to the assistance of a woman who was killed from knife wounds in an attack at a McDonalds restaurant in Chichester. See my previous blog post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Knife crime not being tackled

A couple of stories have just caught my eye - that the government is too soft on knife carriers, and a girl was stabbed in her school break.

No-one can blames us for wondering what effective action is being taken, so the government deserves the brickbats, I reckon.

For a start, it is worrying that knives are carried in school. Maybe metal detector-type security scanners will have to be used?

Don't know - but the knife scourge affecting this country doesn't seem to be improving - so calls for action must continue.

(Apologies for less posts lately - there are some ongoing technical problems with blogger which are hampering my efforts. Not sure if they'll be a fix anytime soon but I'll do my best to keep posting. Keep your comments and stories coming...)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Young people face body searches to tackle knife scourge

Schools in England have been given the legal right to search students who are suspected of carrying knives.

See full knife search story on The Times online

What do you think? Good idea?

Head teachers will be given guidance on how to use airport-style metal detectors to screen young people.

The guidelines state that a pupil can be refused entry to a school if he or she refuses to be screened.



Education Secretary Alan Johnson said knife-carrying in schools was rare, but it was illegal and a message it would not be tolerated must be sent out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ban sales of knives: hunting, combat, machetes, fantasy

Law-abiding people won't mind (that much) seeking a licence for knives that can be used as lethal weapons.

There should be a record of who owns which lethal knife and why they own it. Why not?

Why shouldn’t people buying a hunting knife have to have a licence, just the same as a hunter needs a licence to buy a gun?

Barbara Dunne, founder of Mothers Against Knives, is pressing to get knives off English streets.

You can read her comments by visiting The Sun website: Understand the devastation that knife crime causes

This harks back to my initial calls - stop selling knives so freely in our shops, put them behind locked counters, screen the buyers etc - like we do for cigarette consumers.

Keep thinking, consider your actions... everyone.

Monday, April 09, 2007

How to deal with such mad violence...?!

All this violence continues...

BBC News:
Stabbed Paul Erahon, aged 14, was victim of bullies
Metro: Dying Paul asked knife killer: How could you do this?


Paul is the seventh Londoner under 16 to be murdered since the end of January... Seventh! Utter madness.

Evening Standard: Shooting of pregnant 22-year-old Krystal Hart

There is a kind of immoral sensationalism as you watch the media roll out attention-grabbing headlines at these awful times. Two precious lives are dead - yet papers want to sell, tv news wants viewers etc.

On the positive side, we are part of the same community, the same society - most of us are deeply saddened and upset by such tragedy, and this depraved use of weapons. By watching and reading, it (hopefully) motivates us to do something to change things for the better. We are in the majority - it's about using our power more effectively, I'm sure.

I was trying to think more, meditating a little more while reading over the last few Easter days.

Putting this blog together, looking at knife + gun websites and related news has often made me determined - but also frequently angry and frustrated.

To deal with this, perhaps a state of mind is called for at times. I came up with five words: quiet, peaceable, determined, charitable and pitiful.

What do you think?

Developing these, I hope they can be added focus for our thoughts that further develop and push forward everybody's knife + gun campaigning efforts.

We will, however, always remember those who were killed. Always.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday - we remember the stabbed, the murdered, the executed + all crime victims, especially those struggling to recover

On Good Friday, it is sobering to have been contacted by the mum of another innocent victim killed in a knife attack. As ever, I feel great sadness at it all.

Westley Odger was just 27 when he was stabbed. He was a son, a brother (to a sister and another brother). In eternity + now - he still is. In his own words, from his blog, this is what happened:

"At around 3pm on the 12th September, 2005, I went to the Nationwide cash machine at the Hunwicke Shops on the Greenstead Estate, Colchester, Essex, and during the time that I was attempting to withdraw cash, was fatally assaulted. My life swiftly taken by 'one stab wound' in the neck."

You can read more here - Westley's blog - and here, Westley and his family's leading 'Knife crime website'. These are resources for those seeking to join the knife crime campaign - it is filled with comfort, help, advice, tributes to victims - in fact, the list is endless. Those who died deserve nothing less - those left behind need this and will find it helpful, I'm sure.

Google has many links to information about Westley and his knife crime campaigning - just click here.

His mum, Ann, just wrote to me. She said: "I'm so glad that you've survived this incident [McDonalds attack in 2005]. It is appalling the number of incidents that are happening around the country on a daily basis.

"I campaign for tougher sentencing following Westley's unprovoked knife attack which took his life on the 12th September, 2005."

_________________________

Christianity has some faults and flaws - and talk of religion sometimes doesn't help those affected. But, if nothing else, on Good Friday and this Easter season, just start to consider the following about Christianity and knife attacks:

2000 years ago an innocent man had a spear thrust into his side by a soldier... to make sure he was dead. His death - the man we call Jesus - seemed pointless. It decimated and devastated his friends for days, weeks, months, even years. Many Christians still get sad now.

But, in fact, after three days the point started to become very clear - he rose from the dead, and Christianity was never the same. Make no mistake, even now he is working with those suffering this knife curse afflicting our land - even though, sometimes, it doesn't feel like it.
_________________________

Please remember Jacky Marshall + her family at this time. She died from a stabbing in McDonalds in Chichester on April 16, 2005. May eternal light shine upon her, and may her family continue to be helped + comforted. I started this blog to help - hopefully it continues to do so. God bless...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Drug dealer 'stabs crime fighter in street'


No way should someone have to put themselves in so much danger to get a dangerous dealer off the street.

This is supposed to be a police job - so how come this dealer was out so brazenly dealing... and with a knife ready to kill? If dealers don't go to hell, I don't know who will.

That said, I'm not happy about such strong language I'm having to use to articulate the dangers about people with knives and guns in our society.

Peace must come to the streets - it's the only way.


Here's the story from today: Metro

Have-a-go hero stabbed by drug dealer

Bruce Lawrence was stabbed in the head when he stood up to a drug dealer.

Mr Lawrence told the man who was openly selling drugs to stop and move on.
The area is plagued with drug-related violence and Mr Lawrence was sick of it.

The dealer became violent and during the ensuing scuffle Mr Lawrence, 32, was stabbed in the head above the right ear and blood poured from the wound.

But despite this he managed to hold the dealer down until police arrived.

Mr Lawrence, a karate expert, said: 'I want to send a message out to all these people who think they can deal drugs on these streets.

'They should look out for me and know they won't get away with it if I'm around. I know that man's face.

'He's always dealing round here and now there's one less of them on the streets. We're not putting up with rubbish any longer, the people round here are starting to fight back.'

'There was a bit of a scuffle and he pulled out a knife and started lunging at me but I wasn't going to let him go even though I got knifed in the head.'

Mr Lawrence was treated in hospital, as was the 42-year-old suspect who was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.



Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cannabis + mental illness? No - you are the problem

I don't buy it - if people were peaceful, cannabis would not transform them into murderers. It may send them further down a path to mental chaos (especially in our busy, tense lives and society) but not killing, stabbing etc.

Combining cannabis with alcohol on a Saturday night - that maybe stupid and angry, but still not a murderer or hooligan does it make.

Killing, stabbing, shooting, the will to violence is a product of the person not the substances. People must look at themselves, not the drugs.

People on drugs, alcohol etc have to take responsibility for their actions. Stop drinking, stop smoking etc. Anything else tends to be an excuse.

Admittedly though, 'our society' doesn't help - but again that's no excuse. If you've gone out of control, that is mostly changed by education, associates, recreation. (True mental illness is a different issue though.)

What I mean is, the Guardian angle on this story maybe wrong:
News - March 2007: Drug user gets life for killing friends

That's pandering to the social workers. Far better (and good for self-esteem) to take responsibility for yourself. (If you're not coping though, seek professional help.) Whatever, don't lash out.

Look at it this way - when your angry and/or fuelled with 'stuff': breathe deeply once and tell yourself to count for two seconds ("only a fool breaks the two-second rule").

Then you won't feel as angry, then you can put the knife / gun away - and just go home.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Kill him, kill him" - knife generation murder twice

Jesus Christ, help us - two teenage boys stabbed to death in three days.

Knifed to death by a mob and 'Hoodies' sought over boy's stabbing

Sick to the pit of my stomach, upset to the core - words cannot describe... tears just keep rolling down my face.

Two things come to mind:

1. If you face some -one or -people brandishing knives, guns threatening violence - please, if there is an escape route, just run away, run like the wind. It's not worth the risk - your life is worth more if you can live to fight another day. (Maybe worth learning karate too - you can kick guns and knives out of hands.) If you're trapped, fight like a big cat cornered - you'll get out, no doubt.

2. My thoughts turn to the violent. They are little fuckers - I make no apology. That said, they are clearly lacking insight about life - crap education and upbringing they must have had. Our society, our communities are responsible - this must be fixed. Why have the politicians totally, utterly failed? What was the point of voting for people who cannot provide solutions? We need people with brains in power. Who out there knows they have a brain to take on politicians that are not thinking straight? An opportunity awaits you...

I pray for the grieving left in this hostile, unfriendly country - they need our support more than any other time.


(RSS feed test - http://blog.myspace.com/blog/rss.cfm?friendID=146247943)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Priest stabbing - angst + pain: no comfort on Earth

Angst and pain. BBC News: Vicar stabbed to death at church - nothing can comfort those trying to come to terms with what's happened, I feel, except God, his Mother and the angels. Nothing.

Let's struggle to try to tap people's mentality when they pick up a knife. I thought the following showed the sheer idiocy and pointlessness (that those picking up knives just don't seem' to get'):

Evening Standard:
Jealous ex jailed for stabbing childhood sweetheart

There is something destructive in the human psyche that is difficult to subdue for some people. It's not an excuse - these people let it 'inflate', become a sick 'desire' or drive, to get back, to injure.

I'm reminded of a quote - "one day, the centre of the universe will be discovered and a lot of people are going to be very disappointed to discover they are not it."

I'm not just waxing lyrical - knife-wielders think they are so important that they have a right to wield blades, to maim, to kill, because - heaven forbid - they've been wronged.

Well, wake up and smell the coffee - life is tough, waving a knife about doesn't make things easier - ever. Period.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gun crime - studying the facts + figures

Thought and quote of the year so far: Ben Okechukwu - father of Ruth Okechukwu, who was stabbed to death by Robert Malasi in 2005 - said: "Not enough is being done to check the infiltration of guns and knives".

And just thought we could take a look at the gun crime statistics.

On Sunday AM this morning, a key statistic showed that more than half of those carrying out gun killings were teenagers.

This BBC article carries a statistical overview: Fighting gun crime

And the Gun Control Network is doing some worthy work.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Drugs (illicit) are crap, guns kill - make no mistake

Sickened. Am considering some focus on anti-gun work after the news over the past week. Three teenagers down (sob).

Seems to be a difference between knife and gun use - but the devastating consequences using one or the other is quite clear: death, serious injury, lives destroyed.

BBC News - Shot 15-year-old's father pleads to catch killers

Politicians irritate me to the point of disgust. While a boy dies in his sister's arms, politicians talk openly about family problems, specific solutions, careful responses. True to say, these bureaucrats have no idea. For f sake, few parents, relatives or friends want to hear anyone casting blame in times of grief - it doesn't help, it feels worse. It's not their fault.

That gun crime is directly linked to drugs gangs appears non-contestable. Ordinary people can play their part by not buying drugs. Illicit drugs generate criminal activity. Remember those you helped murder when you take your next cannabis drag. A smokey drag is not without its consequences, without its guilt. Poor Kate Moss, no doubt - a (potential) killer and criminal, we pretty much know.

Apparently, Peel Dem Crew - with online music pretensions - are a crime gang rolled up in this gun shooting mess. Pity them. See You Tube.

And the knife link? See BBC News - Police link two Peckham killings . Some knife and gun violence is centred around Peckham.

Who's an idiot carrying a knife or gun in Peckham - do you know one or two? Watch out for the black guy (they can't have a soul anyway - who are the white idiots too...). God protect us all.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Party-goer uses samurai sword to murder

I know what we'll do - let's pop down the shops, buy a samurai sword, hang it on a wall. Let's admire it, enjoy its sleek appearance, sharp blade, shiny looks...

Then we'll pick it off the wall hooks and head out to slaughter someone... how about a 15-year-old girl?

This happened - see BBC News: Party-goer uses samurai sword to murder

Sickened doesn't describe the half of it. Out at the weekend, friends tell me they know of a 14-year-old who went into David Messam's in East Street, Chichester, and bought a machete. How can that be sensible - ever?

Then pub-goers I met wondered how to stop this menace - and good ideas get lost among the rush of "it's too difficult to stop people buying / carrying knives - and anyway, there's always a knife in the kitchen to use".

Fair points maybe, but none of them justify or excuse using a knife in violent fashion, whether to maim and kill.

Another knife stabbing - just another Monday night in England...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another lad knifed to death - when will lawmakers act?

My hands just covered my head this weekend - it made me weep. "Branded a chav - then murdered" rang out the Mirror newspaper headline.

A decent 15-year-old lad will not be getting up for school anymore, heading to the cinema or a rugby match, or spending time with his girlfriend.

All because a fool chose to carry and use a knife against him. Such a waste of a precious life by an idiot who cannot see beyond the feeling of having a death blade in his pocket.

My heart goes out to his mother who made a plea today for youngsters to stop carrying knives (see The Sun - Knife plea by 'chav boy's' mum).

I remember seeing a dying woman in front of me during the McDonalds attack at Chichester, and thinking WHY? What drives a person to wield a knife with such violence?

All the pleas in the world do not bring loved ones back to life - proper, appropriate, nationwide action must be taken to stop the lives of loved ones being stolen - and soon.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gang members carry knives to prove they're "someone"

Comment from someone finding out about this blog:

"It is a growing problem and something that largely goes unreported or is toned down in the media.

"There was an attack in 2005 on two students in Essex, totally unprovoked, and one of them died from a stab wound.

"There was footage that you could download and I think one programme actually showed the stabbing but I don't think people are aware of how much damage knives can do and the majority of offenders carry them without setting out with the intention of using them.

"If you've seen the footage it really hits home how such a small incident, that the offenders probably thought would result in the victims being hurt and nothing more, can result in tragedy.

"There is a definite culture among certain groups, and members of those groups carry knives and weapons to prove that they're part of that group.

"But I think the majority of actual incidents where someone gets stabbed are the result of a relatively small issue getting totally out of control and, hopefully, offenders feel genuine regret afterwards.

"But if footage like that of these boys being stabbed was shown to a bigger audience and on a much more regular basis, also including the consequences to both victims (and families) and offenders, then people would begin to understand how deadly knives are.

"There is an argument that showing footage like this would desensitise people to it and possibly the crime, but having seen it - and knowing that the boy died from it - I think that's impossible.

"I'll pass this link on - think it strikes a chord with a lot of people!"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Blunting knife sales and tackling the knife carriers

Couple of ideas emerged today discussing use of knives.

A friend of mine thought only knives without sharp points should be freely on sale i.e. blunt-ended, rounded-end knives. Sharp-pointed knife sales should be regulated. Maybe there's some mileage in that? Or is it really that practical. Not sure.

Another friend pointed out it's not the knives that are the dangers - it's the knife carriers. Really this means reaching the people who carry knives is what we should concentrate on.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Attacks on the streets, complaints about the police

As I spend a little time researching this apparently vicious, societal, knife culture that surrounds us, I'm continually alarmed at the regular tales about some kind of mindless attack or other.

Here's just one incident: an innocent young lad is walking along a small city high street (Chichester - my home town). A group of four youths pass by, and without motive, they turn back and set upon him, leaving him injured and shocked.

My mind turns to the ease at how a knife could have been pulled - and the result would have been far more deadly... in fact, fatal.

More worryingly still is when the police were contacted, the oft-repeated complaint is that officers do not do enough to make people feel their reports about this and similar attacks are properly investigated. Shame on the police, perhaps.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Boycott Dolce & Gabbana over idiot knife adverts

Fashionista idiots - Fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has been criticised over "irresponsible" adverts which showed models wielding knives and others with graphic wounds.

Read the full story - BBC News

At your discretion, you can view a picture of the ad - D&G glorify wielding of knives

Here am I armed with nothing but a computer keyboard (and nil budget) trying to make an impression on this society's knife culture.

Then in one sweeping, multi-million pound advert campaign, those highly refined aesthetes at D&G damn themselves by trying to make knife-carrying part of fashion.

Don't know about aesthetes - more like aesholes.

What is galling is that they surely did it for the publicity. It's cashing in over the deaths and injuries of many people - pure and simple.

Without doubt, stylising blades in such a way is hugely distasteful and, more worryingly, dangerous and irresponsible, condoning and glamorising knives. Utter madness.

Similar points were made by Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (see the BBC News link above) and the Advertising Standards Authority.

If swearing helped, I'd do more - but it only shows frustration. So, time to be more proactive.
Only profits count to these sort of companies - so I'd ask anyone thinking about buying D&G to boycott them instead.

And why not drop the company an e-mail here, describing how poor the company is. If any of you discover other e-mail addresses, post them on this blog and I'll publicise them. Let me know any other campaigning ideas you have.

D&G - neurotic and pretentious berks from across the world hoping to live glossy mag dreams.
Narcisstic saps.

Fashionista idiots.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Student tackles knife crime issue at school

A teenager has written to this blog calling for changes in how knives are sold in the retail environment - as well as broader issues including knives used to protect young people from bullies.

I'm placing it as a formal blog entry to show how strongly and emotively that smart young people feel about this issue, not forgetting they too will work, run and vote in the UK in years to come.

Thanks Hannah - why not encourage friends and teachers who were affected by your drama performance to contribute their thoughts here? Going forward, I'll be putting this 'living petition' blog in front of MPs, police etc - and anyone else readers and contributors can think of. Simply - write your ideas, your feelings here.

Hannah's blog post:

"My name is Hannah - I'm a 14-year-old girl from Havant near to where the terrible incident happened in the Chichester Gate McDonalds.

"Although I had nothing to do with this, I feel strongly about the issue. Last year in my drama lesson at school, we were preparing a piece for a drama performance evening. Our class chose to do Theatre In Education - meaning that we have to educate the audience with our pieces.

"My idea was Knife Crime in schools, and how children bring knives into school for protection from bullies. It was a subject that touched the hearts of all of the audience - which is what we intended - and they came away knowing more about Knife Crime.

"Although most other groups chose to do something normal like drugs or sex, I chose Knife Crime because I think it's a very serious matter and people my age need to be told about it.

"Something needs to be done NOW before it gets worse, and more people die. Shops need to STOP selling knives asap... otherwise more fatalities will happen.

"Please help Mark and me to stop knife crime now."

PC stabbed - God knows how we help

It's so easy to get a knife and stab someone - sickeningly easy. A police constable has just been stabbed to death in Rutland. It's been all over the news this weekend. So sad.

BBC News - Leicestershire officer dead

God knows how this blog can really help change things but I won't give up. I make no apology for banging on about stopping retail outlets selling knives so openly.

People who stab - are they frustrated, red mist descends, then they lash out with a knife in their hand intending to extinguish life (or just injure)? Does it solve the problem they were stabbing out at? It certainly causes pain all round, especially to those left to pick up pieces, if they even can.

There needs to be restrictions - at least change this country's laws to put big knives behind shop counters or preferably out of sight underneath (removing temptation).

Like cigarettes and guns, knives can kill. We need licences to own guns and we have huge warning notices all over fags; why not similar approaches for knives - especially hunting knives and the like?

I wonder how effective this approach could be but some education is needed as well as trying restrictive practices, I'm sure.

Come on, let's change the law.
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