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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McDonalds stabbing; London police finally to act tough

I was staring at the BBC News channel tonight as the shock of a stabbing at a London McDonalds restaurant (in Oxford Street) started to permeate through the country and powers-that-be.

When the scrolling news ticker declares police are stepping up stop and search powers, that they want to work to end the knife-carrying culture among young people on London streets, it is shockingly apparent that this problem is looking to go out of control, if not already.

While many law-abiding people, including victims' families, have been trying to appeal to some kind of sense of moral conscience from those carrying knives, a crystal clarity descends that these people can't listen, apparently.

Why is that? Maybe it's down to some real sense of danger - but it's also down to an unwillingness to lose ownership of a weapon that can harm, can express false bravado, some kind of control over the other guy...

Powerless in a virtually corporate-run, bureaucratic society that can rob lives of meaning perhaps? These killers-in-waiting can afford a few pounds for a weapon to strike out - because, like most of us, they can't afford (or don't want) a better life promised by the desirous, covetous, myriad of societal marketing we endure every day.

It reminds me of Northern Ireland terrorist times - these 'urban thugs' are evoking real terror. When New York suffered violent crime years back, tourism suffered severely - after all, who wants to die while out shopping or eating a snack?

Don't know if I'm tapping quite the right vein of truth, but it's not hard to imagine I'm on the right lines. Whatever, it's point blank wrong that we must face fear on streets from those carrying blades.

At the same time, we use guns, missiles - and knives - in the Middle East to snuff out our enemies too. Not much of a better example for the disillusioned and angry young folk to try to emulate maybe (I reckon the argument about valid self-defence is lost on this video game generation).

As I said, I don't know all the answers - but killing or injuring people sure isn't one. Maybe the police 'stop and search' action in London will help - an active campaign of disarmament appeals, some firm education - but really, it must be wishful thinking. Knives are simply too freely available, and the mindset that needs changing too inextricably bound into a complex societal situation and disenfranchised generations - perhaps.

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