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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tragic toll of four stabbing victims in 24 hours - July 11 + 12

STOP PRESS: the BBC website has just published the names of four victims killed by stabbings in the last 24 hours.

A tragic toll of four in a day!
And a fifth man
is in a critical state, fighting for his life, from stab wounds to his stomach and back. See Sky News coverage

For God's sake, let's stop this. All must work for solutions - unity is powerful. Speak up, make demands, criticise, be tireless - but do remember to take care of your energy levels. Never give in.

Ref: the BBC radio breakfast show interview I gave, I thought I'd post some of my notes that I prepared for it. I wasn't able to cover all of this in the short time available but it provides information about why this blog is set up and its objectives:

Notes - this blog was set up with three broad aims:

One – to be a living, breathing memorial to Jacky Marshall, a superviser from a McDonalds at Chichester Gate who was viciously and fatally stabbed one Saturday lunchtime in April 2005 in front of a packed restaurant.

My two daughters loved her. She was simply the best person I’ve ever known work in a restaurant, always attentive, chatty and friendly. She used to fuss over the girls, always giving them balloons and toys whenever we popped in for Happy Meals.

Two – to be a useful online resource, always on 24x7, packed with information and news for anyone interested in trying to stop this UK scourge, to try to make society safer.

I try to make it contemporary and sometimes a little bit controversial to generate views, and have aimed to carefully select online resources about knife crime to inform and help with the debate, as well as help people affected.

Wherever possible, I aim to more intelligently interpret knife crime developments, better than the sometimes time-pressed, soundbite style many of us can experience via the mainstream media.

Three – I place some focus on those that carry knives. These people seem to experience some power and control when they carry knives. I think it important that those carrying knives need to know it is not tolerated by our society - and that no-one thinks they are powerful in any way, rather - they are fools. There is no kudos or an ounce of credibility carrying a knife. It’s just plain stupid.

That said, these people are a danger to innocent people; they threaten our lives, so disarming them must be handled with care.

What I’d say to people hearing this is to visit the blog. I work in online and search marketing so have worked to ensure the blog is easy to find on the Internet – just go to Google or Yahoo and type in 'knife crime blog'.

Read a few posts and click on the various links to websites that I’ve placed there; then just think about what you could do. Then I’d say simply do something (anything) peaceful + positive to add to what is a massive groundswell out there against violent crime.
  • Perhaps offer comfort by writing to those affected or commenting on blogs
  • Report criminal acts to the police (anonymously if necessary via Crimestoppers)
  • Maybe you could find an opportunity to influence knife carriers through youth work
  • Just this week I came across a website that allows people to light virtual candles in memory of those who have died from knife, gun or related gang crime. Why not do that? Here’s the link to that site: 'Gone too soon' - and I've added it to the right nav area of this blog.
One thing I have noticed with the many stabbings and shootings is the mounting number of online website memorials.

The Internet is filled with poignant - and often overwhelmingly upsetting – tributes to the dead from friends and family of victims, as well as complete strangers moved to contribute their condolences and sympathy.

It’s quite obvious that such killings devastate the lives of the living. The deaths leave unimaginable emotional suffering from irreplaceable loss.

I just had a note thanking me for putting up a tribute video to a young lad called Martin Dinnegan, killed aged just 14.

What happened to Jacky, that frenzied stabbing, gives me the motivation to carry on with this. When I think back on that awful event, on how one human being can summon the will to stick a blade into someone else and kill them, it’s just plain wrong.

Such acts cause never-ending pain, shock and devastation to families, friends and whole communities. It's just got to be stopped.

How likely is it that the knife crime statistics can be reduced to low levels? I don't know - but unless we're part of the solutions, we're probably part of the problems.

I must emphasise that people mustn’t put themselves in danger; don't fight someone or groups who are armed with knives, guns or other weapons just because you are angry and want to fight back – admirable sentiment, but it’s not worth the risk to you.

Run away to live another day if you have to, get them in your sights in other ways, everyday where necessary, possible, and as time + life allows - write letters, articles, blog posts etc... the pen can be mightier than the sword.

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