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Sunday, August 17, 2008

More knife deaths - what to tell + teach the children?

More knife deaths this weekend - it's impossible to be unmoved (nor would we want to block out such emotions), even after years of writing this blog. In fact, to be honest, I'm always devastated by another killing or wounding - but it's a different scale to how it felt when Jacky Marshall died in my arms.

It's like there are two distinctions - one when you're involved in a stabbing or some kind of killing (perhaps this is the case in war too), and the other when you hear about it by news media, word of mouth, something like that. Very sad.

I was on holiday with my family last week. The kids club held a pirate fancy dress night and my two girls went straight for the eye patch, bandana - and plastic knife.

Remember, these were the two who were with my wife and I when knife-wielding killer Shane Freer rushed into the Chichester McDonalds and attacked Jacky.

So, they got these plastic knives and I found it unnerving as I examined quite an authentic looking fake blade. And kids were everywhere with 'em - pretend sword fighting, sneaky attacks, rolling on the floor.

I felt torn between wanting to stop it and then seeing this was just some fun play.

Now back at home, it does seem sinister that we let kids play this way. It's hardly fun to pretend to kill someone, yet kids do it all the time - war games, cowboys + indians, stuff they see on films etc.

But dramatic re-enaction can be a useful learning tool - though you need to debrief youngsters. My pirate fancy dress incident does highlight, I think, the importance of discussing knife and other weapon use with children at appropriate times.

It is wrong to kill or injure, except in self defence. And kids need to talk about that for it to sink in.

A friend of mine posted a comment to this blog - he doesn't allow his son to play with fake weapons, pointing out the issue is so serious that they are not things to be played with. Read his child knife crime post.

May eternal light shine upon the victims of violence this weekend - Connor Black (Manchester) and the 17-year-old Sri Lankan lad killed in Croydon (unnamed as I type this), and anyone else dying 'unnaturally' - such tragedies and accidents must be stopped, they are preventable.

And if anyone affected by knife crime reads this, do be reassured and comforted - if you can - that people are greatly concerned about this menace. There is much sorrow, frustration, unhappiness, but also determination, to try to stop this happening. From what I see now, much is underway to tackle a massive problem. I wish there was more I could say that could help you - but many of us do pray and press for change.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark, I just read your blog whilst waiting for the rowing to start at the Olympics.

    My wife and I have never let our son play with toy guns, and knives.

    It is quite hard when he sees other children doing this but we always tell him that knives and guns are bad and shouldn't be used as toys.

    So far he has always accepted this. At times I think that we are being too harsh (but this is only for a second or two).

    Cheers... rowing has just started - come on GB...


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