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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knife crime statistics

JUST checking website analytics on knife crime statistics and was pleased to see little traffic during Christmas - no-one is out doing knife crime maybe and needing to check this blog... we live in hope.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bullying and knife crime - 'lower level' violence

BULLYING - 'lower-level' violence - hasn't been covered before on this knife crime blog. Why is that?

Because it's subtle. It can be very subtle... so seeing the connection(s) can be difficult.

Let's see how this blog post goes, or we can add bits and pieces about this and other 'lower level' violence info over the days, weeks, months ahead. We've got loads of time.

Here's an interesting few snippets about bullying:

Bullying in life
Bullying can be perpetrated by teachers and the school system itself (or other systems, or certain people, or gangs (criminal gangs e.g the mafia - this links goes to 'The British connection: Italian mafia finds UK good for doing business', a Guardian article - maybe the UK will get like this murdered Italian), gangs of workmates, and/or maybe just gangs of friends). There is an inherent power differential in 'the system' (or in gangs, or even between friends, I suggest) that can easily predispose to subtle or covert abuse (relational aggression or passive aggression), humiliation, or exclusion — even while maintaining overt commitments to anti-bullying policies.

Another way to consider how this might play out - or be playing out - in the UK:

A society that produces Mafia ('società mafiogena') - and 'omerta' - does so for many reasons: many people consider violence and illegality like survival e.g.

  • Means and ways of acquiring a social role;
  • Violence and illegality are usually unpunished;
  • The legal economy is too weak to offer substantial opportunities (this is seen all around the UK now, right?);
  • The State and the institutions are seen as distant and foreign - but then sometimes strangely approachable through the mediation of the mafiosi and their friends.
  • etc.

The struggles against the Mafia (in Italy / Sicily) have been lost, the people believe, and the consequences for many people are the mistrust and the belief that it is impossible to change the situation, social life is lacking because of a crisis of political parties, an insufficient role for trade unions, and civil society is too weak and precarious etc.

Mafia is a form of totalitarian state and its peculiarity is the territorial control ('signoria territoriale'), from the economy to politics, to private life. For the Mafia rights don't exist, there are only favours.

If intimidation, threats of death, omerta etc aren't bullying (in its worst form), I don't know what is.

Bullying at work
Workplace bullying seems mild in comparison but can be "repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work or some combination of the three."

Statistics show bullying is 3 times as likely as illegal discrimination and at least 1,600 times as prevalent as workplace violence.

Statistics also show that while only one employee in every 10,000 becomes a victim of workplace violence, one in six experiences bullying at work. Bullying is a little more common than sexual harassment but not verbal abuse which occurs more than bullying.

That's how it's written on Wikipedia. Wikipedia also describes the history of bullying thus:

"High-level forms of violence such as assault and murder usually receive most media attention, but lower-level forms of violence such as bullying, has only in recent years started to be addressed by researchers, parents and guardians and authority figures."

Knife crime, gun crime, violence in UK society, the world - and bullying. It makes you wonder if bullying is the essence of that thing we call 'evil' - certainly evil is there in bullying. The links seem obvious... but then it seems subtle. Hmmm, let me think, think, think (said Winnie the Pooh, tapping his head)... there's some answers in here somewhere.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Latest stabbing statistics: slow progress (Dec 09)?

December 2009: Hospital figures show wounding by knives / sharp stabbing, slashing-type weapons and (potential) deadly instruments is still over 5300 (but that's an eight per cent fall on last year).

And the number of jail terms being handed down by judges increased in the last quarter of 2008 with length of sentence rising from 133 days to 184 days.

Details here in The Guardian's piece about these latest knife crime statistics. And more knife crime stats here.

Upset to report that an 18-year-old lad is stabbed to death in Bow, east London on Sunday, less than a week until Christmas :'-(

Doesn't seem like much progress against knife criminals, does it? So much more to do.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Business - Criminal, hurtful acts in commerce...

BUSINESS must change or be changed - it hurts too many people too often... just like some violent people it seems. That's going to be as tough a challenge as fixing knife crime, gun crime etc - probably tougher.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You little Knife carrier... You little Savage... You little Nothing

How many knife carriers are thieves? Don't know - but you could just sing this at any knife carrier... they are criminals at the end of the day - or post them the lyrics in a letter.

"You little Thief... you little Savage... you little Nightmare... you little Nothing... you little Girl... You little Slug... You've taken Everything... You let me Love you... Don't you feel Uneasy..."

You saw me stumbling, you watched me fall, you left me bleeding, shattered and broken. How does it feel to make someone die, to make families and friends cry by killing or wounding? You little knife carrier (and who sold or gave you the knife?)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Knife crime on X-Factor could help solve the problems

STOP PRESS: In my blog post below I criticise Simon Cowell for his habit of making hurtful comments when slamming would-be singers, entertainers and musicians.

However, rewind a little - he's proposing a popular current affairs-type, X Factor-style voting show to debate and tackle issues of the day. On Newsnight, he mentioned perhaps covering knife crime and the war in Afghanistan.

Great idea. Will it take off? Let's hope so - the more the public push, shove and drive politicians to change their corrupt ways and improve everyone's lives, the sooner we can expect change for good, to help solve knife crime and other violence issues, as well as clean up politics (surely?).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Knife crime blogging - and peacefully tackling violence

Many people ask me for background information about this knife crime blog so I thought I'd write a quick post covering some of this.

When it started, there were three main aims which haven't changed that much (although the scope may have crept a little):

1. To be a living, breathing memorial to Jacky Marshall, a supervisor who worked at a McDonalds in Chichester (a fast food restaurant in Chichester Gate). She was fatally stabbed on a busy Saturday lunchtime in April 2005 in front of a packed restaurant with some children's parties in full swing. A shocking and deeply disturbing event. (Read about the Crown Court trial and conviction here.)

My two daughters loved her. She was simply the best person we've ever known work in a fast food restaurant. She used to fuss over the girls and other children, always giving them balloons and toys whenever we popped in for 'happy meals'.

2. To be a useful online resource, always on 24x7, packed with information and news for anyone interested in trying to stop this scourge afflicting the UK (and other countries) and to try to make society safer.

I focus on making it contemporary, relevant, sometimes (perhaps often) 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 afflicted.

Wherever possible I aim to more intelligently interpret knife crime developments better than the often time-pressed, soundbite style of the mainstream media that most of us experience.

As time has gone on, there is much more information now available elsewhere. I aim to provide links to this - but I write this knife crime blog in my spare time so I'm conscious of missing things. That said, I believe it is still highly relevant to informing and tackling issues associated with violent crime. (And let me know if there's something you think I should take a look at.)

Over time, I've also focused a little on gun crime, other violence and war (as well as peace!), as well as societal issues that seem to precipitate violent crime such as the apparently greed-ridden world of high (and not so high) finance, profit-obsessed corporations, even MPs' expenses. (I'd even say Simon Cowell has much to answer for with his disparaging, demotivating comments on X-Factor. Better to work with and help people than relentlessly criticise, surely.

Two important areas I'm conscious need more in-depth exploration are poverty and organised crime. Watch this space for more on that. If you have any documents / links etc about this issue and its connections to violence, use of knives and guns etc, please send them to me.

3. 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, idiotic.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 is visit this blog and make contributions. 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 three words 'knife crime blog'. The blog is usually in #1 position in the search engine results pages.

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 peaceful 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
  • You can even light virtual candles in memory of those who have died from knife, gun or related gang crime. Why not do that? Every little helps I reckon.
One important point: people mustn’t put themselves in danger fighting knife, gun and other violent crime – it’s not worth it; run away to live and defeat this evil menace another day. Never give up is a motto I seem to be developing through this blog.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

You Must Not Kill - A Meditation

A friend of mine sent me a potentially comforting meditation for (maybe some) people who've had relatives or friends killed or injured in violent attacks, whether by knife crime, gun shot or other physical violence.

We're sorry if it doesn't provide all the answers and take away such pain. We pray and hope it helps some at least. Do send me a few lines to improve this if you think of anything, anything at all - this meditation can be improved to better help, we're sure.

And a message from heaven just came... God gently, closely spoke to me. It was a clear voice, distinct.

He told me about how much he cared for my life - and he also understood how people couldn't understand this because I had died, killed by mindless violence on that terrible day, a day etched on memories, scarring the minds and lives of those I love - family and friends who loved me and still do - as well as others.

And I turned to him, full of sadness, to ask him about what happened...

"Did I disappoint you or let you down that you should let me die this way, that I had to leave my friends and family without even saying goodbye?"

When I asked this question, he sighed deeply and also with deep sadness tried but struggled to explain...

"Your life was special, given by eternal right," he said. "It is against my law for it to be taken by another human being.

"I remember you forming in the womb, your first heartbeat, those little fingers that I let rest against my invisible hand. I was there with you even then.

"It was then that you touched my heart, you touched my omnipotent soul - you always have. I am touched by every new life of creation, always. And I also knew what you could grow to be. Imagine that.

"From that moment, you changed my life. Because I loved you even then, especially then, especially now.

"My heart soared because you were now alive, breathing and living. I brushed your face and held your head, softly, invisibly - so exciting that you were here.

"And then you grew, I watched your steps - and saw the difficulties you faced, some great times - and the odd injustice. Helped at times... sometimes I did, while your loved ones, friends and family did more.

"On that fateful day, you were injured to point of death - and quietly, slowly I eased you away from, perhaps, a difficult life or a life of great promise. Into my care and the care of old friends, family - and my family."

And I realised God couldn't really answer my question. That was my life and someone took it - I always think now that my life now stands to remind others that you must not kill.

Goodbye my friends, my wife, my husband, my mum, my dad, my sister and brother. 'Au revoir' you all, see you again one day. Until then, take care of your life and the lives of those around you. xxx

Monday, November 23, 2009

Destruction of men in their prime - by knives, guns and other weapons

"GooOOOD Morning VietNAM! It's time to rock + soul u from the delta to the DMC. It's 0600. [slight pause] What does the '0' stand for... Oh My God it's early."

Iraq and war are in the news (banks too in the City today - you'll need to read other parts of this blog to understand how this is connected to (knife) crime and violence - a couple of posts about 'banks' are shown here).

Violence and peace are intrinsically linked with this knife crime blog so had been thinking about Vietnam as well as wars generally - and that excellent film 'Good Morning Vietnam' with Robin Williams as DJ Adrian Cronauer.

The average age of the American soldier in the Vietnam conflict was 19... nineteen... Terrible, tragic waste of good, decent lives who were loved by many in life - not unlike many knife and gun crime victims :'-(

Death and destruction of men in their prime who's average age was 19. Is this what's happening in Afghanistan - while fat, bullied and bullying political leaders don't know how to get peace, they send in soldiers, sailors + air forces...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Daence, music, no knives and no crime - ever?

"If you have a knife in your pocket you'll end up using it"... runs the promo line on Facebook group 'You Have A Choice'.

'Don't Shank Just Skank' - Adam Deacon talks knives and knife crime (

Adulthood and Kidulthood star points out there are other options in life rather than picking up / carrying a knife. Knives and professionalism don't mix. "Don't Shank Just Skank" - out now. Worth buying to help maybe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tackling (knife) crime's causes - New FSA powers coming...

You may recall an older post about my saying that the FSA (Financial Services Authority) had some teeth to help change the state of banking and business that might give some hope for young people with little hope of a better life to be able to aspire to better things...
(Follow that link to check what I said)

Well, it's happened a bit, hasn't it? Good news for a Sunday, I reckon - FSA to get power to stop 'reckless' bankers by cutting bonuses.

Not bad, surely.

[Am putting together a more thoughtful piece for next (all being well) knife crime blog post...] Keep the faith, people.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Remembrance Sunday... For armed forces who have died

"THEY shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning... We will remember them." - You can read The Fallen poem here.

Laurence Binyon: "With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, England mourns for her dead across the sea."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Current UK political corruption harms knife crime, gun crime and anti-violence campaiging

The systemic corruption in the UK's political 'organisation' (i.e. Parliament and MPs - and presumably the Civil Service too) is adversely affecting and undermining the work of anti-knife and gun crime campaigners, and those trying to tackle violence in our society.

By far the strongest illustration of this, as far as knife and other crime is concerned, is former (and disgraced) Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Her perverse moral leadership (claiming huge sums of taxpayers money for a second home as well as the porn video fiasco) left the Home Office rudderless at a time when the anti-violence campaigners were building some momentum. I'm not saying that momentum has gone for good - but the behaviour of MPs like Jacqui Smith has hampered the work of so many families, crime victims etc at a time when they needed people with power to help them push for required change. This is much more than letting people down. Reflect on that Ms Smith and for God's sake... resign. Get a proper job and see how you get on there.

At the same time and for the same reasons, co-ordinated attempts, communications and PR efforts to highlight and tackle violent crime seem to have fallen by the wayside to some degree because politicians have demonstrated time and again that they are more interested in themselves, their salaries, commercial interests, etc, rather than those people suffering in the midst of a violent culture.

With the Government and opposition parties in disarray due to the corrupt parliamentarian compensation system they have been happy to be part of for years, these ego-centred MPs (I can't call them public servants - they haven't served, they have stolen) continue to demonstrate more interest in themselves than victims of crime and the issue of violent crime, sadly.

PM Gordon Brown recognised this when he said, "Never again should a Member of Parliament be more interested in the value of their allowances than the values of their constituents." And then this autumn Gordon Brown was ordered to pay back more than £12,000 of overpaid expenses.

All this goes beyond words - these people have lost sight of principles and morals. They have literally been "fiddling while Rome (the UK) burns". Are we seriously going to let any of these intrinsically corrupt people to administer our hard-earned taxes from now on?

This week there has been the publication of more worrying knife crime statistics and a terrible stabbing attack which further highlights a lack of impetus to tackle this key law and order issue.

A church volunteer was stabbed trying to protect children from a gang of marauding youths - awful that this can happen on UK streets. If this continues, I can see a rise of vigilantism in communities because there is insufficient capability to police - a problem Jackie Smith would normally be fixing - but she can't... she's lost any public mandate to address this.

So where are the country's leaders at this time? I don't think there are any good leaders now. Everyone's gone to ground trying to work out how to keep their jobs at the next election rather than tackle crime and violence. It's disgraceful. Someone needs to be pushing the police and law enforcement authorities to do more. Instead, we now have ineptitude and complacency creeping in.

Jackie Smith and her ilk need to reflect on facts like that when adopting an apologetic tone in front of cameras and the media. All their selfish, materialist grasping has led to a crisis that has undoubtedly led to more suffering for crime victims and those trying to tackle this scourge of violence around us. Now we have to wait while Alan Johnson gets up to speed - and I noticed today that he's winding up people already, making all the scientists walk out.

I'm beginning to wonder if Labour has much of a clue anymore. Lost touch with their grass roots certainly, I believe.

Jacqui Smith and others like her taking vast amounts of cash etc are a disgrace to hard working, honest citizens such as these. We don't need people like these in public life, we don't want to see them. Why are they hanging around? We just want them to f-ing clear off.

To my mind, having a vote at election time is not sufficient. The voters need to hold MPs to account more often and more effectively than at election time. Their complicit acceptance of a corrupt expenses and payment system over many years makes them unfit to govern.

Those MPs with a conscience need to re-appraise and better assess their priorities. Some are maybe trying to do this (ever the optimist) - but such change is hardly shining through the darkness, is it?

Probably though, better people who know how to serve the public are required. Or maybe things would be better if there was simply more power for the people?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Arrests after BBC racism Panorama film

Potential good news after the Panorama programme. I spotted that a 22-year-old man and 11-year-old boy had been arrested. For legal reasons, it's not possible to give more details than this, I understand.

Details on the BBC website about two held after the racism exposé

Monday, October 19, 2009

Racism - watch it on BBC Panorama... what are you doing about it?

This is racism. Two undercover reporters have clearly exposed the truth about many people's views about racism in this country.

Words can't describe how I felt watching this. No wonder reporter Tamanna Rahman was crying and fearful. She was smashed in the face and victim of an attempted mugging, among other abuse.

Just watch and read to be horrified:

BBC Panaroma film on racism and anti-social behaviour in Bristol

Soon we hope Sean Ganderton is locked away behind bars (in fact, that should happen this very night, else there's no justice in this country), and 11-year-old Sonny Clark faces some public authority 'intervention'. That's two names to watch out for and avoid in the future.

(If you are a friend of Sean Ganderton on Facebook, I trust you will quietly leave his friendship network.)

Why name Sonny Clark, aged 11? Because he threatened to knife Tamanna. He is a killer in the making, surely.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Anne Frank and the Stephen Lawrence stabbing

Anne Frank... recognise that name? Today, the full impact of murder most foul, undescribable evil - and knife crime - hit home in a powerful way. Anne was the German Jewish teenager killed by the Nazi machine in World War Two.

I saw the full horror of the Holocaust in just a few words and evocative images of an era not so long ago - when human beings slaughtered others because they were Jewish, or judged to not be as able-bodied as others.

It was shocking and made me angry inside.

You know, Nazis or concentration camp 'staff' threw poison crystals into the shower areas that vaporised into poisonous gas that took up to 20 minutes to kill all in the those showers?

What sort of person, gang - or political faction - does that?

For some reason, I understood why men and women in Britain took up arms to defend our people from such despicable activities by the Nazi regime - and other sick-minded folk, no doubt.

Where was all this revealed? Would you believe it was at an exhibition in my home town, Chichester, in a small corner of quiet place where people can reflect. I saw the history of the Holocaust brought to terrible life alongside the writings and daily activities of a virtually imprisoned Anne Frank.

Then the exhibition confronts some of the worrying social issues confronting modern Britain today including knife crime, gun crime and racism.

A memorial to Stephen Lawrence, the young black teenager believed to have been killed by white racists, rests on one wall of the display, testament to a quite peaceful fight for justice this country has rarely seen.

Anne Frank wrote in her diary: “I want to go on living even after my death!”

And so she is - her thoughts are working their way through the whole world via this exhibition and the Internet.

Anne Frank is a symbol of the millions of innocent children who have been victims of persecution. Anne's life shows us what can happen when prejudice and hatred go unchallenged.

Would you sign up to the Anne Frank Declaration:

Because prejudice and hatred harm us all, will you declare that...?
  • You will stand up for what is right and speak out against what is unfair and wrong.
  • You will try to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
  • You will strive for a world in which our differences will make no difference – a world in which everyone is treated fairly and has an equal chance in life.
To understand more about her, see the Anne Frank Trust UK website - and think about how to challenge the prejudice and reduce hatred perpetuated by sick people who pick up knives and other weapons to destroy, maim or injure other human beings. You'll learn much more by visiting an Anne Frank exhibition - it would be great if someone puts it online.

When I criticise people who are racist, fighters, criminals, I know I make myself a target for potential malice and a vent for their irritation, even violent anger. My being a thorn in the side or a pain in the neck, however, is like nothing compared to a blade in the abdomen or a knife used to carve and disfigure a human body - or face.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Will business stop killing UK - and world - society?

It's as important now as it was then... in fact, probably moreso... that to solve knife crime, gun crime and violence problems there must be something of substance for would-be assailants to aspire to other than street and related crime.

I have alluded to this at various times on this blog, including a post on business killing security and happiness in society.

It was with a little hope then that I discovered an interesting article that highlights some key areas about reforms which businesses need to consider to establish a better business framework for the future that may provide a better basis for people - and society - to stay out of crime and aspire to a more honest working life.

Here's how it starts:

Saving Britain’s future — fixing the country's (world's?) balance sheet?

If Britain were a company, it'd be undergoing a “business review”. Exec summary as follows, “UK Plc was once hailed for its excellent, beautifully engineered product range.

"It owned some of the world's best brands and had a presence in many overseas territories. Service offering was sometimes eccentric, but this pillar of the business community was committed to high commercial values.

“With the retirement of its long-standing managing director, a series of new CEOs' came in. Keen to make their mark, they took the business public and pushed into new markets, particularly complex financial products'. Profits surged, UK Plc took on new people, market expectations soared. With the disposal of its old industrial divisions, credit ratings hit triple-A.

“A focus on the P&L, however, led management to neglect the balance sheet. Huge levels of debt were built up. This new leveraged' structure was justified by the promise of ceaseless future earnings from the globalised market.

“The business model was robust', spokesmen insisted. However, when its debt providers retrenched and customer confidence nosedived, the strategy of the recently rebranded Cool Britannia was exposed.”

It talks further about not advocating a return to short-termist “wealth-creation” that spawned what Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner calls “socially useless” commercial activity.

A good business needs predictable, long-term revenues. It needs well-trained, enthusiastic people and manageable levels of debt. It should produce strong products that people buy because they need or want them, not just because they've been “sold” into submission.

And maybe from that, people can earn decent livings - or even achieve much more, rather than become knife or gun criminals.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Biology's part in knife, gun and other crime

Someone has posted a great piece of research on this knife crime blog about scientific / biological evidence showing how crime is likely driven by factors such as testosterone levels, low activity variant of MAO-A and cognitive ability. The gang link between IQ and joining gangs is notable and worth thinking about how to solve. Let me know what you think - this type of stuff can be quite controversial, I appreciate.

... I just spotted that the links in the post to the scientific evidence are not 'live' so here they are for your reference:

'Warrior Gene' linked to gang membership

Ethnic factors - Black, Asian, White, Japanese etc testosterone levels

Cognitive factors

Please let me know what you think too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trick knives bought by children

Feel a little like holding my head in my hands... I started this anti-knife crime blog as a memorial - but also in the hope it can persuade people not to carry knives as weapons, to help try to make knife carrying as anti-social as, say, smoking.

This weekend my 10-year-old daughter came to show me a plastic toy knife she bought at a car boot sale this weekend - for two pence. The picture of it in this post is almost identical to the one she bought.

What surprised me was how happy she was to have bought it. It had a spring loaded plastic blade that gives the impression of a blade passing into the body when, in fact, the blade passes (harmlessly) into the handle. You can pretend to stab yourself - great fun for kids, it seems.

My daughter loved this trick. She does like drama and acting so I guess it appealed to the theatrical side of her personality. Being young and innocent, she thought it was - simply - a great trick.

Me, however, being somewhat sensitised to knives used as weapons, am just wondering how to best communicate about knife-carrying to young people without being way too overbearing. Far better for any child to independently understand the dangers of carrying knives and not want to have one, seems to be a useful message to convey.

At the moment, I think I'm partly right and partly wrong. My children have also play-acted with fake confectionery cigarettes but openly discuss the dangers of dying from smoking-related cancer and how they are anti-smoking. My aim now then is to have them express similar sentiments about knives and knife-carrying. A communication challenge with some complexities - but, all being well, I'll let you know what happens.

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to treat knife and gun criminals who maim and murder

Scotland has exercised compassion by releasing a convicted Libyan prisoner. Court evidence showed he was a terrorist and involved in blowing up a Pan Am plane over the country (Lockerbie) back in 1988, killing so many innocents (270).

What should we do when murderous criminals and aggressive types (who set about people with a knife or a gun - or bombs) are in prison and face a terminal illness? Let them rot in prison. It's a popular sentiment.

This Lockerbie bomber case seems to have opened a can of worms and much misery - and who knows if releasing someone in this manner could lead to more atrocities in the future. That's a real worry and security concern. But showing some compassion should be a good thing, I would have thought. It shows we're not 'in the gutter' like some criminal scum.

Here's a relevant excerpt of the Scottish Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill's release statement. Worth reflecting on and evaluating...

"In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people.

"The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.

"Mr Al Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.

"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days.

"Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available.

"Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown.

"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.

"For these reasons - and these reasons alone - it is my decision that Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya to die."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Violent crime - Loss of loved ones

Reminiscing, as you do sometimes, I listened again to Puff Daddy's
tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. He was once a drug dealer - but putting
that disturbing issue aside - I could feel myself welling up as this touching, poignant song about the violent death of a friend.

"What a life to take, what a bond to break..."

See what you think. It helped me grieve a little more as I recalled the stabbing I tried to stop. Maybe it will help you.

Lyrics are below for you to mull on. To hear the song, play the You
Tube video below or click this link if you have a mobile device -

Verse One: Puff Daddy
(Yeah... this right here... goes out to everyone who has lost someone they
truly love)

Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show
I laced the track, you locked the flow
So far from hangin on the block for dough
Notorious, they got to know that
Life ain't always what it seem to be (uh-uh)
Words can't express what you mean to me
Even though you're gone, we still a team
Through your family, I'll fulfill your dream (that's right)
In the future, can't wait to see
If you open up the gates for me
Reminisce some time, the night they took my friend (uh-huh)
Try to black it out, but it plays again
When it's real, feelings hard to conceal
Can't imagine all the pain I feel
Give anything to hear half your breath (half your breath)
I know you still living your life, after death

Chorus: Faith Evans
Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you
Thinkin of the days, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Verse Two: Puff Daddy
[Puff] I miss you Big
It's kinda hard with you not around (yeah)
Know you in heaven smilin down (eheh)
Watchin us while we pray for you
Every day we pray for you
Til the day we meet again
In my heart is where I'll keep you friend
Memories give me the strength I need (uh-huh) to proceed
Strength I need to believe
My thoughts Big I just can't define (can't define)
Wish I could turn back the hands of time
Us in the 6, shop for new clothes and kicks
You and me taking flicks
Makin hits, stages they receive you on
I still can't believe you're gone (can't believe you're gone)
Give anything to hear half your breath (half your breath)
I know you still living you're life, after death

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you
Thinkin of the days, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Faith Evans:
Somebody tell me why
One Black Morning
When this life is over
I know
I'll see your face

112 Outro:
Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day
Every night I pray, every step I take
[Puff] Every day that passes
Every move I make, every single day
[Puff] Is a day that I get closer
[Puff] To seeing you again
Every night I pray, every step I take
[Puff] We miss you Big... and we won't stop
Every move I make, every single day
[Puff] Cause we can't stop... that's right
Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day
[Puff] We miss you Big

Faith Evans:
Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you
Thinkin of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you
Thinkin of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you
Thinkin of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Rio Ferdinand and pro footballers anti-knife campaign

Does anyone know what's been happening with the 'It Doesn't Have To
Happen' anti-knife campaign launched by the England football team's
Rio Ferdinand, David Beckham and David James?

I saw Rio quoted recently saying, "Communities need to play a bigger
part. Boredom can set in. There is a lot of peer pressure and then
something happens that everyone regrets."

Commendable comment and sentiment but I haven't noticed much else. Let
me know if you've seen any updates on this one - I'd like to think
this campaign could be helping more. Or what do you think?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BBC knife crime interviews and blog posts

Just posted a knife crime blog post to the BBC Radio 5 phone in. And earlier tweeted the following:

  1. WISH politicians would stop electioneering and arguing in public about knife crime and work together on solving the issue.
  2. INTERVIEW is now being used on BBC radio as a news item - wanted to suggest the UK appoints a knife and gun crime tsar to the problem.
  3. BBC interview done - confusion reigns over the current knife crime figures, I said. Think you can listen to it again at
  4. THE BBC are calling me in 20 minutes to do an interview on knife crime - anyone out there want me to make their point in the discussion?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Knife crime statistics - what's going on? And the politicians are trying to get votes...

Something funny is going on with knife crime figures.

According to the Telegraph, official figures show police recorded 38,082 serious violent or sexual knife offences last year - amounting to 104 every day.

But the previous year's figure was 25,013 - that looks like a 50 per cent rise. Apparently, the Home Office is taking a more detailed look at knife crimes, we're told, so ministers have changed the way crimes are measured

I think this means officials have realised knife crime was being under reported, buried away in other crime figures perhaps.

That said, convictions for carrying a knife have risen over 60 per cent from 3805 (1998) to 6169 (2007) has increased by more than half in ten years, it has been revealed.

Interesting that more people are being convicted - but are more people also carrying, and using, knives in these times?

There seemed to be progress a while back... now there seems confusion. People in charge seem to be doing a poor job communicating a true picture of the knife crime situation. That is not good. Maybe we need a knife and gun crime tsar?

I noticed the Tories (shadow home secretary Chris Grayling) are trying to make political gains, claiming Labour isn't doing enough to tackle knife crime. An election is looming so they are looking for votes. Is Labour doing an ok job? Can the others do any better? To be honest, it makes me sick to compare parties this way for such an emotive issue. Everyone wants to stop knife crime. These people should work together - and make it clear they are working together - on something as important as this or go back down the strange, power-crazed political hole they just climbed out of.

Long may the crackdown on knife carriers and stabbers continue though - but the crime fighters need to communicate and get their act together better.

To text a stabber, try the Crimestoppers service. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the top of the page on whether you would buy or be ok about using the potentially safer 'anti-stab knife'.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Call to ban knife sales by Trading Standards

Hey, this is good news - Trading Standards getting involved with banning sales of knives... online.

"Trading standards chiefs have called for a blanket ban on the sale of knives over the internet. Online retailers have ignored repeated warnings to stop selling them to children, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) said.

"Mystery shopper research found as many as four out of five online stores were prepared to sell knives to children aged under 18, and in one case a 15-year-old boy was able to purchase four knives, including a large machete, using a debit card..."

Read the full 'anti knife crime' story about the call for a ban on blade sales by TSI

(Don't forget to vote in the opinion poll on anti stab knives. Just vote in the box at the top of this website - it literally takes a second of your time.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vote now - Opinion poll on anti-stab knives

Views seem divided about the anti-stab knife. I've added an opinion poll at the top of this blog for visitors to vote on whether they would use or buy one for their kitchen or somewhere else in their home. Please vote now - it is an anonymous poll and takes one second. Many thanks. See more information about this new kind of blade.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New anti-stab knives - coming soon!

anti-stab knife invented by John Cornock
Congratulations to John Cornock, inventor of the new anti-stab knife set to go on sale across the UK before Christmas (can't it be sooner...). Wonder how many lives it could save?

It makes sense for all anti-knife and knife crime campaigners to lead a push to encourage all households to replace kitchen blades with this type of new knife - and perhaps other types of blade too. What does everyone think?

Take a look at John's company website -

While not completely safe, this one has been designed over four years to work in the kitchen, but not be effective as a weapon.

By utilising a unique "combination tip", the tip has a rounded edge (much like my thoughts referred to in a knife crime blog post a couple of years ago) next to a very small point, the cutting blade sits below the blunt area.

Great for chopping veg, the tip makes stabbing quite difficult and it is designed to snag on clothing and skin. Apparently this makes it "very unlikely to inflict a fatal wound" - and tests have proven it to work.

Want to know more about how these stab resistant knives work? Read about the anti-stab design. Some more anti-stab knife info here at The Times Online. Some readers say it's ridiculous but I think it has potential, a step in the right direction. Here's hoping...!

Friday, June 12, 2009

George Kinsella on knife crime and sentencing of his son Ben's killers - video

Thought I would try to piece together the full text of the emotional but careful and measured reaction from George Kinsella to the sentencing of the killers of his 16-year-old son Ben Kinsella.

To my mind, it was an insightful, informative perspective on this nation's knife crime problem.

I'll add and edit this post over a few days - I need to trawl the web's news sources, get it into reasonable shape and order. Feel free to send your comments or parts of the reaction that I may miss or not got quite right.

Mr Kinsella said: "How many families like ours will have to stand on the street outside the Old Bailey to get justice?

"Knife crime is now sadly embedded in the heart of Great Britain, always running the lives of gangs and feral youths.

"Parents live in fear until their children are safely home. It could be a wrong word, a wrong look or the wrong postcode.

"In Ben's case, it was something which was nothing to do with him at all."

Life sentences for Ben Kinsella's killers - video of reaction and comment from family and officials at the Old Bailey after the knife crime case.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Knife crime statistics for London - May 2009

Not sure it's great news - but there appears to be progress in London. The Metropolitan Police have announced some knife crime statistics across the capital including figures showing that stabbing injuries are down by almost a third (30%).

A quote from a senior office probably describes the situation realistically: "There is still too much violence, still far too many kids carrying weapons, still far too many kids getting involved in what they would call a gang. This is not job done, it's job ongoing and we've got to maintain our focus."

The police have been arresting people at the rate of one stabber every 51 minutes (arrests have totalled 10266). Some 5480 bladed weapons were seized with most found to carry knives (90%) being charged with a 'possession' offence.

Doubt has been cast on aspects of this statistic reporting with anti-knife campaigners pointing out that many more people are being stabbed than are being reported, indicating accident and emergency statistics provide a more accurate picture.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

MP ignores anti-knife crime campaign

MPs (Members of Parliament) are a very strange breed - and the way the one below showed virtually zero interest in anti-knife campaign work is a proof point to me that there seems little point in voting for these people. I wonder if there's a better way than pinning hopes on unreliable parts of humanity like this. Not worth voting for anyway.

Anyway, to explain, I got in touch with Danny O'Brien, a leader of the Miles Not Knives Campaign (see earlier post), after he mentioned on Facebook that Ilford MP Mike Gapes didn't give him the time of day on an anti-knife crime petition he was organising. Here's Danny's account:

"Mike Gapes is the Labour MP for Ilford and this week I was in the town centre doing my anti-knife petition stall in the town centre.

"I will admit that yesterday was a poor day with only 76 people only signing the petition, but during the afternoon I saw Mr Gapes walking past my stall and I asked if he would back our knife campaign by signing the petition. But he told me "No" as he never signs petitions and just carried on walking not even showing any interest in the campaign.

"I was very suprised that somebody who works for my town could just walk past. I will admit that I did shout out to him that I bet he was quick to sign for his expenses."

I'm sending a copy of this post to various Ilford news media. Here's hoping they follow up this issue with the right honourable gentlemen and we can all be 'honoured' with this MP's time on an important matter which he's shown to be unwilling to give.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Are more young people now reporting the stabbers?

If any confirmation was needed that the knife-wielding scourge in this country is a long way from being solved, it is the news that children aged under 10 have been stopped carrying blades.

A total of 31 youngsters under 16 years old were charged last year for being in possession of a knife compared to just a dozen in 2004. 

Alarming statistics.

However, there is at least anecdotal evidence suggesting more young people are reporting their peers for carrying knives - which of course could explain the increase and makes it good news.

Keep shopping the stabbers - that's a message we can keep promoting this year. Simply, knife-carrying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Come on, crime fighters - keep shopping the stabbers!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Contact any or all MPs with this e-tool

Do you want to tell the people elected to sort out this country to increase their efforts? The anti-violence group, MAMAA (Mothers Against Murder And Aggression), has just discovered a very quick and easy way to message every MP in the United Kingdom.

If you have a current cause or campaign - such as knife crime or any other - this free and easy to use tool will simplify and ensure that every Member of Parliament is aware of it.

Called the Parliamentary Megaphone, it allows you to send a message to one, some or all MPs in one go using your email address - which enables replies to be sent to you.

Useful way to communicate with those that should be pressing for work, change and action to cure our problems and improve our society. Hope this doesn't get shut down because it gets too popular!

(Someone contacted me anonymously to highlight this is a tool that should be credited to equality charity Men's Aid. Happy to do so. Not sure why s/he wanted to be anonymous but that comment is attached to this post.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Anti-knife crime work on Facebook

Anti-knife crime campaigning is alive and well on Facebook. Not sure if readers of this blog are aware but there is a huge number of anti-violence, knife and gun groups on FB.

Here's one I wanted to highlight - the Miles Not Knives Campaign (this is a Facebook link) is one of many worth following. Plenty of activity and many members.

If you wanted to feel you were contributing to the anti-knife campaigning, support Danny and his Facebook group!

When I joined, the organiser Danny O'Brien followed up with a personal message which I publish below to give you a flavour of his dedication etc.

Coming up he has a big fundraising walk some of you football fans may want to support - it's a 24-hour knife awareness walk between Tottenham and Arsenal football grounds starting Saturday May 30 at 10am.

Danny said:

"Thank you for joining my group and for offering your support. I am a novice at this anti-knife group compared to many. I was one of the main organizers of THE PEOPLES MARCH last September, but sadly that group disbanded afterwards and so this year I have formed my own group and already we have hit nearly 1,900 members. 

"What I lack in funds etc I make up in time spent online and out explaining the danger of knife crime. I am doing a 24 hour fund raising walk with money going to the Ben Kinsella fund. 

"I like to build up my own website, but not that IT clever and also trying to find a cheap price for printing t-shirts etc as I made a promise to make my group as proactive as poss in the battle against knife crime.

"Best Wishes Danny"

Friday, March 20, 2009

BBC Panorama looks at knife crime

BBC Panorama recently ran a programme about knife crime. I hadn't realised but the number of people convicted for carrying knives is ten times higher than it used to be.

By visiting this nation's prisons, questions considered by Panorama include reasons why UK youths are arming themselves and why some do this with killing in mind.

Some 34 teenagers were stabbed to death in 2008 across Britain. Terrible statistic.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Press request for female crime victims

A journalist has contacted me asking for help with violent crime-related stories involving females and court action... If you're interested in helping, you need to get back to me this week please.

"Hi Mark,

"My name's Ash and I hope you don't mind me contacting you like this, but I'm a freelance journalist who writes "real life" stories for women's magazines and as you write a knife crime blog, wondered whether any of your contacts might be interested in sharing their stories of being victims of/related to victims of violent crime?

"I appreciate that sharing their personal story in the press is not something that suits everybody, but in case it's something people you know would consider, I've written up more details below.

"If anyone would like to share their story in one of the publications I write for, then please be assured that an article would be written up really sensitively. They would have copy approval (meaning you can add/amend the final article) and would be paid generously for sharing their story. They would also be able to raise awareness of any charity or organisation they wish through the article.

"I'm also happy to email you copies of my printed work, as proof that I am who I say I am (as I know some people are wary of people contacting them via the internet).

"My editors are currently looking for female survivors/family members of female victims who have taken their attackers to court and have secured a guilty verdict. Do you think you may be able to send this message out to any of your other contacts?

"Hope to hear from you soon, if this is something you might be interested in. Thanks so much. Ash"

Please contact me via the 'Comments' link below if you are interested in contacting Ash. Just type me a message and leave me your contact details - none of this information you send me will be published on the blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hospital knife crime statistics show stabbings down

A little bit of good news in the knife crime 'theatre of war' - latest UK knife crime figures show hospitals treated less stabbings in 2008 than in the year before that.

A total of 5,239 stab victims were admitted to NHS hospitals - including 609 youths aged under 18. This is 481 less than the 5,720 figure of 2007. See 'Knife injury hospital admissions down eight per cent'.

That number is still in the thousands but perhaps it shows that campaigning is having an effect. Imagine if no-one spoke out - knife use could be spiralling upwards.

In addition, more criminals who carry and/or use blades are being jailed. See 'More knife carrying criminals sentenced to prison'.

Senior MP Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, said, "This sends a very important message to knife criminals and would-be knife carriers to pack it in."

On the other hand, given the massive outcry against knife use - and those that carry blades 'for protection' - I feel the figure ought to be lower. These figures indicate just how difficult and challenging it is to win over hearts and minds and persuade people to lay down weapons and never again pick them up.

I find myself thinking of society like a fine piece of timber and the knife carriers as bloody woodworm burrowing into many parts of the healthy structure, making it weaker. Destroying the worm and making society healthy again is a tough call. Let's keep on...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Knife crime and murder groups unite to help Wales

The MAMAA charity - Mothers Against Murder and Aggression - is launching a MAMAA group for Wales tomorrow at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff with other groups working to prevent knife crime among young people.

MAMAA was set up after the murder of James Bulger in 1993. MAMAA has supported over 600 families bereaved through murder, and continues to offer support to them, and the many more families that join this ever growing list.

MAMAA works tirelessly in prevention measures and raising weapons awareness, going into schools and YOIs talking to young people about Victim Awareness and the dangers and consequences of carrying weapons.

They are on Home Office panels, police advisory panels and are often asked to act in an advisory capacity.

MAMMA has been jointly responsible for changing four laws in this country, with the aim of making the burden of losing a loved one through an act of murder, easier for the family left behind. They say there is still much to do.

MAMMA is a charity and rely on donations to be able to carry out our work, and welcome anything you can do to help.

If you need to talk to someone or need help and advice, please go to their website -

Here's a message from the Wales group organiser Dee Edwards:

"Dee thanks all the families of murder victims for help with pictures etc for launch of MAMAA Wales tomorrow at Welsh Assembly Cardiff.

"Thank you all for your help and the messages of support. I am not only using pictures of knife crime victims or only young people, or recent murders. We are highlighting the fact that hundreds of people are murdered every year, of all ages and in many different ways and the loss of one life affects hundreds of other people."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

UK retailers to take knives off streets in campaign

I keep meaning to mention some sterling knife crime campaigning action by 21 retailers, including Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco which seems to have had minimal publicity. Details on programme to cut numbers of knives on the streets:
  • Knives will not be placed on open display.
  • Signs about banning knife sales to teenagers are to be placed in stores.
  • Under 18s buying knives are to be monitored.
  • Information sharing is to be carried out with police.
  • Theft prevention measures are to be more rigorously imposed to stop blades falling into the hands of young people.
  • Reminders will be placed at tills for staff.
  • Internet sales of knives to children to be tackled.
These steps are being put in place because the law requires adults to accompany youngsters when buying knives. This, I understand from a Guardian knife crime article, is a result of the change of the law in October 2007 (although I'm not entirely clear what the law actually is from this article).

Gang culture is to be tackled too, outlawing gang colours and gang members associating with each other, and restrictions on travelling into areas they consider to be their territory. I wonder if this can work effectively though!

Appropriate to mention here too that e-Bay is cracking down on knife sale auctions after a BBC Watchdog investigation revealed a shocking display of law-breaking through the auction site.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mothers Against Violence North East - Stabbing video and group info, links

Theresa Cave, organiser of Mothers Against Violence North East (MAV) - whose son Chris was stabbed to death in 2003 - has asked me to point people at her anti-violence group and some related links and video content.

First, here's her 'Stop the Stabbings' video, produced for the UK government's Home Office:

Join the Mothers Against Violence North East Facebook group.

Also, I'm adding MAVNE to the resource section of this blog.

Here's the note from Theresa:

"Hi Mark, just had a quick look on your blog page. I found it to be very good, don't know how I haven't seen it before. My name's Theresa Cave (Mothers against Violence North East) and I wondered if you would add us to your page.

"Please take a look at the groups page and other groups I have also gone too. I have campaigned against knife crime since 2003 when I lost my son to the knife aged 17.

"It is a long hard fight which I feel needs more attention now more than ever although it has dropped ever so slightly of late in this area. I would like to know more about your work if it is possible and would like to invite you to see the campaign video that I did for the Home Office in the 'It Doesnt Have To Happen' campaign last year.

"The video is on YouTube Home Office site under 'Stop the Stabbings'. I also did the radio ad that is out now nationally.

"I feel very deeply on the subject and would welcome any advice / help you can offer me. I work around with youth in schools, colleges and uni and also have talked in attendance centres and the likes.

"If you know of any youth groups / organisations that would like me to visit them please let me know as distance to me is not an issue but getting the word across is a big one. Thanks for your time - hope to hear from you - bye, Theresa Cave."

And for your info, here's my reply. If anyone else is interested in posting information about their groups here, feel free to contact me:

"Hi Theresa - I'm just posting some info about your group on my blog - Do add a link to the blog from your site - it all helps get the word round etc.

"It is always upsetting when people get in touch about the death of a loved one from knife crime or other violence. I'm deeply sorry you lost Chris to this knife scourge we seem to be plagued with.

"I started this blog as a memorial to Jacky Marshall, a McDonalds manager I went to help when she was fatally stabbed on a Saturday lunchtime at Chichester. I also hoped - and still work to achieve - that the site could develop into a useful vehicle for effecting positive change in a UK culture seemingly obsessed by violence, at least at times.

"My time is limited and I do what I can. It's a gradual, drip, drip, drip approach. Personally, I think the campaign work you describe is excellent - by pressing on the way you have been is all about being part of 'the solution'. Don't wear yourself out, remember to conserve your energy as you chip away.

"As I come across people, groups, news, networks, initiatives etc I add the information to this blog. Keep an eye on it - sign up to regular emails in the box on the right hand side of the blog. I'll certainly point people in your direction, as and when.

"My mum's family are all from the north east - I know Redcar quite well and my Gran lives in Staithes, near Whitby! Small world! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

"Best wishes, Mark."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Knife crime - text a stabber, Calzaghe + UK children report

Knife crime hasn't been at the top of the media agenda for that long. When I started this blog almost three years ago, coverage was minimal (you may be surprised to know). Now, Google is full of knife crime issues and reporting.

This is terrific progress - observing the media spotlight being shined into all areas of the problem ensures the knife, gun and related violent crime debate is at the centre of things.

Thought I would highlight three key stories of the moment:

  • This one deserves endorsement - Shop a stabber with mobile phone texting. Imagine... passing on details of knife carriers with a simple SMS text. This was first covered on this blog early last year (see Crimestoppers post). It's starting to take off on a bigger scale now. Come on everyone, get texting!

  • Boxer Joe Calzaghe is urging children to turn away from knife crime. Another celebrity figure joins the (peaceful) fight to try to stop youngsters using blades on UK streets.

  • Finally, this blog has never diverted from the belief that there must be some societal change - not just a simple focus on campaigning to get knives out of criminals hands. Thought-provoking then that an insightful report highlights the issues that children face struggling to grow up into an adult society that marginalises young people, leaving some with the feeling that picking up a knife is the only way to achieve some control over their lives.

  • Selfish pursuit of success threatens children in the UK - this report highlights that children are being damaged by the individualist and self-centred society they are forced to grow up in. As well as problems with family life such as broken homes and growing up with lone parents (and even advertising and alcohol), the Children's Society study singles out the adult pursuit of selfish ambition as a key factor that harms young people.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Minister joins Knife Crime blog criticism of arrogant bankers

Well, it's good to see some pretty senior people agree with me. In my business killers post below, I criticised the greed of bankers and business. Now, City minister Lord Myners has echoed this blog's thinking. His words also aptly describe the superior, lofty attitude of the out-of-touch banking and business elite: "arrogant", "greedy", "no sense of society", and describing their approach to life as "unpalatable".

Hope things change for the better. Tackling an inequitable work and life environment just might give some hope that knife crime, violent crime can be tackled at grass roots level, offering lifelines to the despairing and disenfranchised out there that it is worth working for a living. And I know this is idealism talking - imagine, some kind of heaven on earth. How daft am I...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Knife crime statistics - January 2009

Try this Google search for all recent information articles on the latest crime figures, including the increase in knife crime.

Latest crime and knife crime statistics

Business is killing security and happiness in our society

During summer last year I pointed out in this knife crime blog that greedy bankers and business would cause us major misery (see business killers post).

Well, then the whole world financial system crashed - which, despite my prophetic-type comments, surprised the heck out of me!

Now, as the mess caused by a greedy financial system and money-obsessed business machine starts to roll out, causing abject misery for millions, there are still business people out there saying, "Glad I'm not among those poor little people struggling on next to nothing. Imagine, no job. Must be their fault. They need to get on their bike. I worked to get where I am, I deserve to be in a safe, secure position."

You know, the kind of selfish rhetoric that bounces round those self-interested types.

Well, it just occurred to me that perhaps it really is time that the high salaries, bonus mentality etc and the capitalist gearing that ensures corporations hoover money out of society, country economies etc, even poor and sick people's homes, must stop.

What gives someone the right to earn more than the nurse, dustman or the toilet cleaner? Better use of brain power? I'm not saying the lazy and criminal etc should be rewarded - some pushing, penalty and punishment is surely required at times.

But who says law-abiding, honest people, hard-working families, deserve so much less than the business people who are obsessed with the luxuries of life, at the expense of others?

More equality is required. Love is missing in the economy. I don't mean elimination of reward for good work. But it is obscene for a few to be able to acquire the trappings of massive wealth while others barely get by, perhaps starving or near the breadline.

I refer back to what I said a while back - those in authority, societal leaders, especially those at or near the top of the financial or wealth tree, need to realise the reponsibility they have to ensure a moral, accessible economic system that allows those in the poorer sections of society to aspire to better lives, to be able to do worthwhile work. In the current recession, livelihoods, skills, decent lives are being shattered and it's going to get worse.

At the moment, we have a prime, terrible example, how the so-called cleverest, best and honoured in society just stripped the system to a shambolic state barely deserving the words 'human'. What a bunch of bankers. Remembering this is a knife crime blog, it's worth considering the analogy that they may not hold the knife but they are at least partly responsible for the reasons why misery is caused, why crime happens and blades are in people's pockets.

Mind you, after saying all that, you must all realise that it can be pretty easy to rant on in this vein, casting about for some people or something to blame. I don't pretend to be highly knowledgeable about all of this but I can't help feeling that, despite all those great brains out there, we seem to be in a situation where the blind are leading the blind - straight into some pretty crap ditches.

I suppose, at the end of the day, if life was easy, we'd all be millionaires.