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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