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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.

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