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Friday, December 31, 2010

Onwards to the new year of 2011, fellow anti-violence campaigners and crime fighters...

AN ANTI-KNIFE and anti-violence message for 2011 from Gary Trowsdale, helping lead the Damilola Taylor Trust and 'Count Me In' campaign... this is a good message where it highlights the societal  importance of helping young people and at least some of those on the fringe of criminality to have something to aspire to (other than violence and criminal activity). We would like politicians and big business (especially) to properly step up to the plate here...

2010 was a tough year for all those working in the youth services sector. The planning for the election then the election itself followed by the bedding in of a hybrid Government that has determined to create an era of austerity. Whatever one's political views, the mess those of us in the youth services sector find ourselves in now is far from fair and every politician in the country has a level of accountability for it.
Let's be honest though, the country is not financially bankrupt. Did anyone notice the figure of £15 million that was wasted on the flawed 2018 world cup bid? Where did that money come from? The economy that fuels the £250k a week wages of Wayne Rooney and his fellow England football team under performers.. where does that materialise from? "Out of thin air"? And what of the high earning senior civil servants that run the "system" that is failing us? And the banking industry bonuses?
We are staging the Olympics with much pomp and ceremony. Look what happened to Athens after they wasted public money in the same way. Meanwhile here in London we have "cycle super highways" forced on us at huge cost then get told there is no money for youth services. We read about new bridges being built over the Thames and of plans to build airports in the middle of the river yet we cant keep youth clubs open.
Has anyone in Government looked at how low-earning families from the inner cities are going to be able to keep their kids in school beyond 16 to take their A levels once EMA is stripped away from them. How many more kids will be walking the streets scratching their heads with nothing to do? Will there be jobs for them?
CMI remains dedicated to speaking out about knife crime and the need to influence young people positively about the dangers of carrying knives. It also has a social conscience though and the poverty and plight of the inner cities is very important to us as it is a big factor. The negative influence of the gangs gets stronger when the system is failing and politicians are imposing more suffering on our poorest people. Meanwhile we have never had a greater need for the law to be observed and proper governance of the justice system. This is not what we are seeing and not even what we are being promised by Kenneth Clarke!
So what do we do? Run away... Dig a big hole and bury ourselves in it then refuse to come out until sense and SENSITIVITY has returned? Or do we roll up our sleeves and say 2011.. BRING IT ON?
Happy New Year

Gary - Damilola Taylor Trust

Read more about and consider joining the Count Me In campaign

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Murderous death toll: England capital since 2001

It's been 10 years since the killing of schoolboy Damilola Taylor (stabbed in the leg with a jagged bottle). A national newspaper published knife and gun crime statistics revealing a 138-strong list of the victims of violence in London since then... 138 in a single decade in just one city (30 shootings, 92 stabbings)...

Across England, c.835 young people aged under 14 have been admitted to hospital with knife wounds over the past 10 years.

Knife crime remains a tragic and terrible scourge affecting the UK... it remains unresolved.

Knife and gun violence victims (pictures) - page 1:

Knife and gun crime victims - Nicholas Clarke, Amro Elbadawi, Lyle Tulloch, Jimmy Mizen, Rob Knox, Sharmaarke Hassan, Ben Kinsella, Shakilus Townsend, David Idowu, Frederick Moody, Michale Simon Wright, Shannen Vickers, Wahab Zaaki, Abdulkarim Boudiaf, Oluwaseyi Ogunyemi, Adam Pervaiz, Jahmal Mason-Blair, Maleha Masud, Carlbeatson Asideu, Michael McCarthy, Agnes Sina-inakoju, Wesley Sterling, Charlie Wright, Nicholas Pearton, Samuel Ogunro, Zac Olumegbon, Ailton Campos de Oliverira, Rio McFarlane, Marvin Henry, Samuel Adelagun
Knife and gun crime victims 'in memoriam': Nicholas Clarke, Amro Elbadawi, Lyle Tulloch, Jimmy Mizen, Rob Knox, Sharmaarke Hassan, Ben Kinsella, Shakilus Townsend, David Idowu, Frederick Moody, Michale Simon Wright, Shannen Vickers, Wahab Zaaki, Abdulkarim Boudiaf, Oluwaseyi Ogunyemi, Adam Pervaiz, Jahmal Mason-Blair, Maleha Masud, Carlbeatson Asideu, Michael McCarthy, Agnes Sina-inakoju, Wesley Sterling, Charlie Wright, Nicholas Pearton, Samuel Ogunro, Zac Olumegbon, Ailton Campos de Oliverira, Rio McFarlane, Marvin Henry, Samuel Adelagun

Knife and gun violence victims (pictures) - page 2:

Wayne Lawrence, Chris Gustave, Jason Rix, Wayne Henry, Jude Akapa, Shirone Booker, Shane Hegarty, Amias Hall, Junior Obiribo, Isa Abdul Mutakabbir, Leon Morton, Tanita Ffrench, Luke Plowright, Marvin Benoit, Ashley Bridgeman, Michael O'Connor, Christopher Alexis, Kieran Van Dross Rodney-Davis, Kashif Mahmood, Ruth Okechukwu, Gavin Brown, Christopher Davis, Jamail Newton, Dean Lahlou, Jevon Henry, James Smartt-Ford, Martin Dinnegan, Abu Shahin, Abukar Mahamud, Nathan Foster, Ofiyke Nmezu, Sunday Essiet, Tung Le, Michael Alexander Jones, Ryan Bravo, Nilanthan Murddi, Charles Junior Hendricks, Shaquille Smith, Oliver Kingonzila, Craig Marshall, Steven Lewis, Salum Kombo, Isschan Nicholls, Olukorede Fajinmi, Jessie Wright, Sofyen Belam-Ouaddin, Godwin Lawson, Aliza Mirza
Knife and gun crime victims 'in memoriam': Wayne Lawrence, Chris Gustave, Jason Rix, Wayne Henry, Jude Akapa, Shirone Booker, Shane Hegarty, Amias Hall, Junior Obiribo, Isa Abdul Mutakabbir, Leon Morton, Tanita Ffrench, Luke Plowright, Marvin Benoit, Ashley Bridgeman, Michael O'Connor, Christopher Alexis, Kieran Van Dross Rodney-Davis, Kashif Mahmood, Ruth Okechukwu, Gavin Brown, Christopher Davis, Jamail Newton, Dean Lahlou, Jevon Henry, James Smartt-Ford, Martin Dinnegan, Abu Shahin, Abukar Mahamud, Nathan Foster, Ofiyke Nmezu, Sunday Essiet, Tung Le, Michael Alexander Jones, Ryan Bravo, Nilanthan Murddi, Charles Junior Hendricks, Shaquille Smith, Oliver Kingonzila, Craig Marshall, Steven Lewis, Salum Kombo, Isschan Nicholls, Olukorede Fajinmi, Jessie Wright, Sofyen Belam-Ouaddin, Godwin Lawson, Aliza Mirza

Knife and gun violence victims (pictures) - page 3:

James Peregrino, Tyrone Rowe, Scott Young, Abdul Maye, Benjamin Wright, Supenthar Ramachandran, Adrian Worrell, Kayser Osman, Junaid Sheikh, Jahmai Conquest, Sika Michaels, Jadie Brissett, Kishokumar Balachandiran, Dean Davis, Clarence Ross, Sajid Patel, Colin Igwe, Ashley Hedger, Karl Hamilton, Anton Hymab, Steven Carrigan-Cole, Sayed Najee-Bullah, Robert Levy, Warren Graham, Triston Christmas, David Wheaton, Charlotte Polius, Stefan Persaud, Troy Robinson, Hussein Hursi, Mahir Osman, Tommy Winston, Barrington Williams-Samuels, Kiyan Prince, Alex Kamonda, Julian Knight, Paul McMillan, Jerome Vassell, Eugene Attram, Emmanuel Oduinewu, Michael Oosunmu, Billy Cox, Kodjo Yenga, Adam Regis, Paul Erhahon, Danielle Johnson, Dwaine Douglas, Sian Simpson, Ben Hitchcock, Annaka Keniesha Pinto, Mohammed Ahmed, Edvin Johnson, Rizwan Darbar, Philip Poru, Etem Celebi, Jack Large, David Nowak, Nassirudeen Osawe, Henry Bolombi, Boduka Mudianga
Knife and gun crime victims 'in memoriam': James Peregrino, Tyrone Rowe, Scott Young, Abdul Maye, Benjamin Wright, Supenthar Ramachandran, Adrian Worrell, Kayser Osman, Junaid Sheikh, Jahmai Conquest, Sika Michaels, Jadie Brissett, Kishokumar Balachandiran, Dean Davis, Clarence Ross, Sajid Patel, Colin Igwe, Ashley Hedger, Karl Hamilton, Anton Hymab, Steven Carrigan-Cole, Sayed Najee-Bullah, Robert Levy, Warren Graham, Triston Christmas, David Wheaton, Charlotte Polius, Stefan Persaud, Troy Robinson, Hussein Hursi, Mahir Osman, Tommy Winston, Barrington Williams-Samuels, Kiyan Prince, Alex Kamonda, Julian Knight, Paul McMillan, Jerome Vassell, Eugene Attram, Emmanuel Oduinewu, Michael Oosunmu, Billy Cox, Kodjo Yenga, Adam Regis, Paul Erhahon, Danielle Johnson, Dwaine Douglas, Sian Simpson, Ben Hitchcock, Annaka Keniesha Pinto, Mohammed Ahmed, Edvin Johnson, Rizwan Darbar, Philip Poru, Etem Celebi, Jack Large, David Nowak, Nassirudeen Osawe, Henry Bolombi, Boduka Mudianga

Perhaps there are signs of a little hope: murders and attempted murders with a knife, in all ages, have dropped slightly compared to last year - 530 in 2008-09; 467 in 2009-10.

(Published in the Independent on Sunday - report was by Andrew Johnson, Nina Lakhani, Susannah Butter)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

International knife crime blog: submit information + views etc here

Apologies that I've not been writing more posts for this blog lately, but if you have some news, information, reflections, whatever you think etc, about knife / gun / violent crime you'd like to share (video, audio, podcast, words, poems, photos etc) feel free to contact me.

Simply use a comment box (click here to see one) and send me a message. I'll get back to you if you leave contact details such as email address, phone number etc. You can also use the comment box to send a post that I will always aim to publish on this blog (I can add names or publish it as anonymous - just let me know; trained as a professional journalist, sources are always protected... but please don't abuse that privilege; that tends to come to light).

It will be good to hear from you - especially if your motives are peaceful.   m.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

'Famous for the Wrong Reasons': Sal Idriss, knife, gun + violent crime and his photos of bereaved families still mourning + suffering

I was invited to a private viewing of Sal Idriss' photo exhibition this week - the 'Famous For The Wrong Reasons' exhibition, an anti-gun and knife crime project he started a couple of years ago or so.

Here he was killed...

It has involved creating photographic portraits and an exhibition of 27 London families who have lost their loved ones to gun or knife crime. It is hoped that if the project is a success in London it will go on to tour the UK and potentially abroad.

Work stuff made it difficult to attend that first night so I visited later.It's on the Mezzanine / first floor of Rich Mix.
'Famous For The Wrong Reasons' is a tribute to Sal's brother Nass (Nassirudeen), who died in 2007 as the result of an unprovoked knife attack in Islington, a few days before his 17th birthday.

Sal said: "Direct experience of this, the most pernicious of crimes, drew my attention to the many families throughout London who are dealing with the devastating loss of a loved one through knife or gun attacks.

"Since 2007 I have worked in more than 20 boroughs, with more than 20 families. Their personal stories are the impetus for the project. Individual portraits, many taken on location, show families not as names, numbers or headlines that disappear, but as people who are coping with loss, pain and immense sadness, every day. These families, like my own, have become Famous for the Wrong Reasons.

Exhibition area: Tower Hamlets

"My photographic exhibition, developed with young people across London’s boroughs, shows their raw emotions and portrays them with honesty and compassion.

"The project aims to educate and deter those vulnerable to or already involved with gun or knife crime by using the emotional power of photography to illustrate the dangers and risks of carrying guns and knives and to demonstrate what can happen to families on a personal level."

By putting real faces to the 'anonymous' names in the newspapers, Sal hopes to expose the true impacts of such crimes.

Another loved one slain...

The second aim is to provide a way for people across the community to talk about the causes of teenagers carrying guns or knives in their neighbourhoods, and to better understand the root causes often related to gangs, bullying and/or drugs.

Lastly, the project aims to shift young people's attitudes and deglamourise gun and knife crime.

Nearby: Bethnal Green tube station

'Famous For The Wrong Reasons' is at Rich Mix from 7 October 2010 to 7 November 2010. The Private View was from 6 – 8pm on Thursday, 7 October. Sal Idriss website is at
Have you visited this anti-gun and knife crime exhibition? Was your family photographed? Were you involved in any of these knife crimes? Do let me know any of your thoughts, if you'd like to share them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knife crime campaigners: keep on pushing, don't be discouraged...

We have to wonder if efforts to curb knife crime are having much effect after latest knife crime statistics show four in 10 youth killings are from blades.

Having said that, I detect signs of hope that we may win this campaigning... we are fortunate in this country (UK) to have the lowest knife death rates in Europe (see Guardian story - Knife is most common weapon used in killings of young people)

So take heart... be encouraged... keep up the pressure... "keep on pushing, don't be discouraged"... anti-knife crime campaigners continue to unite - we can beat such a terrible scourge affecting this nation and countries around the world. Dream on and the shanking yobs and knife criminals we'll beat...

STOP PRESS: Offensive weapons crimes such as those involving knives have fallen to their lowest level for ten years, according to latest police statistics (I think they are Scottish stats). Still a long way to go but read more here - Knife crime at lowest level for a decade.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Killing of my brother, by Tom Cave - aged 9

Toying with the idea of using violence today? Using a knife or a gun? Think on young Tom's message...

"I was three when they stabbed him.

"Mam told me he had gone on a train to the sky.

"The 'kids' told me there was lots of blood everywhere...

"My mam tells me to 'share' my thoughts and i do. Now i am nine and i understand exactly what happened to my brother and i can deal with it because i shared my thoughts and questions with mam.

"I find it better to cope with now as even though i loved him i can hardly remember him so its easy for me to cope.

"I will never have another brother because they stole my future when they murdered my brother. Don't be like me - sad, lonely and angry and confused as to who i am because you would not like it at all.

"I am lucky i have life and love and my mam who's got lots of memories to keep my brother alive in my head - my heart is his.

"Please dont kill because you can live a good life because you too are loved by many."
         ... from: Tom Cave (aged 9).

Tom's mum, Theresa Cave, has become part of an impactful knife and gun crime programme called Point 7 which has been building steady support in the UK.

Theresa set up a proactive memorial group - the Chris Cave Foundation (on Facebook) - to remember her son, beaten and killed in a stabbing, as well as campaign against knife and other violent crime.

She describes the Point 7 programme, which she and Tom have been involved with, as "wonderfully impactful" and "very much in demand".

She said: "The presentation consists of films, true experiences, weaponry and their uses in the streets - and professionals such as the paramedics, youth offending teams and police come together to present what I would say is the most impactive, hard-hitting, lasting memory of the consequences that are to be had choosing a life of violent crime.

"Point 7 show the most serious and brutal of wounds to actual victims and even animals. Knife and guns are on show and debates take place between the young people present.

"True life stories and heart wrenching results are always to be had with this presentation given freely by this wonderfully expert team of professional people dedicated to the cause and to the youths of today."

Read Press coverage about the Point 7 anti-knife crime / anti-violence programme (the Sunday Sun)

The presentation is available to adult organisations and agencies accross the country and training is on offer to anyone wanting it. Toolkits are available (soon) and the workshops are in six parts.

For anyone wishing to know more about this anti-knife crime, anti-gun, anti violence programme, please call 01642 498451 or 07981 991482 for more information.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kitchen knife block in poor taste: picture of 'stabbed' voodoo person

SOME kind of sicko no doubt thought there is humour designing a kitchen knife block that resembles a plastic voodoo doll. What kind of person buys this for their house? I know - a teenage lad (not yet a man) who thinks it's hilarious / cool / novel / hard etc; or it could be a nutter who actually relates to/enjoys mimicking stabbings in the head and body. Sick.
Stabbed figure - 'Voodoo' kitchen knife block

Cashing in on knife crime... in a range of colours

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gun + knife carriers - and Lucy Cope who mourns a child

Pro-gun supporters, and those that want to carry guns, are quite strong in their demands of me (see my Britain Needs Guns post and a growing number of comments).

But someone has just written in with a pretty good piece that steps back from this drive for possessing weapons - and full of common sense - which again pushes back on those that advocate some kind of hark back to Wild West times. Read it for yourself:

They said: "It is worth pointing out that ownership of guns in the States leads to nothing more than an increased death rate. Most of those that end up dead are innocent victims and not demented rapists who break into homes intent on wreaking havoc. That is the fact of the matter.
"It is also worth pointing out, and please check these stats out, but do your own research, that 40 police officers have been shot dead in the US so far this year. This where gun laws are extremely lenient. It is very rare here that an officer is shot, and that is due to our gun control.
"Another fact is, that about 43% (figure fluctuates slightly) of officers killed by firearms in the US, are in fact killed with their own weapons. If highly skilled highly trained law enforcement officers cannot retain their weapons during an incident, are you all seriously arrogant enough to think you will be able to?
"I like living in a country that has strict gun control, but like Lucy Cope, I would welcome a full and complete ban. Until then we need to seriously look at the laws we have, which are not quite as "strict" as most believe.
"Laws vary in different areas. I would like to see laws implemented nationwide. I agree with the statement that those armed with knives will be the most likely to die from a knife wound. I have the statistics for that somewhere, they are available, and I will attempt to dig them out.
"You cannot argue with the fact that if nobody carried a knife, nor any kind of firearm, for use as a weapon, legally or otherwise, then nobody would lose their life to either.
"I would like to end by saying Lucy Cope is not a "harriden". She is a mother, who unlike any of her critics above, knows what it is like to stand at a grave, mourning her child, who was taken by the use of a firearm."

And this is just one group of the reasons this blog remains anti-gun, anti-knife, anti-crime - and ultimately, pro-peace. Now, has anyone got any great ideas to develop more peace in this country? 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Graham Showell and growing numbers of gun supporters...

With reference to Graham Showell's comments and supporters etc (recently made and being added on this post about his appearance on a BBC programme), people are always welcome to submit a full blog post (rather than just sometimes smaller comments). Feel free to post it in a comment box - I'll copy and paste it as a main post subsequently, as time allows (though I'm not giving here a blanket agreement for such posts to always be published... it will have to be reviewed for possible publication).

In Graham's case, post after post about the same topic cannot continue indefinitely. A line will have to be drawn at some point. But if the debate is furthered by posts and comments, I plan to continue to publish what's submitted.

Quite a few commenters on this blog worry they won't be published. Provided comments are not spam or abusive, make no sense, are just plain bonkers etc, there's no reason why you wouldn't be published. In a nutshell, they just need to be reasonable. This blog can be a debating-type place, not a censorous environment. That said, I've just rejected two comments which were blatant advertorial for weapons. As this is an anti-weapon place, such advertorial isn't welcome.

This is a part-time task for me (though I would like to spend longer on it), set up in memory of Jackie Marshall who was stabbed and passed away in my arms in a McDonalds restaurant at Chichester, West Sussex. This blog is pro-peace and anti-knife and gun crime. Most, if not all my opinions, are based around that premise.

Trust that helps. Contact me as you need. In due course, I'll aim to get back to you.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Happy slapping - violent crime for a laugh

Another crime as despicable as knife crime is 'happy slapping'. There should be no doubt that sneaking up on someone and landing blows on their head is, simply, plain wrong.

Happy slappers (idiots) that do this are neither funny nor cool, neither clever not some kind of hero rebels. They are, as I said, idiots. Worse, they are delinquents... delinquents that bring misery, pain and sometimes death when they ambush innocent people - often filming the assault for kicks.

Leon Elcock, aged 16, and Hamza Lyzai (15) are a pair of happy slappers just jailed for killing a grandfather. Locked up for less than a handful of years, their victim, Ekram Haque (67) was out with his three-year-old grand-daughter Marian (having attended prayers at a mosque) when Alcock and Lyzai were caught on CCTV 'happy slapping' the pensioner.

How is that 'happy' at all? As Ekram fell to the floor in front of his beloved little Marian, he suffered massive brain damage that tragically led to his death days later.

Other assaults by these two and a third teenage idiot were regularly filmed and sickeningly promoted under the label 'Lane Gang Productions'.

But this crime got me thinking again. As this blog's readers will know, I'm sometimes critical of business and its double standards, especially some firms' snake-like ability to avoid criminal culpability. While
purporting to be civilised, companies can be cruel, inhospitable, bullying - and even criminal.

Profit becomes companies prime driver at the expense of humanity (which is criminal, immoral etc, by the way).

BP is a current example - 11 people were killed when the controversial Gulf oil rig explosion occurred. When hapless idiots like Tony Hayward are in charge, you wonder about the mentality of leaders in that
organisation and the quality of others coming through.

Who is the greater criminal - BP (the organisation that kills 11 plus massive eco
disaster) or the happy slappers on this page (kill one)? Makes you think.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Raoul Moat... and in search of peace in this world

Raoul Moat is dead (the Northumberland gunman who shot and killed his ex-girlfriend's partner, injured her and a policeman). He shot himself - in the head it seems - after a six-hour stand-off when cornered by police snipers and negotiators

"Good riddance," we hear some say.

But what a failure for society - and education - that someone can become like that. I do feel some pity and sadness for the man even though he had killed. What makes someone that angry, murderous and suicidal? Surely we can stop people becoming like that? Don't know - maybe not; he had a choice about how he should behave and trod the wrong road. And that's the end of that - and him.

Raoul Moat's gun violence and criminal killing spree did start me thinking about peace. Moat wasn't making peace with anyone - he was on a warpath, sad and tragic to say.

But what about the peacemakers? How do they go about their campaigns to make the world a more peaceful, safer place? Think this is what goes through people's minds - in one form or another. Have you got the right mindset to bring peace?

I want to be a means of peace - let me work to be that.
Where there's hatred grown, let me sow love.
Where there's injury, let forgiveness be my sword.

Where there's doubt and fear, let me sow things to believe and trust in that are strong.
Where there's sadness here, let me sow some joy.
When darkness nears, may I bring some light to dispel people's fears.

I would like to share more, to receive love less and give more love - for free, no strings.
Please may I forgive, as others forgive me for my errors and sometime error prone ways.

And then there will be more peace. May I become a means of bringing that peace. 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Gun and knife carrying for protection from criminals

Debate on knife and gun carrying on this blog lately has been significant. I've received another comment on the recent posts. Because it touches on key issues that others have flagged, I thought I would reproduce it here as a main post for all to comment on. Personally, I continue to disagree with the arguments presented. Fundamentally, people carrying weapons (guns or knives) is the wrong path. But, please review this post and add your opinion (it was sent to me by a Tom Trumper, presumably a 'pen name'):
" Sir, While I believe that Lucy Cope has had a terrible loss - probably one that I will never be able to comprehend as I am not yet a father - I do not believe that this makes her immune to criticism. If anything, her involvement undermines your efforts to outlaw firearms as she is clearly driven by emotion, and showed this very strongly during the television show. And you'll forgive me if I question Lucy's stance on the story of the elderly woman being raped - that the preferable alternative for the elderly woman owning a firearm was for her to own a panic alarm. While I can see the argument here, I believe that it is alarming where an abuser of our most vulnerable citizens is potentially allowed to go scott free when the police cannot intervene in time. The point is here, an elderly woman is incapable of defending herself effectively most of the time, and a gun makes for a crude equalizer. When I say equalizer, I mean that physical strength or height plays little or no role in the functioning of a firearm compared to a knife, where a stronger, taller opponent can easily over power a rival. Because of this, citizens most at risk of attack (the weak, the old, the crippled etc) have a means of defending themselves - the same goes for items like 'pepper spray' and 'tazers'.
The firearm in question doesn't even need to the criminal to prevent the crime from happening, as a survey of imprisoned criminals in the U.S showed that 34% of criminals had either been "scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim."(1) This shows that firearms can be a crime PREVENTER as well as a potential crime cause.
I am a firm believer in that certain prevention is better than uncertain cure, which could be described as a criminal being having to think twice before he decides to attack that young/old lady, as opposed to the same lady being maimed/killed/raped and the criminal having to be punished - we will never know if the criminal incarcerated in jail will be rehabilitated, but we will always know that it's a positive thing if a person can walk down a street without fear of being attacked.
I hope my comments are taken constructively and helpful in debate.
(source for my statistic about prevention: )"

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Critics of Lucy Cope + this blog's stance on carrying guns & knives

I've just published three comments made on my opinion about the BBC's Big Questions debate today on guns in Britain. You can view them here. Here's my response to some of the points made.

As people who are familiar with this blog are aware, I publish only facts when it comes to crime statistics. The anonymous poster (yet another anonymous critic that sometimes hides behind 'no name / identity' to snipe at me on this blog) questioned this factual statement that I made:

"Sadly the statistics show people are more likely to end up stabbed if they actually carry a knife. The same would undoubtedly happen with guns."
Well, the answer to that is contained in the government campaign described in this BBC news article about knife crime and the fact s/he has queried is promoted by none other than the Association of Chief Police Officers - so feel free to contact them to discuss this issue.

[This fact has been queried by some blog readers so here's a link for people to do their own research and form their own conclusions - various knife crime research sources are shown including the Royal Armouries knife crime literature review. Really, people need to step back and see common sense here... if you carry a knife and that blade is turned on you, you are more likely to be hurt by it. And also - ultimately, if you carry a weapon (even for genuine protection) you are not being peaceable. There's simply no justification for any irresponsible escalation of violence that leads to stabbing or shooting.]

Criticising Lucy Cope, a mother who has lost a son to gun crime, is insensitive, unfeeling, unhelpful and marks that person out to be someone who does not understand the perils of carrying weapons. If there was a case for guns to be allowed to be carried across the UK, s/he just undermined it.

Reflecting a little further, I think the aggressive nature and style of these comments highlight the importance of not giving aggressive people free access to guns.

I feel no shame questioning a man who publicly advocates carrying guns - quite the opposite, I feel right to do it. Showell's is not a peaceful mission. The words 'peaceful' and 'gun carrier' make no sense at all and cannot go together. That said, weapons sometimes have to be used in self-defence - but allowing ordinary, untrained citizens of a nation to arm themselves in an apparently arbitrary fashion lacks, at the very least, plain common sense.

Graham Showell and Britain Needs Guns - sheer idiocy?

Graham Showell appears to be one of the UK's leading proponent and supporter of allowing all kinds of guns to be legally held by anyone who wants one.

To my mind, him and his arguments are beyond comprehension. Without any doubt, his thoughts in this area, however he expresses them, are akin to the politics of the madhouse. Heaven help us if he ever got his way. Thankfully, I'm sure commons sense will prevail and his ridiculous logic will never win the day.

He appeared on the BBC's Big Questions this morning and met stiff resistance from most of the audience for his pro-gun opinions. It was shocking that such foolish, misguided comment was allowed a serious airing - but there you go, it's a free country and, in the media spotlight, I reckon his stance could not stand up to the scrutiny of those of us who are far wiser then he is.

Thank goodness for people like Lucy Cope, a leader of anti-crime group Mothers Against Guns. Her zero tolerance approach to possession of guns in Britain came across pretty well on the programme.

Lucy Cope - Mothers Against Guns

Graham Showell was just appalling - he would like the entire country to be able to arm themselves for personal protection. Putting weapons into the hands of people with such a cavalier disregard for the consequences really doesn't bear thinking about.

But we have to think about it because people like this exist, god help us. It is just this type of stupid thinking that leads people to carry knives for personal protection. Sadly the statistics show people are more likely to end up stabbed if they actually carry a knife. The same would undoubtedly happen with guns. Graham Showell and his Britain Needs Guns website and campaign... words fail me - his arguments need exposing for the falseness they represent, and hopefully his campaign will collapse.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mum continues to struggle with her son's killing

Following on from my post about Peter Hollywood, Lorraine Kelly (the mum of son Jamie killed by this murderer) wrote to me and says:

"This evil man Hollywood was double my son's age and double his size. He didn't kill my son alone - he had a big crew with blades but unfortunately only one other was charged - Jonathan Mcdonald - and he was set free."

She said there were others - a total of nine in all - who helped kill her son but they were set free due to lack of evidence from that tragic day on September 14, 2009.

"It killed me too... my life's over without my son," she said.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Candlelight memorial vigil in London at 4pm today

Was asked to post this...

Dear Victims Families and Individuals

I am writing to inform you of a candlelight vigil, which is taking place in the memory of Mohammed and Haider Ali (the two brothers who lost there life to knife crime on the 21st April 2006) which will be taking place this Sunday 23rd May 2010 at 4.00pm on Fircroft Road, Tooting Bec, London SW17.

Fircroft Road is two minutes distant from Tooting Bec underground station (Northern Line).

I am aware this is very short notice, but your attendance and support for the family would be much appreciated as the Ali family are still seeking justice for the loss of their only two sons, Mohammed (25) and Haider (24).

Losing one child to murder is horrendous, but two in one night, how does one cope with this?

I would be grateful if you would confirm attendance by duly acknowledging my email. If you have any queries please contact me on 07960947075.

Thank you in advance for your quick response.

Yours truly

Iffat Rizvi

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grief, anguish and agony when a loved one is killed

Death... when a partner, son, daughter, friend or other relative is killed by knife crime or gun crime, it is clear the grieving and agony of that loss remains forever.

Sometimes spending time in Facebook knife crime groups, I came across the terrible and horrific death of 18-year-old Jamie Kelly. His mum asked me to add a blog post about his killer, Peter Hollywood. Words cannot describe the depravity of this man - the way he stabbed Jamie is just not human.

Lorraine said: "I hope you do name and shame this man who took my son brutally with pure pleasure doing it. This man brutally killed my only child - he stabbed him 18 times ... How sick is this man? All my son was trying to do was stop a friend being stabbed. This fatty was with a huge crew of older men with blades. He tried to blag the court that Jamie was in a gang with blades."

Peter Hollywood, killer (aged 33) - a nasty disposition, surely...

You can join a Facebook group demanding justice for Jamie - aka Bumper, and you can read more about Lorraine's grieving and suffering after her son's knife crime death in a Wirral News interview.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Knife crime and anti-gun campaigning in the USA

ANTI-KNIFE and gun crime campaigning mums in the UK and the USA linked up this week to keep alive the memories of their murdered children - and to keep pressing for weapons to better controlled.
Pictures of young people Chris Cave and Bonnie Barrett - the son and daughter of Theresa Cave and Jackie Barrett - were carried in a 'Million Mom March' in the Bronx, New York City.
Details of the march can be found in press coverage found online including in an ABC News site and the New York Daily News.
New York resident Allison Diehl-Wilhite sent a touching message to UK mums Theresa and Jackie after the march, saying:

“The march was wonderful and so powerful. We were interviewed by the New York Post and the Mott Hill Courant. When we see the paper we will post them and send to you both. Chris, Bonnie and Jeremiah's pictures will be in them.

“They were so surprised to find they were from the UK and that it was their mothers who loved me while I wanted to die and brought me to a place where I could begin to heal.

“Spoke how strong you are and how you are such influential advocators there for justice.

“The woman who started the New York Chapter wants me to start a chapter here in Connecticutt. There is no chapter here.

“It scares me but i have you as such a powerful example. I love you. If you don't mind they asked about all three of their stories and I spoke on them some. I hope it was ok.

“I also spoke of the Chris Cave Foundation and F.A.M.E. and how you have taught me to fight for justice.

“I don't know if they will print it all but I will post the paper and send to you.

“I really feel like Chris, Bonnie and Jeremiah are with each other and very strong in friendship. Happy Mothers Day....all my love to you.”

Knife and gun crime campaigning is international with grief and tragedy affecting so many in different ways. Join the peaceful fight to stop the killing, to stop weapons use. Do not pass by on the other side. Victory will come to the decent people of the world.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Campaigning rally demanding full 'life' jail sentences for criminals

A march to rally anti-crime (knife, gun, violence) supporters who demand that 'life' jail sentences must mean 'life' is being held tomorrow (May 3rd - bank holiday Monday).

Campaigning group Families Fighting for Justice has organised the meeting. Here's how they describe the event on their anti-crime Facebook group:

"We have organised a massive march a few days before the general election in London. We want every organisation and individuals to come together as one. Knife crime, gun crime no matter what.
"We will be shouting for 'life to mean life' for murder and manslaughter. Please now is the time to make your voice heard you must join us for the mother of all marches to stand together and say STOP STEALING OUR CHILDREN, we want Justice we want the respect for human life to be put back also the deterrent to then make this country be a country to be proud of as it once was.
"We want as many of you to gather within your own communities to arrange this trip to London - the more voices there the better. The message will be put across, united we stand. It is no good just thinking what is wrong but to do something about what you think and know to be true. All carry your loved ones photo with you, or the name of your organisation, or just come along as you are, wear t shirts with your loved ones photo on. Show we have had enough.
"Do not wait for it to knock on your door before you do anything because then it will be too late for you and your family, we do not want anymore families in this dark place where we are now.
"We need all of your actions putting into words - we need the masses to march and show we are a country who will stand united, united for peace.
"So we do not have much time as we want to march before the election so get going on getting together to meet.
"We will be meeting at the Victoria embankment nr the Temple tube station at 2pm. and walking to Westminster. There, a guest speaker and other speakers (families of murder victims) will say a few words.
"We are meeting up afterwards at the Novotel hotel, Kings Cross road (five mins away from Euston) for a drink or two, everyone welcome."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Life as a knife / gun crime gangster or financier

A real life story of a financier who ended up as a criminal has caught my eye - Jordan Belfort. His life struck me as an accurate caricature of the current banking and economic greed that has dominated modern life in recent times.

Belfort also pursued riches and a luxury lifestyle that appeal to knife and gun gangsters (at least some of them).

With that in mind, interesting to cover his life story to serve as some kind of modern day parable for those thinking that crime and greed pays. It doesn't and you can see it clearly in Belfort's story. Sorry if it seems somewhat unfair on Jordan - I'm not sure how else to write it.

Belfort probably sums up a kind of insidious evil that can grip a selfish, self-centred human spirit - recklessness, greed, gambling, crime, power - a whole gamut of excess that is abhorrent to decent people.

When he started selling stocks, he once made 12.5m USD in a few minutes. He had mansions, luxury and sports cars. He flew in private jets and helicopters. Coco Chanel’s yacht was his. He married an attractive blonde model.

Sex, drugs and the love of money

Belfort had tens of brokers working for him, and then hundreds. He inspired his men who sold stock which often went up. Belfort encouraged his brokers to spend their own money wildly... to keep them champing at the bit for more. Prostitutes and drug dealers... you can just visualise it – cars, drugs, parties, short skirts (no skirts!), air-punching on the trading floor.

He had everything worth having, right?

Wrong. As money poured in from crime, Belfort started to lose perspective. He had 19 servants. He wore watches, shoes and clothes worth many thousands of pounds. But he started to break the law. He created a scam that made him multi millions. The FBI investigated him. He started on drugs – crack, cocaine, Ecstasy, cannabis, painkillers, sleeping tablets and anti-depressants. What's your poison...?

To quote Belfort: he was “stealing $100 million from thousands of investors and smuggling millions of dollars to Switzerland”.

He became paranoid. His life fell apart. His yacht sank. His jet crashed. He had a near-death experience in his helicopter.

It gets worse. Belfort started to crack up. He pushed his wife down the stairs at one of his mansions. Drugged out of his mind, he grabbed his three-year-old daughter, put her in his car and drove off. But he didn’t get far. He crashed through the garage door into a marble pillar. The girl was not wearing a seat-belt. She was unharmed. Jordan Belfort’s wife began divorce proceedings.

Investigated by law enforcement authorities

Belfort was told by the FBI he faced 30 years in jail. His option to escape jail was to grass on his 'pals' – in other words, talk to his co-conspirators about the frauds they had jointly committed, and secretly record the conversations.

He chose to be a grass. Yep - set up close chats with old 'friends' while wearing a wire to discuss crimes that were committed.

He served 22 months of a four year jail sentence. His whole life story is to become a Martin Scorsese film. Not sure if that doesn't glamourise crime - maybe not as it should show his life's spectacular failure and collapse.

He said: "I went off course. I had bankrupt values. Number one was money. Number two was power. Number three was sex, mostly with hookers. Number four was drugs.”

It is little wonder that young people and others who take up knife and gun crime - perhaps to escape poverty - have had little to aspire to when idiot, avaricious financiers (like Belfort) and businesses (that Belfort worked for) remain solely focused on their self-interest, their profits - and regulation and governments across the world are way too corrupt (perhaps also gullible) and let them get away with it.

Private hell as greed-ridden life starts to collapse

Here's a few of Belfort's reflections on his life being a pathetic criminal:

“The problem on Wall Street is you’re not creating anything. There’s no satisfaction. The only barometer you have is money. And money has no meaning. You try to attach meaning to money by buying possessions.”

If you want to make money, you have to train yourself to be obsessed with money. And then life starts to lose its meaning.

He started out as a criminal after a man who was bent taught him how to be bent too. (That'll be education, education, education). Interestingly Belfort had good intentions, thinking he'd only be bad occasionally and then go back to being nice.

But he lost his family, and then his freedom.

Before being locked up in prison, he said to his children: "I’ve made some serious mistakes and if you make mistakes there are consequences. I have to go away for a while… to jail."

And the upset among the family was huge. He mentions his wife and daughter in the interview I'm reporting on here. He has a son as well, the article said.

He says he's not spiritual and does not have integrity, unlike his new wife-to-be. Hopefully, things will change for the better for him now. Let's hope he's reformed - sounds like it.

Modern-day parable of gangster-ism. Learned anything?

Parable over. Suffice to say, if you're a knife and gun user - you can see what you can become in this post if you use criminal ways to try to get ahead. A complete tosser.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Politics stoops low (again) with 'knives out' commentary

Some election commentators, as well as some Press reporting, make me feel sick. Now that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has made some progress in the first debate, knife stabbing metaphors are pouring out of the pores of political outlets.

And I'm sure it's not just me that feels sick about it - any victims, friends or relatives connected to stabbings will not feel at all comfortable that terms like 'knife sharpening' are being bandied about - whether in politics, the workplace or elsewhere. To suggest the violent career 'death' of a political opponent is not something to be savoured like some kind of favourite meal - in fact, it is immoral to will or wish the death of another by any violent means and should be abhorrent to those with a conscience.

The relish shown by the headline writers is truly appalling: "Knives out for Clegg"; "Knives out for LibDems". In fact, it's lazy journalism. Such 'knifing' talk needs to be questioned and challenged. Worse still are those (mainly older) commentators who are loving to talk about dark political manoeuvrings that might lead to achievement of some kind of Julius Caesar moment. Those that relish this language ought to stop, think, reflect and re-evaluate their style of language.

You can view the huge array of political knifing comments here. Once again, politics is managing to demonstrate an underlying flaw and failure of our society - that it must use knife analogies to achieve political and other 'ambitious' ends.

Well, it should stop. It is no example to set society at large, let alone any impressionable young people. If not, knife crime culture will remain embedded in the UK psyche. Take the knife metaphors out of the English language - now (please).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

UK Election: Where's the crime policy pledges etc?

This is not good. I've been watching the UK election news since the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the general election for May 6... and not one word have I heard about crime, especially not knife or gun crime.

There's been Cameron and his twist on national service for young people (which can't really be criticised - unless young people don't want to participate, I thought). Then there's the economy being centre stage which all politicians have come to far too late. I just don't think they understand how to help the people they are supposed to serve. Labour seems to have helped a great deal avoid problems of the UB40 times from the 1980s - but it's not unlike trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted. Banking matters should have been tackled much sooner.

And why is this relevant to knife crime? Because young people need to have something to aspire to - and a corrupt, unmanageable financial / economic system is not something to aspire to. In fact, it's a man-made, moral disaster for the globe and encourages criminality, it seems (as well as causing famines, poverty etc).

Come on politicians, what are your ways to tackle the knife crime scourge affecting society - and other violent crime? Bring on the debate...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Quotes to keep knife crime campaigners motivated

Just a couple of knife / violent crime-related quotes I came across to keep us pushing onwards:

John Lennon: "You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die."

And Gandhi helps a little too, as we enter Easter and many people think about God and who he is: "... in the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness, light persists. Hence I gather that God is life, truth, light. He is love. He is the supreme Good. But he is no God who merely satisfies the intellect, if he ever does."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trying to cope with the loss of loved ones by violence

DO NOT lose heart or hope! The steeper the road, the faster it rises toward ever wider horizons.

Life is a talent entrusted to us so that we can transform it and increase it, making it a gift to others. No man is an iceberg drifting on the ocean of history. Each one of us belongs to a great family in which he has his place and his own role to play.

Selfishness makes people deaf and dumb; love opens eyes and hearts, enabling people to make that original and irreplaceable contribution which, together with the thousands of deeds of so many brothers and sisters, often distant and unknown, converges to form the mosaic of charity which can change the tide of history.

(Said by a greater man than me!)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Gun + knife criminals revel in their reputations

Browsing around WH Smith's (as all of us in England or other parts of the UK must have done at some time or another), the 'True Crime' section sounded alarm bells. A sizeable section made up of several shelves, the faces of the bad, the violent and the ugly were impossible to miss.

Time is at a premium as I write this so will add to this post later sometime. However, thought I would throw open this post to comments from all. What's your opinion about these type of people enjoying plenty of shelf space in our stores while the work of the good, the kind and the gentle often goes unnoticed? You tell me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Anti-stab knife - useless or useful?

Thought I would highlight a mini-debate happening on this blog about the anti-stab knife invention.

Theresa Cave, a prominent campaigner against violence, says the following:

"As a mother who's lost a child to knife crime and who is now quite experienced working to tackle the problem in communities, I find it ridiculously believable, sadly and in a cynical way, that it's quite possible this anti-stab knife would be used somehow as an alternative weapon to 'ordinary' stabbings.

"It could become a new, fashionable way to injure victims, slashing people to frighten them rather than kill.

"For instance, suppose a druggie owes money to a dealer, the dealer can introduce the 'slasher' anti-stab weapon here.

"It reminds me of the days when some violent people used to use a Stanley knife but with two blades in it, separated by a two pence piece. The effect was devastating, making an unstitch-able slash. I believe it was nicknamed the 'Chelsea Smile' :-( !!"

Theresa runs an anti-violence website and Facebook group - the Chris Cave Foundation (set up in memory of her son) dedicated to her campaigning.

Her comments are food for thought. You can read the rest of the debate by visiting the earlier anti-stab knife post.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

‘Stop a stabber’ - text 88551 on your phone to stop knife criminals

Report anyone carrying or using a knife (or knives) now by texting 88551 on your mobile phone – and you stay anonymous.

It’s that easy. Simply type in as much information as you know about the knife criminals and send your message to 88551.

That’s it. An anonymous service (for knife-carrying) where you will not be identified as an informant. Piloted in London, the scheme is now running nationwide.

Kind of like to think that people using this service are like shrewd secret agents… a hidden army of Simon Templars and 007s out there keeping UK streets safe from deadly idiots and, more importantly perhaps, organised criminals and gangs.

It is recommended to text four key bits of info about the knife criminals:

1. Name and/or nickname
2. Postcode / area
3. School or workplace
4. School year / approx age

Normal texting costs apply (usual network rates) – and don’t forget to delete the text from your sent box to keep yourself squeaky clean!

(Sophisticated technology is used that’s been developed and run by mBlox and Anderson Software to ensure Crimestoppers cannot trace the mobile number or any other details about the text message sender.)

Let’s flippin’ use it, and let’s stop these knife wielding flippers… let’s ruin the lives of the ‘ungodly’…

Friday, January 22, 2010

Police crime statistics map tool now on a computer near you

KNIFE crime statistics - just spotted a neat resource for checking crime in your area - CrimeMapper. It provides information on crime and antisocial behaviour where you live across England and Wales.

It is possible to access and compare latest info on a range of crime types with other neighbourhoods. Check out the CrimeMapper link here.

For instance, violent crime is up in London compared to the same three-month period last year.

Details of your local neighbourhood police team are also available as well as policing priorities and information on the policing pledge. If you're investigating knife crime statistics etc, this could be a very useful research tool. Do let me know how you use this tool, and other resources on this site (please).

Monday, January 18, 2010

'Miles Not Knives' (the 2010 anti-knife campaign)

Danny O'Brien agreed to introduce the 'Miles not Knives' campaign for 2010 on the knife crime blog:

Well, this is my first post for the knife crime blog.

'Miles not Knives' has been running for just over a year and in that time has grown in membership and I hope has established itself as an anti-knife group that does more then just sit on Facebook saying loads but doing nowt.

Much of my campaigning has been across London and I've met some amazing people. But I am hoping to do even more campaigning, including the strongest focus on raising knife crime awareness among even more people in 2010.

A 250-mile walk from Darlington to London is planned for later this year and I would also like to raise money for four other charities that help victims and their families.

I know I have been nominated for an award with a national paper, but that award in my eyes is for all those who believed in what I am trying to do.

Sadly I can't promise to end knife crime, but together we can try and save more lives than the numbers we have been losing at present. With more awareness we can do that.

warmest regards


Monday, January 11, 2010

The curious case of the Mylene Klass knife crime affair

The Mylene Klass knife crime affair sounds like some kind of strange publicity stunt - for police and Klass.

When a gang of hoodlums threaten you at your house, are you likely to provoke them by waving a knife? Possibly most unwise in the extreme when you'd rather not have violent thugs bursting in, trying to take you out.

I'm sure the police were right to warn her about brandishing a knife. Klass said she did it because it was something any mother would do. I'm not sure they would... would you, Mum? Better to call 999 maybe - but then what would you do waiting for the emergency services to turn up?

Publicity for celebrities around knife crime is a difficult issue. They can seem to benefit from some association with it but haven't really stepped up to the plate and worked to solve it, have they?

That said, it's a dangerous platform to put your name too - it could make you an assassination target.

In Mylene's case, no-one should have to put up with any kind of gang wandering about their private property. Very scary indeed.

Overall, curious. Interesting that it prompted this article on the BBC website. Free publicity for lawyers.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Knife crime deaths in east London

East London is featuring as an area for regular knife crime incidents. In the latest tragedy, a 'Good Samaritan' father-of-one who went to help a mugging victim near Barking railway station has been killed - see 'Hero father stabbed to death' article in the Guardian.

The two male suspects have been described as black, aged in their 20s to 30s, and about 5ft 7in to 6ft.

Weapon carrying is a major problem in this part of the city, especially among gang members. An 18-year-old was found days before Christmas lying dead in a Bow street with multiple stab wounds.

I still ask what possesses people to carry weapons. Perhaps that question is easier to answer than actually using one. Whatever, it makes me sick to the pit of my stomach. Why kill someone? What possible benefit can there be? There is none - all it brings is misery.

Now, early in 2010, a child is left father-less by such murderous criminals and that child must deal with life without a caring parent.

Often writing this blog I feel powerless to help. Set up as a memorial for those killed by knife crime, I sometimes feel it's only words. But each of us should try to do something, surely. For those who mourn today my heart goes out - and I know that's not enough at this time, by miles...

For information purposes, the Guardian has a special section that chronologically records UK knife crime incidents and other related news.

On a final point, if there is advice to give at this time, it is simply to say to others that they should not get caught up in street fights.

If there is the likelihood you might get injured by a knife-wielding thug (or gang members), run away - live to fight another day, another way. Do the observant thing though if you get a chance. Take a good look at them, note their clothes, hair style, shoes etc - pass all that useful info to the police. If and when they catch them, do an identity parade and point them out.

You are worth more to us alive than dead, worth so much more than the scum with the knives (and guns). Step by step we will beat them.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

'Miles Not Knives' nominated as Children's Champion

READ and learn about Danny O'Brien who runs the 'Miles Not Knives' group - you would be wise to vote for him as a Children's Champion in the News of the World. You can also join the 'Miles Not Knives' Facebook group.

Soon (hopefully), he will be penning the odd post for this knife crime blog. Please give him a warm welcome - it's cold and deadly out there sometimes, it's very sad to say. Into a new decade against murders and violence we go...