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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gun-toting Christians in the USA

Should a Christian country like the USA be advocating owning and carrying guns as readily as it does? Packing heat, waiting to shoot someone, is not the peaceful way Christ advocated was it?

This cartoon in The Economist magazine probably sums up the situation well...

Guns and Christians in the Unites States of America

Like knives, gun carrying should be a crime. It is in the UK. Such ready access to death and injury sticks that US citizens have is nothing to 'enjoy' or take pride in.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How gun control can prevent mass killings like at Newtown, Connecticut, USA

A GUN massacre on the US East Coast causing the deaths of some 27 children and teachers has put the spotlight back on gun control.

In the Connecticut killings, police sources identified a 20-year-old man, Adam Lanza, to have carried out the Newtown school massacre. It is also reported that the man shot his mother, Nancy Lanza - a teacher at the school - at a connected crime scene in the town.

It seems appropriate to repeat a previous blog post that provides clear evidence, a justifiable case for making it illegal to carry arms.

The case is indisputable: easier access to guns has caused more deaths / killings in the USA - FACT. For that reason, gun controls must be imposed to prevent more people dying, especially innocents like children and teachers.

Here's a quite from my previous blog post:

From 'The Case for Gun Control' by Fareed Zakaria: "Gun violence in America is off the chart compared to every other country on the planet. The gun-homicide rate per capita in the US is 30 times that of Britain and Australia, 10 times that of India and four times that of Switzerland.

"... [The USA] does have many, many more guns. There are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the US. In second place is Yemen with 54.8, then Switzerland with 45.7 and Finland with 45.3. No other country has a rate above 40. The US handgun-ownership rate is 70% higher than that of the country with the next highest rate."

And an indisputable fact is very obvious: crime has been falling over the past few decades in the US. Specifically, while violent crime rates have fallen by 20%, numbers of firearm homicides is essentially unchanged. Zakaria makes the blindingly obvious point: "What can explain this anomaly except easier access to guns?" 

To read the full post on this blog, visit 'Lessons for UK knife crime from gun control in the USA'

Saturday, November 10, 2012

LEST we forget... names of knife crime victims 'litter' the UK

REMEMBRANCE Sunday is this weekend. As well as armed conflict there have been, as many know, thousands killed on UK streets and homes by acts of illegal urban violence... many more than numbers who have died on some modern battlefields and 'theatres of war', in fact.

On this blog at this time we remember Jackie Marshall in whose memory this website was set up to try to change the awful mentality, causes and events that lead to knife crime.

How much real success has there been...? I'm left wondering but there is healthier climate of awareness and education underway to tackle knife crime these days, helped hugely by the many anti-knife crime campaigners out there.

Fixed up on a wall in the Mcdonalds restaurant at Chichester Gate where Jackie was killed back in April 2005 there is marble-type plaque. It sits there overlooking the spot where she was stabbed by assailant Shane Freer and where I held her until the ambulance staff arrived.

The plaque has a poem carved out in Jackie's memory by Samm Gillett:

In memory of Jacky Marshall
Customer Care Manager

A true friend to all, who always took care of the little things

Every moment you graced the lobby floor someone was touched and so much more

You were welcoming, supportive and inspirational

You were affectionate, joyful and sensational

You were genuine, devoted and big hearted

You will be missed dearly departed

Jackie Marshall - Stabbed at Mcdonalds restaurant, Chichester

(You can read more about Jackie on this blog. Use the search box at top of this page or check some of the archived posts about her.)

Knife crime... stabbings... shootings... fighting... British violence... world conflict... how are you making a difference to change things for the better? Really, what are you doing? You could really change things - don't be discouraged.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Eliminate a cause of knife crime - do it now via this page today

Given that the world of finance and many of its practitioners are being criticised without end at present, it is notable that the Christian community has squared up to these types.

Companies who use tax avoidance measures to cut their tax bills - and thus not pay legitimate taxes to governments caring for their country people - are the subject of a campaign by Christian Aid.

By tax dodging, society is adversely affected, made poorer - and if you read parts of this blog - you'll see how the lack of morality of such companies can be a causal reason for knife, gun and other violent crime.

To send the British Prime Minister your view that financial secrecy such as tax dodging is wrong, visit the Christian Aid website here: add your voice now to the anti-tax dodging campaign.

Just enter your email address on this site and you will be joining with thousands to help eliminate one of the causes of knife crime. Nothing to lose... with life and maybe much else to gain...

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Reflecting on the deaths of thousands...

JUST spent some time recording some of the names of victims of knife and gun crime violence who were killed in London. You can see and read here about this roll call of the sadly and tragically dead.

Killing is unnecessary, solves nothing, makes things worse for all people and communities in this country. Only word that comes to mind seeing all those dead is 'WHY?'... really... WHY?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Poverty and the young - search for knife crime solutions part 3

ANOTHER solution area worth exploring is the alleged severe and demonising way we treat young people in Britain. By punishing those who have yet to learn to be an effective part of the country, their community, we make them more dysfunctional - and we fear them more when they don't conform. And then (in the UK) we criminalise them, arresting them for, say, hanging out. In Finland they take a different approach by working in a proactive way, working a system of systematic care for their young... while the UK is pretty roundly condemned across the world for its attitudes to youth.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has remarked on 'the general climate of intolerance and negative attitudes towards children, especially adolescents, which appears to exist in the UK, including in the media, and may be often the underlying cause of further infringements of their rights'. Interesting and thought provoking, possibly indicating poor government rule, poor childrens policies + politics, poor parenting across this nation, poor environments many have to live in, and clear prejudice + resentment among adults towards young people.

Adults seem to be afraid to look in the mirror, transferring their hidden psychological ills and failed lives and communities on to 'the young' for simply walking about. That said, maybe adults are merely a product of their difficult backgrounds as they grew up and this 'dog-eat-dog' work environment that many of us seem to bound up in. Sometimes I think some existence in this country - especially when caught up in drunken violence and street, gang + knife crime - is what is meant when life is described as 'hell on earth'!

A final most noteworthy issue in my reflections on developing solutions to knife crime comes from, among others, the World Health Organisation. Apparently, obvious poverty is not linked to violence; in fact, it's relative deprivation that is the causal link. The WHO reports that rising income inequality in Europe has resulted in an increase in numbers of murders.

And that, bearing in mind the current strong focus on tackling dodgy bankers, bullying businesses and the super-rich, makes one applaud the political and media drive to nail down those corrupt and flawed elements of capitalism that are making everyone's lives worse.

WHO reports: "Overall, good evidence indicates that violence among young people can be prevented through the organised efforts of society... And the evidence base is much stronger for interventions that adopt a public health rather than criminal justice approach, and for those that reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors among young people early in life than for measures that seek to reduce violent behaviour once it has already emerged."

Interesting - have you noticed there are many medical conditions for young people these days? Maybe an unspoken drive by world medics to manage the murder / violence risk? Very speculative, I guess, but food for thought. 

Anyway... starting to concluding this reflective mini 'essay', good progress has pretty obviously been made highlighting the issues of knife crime and other violence to the country. And there are clearly many individuals and groups (especially those directly affected by knife crime) who have worked in local communities - and are active now - to make a difference for the public good. It is relatively clear that some reductions in knife crime have been made, at least at times. Without doubt, many are motivated to solve the problems of violence.

And so, where to now...? 

Real in-roads must be made to drive down the average violent deaths carried out daily on British streets... from two a day by, say, a third (that would be a reduction in killings of about four or five a week). Can we do that by 2020 or sooner?

That would be a real success measure of initiatives started around the start of this millennium. Don't know to be honest; feels like an ambitious goal - but no politician or government has shown the public courage, commitment or initiative to set it, as far as I have observed, so maybe it's left to the knife crime and anti-violence campaigners to do so. We can but try. Onwards...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Examining knife crime facts in the UK for solutions - part 2

MOST of this millennium, Government data from the Home Office couldn't tell anyone much about knife crime. Thank goodness this is changing... hopefully.

But as recently as 2008, it was the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown who tried to respond to a rising sense of alarm by holding a knife crime summit while not in full possession of the facts, and David Cameron, Tory opposition party leader as he then was, who described knife crime as an epidemic and Britain as a broken society.

Both politicians were inaccurate to a great extent - or, assuming some public manipulation, do we say 'economic with the truth' - to try to make some political capital, as well as make a bit of real progress maybe, if lucky, from a time of public alarm.

Political leopards don't change their spots, it seems, and here was a classic case. At the time, Gordon Brown's team decided to use NHS statistics - which counted patients discharged from hospital with stab wounds - and claim there had been a 27% drop in numbers of stab victims. Unfortunately, hospitals hadn't finished counting the stab victims and they told the PM so. 

British politics and politicians - and civil servants + the media too - never cease to amaze me at these times with demonstrative unprofessionalism and seeming lack of realism. In this instance they went ahead and published these figures, effectively perpetuating a false myth (and dare I say using infamous spin) by announcing misleading data... and thus causing immense consternation to many, once again, about the way our governing masters operate. These figures did in fact prove to be inaccurate - yet 'don't let the truth get in the way of a good story', eh?

If you can't trust those paid and working full-time to be looking out for the British population's interests, who can you trust? And that's one of the reasons why victims of crime, knife crime or any other, find it so hard to get peace after the death of loved ones... because those supposed to represent them right up to the highest level have too often been shown up to not be in charge of their brief, not effectively helping or supporting them, innocent victims of loved ones violent deaths. Communications between victims and the powers-that-be at these times can often be relatively poor, perhaps mainly due to the immense grief, pain and mourning experienced.

Maybe I'm a little hard on these well-paid bureaucrats? You tell me. 

To be fair on those who have worked for knife crime reductions, knifings apparently dropped about 8% in 2008, probably with police attention and the huge focus and attention at the time given by knife and violent crime campaigners including this blog to make a difference.

From the above, the political process has been shown to be a real detriment to best solving problems in this country. Party politicians, keen to show they are better at law and order than the others, squabble over semantics in the public arena rather than focus time and public resources on solutions.

How much more helpful it would be to have a target to reduce knife and violent crime and all those working on that project aligned and communicating progress on a monthly or quarterly basis to the nation at large. There you would be better able to see the start of a focal point for the bereaved and injured to feel involved, and to affect positive change too possibly.

But no, that's not evident; political and media noise distorts the situation, no-one steps up to be accountable in case of failure, and everyone wonders what exactly is the true picture, who is working on the solution, how solutions will be enacted etc.

Knife crime statistics are still 'challenging' to understand. It is reprehensible of politicians and government that, with blades and other stabbing implements responsible for the largest share of killings, official crime statistics have not ever included a category for knives, right up to the end of the last millennium... How on earth do you overlook this during all that time? Because no-one has truly been accountable - and that must be a failure of government, police and civil servant management, and taxes must have been wasted without that accountability. This must be a fact, else matters would be better run and communicated.

One would feel more confident in our ruling classes if they were in command of the crime brief - but here is yet another example of these people demonstrating, as they frequently do, a high level of amateurish-ness and lack of accountability with regard to understanding and solving crime affecting the nation. It is clear that government departments, political parties and the police are not well informed and connected on issues far too often. Perhaps it keeps them in a job to run things this way? Perish the thought.

I mentioned in part 1 of this mini-essay that in the book 'Britain etc', the journalist Mark Easton (Home Editor at the BBC) reports... "As a rough average, two people are murdered every day in Britain. The most common weapon used is a blade or other sharp instrument. The most likely stab victim is a young man." In fact, a third of all murders are caused by some kind of blade or other stabbing implement.

Ffs - however you might try to rationalise it, that is terrible (although still one of the lowest killing rates recorded in the UK since medieval records were kept apparently - and lower than many other countries in the world today too).

As indicated in Easton's research, after Labour's PM Gordon Brown set up the Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP) in 2008, it was quietly buried less than a year following its formation and the authorities went back, once again, to measuring only the broad category of 'violent crime'.

But then with so many other problems in the country and world, perhaps it's not surprising that time and attention on one ill is not apparently as available (as, say, for war, foreign aid or the Olympics). And can you really knock politicians when they demonstrate natural human concern to solve such a problem?

Well, it's not about knocking them - it's about the fact they are paid full-time to solve this and other important problems. What's their plan? What is being measured regularly to check progress - and how is that effectively communicated so people know it's being done? Where is the accountability?

What do we pay our politicians and civil servants to do? Or rather, where are our taxes going if not to provide clear solutions, providing us with regular evidence that progress is being made? Much of the buck around this must stop with them.

And that completes part 2 of this blog's series looking more closely at how to solve knife crime in this country - and possibly the world. Next time, I'll look at the poverty factor causes knife crime problems and how young people are demonised in Britain leading to misbehaviour and illegal carrying and use of knives.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Solutions to the knife crime menace in the UK: part 1

WHAT progress has been made tackling knife crime in the years since this blog started? I've taken a little time out to reflect on the situation over the summer holidays... hope these reflections and evaluations prove useful.

In the book 'Britain etc', the journalist Mark Easton (Home Editor at the BBC) reports a stark but simple truth about the latest knife crime facts: "As a rough average, two people are murdered every day in Britain. The most common weapon used is a blade or other sharp instrument. The most likely stab victim is a young man." In fact, a third of all murders are caused by some kind of blade or other stabbing implement.

So, in a very clear way, that brings us right up to date with the knife crime statistics - and very terrible they are too.

So, more reflectively, my first blog post was published a few months after the fatal stabbing of Jacky Marshall, a supervisor in a McDonalds restaurant at Chichester, West Sussex, England, on a Saturday lunchtime in April 2005 when children's fun and parties were in full swing.

I was a witness who went to try to help the victim, cradling a fatally injured Jacky in my arms as her life ebbed away. It was most devastating to her family and traumatising for many, not least this anti-knife crime blog writer. The Crown's case against the killer Shane Freer was not yet begun and I had decided to try to make a difference to the wider national debate and deliberations about knife crime by starting a blog that provided focus on forming solutions and gave some kind of coherent outlet for the outpourings and anguish of those affected by this scourge of the nation.

At that time I recall an undercurrent of awareness about quite frequent knife attacks and a powerlessness to address what was sensed as a kind of invisible evil. Media attention was certainly less attentive and highly reactive. High profile cases, for example the horrendous deaths of Stephen LawrenceDamilola Taylor and Ben Kinsella, expressed national as well as local outrage - but there was possibly not the highest appropriate focus on addressing the depraved violence that was, and continues to be, a sickening hallmark of all knife crime across the nation - and of course mostly any kind of violent attack.

The parents of Stephen Lawrence parents pursued justice for their slaughtered son pretty much all the time this blog has run - see Stephen's timeline for justice. Similarly, the parents of Damilola Taylor have campaigned for solutions to problems in inner city communities (see the Damilola Taylor trust website). And then there was the Kinsella family campaigning and the formation of The Ben Kinsella Trust, led by his actress sister Brooke.

In addition to these, there are the many other victims, equally innocent and no less deserving of public attention. Pictures of many (from London) can be seen on this knife crime blog post.

And so, where are we now - really?

I've observed many groups and families affected by such crime; as well as obvious grief and a desire for comfort, they search I've noticed (sometimes unconsciously) for some kind of focal point to best channel their grief to solve the devastation of a killing that has afflicted their lives and lives of friends, relatives and of people within their local communities. They look for some kind of societal and national unity, some kind of common group, banner or standard to rally around. With this, families and friends of victims across the country - perhaps the world - would feel they can make better progress together to deter aggressive, violent, weapon-carrying behaviour. 

I've observed Government clumsily offering a little solace and resource to help. I've seen too that Government, as in many other areas, fail to properly measure, better understand and communicate about the violence issue. And yet, obviously, Government is full of people with concern and good intentions.

So how to stop the killing, the maiming with blades - or indeed with any weapon? How much closer is a solution, or achieving synergy across a variety of suggested solutions and initiatives?

My view is there is now much greater understanding about where solutions could be found. More research and knowledge about the causes of knife crime are available. But I think many campaigners and communities need to work out how to arrive at solutions more quickly. That's not a criticism; it's more about moving towards the common goal of eliminating knife crime, as much as possible, in parallel with all other campaigning. Possibly greater leadership is needed to bring all this together, perhaps more objective leaders who can help bring together all those different anti-violence initiatives, groups and individuals, and national + local officials.

Look for areas where significant differences can be made. For example, most murders are 'male-on-male', confrontational or grudge/revenge killings. 

Confrontational might typically be about a couple of alcohol-fuelled lads not intent on killing the other (initially). So reducing fights and alcohol use on Saturday nights makes sense with many police and pub security staff always involved here providing deterrents most weekends. (More killings occur on Saturdays than Mondays!) If only young men would drink more responsibly, then our streets and drinking holes would not be so fearsome at nights.

Grudge killings however tend to be premeditated and weapons are carried to the scene, frequently linked to gangs with boys and teenaged men aged 10 to 19. Some 13% of these 'gangsters' have carried knives in the previous year, according to research. Killings happen due to being 'dissed' - disrespected, disparaged, or simply feeling treated with such contempt. 

These people really need to 'grow up' in this tough, modern world, take some personal responsibility for their lives and actions - but they can't seem to deal with 'tough' - they prefer silencing problems with weapons; it seems an easier solution.

But you can't say that to them perhaps... it would be likely to make things worse.

And of course, what this country's business and political leaders offer as an alternative to aggressive weapon-carriers doesn't appear that appealing or palatable i.e. hard work with no guarantee of decent wages, pension, reasonable prices, decent home, affordable taxes etc. And not forgetting corrupt banks, greedy psychopathic corporations, bullying workplaces and the like. And not forgetting too, research tells us, the 'dog-eat-dog' work environment as dictated by business, political and local leaders, especially in the UK. It's a world many do not want, do not want to participate in (especially young men). There's little in it for them. Using a knife or a gun with violence brings some control to some people's lives, it seems.

In my next post I reflect on the knife crime statistics in more detail and also examine in a fairly broad sense the causes of knife crime, specifically poverty. Check back here when you get chance. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lessons for UK knife crime from gun control in the USA

Calls to legalise guns, allowing ordinary citizens to arm themselves, have at times dominated this blog. The reason this debate is allowed to feature on a knife crime blog is because the broader issues are highly relevant i.e. about carrying weapons - blades or guns - and all types of violent crime. In short, as well as anti-knife, this blog is anti-all weapons for private use including anti-gun. Ultimately, this blog is focused on achieving non-violent, civilised, peaceful - and one day, we hope, happy - existence.

Many pro-gunners have spent some time on this blog trying to argue private gun use should be allowed, alluding to legal use in the USA making their 'pro' position valid (e.g. Graham Showell and Britain Needs Guns). Bearing that in mind, I was interested in recent murder / killing statistics published in Time magazine (Aug 20 2012) demonstrating unequivocally that the USA clearly has a major gun problem, and most definitely not a solution to the country's ills (or the world's, for that matter).

From 'The Case for Gun Control' by Fareed Zakaria: "Gun violence in America is off the chart compared to every other country on the planet. The gun-homicide rate per capita in the US is 30 times that of Britain and Australia, 10 times that of India and four times that of Switzerland.

"... [The USA] does have many, many more guns. There are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the US. In second place is Yemen with 54.8, then Switzerland with 45.7 and Finland with 45.3. No other country has a rate above 40. The US handgun-ownership rate is 70% higher than that of the country with the next highest rate."

And an indisputable fact is very obvious: crime has been falling over the past few decades in the US. Specifically, while violent crime rates have fallen by 20%, numbers of firearm homicides is essentially unchanged. Zakaria makes the blindingly obvious point: "What can explain this anomaly except easier access to guns?" And to try to hammer home his point, he courts controversy by remarking that when people throw up their hands and say nothing can be done about guns, tell them they're being un-American - and unintelligent.

So it is also the case for knives. As for guns, common sense (as well as the evidence) is crystal clear that less knife carrying would reduce killings and maiming. The more we can ensure criminal knife use is prevented, the more we can ensure people - mainly our sons - can stay alive.

Preventing easy access to and sale of knives, licensing their use for carrying in public places, doesn't seem quite as dramatic a step as we may have initially thought. It must be straightforward to better control sales of large combat knives (that killed Jacky Marshall, for whom this blog was set up 'in memoriam' after she was stabbed to death in a Chichester McDonald's fast food restaurant) and any kind of blade carried for self-protection... surely?

So... if anyone tells you little can be done about knives (or guns), just tell them they're being un-British - and unintelligent.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Olympic Games help for those hurt by violent crime

How do you move on after a loved one, a friend, a relative, has been killed - stabbed to death or shot? Or perhaps badly maimed or disabled for life? I'm not sure if the video here will help - but it made me think it is similar for many who have been affected by violence.

Life seems to be going ok, you're gearing up for some good things ahead. Then - out of the blue - you suffer a most devastating loss, someone kills a loved one.

Filled with immense pain and confusion, you crumple to the floor... can't go on. You lie there, bewildered, suffering, struggling to come to terms with such loss, deep grief, sorrow impossible to put into words.

And then, after much time has passed, you start to think about getting up.

Derek Redmond, British athlete - badly injured but not out

In this video, a ordinary man, trained as an athlete, goes through all this in the spotlight of the Olympic Games. He breaks down in front of tens of thousands, gets up, sobs with pain, intense pain... he could be you struggling with grief, confusion, loss, hurt. Someone comes to help him (his father) and he carries on - but still in pain.

Life seemed ok up to that point. Watch the video if you think it might help; it's timely because it's connected to the Olympics - but it could be you, your family or friends trying to deal with loss.

Maybe it will help you carry on when life deals a hard blow, so painful you fall to the ground in tears and pain. I hope it can reach you, can help you, can comfort you...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trek For Ben Kinsella gala night raised £35k-plus

One of the event's organisers, actress Brooke Kinsella, has announced that the Trek For Ben Gala at Gilgamesh  at the end of June raised more than £35,000 for The Ben Kinsella Trust.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who came and supported. That money will allow us to do so much good work in Ben's name so thank you, thank you, thank you xxx," said Brooke.

It was June 29 2008 when Kinsella's 16-year-old brother, Ben, was killed by a gang of three youths in London. He had been out celebrating the end of GCSE exams with friends in Shillibeers Brasserie Bar, North Road, when trouble broke out and later spilled on to a nearby street. See Wikipedia piece on Ben Kinsella for more information.

The Ben Kinsella Trust is organising a range of fund-raising events to help fund anti-knife crime initiatives. For details, visit the Ben Kinsella Trust web pages and Facebook accounts.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ben Kinsella celebrity gala evening "to put the knives away"

WHAT are you doing on the evening of Monday June 25th (this month)? Does your diary or calendar show anything on? Just check it now... go on.

Why not think about having a great night out while donating to the campaign against knife crime?

While enjoying a night of fun and celebrity, you can help make a difference to the sometimes lawless streets and homes of Britain.

**STOP PRESS: You can now buy tickets for this special evening by visiting the tid music website here.

The night is designed to help raise money for The Ben Kinsella Trust (see

Helping organise the event, actress Brooke Kinsella and sister Jade are planning a trek to Peru's Machu Picchu mountain ridge to lay a stone for brother Ben who was stabbed and died when he was aged 16.

The commemorative act is planned for October 27 this year marking Ben's 21st birthday had he been alive today.
See event details 'full size' by clicking poster
Comedian and tv show host Alan Carr will MC at the celebrity gala evening to be held at Gilgamesh, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH.
Alan Carr to host The Ben Kinsella Trust gala evening
Entertainment will be provided by Jaz Ellington from The Voice UK, Lemar and The West End Cast of We Will Rock You, Damage - with music by Pete Tong plus a 'Special Guest'.

Tickets are priced at £130 and £100 for (slightly) restricted view.

A truly great event to support - and help persuade people to stop carrying knives, to put the knives away.

There are many examples these days of strong and powerful campaigns, creative, design, writing and activities in the UK today that focus on preventing knife and other violent crime

Probably one of the more effective is The Ben Kinsella Trust.

If you've not looked through the Trust's website (or Facebook pages), and I mean really looked through it, go on and take a look.

View the videos, study the photos and the messages, observe the positive work underway to try to make a difference to the knife crime menace that seems to pervade this nation at times.

Aftermath of knife crimes

The Kinsella family, friends and associates are more public living examples of what happens after a knife crime event. They have been through the tragedy, devastation and many other lows as they try to move on from a killing of a loved one. (And there are also some suffering in private, perhaps alone, and without the comfort of hearing from people who understand suffering; they may need reaching more than others.)

Reading through some of the Ben Kinsella coverage, the following incident causes one to reflect how the impact of knife crime goes on a long time after a fatal attack.

Here's a reflection about one incident to have affected the Kinsellas...

Brooke + Jade Kinsella
If of sound mind, you'd think you'd just want to keep a low profile if involved in killing someone. You'd think the shame and guilt would get to you. But of course, perhaps these minds are not quite that sound.

Imagine that's why Jade Braithwaite one of those convicted of the murder of Ben Kinsella started using Facebook while in prison to say: "I'm down but not out" and posted a photo of a t-shirt with 'Free Jade' emblazoned on it (see this Jade Braithwaite 'using Facebook in jail' media coverage).

No words necessary to describe how much most people would be sickened at that. People don't want to hear that rubbish; they are more likely looking for at least some regret for a wrong action. Forgiving killers so full of themselves isn't really on the agenda when they start spouting about their 'ego' and nothing about the life they have taken away.

This is just one example of how the aftermath of a knife crime murder (or maiming) can devastate and continue to hurt those affected by murderers who take (or damage) people's lives in a moment and wound the victim's loved ones for the rest of their lifetimes.

Think about attending the Trek For Ben Celebrity Gala Evening, or simply donating to The Ben Kinsella Trust. You just might help prevent suffering, save a life... maybe many. These are good things to do.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Knife crime incidents in past 7 days...

JUST look at the sheer scale of stabbings carried out across this nation... here's a screenshot of some of the many knife crime-related incidents and stories in the past seven days that can be fitted into one screenshot (when you click on the image, you will be able to view the list clearly).

Seven long days of misery and suffering:

Knife crimes for 1 week June 2012

Stabbings in past week, early June 2012

Alarming knife crime statistics - and must leave many thinking how to combat such a menace threatening each of us, our loved ones, people young and old. There are many campaigning to try to contain this violence, to try to squeeze this scourge on our society into a bottle and put a lid on it that never comes off.

Are you able to do something to stop blades being used in your home town, your streets, places you hang out, your criminal associate, on friends and innocent people you know, your youth clubs, schools, colleges, universities?

Got to be worth a try - it's your country... do you really want lawlessness and fear of killing and injury to haunt you all your life? No, we don't - somehow, got to stop this death and destruction... Onwards...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How to take knife carriers off the streets?

IT WAS horrendous to read of a man being stabbed to death by a young father - the victim approached the parent because his child was crying and was attacked for caring.

Expressing concern for the child, it was reported that Alan Smith (63) approached Matthew Quesada about the distressed tot in the BB Café at Leyton, east London.

Quesada then apparently lost the plot, first swearing at Mr Smith who took flight with his family, retreating to Roma café which was close by. Then Quesada went home, picked up a knife and returned to the café neighbourhood to attack Mr Smith.

Mr Smith was stabbed five (5) times in front of his partner and daughter with Quesada not saying a word but attacking him frenziedly, it was reported at the Old Bailey.

Words fail me to adequately describe the type of person who could do this.

If you know anyone with a knife, text their details to this number now - 88551. I hand out this number with my anti-knife crime campaign card (see below). Maybe you could make up some cards and hand out this number too - why not give it a go... you could help clean up the streets.

The Knife Crime Blog - text a stabber to 88551

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Knife crime robberies rise - but pan-2011 figures confusing

AN ANNUAL increase in knifepoint robberies - a rise of nine (9) per cent - has been recorded during 2011 across England and Wales according to statistics from the ONS (Office for National Statistics).

In fact, robberies in the street, as well as muggings, have increased while the statistical data shows a more general fall in all crime.

To be honest, Government statistical data is confusing again as officials have once more changed reporting methods. You wonder, importantly, about accuracy of the figures, and also what value this confusing picture brings to the taxpayer.

The nation's round-up of crime statistics are now published quarterly by the ONS having previously been the responsibility of the Home Office (see the Government's knife, gun + gang-related violence actions here).

This quarterly report, up to December 2011, is littered with news of increases in crime (and some decreases), and the phrase "not statistically significant" is used on occasions.

A link is here to the data for you to consider: National crime statistics to end of 2011.

There is apparently less clear information available as a result of the switch to the ONS - and the statistical data appears less transparent and less helpful to explain crime levels, especially the focus of this blog - knife crime - than previously.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Super-rich arm the knife carriers when they avoid tax

IT is common for politicians to consider that the presence of wealthy individuals on UK soil is beneficial for the nation where they might create or expand businesses or employment.

However, when they pay little tax - usually by avoidance measures - their morally questionable behaviour (a more critical term might be 'thieves') contribute to the growth of poverty.

More importantly, resentment of such actions by the rich is clearly evident, as demonstrated by the recent British riots. Worse, it is a logical step to then realise that such resentment feeds into and fuels other crime including knife use for violent and other criminal purposes.

Many of the super-rich actually believe it is a duty for them to not pay tax; this is true - they regularly moan about paying any tax. You've probably come across people like them down the pub; you know the neanderthal beer-swilling businessman who tries to come across as an ordinary bloke by saying the taxman is always on his back, the government is taking too much money off them etc.

What is galling is that wealthy individuals are likely to have used state schools and hospitals when growing up - or their employees may still use them. The point is their ability to generate wealth today depends in large part on the stability of the state and an expensive physical  infrastructure... all of which costs money.

So those rich individuals determined to make the least possible contribution to what underpins their ability to enrich themselves is grossly selfish. If they could get off their cushioned backsides and rarefied atmospheres they move in, they would do well to contribute to infrastructural improvements and many of us might have more time for them. Sad to say, very few it seems are known to be in this bracket.

Like Robert Peston, the BBC business editor (as stated in his book 'Who Runs Britain?'), I reckon that no-one should use this club's facilities (the UK) who is not prepared to pay the subscription fees.

When these non-payers wander about our club (nation), they are often taking as much as they can for free... thus they are as parasites, guzzling the financial, physical and intellectual output achieved by the hard work of the many.

And that's not politics - that's common sense. Maybe we do need some kind of global law courts and police-type officers to monitor and prosecute the immorality of these types.

What's worse of course is that the failure of these selfish, wealthy individuals to help invest in the UK infrastructure - or indeed other countries - leads many poorer people to consider crime and some to use knives and other weapons for criminal ends. A little simplistic perhaps (given that people have personal responsibility for their actions) but this is a natural and logical conclusion.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Stabbing death in run-up to Easter

Another tragic death... a 17-year-old lad was stabbed and killed outside a Hastings pub in East Sussex on Thursday (April 5) -

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Death by sharp deadly weapons: a kind of Easter message...

STRIP away religious blurb and what do you see here? Three men being killed... executed... capital punishment by a violent ruling force.

The one in the middle was in a gang of about a dozen young men. He was more of a peacemaker than a fighter, more innocent than guilty - but the political leaders in his country went after him in a vicious, concerted way.

Look closely...

One of his gang struck out with a blade when they came to arrest his friend, slicing off the officer's ear. Apparently, the peacemaker healed the officer's ear and ordered his fellow gang member not to fight.

And then they whipped, scourged this man... nailed him to that gibbett you see there, a cross, a crucifix - driving huge nails into his hands and feet, severing tendons and soft tissues, perhaps breaking bones.

To make sure he was dead after several hours hanging there, an officer took a spear, another type of blade, and brutally used it to stab him, plunging the bladed weapon deep into his side. And he was dead - killed and drained of blood by all manner of sharp weapons.

And vicious, organised gangsters, criminals and other idiots are still using knives and other blades to kill others today. Sometimes you wonder what progress has there been - and when (or rather how) will they learn that being violent makes you a loser - nothing gets better picking up a knife to use against another human being.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Remembering grieving mothers on Mothering Sunday

It is a tragedy that many mums today will be grieving the loss of their children as a result of knife crime, shooting or other violent act (glassing perhaps or from sickening punches).

In the last century, Mothering Sunday was when young people in domestic service (apparently about half the employed UK population) would return home.

They would go to the church where they were baptised (their 'mother' church) before visiting their families and bringing a gift to their mothers.

Today is a popular time for saying "thank you" (and "love you") to mums who have given us life and our first love.

For many mothers though, their loved son or daughter is not coming home today. Tragically, death at the hands of a criminal fool (or fools) has separated them. We remember these killings and the misery they have wrought, as ever   :'-(  and we continue to work for change.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Passionate anger in pursuit of peace in the knife crime business

As time goes on with knife crime campaigning, or indeed any kind of campaign, things can become less motivating where progress seems difficult to achieve. I just thought I'd write a short piece about giving up... or rather not giving up - it's worth keeping on.

It is quite isolating at time writing a blog; I've tried to contact some key people, kept focus on the key issues (and probably strayed off script at times), always invited comments, passed on Facebook details, tried to make time where there seems little to find. Staying motivated can be a struggle - one can get tired, weary etc and wonder if things will really change that much, especially as the killings and injury crime figures keep on piling in.

That said, when someone fatally stabbed dies in your arms, I don't think the motivation to change things can leave you.

And to campaign for peace does not mean being passive. In fact, a form of aggression is needed, determination, perseverance. Some aggression is not necessarily negative - combined with passion, it can drive an athlete on to achieve; it can drive on those campaigning for justice, truth, change in the knife and violent crime business.

To know criminally-minded people are killing and injuring others will always be wrong. Moderation in the face of such devastation must not be countenanced. It is necessary to become angry when people do not put down the knives, the guns.

Such anger is not 'out of control' - it is essential to try to restore proper order. We probably need our own house in order too, but a moderate reaction just won't do. Just as many are angered by corrupt bankers and greedy corporations and businessmen in recent economic times,  so it is with knife carriers. Criminal, evil acts must not be tolerated.

An aggressive pursuit of justice and truth, of change for the better is required. It is essential - and it is a peaceful pursuit.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Self-esteem key for people to achieve peaceful aspirations

One of the issues raised by this blog over time – and more widely across UK society – when considering this country’s ills and what maybe blighting the lives of the young and others who involve themselves in criminal activity, including knife crime, is their inability to have or realise aspirations to enjoy a better, non-criminal life.

This is not a post that is an apologist’s view putting the criminal above the innocent crime victim and their friends and families; it is merely a relatively short point of discussion to try to reasonably present one solution area, among hopefully many that do exist (including those that are more punishment-based than, say, ‘social work’).

So, the thought is about one possible solution, if that’s what it can be called, which is around the area of individual self-esteem.

It could be argued people who choose to carry a knife are demonstrating some kind of self-esteem. More specifically, this is likely to be warped and perverse… a bullying arrogance and a desire for power and control over victims (while they have no ability to control other external influences and environments).

On the opposite pole is positive self-esteem... which is quite the opposite of knife-carrying and stabbing. It is in fact the key to realising peaceful aspirations. Being able to develop one’s own voice, to assert one’s self confidently in the world, to assert one’s own values such as kindness, co-operation and sharing – values we need to reform and reshape the world.

I’ll leave that thought with you. Let me know what you think, as time allows? Thanks.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Knife crime robbery stats from Home Office show 10% rise

KNIFE crime-related robberies, according to UK police figures, rose 10% year-on-year up to last September - but British Crime Survey (BCS) statistics showed no increase in estimated numbers of muggings and robberies at knife-point over the same year.

Here are the actual figures: robberies with knives totalled 15,313, rising from the previous year's 2010 figures of 13,971. Full details can be seen in the Home Office document 'Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Update to September 2011'.

Two sources provide the latest knife crime statistics contained in the regular Home Office update - police recorded crime and the BCS. The Home Office state: "Neither source provides a total count of crime and each has its strengths and weaknesses." More details and explanation are contained in the 24-page report.

What causes people to pick up a blade and threaten to stick it into another person? Greed, desperation, poverty, swagger, arrogance, mental illness? If you know, add a post to this blog; it will be checked and published... if not abusive / threatening etc itself.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baby boomers blamed for societal problems by Harvard

Since this blog started, posts and comment posters have banged on about an amoral / immoral, profit-only business world - led by self-obsessed baby boomers - being at least partly responsible for killing society, giving people little to aspire to - and leading some to take to crime, even knife crime (see this post, for instance: Business is killing security and happiness in our society).

Interesting then to see the message getting through to the educational heartlands of business... business writers and lecturers at Harvard now seem to be getting the point - read here about their call for more responsible corporate leadership.

Here's an excerpt:

As the New Year approaches, people will be making resolutions to eat better, exercise more, get that promotion at work, or spend more time with their families. While these are worthwhile goals, we have a more important challenge for young people: Think seriously about your development as a leader.
These are tough times. Many leaders of the baby boomer generation have failed in their responsibilities by placing their self-interest ahead of their organizations. In so doing, they have failed to serve society's best interests. As a result, more young leaders from Gen X and the Millennials are being asked to take on major leadership responsibilities.

It seems wrong and unfair that it is the young who must be relied upon to work god knows how much harder to correct the fatal errors of the baby boom generation. Hopefully at least some of those old and shamed past generations will see the error of their ways and offer some support... especially financial (instead of hanging on to their ill-gotten gains like some kind of Sheriff of Nottingham)... to ensure this world economic mess we are in is sorted out for the greater good.

Will this 'new thinking' rub off on the careerist, pompous, ego-driven, self-serving politicians (easily bought by lobbyists), the greedy and self-interested, the power-crazed? We wait, with some impatience, to see change in profit-only cultures in corporations and companies.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Racism and knife crime

A person is a person is a person; a human being.

Anyone who takes a knife, or other weapon, and inflicts injury or death on another person for (deluded) reasons connected to the colour of her or his skin is someone who commits a racist assault or killing.

Not much more definition needed to make it clear what is a racist (knife) crime... crystal clear.

(Photos of some knife crime victims: many people of different colours, many of them should have been too young to die...  :'-( )

Monday, January 02, 2012

Ban the Voodoo knife block in 2012!

CAN someone explain to me why anyone would buy the voodoo knifeman kitchen block? It is unfathomable why this sickening knife 'toy' (for adults, allegedly) is still on sale for use in the home.

If I was to write a review about these it would say: "Sickening rubbish: if you are anti-knife crime, do not buy!"
Knifeman stand / Sickening stabbing block

I spotted Red or Dead co-founder Wayne Hemingway and his other half Gerardine had one in a photo of their kitchen carried in Hello! magazine last year (like the one inset on this knife crime post).

It is baffling why prominent people, such as these trendy / fashion-conscious partners - with huge fashion design credentials - would own such offensive crap. (You may recall Wayne Hemingway recently moved the Vintage Festival event from Chichester / Goodwood to London, unsuccessfully apparently; here's another example of poor judgement then.)

When this knife crime blog first started, I remember highlighting how people in the fashion industry have some kind of sick love affair with violence, stabbing, death, knives, guns etc. Do you recall the post? You can read it again here (about an Italian fashion house... must be something in the sick mafia blood over there): Boycott Dolce & Gabbana over idiot knife adverts.  Think D&G removed the ad (thank goodness!) but the BBC report is still live and explains all and the ASA ban on this horrendous advert is still accessible. Wonder how many more fashionista idiots abound... let me know!

In any event, let's have the anti-knife crime campaigners get these voodoo 'blade blocks' banned, let's have retailers remove them from shop shelves and online stores stop stocking them. At the very least we need to embarrass (odd!) people, such as the Hemingway's, buying them. If you bought one by accident, just bin it (try metal recycling perhaps, pop it in at one of the world's police stations, or drop it off in a local knife amnesty bucket somewhere).