8 November 2018

Knives

Samuel Baker (15) stabbed to death in the Low Edges 
area  of Sheffield on May 24th this year. His 
killer was another fifteen year old boy.
Sheffield is famous for knives. Even today, some of the best knives in the world are made here 

However, in recent months, knives have been hitting the local headlines for a very different reason. Knife crime is on the rise in some neighbourhoods and this has resulted in several deaths and stabbing injuries. It is very concerning.

It's the same in London - but on a bigger scale. This year 115 people have been stabbed to death in the capital. The victims are nearly all young men of Afro-Caribbean heritage. Frequently, gang issues related to territory, drugs and/or grudges are at the heart of these horrible attacks but sometimes innocent passers-by  have been targeted and there have been several cases of mistaken identity.

Thank God it's very hard for people to get hold of guns in this country. There seems to  be a lot of anger out there - amongst young men with little status and limited prospect of making something of their lives through honest endeavour. They often come from broken, chaotic homes and no doubt enjoy films that include violence and killing. The same with computer games.

Something is amiss. It is too easy to focus in on the perpetrators of knife crime. Society and government should be looking closely at how our young people are schooled. We should be looking at youth services and pathways to work and we should be looking at policing and the alleviation of poverty. Several factors underlie the rise in knife crime and if they are not addressed as a matter of urgency  the problem will only grow bigger and many more young men will die.

What can be done? What do you think? ...Rest in peace Samuel Baker.

26 comments:

  1. I don't have any ideas about stopping it but I am sure there are many experts who do, their ideas should be heard and well funded. That would be a start.

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    1. Withdrawal of social and police funding has not helped the situation.

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  2. First , we are pretty dumb when it comes to taxes. We want to be taxed less. The good things you suggest are not possible because politicians have other agendas. Second, we don't want to spend on these areas as we think we can get a bigger bang for the buck in other areas.

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    1. As you suggest, it is nearly all about balancing acts and political priorities.

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  3. What can be done? You gave much of that answer in your last paragraph. Schooling, youth services, fighting poverty and the situations that make these young people feel like this is their only choice. We have these same problems with gangs, drugs and violence in our country only guns are the weapon of choice. I believe many people do not realize how young these kids are when the problems start. There is not a quick fix and it will take more than money.

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    1. You are right Bonnie. There must be a collective will to address this worrying issue.

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  4. Bonnie said it, there is no quick fix. It is indeed worrying, and seems even more absurd if we consider that this month we are marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, where almost a whole generation of young men lost their lives on the battlefields and in the trenches. Another World War and a century later, while only comparatively few European young men see active combat in different parts of the world, it seems like the young men see to it themselves, replacing death in battle with death in the streets.
    Over here, the most growing concern is not for the safety of young men, but of girls and young women, as there have been several particularly horrible gang rapes. To fuel the already heated public debate, these crimes have been committed by young immigrants who originally came to our country to find protection from tyrannic regimes and wars.

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    1. You touch on ironies - making connections that are so tragic. These are difficult matters to decipher and to remedy.

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  5. I don't know either but it seems a shame people think this is one way of resolving issues.

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    1. I think that many of the young people who carry knives do so because they see see the knife as a form of defence but too often it has not finished that way.

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  6. It is, as you and commenters say, a multi-faceted problem for which there is no one easy solution. However the realism of death, and violent death in particular, in films/movies and participative computer games must play a part in normalising violence.

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    1. Sometimes one can dig a hole so deep that the ground can never be repaired. Perhaps that is what we are now seeing with knife crime and these heartless stabbings.

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  7. Another mass shooting in America this morning...just another day in the USA.

    Thank your lucky stars your country has been wise enough to keep guns out of these hands. Our country is imploding.

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    1. So many mass shootings that one day the news media will probably stop reporting them. Let's hope that President Trump and his family are not massacred by a crazed mass shooter.

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  8. Last week there were three fatal stabbings within two miles of where I live. It is becoming alarming. It seems to be gangs against gangs, often not drug-related but more to do with purely which "hood" you live in. I think something needs to be done drastically. Maybe targeting the vulnerable in schools would be a start, but by no means the only approach. Really worrying.

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    1. Should also add that while I was in hospital a few weeks ago there was a 24-year-old brought in with gunshot wounds and police patrolling the corridor to keep him safe in case the gunman returned to finish off the job!

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    2. That sounds far too close to home. The week my daughter and fiancee moved into their Wood Green flat there was a knife murder outside the nearby "Vue" cinema. You just don't want that.

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  9. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before (forgive an old lady,lol) but our Grandson lives in the east end of London in Roman Road. He travels a lot to USA and his Mother told him to be careful because of the crime out there. His answer was 'Mum, there's more danger in London that USA' and it seems he's correct.
    Briony
    x

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    1. He may well be right but perhaps fortunately the danger lies mostly within gangs. Those of us who do not belong to youth gangs are very unlikely to be victims.

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  10. In the US guns are readily available, so they use guns. Then people, and a lot from other countries cry out that guns ought to be controlled, but the truth is when they can't get a gun they use knives or they use vans and trucks to run people down in the streets. You are right, something needs to be done to address the issues that cause the violence, not the method by which it is perpetrated.

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  11. As I read this, I am thinking about the latest mass shooting in my country today. In a place where the Prince when to college. He and his friends sometimes went to that establishment to have a brew and check out the young ladies. So sad.

    Big Bear says that it is so late to do anything about these shootings. Our populace wi well armed and most of those arms were bought legally . And we don't talk about it much in this country because nobody can seem to come up with a solution at this point at any cost. Each day more and more people are arming themselves.

    Somebody on Twitter said today that we should start naming mass shootings/slaughters like we do bad storms. And, they should be named after the large donors to the NRA.

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    1. From over here, American mass shootings appear like a tsunami. Hardly a week goes by without us hearing of these terrible incidents. It may not be possible to turn the tide but still the effort must be made and I applaud the protests that grew out of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre - mostly driven by young people.

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  12. YP, like you, I often think how fortunate we are in the UK that guns are not easily available. We avoid a huge amount of bloodshed by restricting people to aggression with knives. That doesn't mean knife crime is acceptable, of course, but it could be SO much worse.

    As you said, there are deeper social issues here that need to be addressed. For one thing, a whole lot more money needs to be funneled into education, social services and, yes, benefits. Think of that massive payout we're going to make to the EU in order to Brexit. How much better it would have been to keep that money, put it toward our people and continue to enjoy the benefit of EU membership!

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    1. Your attitude seems sound to me. No wonder you are still the MP for Croydon in your spare time.

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