Sunday, 13 July 2008

Thoughts on knife crime

Mercifully living where I do I feel happily remote from the knife injuries and deaths causing so much concern in this country at the moment. But I am not happy about the torment and anxiety many people are feeling at the present time as a result of so many people carrying knives. Although I can't offer solutions anymore than the next person I'll just make a few general observations:
  • Ever since Cain slew Abel if the Bible is to be believed or, if you prefer, from time immemorial man has been guilty of exerting extreme violence on his fellow man. One would expect though, as civilisation develops, there would be proportionately less of this behaviour and that the judicial system would also put a brake on it.
  • The nature of the violence and the weapons used changes with time.
  • In the forties and fifties whilst I was growing up any violence seemed to be targeted with a motive - now there appear to be random attacks for no reason whatsoever.
  • Following on from the last point we now have that lethal cocktail of drugs AND alcohol but to what extent this is fuelling the behaviour of people using knives I don't know.
  • And this is a point that doesn't get aired enough - casual violence on people is becoming accepted as a norm. This is a terrible indictment on our society. When I was a child any sort of killing of the sort we are seeing lately with people being murdered with knives would have evoked feelings of absolute horror. But then we weren't being bombarded with the images so prevalent today. For anybody caught up in or close to a violent attack then the event is obviously horrific but sadly for many of us our senses have been somewhat dulled by the number of these awful events.
  • I remember Mary Whitehouse being constantly derided when she railed against the violence and sex being shown on TV but I think she had a point. It seems to me that the degree of violence seen on TV, in films and I understand in computer games has reached an extreme and far more than should be permitted.

I remember a person saying that if you didn't like what you saw on TV you could turn it off; this, quite frankly, was an absolutely inane remark. Obviously if it was something the viewer didn't like they could switch off or change channels. But that's not the point, not by a million miles. It's the person whose subsequent actions might be influenced by what he or she has just seen that is the cause for concern. What I'm saying is that there is an element in society who are affected by the images some of our film makers are keen to display.

There are plenty of occasions when I disagree with this government but the shock tactics proposed by Jacqui Smith including some of those carrying knives seeing examples of the terrible injuries on hospital patients, as a result of knife wounds, might be one way forward.

1 comment:

brian in the tamar valley said...

Regarding my final paragraph I thought that the idea of perpetrators seeing the effects of their actions by visiting hospitals might be useful. I have to admit on reflection that this is not a good idea. It seems that the government have had second thoughts as well! Although it looked like a radical idea it didn't take into account the rights and feelings of those who were on the receiving end of the violence.