Monday, July 7, 2008

Knife Crimes in London (a frank discussion)

Ben Kinsella, the brother of East Enders actress Brooke Kinsella, was knifed to death in North London , not far from where I'm staying. That marks the 17th youth killed by violent knife crimes in London in 2008.

As I was leaving home one morning, BBC was discussing about how to discourage youths from arming themselves with knives. In the program, the presenter asked whether the spate of knife crimes would led to more youths carrying knives to fend for themselves.

Does carrying knives make you safer?

Knives, like guns, are offensive weapons inherently. They are meant to maim and not to defend. In a heated argument, there will be a high of someone getting seriously injured once knives are flashed. That was the main reason why British police do not carry guns in the first place.

In most reported cases, it's not a matter of a single stab. More often than not, the victim was knifed a couple of times at different parts of the body, which seems to be me like deliberate acts. So what if you carry a knife around? The other party will just turn up with more people and larger knives.

The police, on the orders of Mayor, Boris Johnson, is carrying out Operation Blunt II that see hundreds of knives confiscated across the capital and youths warned. So are youths cowered into leaving their knives at home? Until more concrete action is taken, I think not.

How to solve the problem then?

There should be an archive set up for the victims of knife crimes. The archive could include the memories of these people from the others around them. It's important to put a face and a life behind the name that crops up every now and then in the news. These archive can then be circulated among schools and shared with the students during school time.

It's important, however, that no attempt is made to glorify these victims. The last thing that we want is to have some attention seeking loners to have funny ideas.

That, I believe, is much more practical than merely confiscating knives and feeble warnings.

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Nomadic Matt said...

As bad as knives are, it could be worse- you could live here in the statwes where everone carries least u might be able to out run a guy with a knife.

C K said...

@nomadic matt,
You're absolutely right there. But I just wonder what's the gun crime rates like over in those states.

The new Mayor, who is a Conservative at heart, proposes to throw anyone carrying a knife into jail.

I would like to see him carry out that promise.

waitingkitty said...

The only people that should be carrying guns and knives are the policemen. And I didn't know the British police do not carry guns?! Then how are they going to stop criminals?!
In Singapore and HK, it is offensive to be carrying knives around, let alone guns. That army guy who smuggled out a rifle and a round of ammunition has been given 9 years of jail and 18 strokes of the cane. That will solve the problem.

eastcoastlife said...

It's scary to know that there are people carrying guns and knives on the streets.

But then hor, if we can carry guns and knives on the streets in Singapore, would there be less road rage? I will be scared to shove, be rude or overtake others because I don't know if they carry weapons.

lina said...

it might be the other way round. Since everyone has their weapons of choice, they are free to brandish them at will. Scary.

C K said...

The idea is that if the police don't carry guns, there's no need for criminals to carry them as well and hopefully no one gets hurt at the end of the day.

I think it's more difficult to restrict the import of weapons in a (relatively) large country like the UK as compared to HK and S'pore. However, at the end of the day, it's really the mentality. I mean, even without guns and knives, people can still get hurt by other seemingly innocent objects. (i.e. stabs from broken bottles).

I believe in tough persecution of those found with weapons AND education as a two prong solution.

C K said...

Haha, that's another way to look at it. Then it'll not be just whose car is larger but whose guns are more powerful!

C K said...

ECL is just itching to strap that bazooka on top of her ride. lol

My Bug Life said...

It would be rather scary to have everyone carrying their own weapons of choice in the name of protection. Some ppl might just use these weapons and cause harm in cases of like road rage.

C K said...

@my bug life,
The sales for bulletproof vest is up in the City (of London) as civil servants, including teachers, seek to protect themselves from knife crimes.

I really hope that the new Mayor will do something about it...

Now I appreciate Singapore's dragonic laws against carrying weapons. Sigh.

Wenbin said...

Yup, i'm glad that Singapore has such strict laws on personal weapons as well. I feel that the lack of such things makes the streets safer in general.

C K said...

I think Margaret Thatcher tried to implement tough laws on stop and search by the police when she was the PM. There was a huge riot across London when some minority groups protested that they are unfairly targeted.

You can't really have it both ways...