A fair decision?

A knife throwing act has been scrapped from a summer fair after a woman whose 16-year-old daughter was stabbed to death complained to her local council.

What do you think of the decision?

Is this going a step too far?

links for 2008-07-13

Disarming Britain – the live debate

Tomorrow at 7pm Jon Snow will front a live debate on the culture of street weapons.

If you’d like to contribute your point of view to the programme, email streetweapons@channel4.com

Having your say

Earlier today, we let you know how to have your say on the Disarming Britain season.

Over on our Facebook group, Louis P. Burns posted his thoughts on the wall:

“Mark Johnson’s point, made in the Guardian, will also be debated. He asked if “a bunch of middle class people” were qualified to talk about and potentially solve a problem they “can’t understand”. Is that a fair criticism of the Disarming Britain season?”

Can’t it be argued that as long as it’s being discussed, people from all ‘classes’ (I hate that word) are getting their minds opened up to other ways of looking at life? Still very poignant to me from the series was what the A&E doctor said about the trauma victims in the last moments of life go through. How the hell does anyone deliver that kind of news to someone fading out senselessly?

“Is the Disarming Britain season encouraging positive debate on the issue of gun and knife crime, or does it run the risk of glamourising the possession of weapons to impressionable youths?”

You’d need to be a sad case to be inspired violently by the Disarming Britain series. I’ve found it a highly informative expose on gun and knife culture.

And just like Rebecca Monique Williams, he had praise for Fallout:

To cap all of that, the movie last night; Fallout should be nominated for several awards. It was perfectly acted, held a gripping pace, addressed all angles caught up in gun culture and delivered a damn fine bit of new drama. Powerful stuff (thumb’s up) – On a par with Nil By Mouth and A Sense of Freedom. Pure excellence…

Remember, if you want to get your thoughts heard, or maybe even join the studio audience in tomorrow’s programme, which goes out at 4.10pm, send a message to thetvshow@princesstv.com

News in brief…

  • Since 2002, the number of youngsters hospitalised with knife wounds has almost doubled. Today’s Sun newspaper reveals a shocking 88% increase.
  • Yet Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told GMTV yesterday: “Knife crime is not more serious than it has been.”
  • A woman is on the run after slaying a recently-miscarried woman with a knife near the Home Secretary’s Peckham home on Tuesday night. Earlier this year Miss Smith admitted she would not feel safe walking alone in certain parts of London after dark. Two armed guards were in position outside her house following the attack.
  • Anti-knives campaign Operation Blunt saw children go through a metal detector while waiting for a bus yesterday in Purley, Surrey.
  • London is safe for our children, according to London Mayor Boris Johnson. But he told a knife crime conference: “I want to make it much safer.”

Listening out

A Street Weapons Commissioner, Mark Johnson – himself a reformed drug addict and gang member, spoke recently about his experiences touring with the Street Weapons Commission in a Guardian article – and he’s certainly got a point by saying kids need to be spoken to by people they relate to – not the typical middle class bunch whose lives are far removed from their own.

It’s the kids that need to be spoken with (not to) to find out just why they do it, what the big attraction, the big draw is. At the end of the day, kids have always hung around and played out. Just maybe not with knives and guns. Or any other weapon for that matter.

But Disarming Britain has been actively speaking and interacting with young people in other places they flock to – social networks such as Bebo, Facebook, and Myspace, as well as here, actively encouraging them to comment, submit music tracks and videos too, telling us how they feel about the situation and what can be done about it. There’s been some incredibly positive stuff, which should be recognised and commended.

links for 2008-07-01

Comment of the week…

Here’s a charming little comment submitted recently:

Pretty much it’s only poor people or drug addicts getting shot, which don’t really help the Country, if anything it’s a benifit to the tax payers. I’m not saying gun crime is a good thing, but if poor people want to kill themselves and others…I really couldn’t care less.

Somehow, though, it doesn’t seem that the author was a wannabe Jonathan Swift (think ‘A Modest Proposal’ – in which he satirically suggested we round up the street kids and use them for meat.)

No, poor people really are scum, aren’t they?

What an eejit.

The Mother’s Story

The opening programme to the Disarming Britain season tonight was something of an eye-opener.

And not just because Paula, the mother in question, wore her dead son’s eye on a chain round her neck.

Since the fatal double shooting of Paula’s son Eugene aged just 25 she’s done workshops in schools aiming to steer kids away from the dangers of gun crime and street weapons.

So it was interesting to see the reaction of the young people in question this time – with the camera paying focus on one teen in particular who seemed less than attentive.

‘I don’t think you’re funny,’ said Paula as the camera zoomed in. ‘If I’m boring ya, just say so.’

This could be your jacket I’m holding, and I could be your mother standing here.
That’s all I’ve got to say to yous.

Problem is, for some young people, it could already be too late.

But we shouldn’t stop trying.

links for 2008-06-29

  • 2008 has seen a staggering number of teenage gang and knife attacks on Britain’s streets with a death toll comparable to that of our troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • This morning four officers from the Armed Response Unit brought the ‘Guns and Knives Take Lives’ presentation to my school. The aim is simple: to reduce the number of young people who get caught up in incidents involving guns or knives.
  • Everyday I go on the Tube at Balham, I see this ironic juxtaposition of billboards and it makes me wryly amused, angry, but mostly sad. Left: a Channel 4 advertisement for “Disarming Britain“…
  • Policies on gun crime are flawed because ministers overlook its root causes – poverty and inequality, a report by criminologists claims.
  • “I went to get bread for my mum and some guy with a knife threatened me,” one of the little boys says earnestly, sitting by his bike on the grass. That knife to his throat was for 80p.