Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cutting Comments

Just about to hit 90,000 words on the Dan Shepherd book. I now think of it as Dark Justice, though Jack Higgins did have a book withthat title some years ago. I think I'll write a good vigilante scene today, lots of blood and broken bones. Lovely.

I saw the following story about kids and knives today. Because it's now an offence to carry most types of knives, older kids are getting younger kids to carry knives for them, like caddies!

Here's what I don't understand. When I was a kid, eight or nine, I carried a knife. Most of my pals did. Usually a sheath knife with a four-inch blade, quite definitely illegal these days! I was a cub scout and it was virtually part of our uniform, and as kids we hung out in woods and played around trees. Knives are just something we played with. And I had a very large pocket knife I used when fishing. Also illegal these days. But we never, ever, used them aggressively and certainly wouldn't even think about attacking someone with a knife. It isn't knives that are the problem, it's people! And I do resent all the laws that have been brought in to restrict the carrying of knives. I have a decent collection of flick-knives which would result in a prison sentence if I'm not careful but I have no intention of disposing of them!

Children as young as seven are being used like "golf caddies" to carry deadly knives for older youths, a report has revealed. The older teenagers are pressuring very young children to help them, in order to try to avoid being caught, the Home Affairs Committee report found.

It also revealed that children believe blades are so widespread that they have to arm themselves to keep safe.

The report claims the average age at which children begin carrying knives is just 11 years old, as they make their transition from primary to secondary school.

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz MP called for an immediate stop to the knife crime "arms race" among children.

He said: "Young people carry knives because they fear that others are carrying knives.

"This spiralling of knife possession puts all young people at risk. Too many tragic deaths have occurred because of this.

"Some young people feel the need to protect themselves with knives. We are clearly failing them. Children, of all people, should not feel unsafe in our society."

Currently only one in five of those caught with a knife is jailed, and more knife carriers are given cautions than are imprisoned.

Making someone carry a knife for you was made illegal in 2007 with a maximum sentence of four years.

But no-one was prosecuted for the offence that year. Figures for 2008 have not been released yet.

Wesley Oger was stabbed to death four years ago by a man who began carrying knives in his teens.

His mother Ann Oakes-Odger now campaigns to educate children about the dangers of knives.

She said: "The actual shock of a child being murdered in a violent way and knife crime is so personal, it's such a violent way to kill someone, it just ripples through the whole family."

Tougher sentences, coupled with more investment in prevention, are the report's main recommendations.

They come too late for Ann - but hopefully not for many other families.


Anonymous said...

Whats pink and hard? Pig with a flick knife.
Its an oldie!!!


Unknown said...

in the 1970's I bought, read and kept two books about a british spy called Charlie Muffin. Now40 years later after I discover stephen Leather and Dan Sheperd, I am reading Hungry Ghost and see that you mention Freemantle and Charlie in the first few pages.
I knew you had good taste.
more Dan please.

Stephen Leather said...

Yeah, I'm a huge fan of Brian Freemantle's Charlie Muffin books. They're brilliant!