The horror of knife crime.

When I was younger, growing up in England, I witnessed fights. I was in fights (not very often - I'm better at taking a punch thatn throwing one) and dealt with the aftermath of fights. There was a lot of proper physical violence on the streets for a supposedly civilised nation. In those days though, it was all mostly fists and feet. It was rare to see a knife pulled and that usually meant everyone ran. Broken bones and bloodied bodies happened but I never saw anyone get stabbed. No-one I knew ever got so badly injured they died from their wounds. Guns never ever came into it. Ever. I did meet a few people who had been involved in some of the darker business but the most of what I witnessed or was a part of was drunken brawling; stupid and senseless.

Things are different now. Stabbings, especially among teenagers seem to be on the increase. Guns are appearing in England's inner cities and life seems to be getting cheaper by the day. It's difficult to asses whether the deadly violence is actually on the increase or if it is just more publicly reported, but one thing I do know is that there are certain places in England I would worry about bringing up kids in. In my ten years of living in London I definitely noticed an increase in the aggression of teenagers, as well as a change in the pattern of violent crime. The worrying thing for me is that it seems to be becoming more random, more deadly and that the murdered are having their lives taken at an early age.

In 2000, a 10 year old named Damilola Taylor died in my neighbourhood from a stab wound to the leg. He was on the way home from studying in the local library after school. Two brothers, aged 12 and 13 at the time of the murder were eventually convicted. Damilola's mother died from a heart attack in April this year, with some people saying that really she had never recovered from the loss of her son and her death was of a broken heart. Damilola's murder was big national news.

This year, in London alone, 26 teenagers have been fatally shot or stabbed.

A recent victim of this violence was David Idowu, a 14 year old who died from a knife wound to the heart.

His mother, Grace Idowu, has made available to the press a photograph of her son in hospital, where he struggled for survival for 20 days before succumbing to his wounds. He had lost 90% of his blood in the attack and his brain had been damaged due to the lack of blood supply.

I personally think it a brave and courageous thing to do and I commend her for attempting to turn a tragic situation into a positive gesture.

Speaking about her decision to release the photograph to the press, Grace Idowu said'

"That is my beautiful boy," she said. "I want this picture published so people can see what happened to him. I want young people to see what happens when you put a knife in someone.

"They should just stop all this. He was not a criminal, he was an innocent boy. All this is for nothing."

Amen to that.



No comments: