If you live in Scotland, there’s plenty to be happy about. Unfortunately, you’re also more likely to meet your untimely demise at the end of a knife than any of your chums living elsewhere in the developed world. It’s a dubious honour to say the least, and hardly one over which to crack open the Buckfast.
Happily, times they are a’changing. At least according to the anti-knife propaganda posters on buses. I don’t know if you’ve seen these, but they tend to feature an immense close-up of some doe-eyed moppet, with the accompanying text explaining how he’s got a better chance than we do. But I wonder whether they’re trying to sneak past our rational faculties with their emotive message?
‘They’ve taken a load of knives off the street‘. That’s excellent. Provided that no new ones are arriving. They are? Oh. Still, amnesties seem like a good idea. There’s always good news footage to be obtained when it’s time for a burly copper to empty the bin. Some cheeky so-and-so will always put a spoon in there. You watch carefully next time. What amnesties don’t seem to do, sadly, is reduce knife crime. But it’s the thought that counts.
‘I’ll make sure my wee brother never carries a knife. I don’t want him to look like me [with a big fat scar] by the time he’s 17‘. What he’s forgotten here is that most scars are caused by other people’s knives. What’s he going to do about those?
‘They can lock you up for longer too‘. Then they’ll need to build more jails, or let some folk out to make space. We’re full to bursting in there.
I’m all for trying to solve this problem. I tend to assume that most people don’t want to be stabbed. There isn’t an easy solution, but there seems to be an awful lot of emotional rhetoric to make up for it, not all of it strictly sensible. But perhaps ‘hard-hitting’ campaigns are the best we can do. Hopefully, the message will eventually seep through that stabbing others isn’t very nice.
Culture change is possible (look at drink-driving) but it takes an achingly long time. In the meantime, I’ll probably just stay indoors.