Thursday, 14 July 2011

Violence - how do we stop it?

I’m a bit all over the place emotionally today what with it being my last day at my job, so I was a bit unsure what I was going to blog about. That was until I had a bit of a nose at the news and recalled a conversation we had in work yesterday.

Violence. The fact that it seems to be happening at an increasing rate and more worryingly appears to be accepted more freely as a way of life nowadays.

Only in the paper this morning there was the story of a young boy who was stabbed in Greece by a taxi driver, or earlier this year the lady who was stabbed and beheaded in Tenerife! How cautious are we going to have to be about going on holiday soon?

The reason I started thinking about this was yesterday a new joiner to the company was talking about how she’s looking for somewhere to live when she starts the job full time. She’s from the countryside and is a bit wary of where to base herself in the capital. What made me laugh was the conversation that developed off the back of this where we all tried to suggest places that were deemed ‘okay’ to leave. We got a bit stuck. In a classic quote from a colleague “London is best described as a big pile of s**t, where somebody has just thrown a few scattered diamonds over the top of it”.

As the chat continued a few places were mentioned where I noted that they might not be the best choice as someone had been stabbed there. To which people cried “well that’s good as it means there’s already been one there, there might not be another one for a while”, or more shockingly “people get stabbed everywhere!” Obviously it’s not like people are getting stabbed every day in broad daylight just for leaving their house, but it does now seem to be a fact of life and something people are willing to accept just happens.

Of course we’ll never forget the case of Stephen Lawrence. That was back in 1993 when it seemed stabbings weren’t quite as common. But now magazines and papers seem to be full of articles detailing stabbings, gang attacks and even girl gangs’ increasing popularity.

As I mentioned last week I felt threatened by a guy on my morning train who I was pretty sure was going to get violent so I moved and only this morning a pair of men were arguing, near fighting at the train station over pushing each other to get on the tube. At a recent festival I witnessed two guys turn from pushing each other to get through the crowd, to one headbutting the other and another punching him in the face in return.

What is causing people to turn to violence so much more now? And how bad are things going to get? Are we soon going to get to a stage where it gets dangerous to be walking on the street after a certain time and avoiding eye contact in case we get on the wrong side of someone?

Some reports show that domestic violence has increased with the credit crunch and even more disturbingly there are more cases of violence against children in England and Wales now too. Others suggest that trying to place more laws on drugs means that violence and murders are likely to increase.

It’s not looking too positive is it really? Whatever happens, something needs to change soon to address people’s views on violence and from a young age too – with teachers faced with pupils carrying weapons and reports suggesting violence in schools is up even the younger generation see violence as an acceptable option. If we don’t stop them what are our children’s children going to have to face? 

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