Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Law And Order

A cautionary tale from The England Project.

Meanwhile, back in the (sur)real world, a bully with plenty of previous gets 12 years for stabbing a 14 year old (Mr Cuthbertson is not amused), while the victim's mother asks why bad boys aren't excluded (we have that nice Mr Blunkett to thank for that) and the teachers ask for X-ray equipment and random weapons checks.

According to the Times, a quarter of boys take knives to school.

So the liberals are right, and society isn't getting more violent.

After all, at my excellent State grammar in the 1960s (now sunk to a dreadful comprehensive in special measures) probably between a third and a half of 5th-form boys (year 11) carried knives. Mostly penkives, but lock and flick-knives were prized. Out of school, Scouts and fishermen would wear a sheath knife on a belt - I still remember my 4-inch blade in its sheath with the Scout logo.

We played a game of 'splits' on the school field in which you'd hurl the knife into the ground near your opponent's feet - he'd have to move his foot to where the knife struck. The object was to get him in a position where he could just about stand but would then lose balance and topple slowly over - so towards the end you'd be throwing close to his foot - an inch or two maybe. He would also be throwing at you - you took turns to throw. Occasionally someone would get hit in the foot or leg, but school shoe leather was tough and the last thing you'd do was report any mishaps.

Though like any school we had our share of bullies and fights, the thought that anyone at school might stab someone never crossed my mind. It was literally unthinkable. Culture, anyone ?

If Mr Cuthbertson doesn't like 12 years for a stabbing, how about the same for slitting a baby's throat while it's strapped into a pushchair ? We have Straw and Blunkett to thank for the murderer being in England at all.

When he was charged the BBC, Guardian and Indie seemed a bit shy of mentioning his nationality or immigration status. Wonder how they'll cover it this time ?

UPDATE - they all seem to have lost their shyness ...

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