Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Knife Crime Triggers A Memory


Another youngster was stabbed to death on Monday evening. Just sixteen years of age. The death toll continues to rise. I have never known a year like this with so many deaths amongst the young population of our country, much, but not all of it, fuelled by drugs.
It seems that violence has become a way of life for them. It saddens my heart. My thoughts are with the family of the latest victim and all those families who have been affected.
So many of our young people are "armed" these days. Some say they carry weapons because they are afraid. Gang culture is beginning to rule our streets. Many are gang members and it is the expected thing to arm yourself. It is becoming like "West Side Story" but on a much more violent scale and there is no singing and dancing involved here, believe me. Just the needless snuffing out of lives that could have held so much promise.
It reminds me so much of the first time I saw death. I was working in the legal profession in London as a secretary. I dealt with all sorts of cases, divorce being the most common, but part of my work involved typing up autopsy reports. Not a pleasant task. Having to read what injuries people sustained and the contents of their stomachs was certainly very unpleasant.
This particular day I was typing up the report of a young man, only twenty years of age, who had been stabbed. Attached with the report was a photograph. As I said, it was the first time I had been confronted with death. I was nineteen, only one year younger than the victim.
I found myself riveted by the image. Lying on a slab. Handsome with fine features. Dark curly hair. Long eyelashes. I stared and stared at this photograph. It was just as if he were asleep. Not a mark on him, no bruises, no scratches. Just a small wound in his side. No more than about an inch and a half or two inches across, gaping very slightly in the middle. That was it. That was what had killed him. I found it unbelievable. How could he be dead from something as little as that? Of course, the wound had penetrated his heart as I discovered whilst typing up the report.
That made me realise just how vulnerable we all are. Just how frail. That little wound had stopped a life. He was gone. His life was over before it had hardly begun. What would he have been, what would he have made of his life? He would probably have been a Grandfather by now enjoying a happy retirement. He never got that chance.
I have never forgotten that photograph. As I am typing this, I can still see it clearly, every detail, just the same as the day I first saw it ,oh so many years ago now. Every time I hear that another young person has lost his life to violence, that picture springs instantly into my mind.
I think that all schools should have a photograph of this kind and that children over the age of twelve should be shown it. To realise that this could happen to them if they choose to carry weapons. Those that live by the sword are often fated to die by the sword.
There is nothing macho about carrying a knife or a gun. It does not make you a big person. It does not make you better than the rest. It does not make you brave, it does not make you a hero.
I wish they could see that, truly understand it. Taken on their own, these individuals are probably quite decent kids, but once they get into the gang scene all that changes.
As for that young man, I do not remember his name but I remember him. I feel for those parents whose last proper view of their beloved son, is lying on a mortuary slab.
Photobucket

26 comments:

  1. Knife Crime has become epidemic in this country not a week goes by, and also there is the court case of that young boy who was shot last year, gangs are ruling the streets, and as always it's the innocent that suffer.

    Yasmin
    x

    http://cayasm-isntshegreat.blogspot.com

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  2. You are so right Jeannette, it has been a dreadful year it makes me so sad to read of these things nearly every day as we have our own reports of stabbings up here too that don't make the national news. Don't know what can be done about this but something has to be done and soon. Love Joan.

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  3. My sister was murdered, stabbed to death so I know what the parents of these victims go through. Something needs to be done about this, and quickly before it gets out of control if it isn't already. Tougher sentences on these thugs to show their friends that crime doesn't pay. Jeannette xx http://jeannettesnewtravels.blogspot.com/

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  4. its getting worse jeannette. people are getting scared to go out. im sorry,i dont get alerts for blog and keep forgetting to log into blogspot,hadnt realised you had posted to wonderful entries. the smog one in particular take care love mort xxx chuck a brick at me if i miss next time lol

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  5. So sad to read or see on the news all the violence that is going on in our world today.....so many young kids have guns, knives, the gangs are out there and no one is safe. Oh the good ole days when we didn't even lock the house doors and never worried about someone breaking in. Where are the parents of today who let there kids run or do anything they want. My parents knew where we were and what we were up too 24 hours a day. It's a sad world today for sure. Arlene(AJ)

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  6. Hi Jeannette, When I read about the stabbing I felt so terribly bad. My son is almost 15 and he used to go to the Youth Club here in the Village. They used to play games and/or videogames and seemed to enjoy thelmselves. Then one earky evening, a 13-yr old kid pushed another one to the wall and threatened him with a pen-knife. My son intervened to defend his friend and got kicked to the floor but fortunately wasn't hurt. Finally one of the adults in charge of the Club got hold of the kid holding the knife and managed to disarm him. He contacted the parents but they blamed him and told him he shouldn't "laid fingers" on their son, not even if he was doing something bad!!! I agree with Arlene, I blame the parents who put children into the world so easily but cannot look after them and raise them properly. We live in a rural area and my son is a gentle kid and has nice friends, nevertheless you can never be sure. Every day I wait anxiously for him to come back from school safe and sound and if he is a bit late I get worried. Tell me pls, is this normal? The Government should do their bit as well. The teachers are powerless, don't get any respect and they get into trouble if they try to stop fights among the children. Where is the RESPECT gone? Sorry for the long comment, Jeannette, have a nice evening. Ciao. Antonella

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  7. It is so sad to think our youth have nothing better to do than fight amonst themselves. There is so much more to life. The trouble is that there are many who have no one to teach them values of any kind. I never go out at night by myself and keep the house firmly locked up. We never know any more when or what might happen. The best thing we grand'ma's can do is make sure our grand children know the difference. 'On Ya'- ma

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  8. Awwwww Jeannette a very poignant story you tell today. It brought a tear to my eye and I could see that picture with you. My Sam is 15 and when he goes into town or out and about I worry so so much. I really do worry that he might get hurt. It does not bare thinking about. He is my baby and always will be - I really feel for the parents of the latest victim, how do they cope with that - how do you go on. My Sam says that he really hates how violent this world is and why does there have to be such nasty people in it. I am lucky that my boys are 'nice' boys and do not go about in gangs, are not violent, and are not typical street kids. They dont want to be on the street, its much too dangerous. Laine xxx
    http://lainecreative.blogspot.com/
    http://lainey-lainesworld.blogspot.com/

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  9. How sad. It's like that here but with guns. With or without guns people are going to do the job if they want it done.

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  10. Each week we turn on the TV and hear reports of yet another useless stabbinhg it is frightening how cheap these kids view life ,is it because they have become imune to all the violence they see on the box and in their 'games '? and as a Grandmother your entry makes a good case for a shortened life ..love Jan xx

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  11. you know the schools worry so much about sex... maybe its time to concentrate on violence too
    Sandra

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  12. What are we to do about this dreadful knife culture that seems to be all around us. It makes no sense to me at all. I just wish there was an answer to this but I`m afraid it`s beyond me.

    Love Sandra xxxx

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  13. Yes, life is so fragile and it takes so little to end it and many of our young people here in America are violent too. Scary times we live in. It did not used to be this way. I always worry when my children play outside even though we live in a nice community and a small town here in KY.
    Lisa

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  14. Love the listening makes it much easier to do some catching up.

    Much hugs

    Sunny

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  15. How awful...what is going on with young kids today? It is so sad.

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  16. Hello! You popped up on my google blog thing and I thought, is this the Jeannette from AOL and yes it is! Hello again and congrats on such a great non-AOl Journal.

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  17. Oh, and terrible about this crime wave. Just horrible.

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  18. It's really sad and there seems to be no end to it :)........alice

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  19. Dearest Jeannette, As I look around and see our society I am glad that I was raised in the 50's but I also realise that I have grandkids who I desperately need to pray a high hedge about them protecting them from those that would harm them, things that would harm them..
    Reading the newspaper is almost unbearable at times...
    We need to get down on our knees and pray a great revival because we know that only God can turn our nations around.

    Blessings to you and Mike this cool Alberta evening..

    Lori

    http://www.lorisletterbox.blogspot.com

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  20. Gangs are not good, nothing has ever come out of that any good. Governments needs to do more for our youth, get them interest in good things, like peace corp for teens, after school jobs..idle hands make the devil's work too easy....love, Sandi

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  21. It's so sad. Violent crime is so senseless....but people have lost respect for human life, and I fear that is getting worse.

    Love your siggy at the bottom!

    Pooh Hugs,
    Linda

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  22. when i was the birth registration clerk for atlanta, the death registration clerk and i would walk to the morgue on lunch hour, to pick up or get signed a death certificate and we would see slides of violent deaths. they were preparing a slide show for a high school group, hoping to deter them from entering a life of crime and violence, or from ceasing a life of crime and violence. it all has to stop soon.

    blessings,

    regina

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  23. violence has increased everywhere.. is it bad times? Not caring about life? Just bad decisions? I don't know but some how some way it needs to be addressed far too many young folks die way to early
    hugs

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  24. I can imagine that photograph was riveting and I doubt I would have ever forgotten it either.

    We have alot of shootings in the cities closest to me. Almost everyday there are reported shootingS on the news. Not just one but multiple shootings.

    It is sick and very disturbing to me that kids don't seem to have any value or respect for human life at all.

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  25. I have an 18 year old son and worry like mad when he goes out at weekends. I give him the usual mantra of "walk away" if anything kicks off, "make no eye contact" with strangers. This is the world we currently live in and it is always with huge relief that I welcome him back home! Eileen x

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  26. Yes... At work, (I work for a Probation Department) I see a lot of sad cases come through on my desk.. I've had to transcribe some really gruesome reports for court-I can honestly say that before I worked here I had no idea how much crime was really going on in this small city that I'm from. From time to time I will get a file of a deceased client--usually from a drug overdose. I have the grim duty to write "deceased" on the front of file. When I do, I say a little prayer for their soul-usually they are so young. It's tragic. Julie

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