Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fighting Crime, One Weapon At A Time

There was an article published in today's New York Times titled "Officials Struggle With Rise in Knife Crimes Among Britain's Youths." 

Now, I'm pretty against gun control. I'm all about controlling the guns in the house... you know, locking them up, teaching the children about them to ensure their safety, etc... but I don't want the government telling us we can't have guns. Common sense tells me that "gun control" is the best way to ensure that only the bad guys have guns. 

But an article that highlights knife crimes among Britain's youths was certainly intriguing. I decided it was a must-read. 

Every day, it seems, there are more victims. Shakilus Townsend, 16, stabbed to death by a masked gang. Ben Kinsella, also 16, fatally stabbed during an argument outside a pub. Victims in Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow. Four people fatally stabbed in London in one 24-hour period alone last week.

In a country where few people have guns or access to them, a spate of knife attacks, many involving teenagers, has forced the issue to the top of the domestic agenda. The Metropolitan Police are so concerned, they said recently, they have made knife crime their top priority, along with terrorism. Government and law enforcement officials are scrambling to produce plans to allay public fears.

I must admit I find it funny that the government is scrambling to produce plans to "allay fears" rather than actually solve the problem. Typical government, I guess.

On Monday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a series of measures that he said would make it "completely unacceptable to carry a knife." The plan includes automatic prosecution for anyone over the age of 16 caught with a knife and doubling the maximum sentence for knife possession to four years. It also sets up a $6 million advertising campaign to discourage young people from committing crimes with knives and a program to force perpetrators to confront their actions by, for instance, attending courses that describe what happens to stabbing victims.

No offense to the Prime Minister, but you can't exactly make it "completely unacceptable" to carry a knife. One does have to buy them occasionally for perfectly innocent use at home... say, in the kitchen. And once one purchases said knife, one does have to CARRY IT HOME. Not to mention the occasional little old lady who might be bringing a delicious pie to a pot luck meal for the family reunion who just might need a knife with which to cut and serve her delectable concoction. 

The government spending $6 million on advertisements discouraging young people from "committing crimes with knives" is also very stupid. If it's possible to effectively discourage them from knife crime via advertising, I'm sure they'll figure out they can just as easily aggressively release their anger on one another with their bare hands -- or broken bottles -- or saw blades -- or any other such implement that can cause bodily harm but is also a very helpful tool in everyday living. (Okay, broken bottles aren't exactly "helpful tools," but regular bottles are. And they're not that hard to break.)

See, this is what's wrong with leaving morality up to the government. The government is notoriously stupid, impractical, and wasteful. Rather than spending $6 million to discourage kids from knifing one another, why don't they get up the gumption to demand some personal responsibility? Why not expect parents to actually raise their children? Why not finally come to the logical conclusion that crime is crime... and that it's committed by a person, not a weapon? 

The government officials have lost sight of the fact that the problem is not a gun, or a knife, or a broken bottle, or any other implement of destruction. The problem is within the heart of man (and, yes, woman). Without addressing the soul, there can be no real addressing the crime. After all, there's always another weapon, and fighting crime one weapon at a time will be an endless process. 

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