Saturday, May 27, 2006

What Kind Of World Are We Living In?

It's funny how it takes a degree of familiarity before the severity of a situation really hits home. Today's news, about the man fatally stabbed on a train, really shocked me - far more than the stories of fatal stabbings that seem to have peppered the news recently. Even the story of the fatal stabbing in my region. The reason, of course, is not that such an event doesn't shock me. The fact that a train journey is something I will make on a reasonably regular basis means that the news scares me.

But when I think about it, it is easy to see how such an event can occur. When I travelled home at Easter, I had taken the effort to reserve a seat, as standing for several hours is not something I particularly enjoy. When I got to my seat, I found someone sitting in it - who then proceeded to be exceptionally rude as I tried to put my bags away, and wait for him to remove his. His effing and blinding was the more shocking for the fact that he was with his family, including a young daughter at the time.

Rudeness is something that can almost be expected in these situations now. Talking to friends today, they had all experienced similar things. When there are people who cannot keep their self-control in such situations (after all, there are signs that tell you when a seat will be occupied), then bad things will happen. Bad things will happen to a worse extent when a culture develops that accepts carrying a knife. Whether we like it or not, there are sections of the population where it is barely remarkable.

I don't know what can be done to solve it. A knife amnesty seems pretty tame to me if people don't have a business carrying them in the first place. But I'm just shocked by the news today. Something has gone seriously wrong. And when Labour talk about the lesser risk of crime, does anyone believe a word they say any more?