When mischief arises on the schoolyard, different options for discipline emerge. Should a child choose to act out by poking another with a stick, most find the course of discipline to be obvious; remove the stick from that child’s hands, remove the child from the general population, and let them be an example to somebody else who would think to act similarly.
However, other teachers find a stick-poking incident to be so shocking, so extreme, that all children must be banned from handling sticks, casting the blanket assumption that every child possessing a stick withholds the intention or capability of poking another student in the eye, causing intentional harm.
Never mind that, even if two stick-related assaults occur in one recess session – an abnormally high amount by schoolyard standards – the majority of those who handled the relatively meek tree branches were doing so harmlessly. Under the blanket referendum banning stick holding, Timmy would be punished for clearing a fallen branch from the four-square court, for it was obstructing the clean bounce of the ball.
You know the rule, Timmy. No sticks, period, as we’ve all witnessed the worst that they can do. And, to prevent the worst from again happening, we must assume the worst of all stick handlers.
Of course, the brazenly bullyish among the group would grow bored with the prospect of stick-wielding and graduate to far more sinister, provocative means. Instead of merely poking students with sticks, they will inevitably move on to using the school-supplied whiffle ball bat for further torment, seeing as they are allowed to pick that up without immediate repercussion. And thus, the teacher who initiated the stick ban would now be, by an extension of logic and their own misplaced pride, forced to outlaw whiffle ball.
The bullies can’t handle a bat responsibly, then nobody gets to handle the bat. Fair is fair.
Except, of course, such logic is the furthest thing from fair. The crimes of a few bad actors should not be justification to completely outlaw the instrument of that crime, especially when that instrument is a useful tool in the hands of rule-abiding pupils. Yet, London mayor Sadiq Kahn, the latter teacher in our scenario and apparently unfamiliar with the merits of dicing vegetables, maintaining a modest level of personal protection in a nation that has already banned firearms, and the value of attaining the Boy Scouts Whittling Chip Certification, maintains that there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to be carrying a knife.
“No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law,” Khan Tweeted.
It’s a preposterous, grossly overactive measure that punishes the entirety of a city for the sins of a relative few. Yes, London has seen a spike in knife crime in recent years, with 22 people killed via knife in March of this year alone, more than New York City’s total of 21 knife deaths. 130 murders were on record in 2017, which while a relatively high number for London, pales in comparison to cities like Chicago, where gun violence claimed over 1,000 lives last year. And, while London has a unique problem with knife violence due largely to the fact that guns are forbidden, the city has never seen a greater number of total homicides than New York.
Yet, Mayor Khan sees it necessary to crack down on each and every person who is caught with a knife of any sort. And in order to achieve the goal of finding those knives – the only real weapons that Londoners were permitted to carry for self-protection – Khan has advised that law enforcement figures will be granted greater powers to search citizens without probable cause.
Here is the mayor’s plan for ‘Boosting police power’, one tactic which he has chosen to incorporate into his knife-fighting strategy:
- ‘A new violent crime taskforce of 120 officers has been created using additional funding from City Hall announced by the Mayor in February. The taskforce will focus solely on violent crime, weapon-enabled crime and serious criminality.
- The Met Police has introduced targeted patrols with extra stop and search powers for areas worst-affected by knife crime’ (London.gov)
- More police being deployed specifically to tackle knife crime, and presumably engage in the stop-and-frisk sort of anti-knife policing
It also entails harsher punishment for those found in violation of knife-related laws, which now includes…carrying a knife.
One Scottish doctor has even followed Khan’s lead, as he proposed banning kitchen knives in the home because they tend to play a role in knife-related domestic assaults and murders.
So, the logical question is what will be the approach when attackers begin wielding ice picks as a weapon of choice, because knives are simply illegal to carry? Or baseball bats? Cars have been used in several attacks, are we to ban those if the mode becomes increasingly popular in years to come?
The line of logic being pursued by London’s controversial mayor is misguided in the extreme. It essentially leads down a road where, as his Scottish brother-in-illogic suggests, things that are sharp should be banned – not only in public but in the home, too – because they pose the potential for violence.
Not only is London’s ban on knives sure not to work – criminals will find a way to cause harm, as has been proven time and time again – it punishes a massive demographic of people who actually would use knives for reasonable, useful purposes. Whether they are traveling by foot to help a friend with a construction-related task, a chef traveling to and from work with their single set of kitchen knives, or otherwise. They will now be considered criminals, in violation of a law that they had no part in bringing to fruition, and no say in avoiding the reach of.
It’s the nanny state gone fully mental, protecting Boy Scouts, sous chefs, and carpenters from themselves.