12 March 2009

Solving the UK’s knife crime problem

From the Daily Telegraph:

Gordon Brown should levy a tax on violent video games to help tackle knife crime, according to the Richard Taylor, the father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor.

[…]

The Tackling Knives Action Plan is a £2million programme aimed at reducing deaths and serious violence among teenagers due to knives.

Violent games are “too cheap” and taxes on them should be “very high”, Mr Taylor told MPs.

Wait a moment. It’s not my favorite genre, but I’ve played enough to know that violent video games rarely glamorize knives. Nobody in their right mind ever tried to complete Grand Theft Auto, Fallout 3 or Resident Evil 4 using knives; it’s shotguns and machine pistols all the way.

So if we’re serious about wanting to do something about knife crime, then what we really need to do is follow the same logic as the UK handgun ban, and try to reduce the availability of knives, right? We need to be tough on knives, tough on the causes of knives.

I call for an immediate and very high tax on unsliced loaves of bread. Have you seen a bread knife recently? If you’re an irresponsible potential murderer, you might even have one in your house–hopefully locked away in the knife cabinet where teenagers can’t get at it. Those evil serrations will slice through innocent flesh like it’s, well, a loaf of bread.

Speaking of flesh, we need a big tax on steak too. Steak knives are conveniently sized for hoodies to carry about their person. Any observant Daily Mail reader will recall incidents where steak knives have been used as stabbing weapons.

Ultimately, if we’re going to solve the problem of knife availability, the population of the UK is going to need to transition to eating only soft foods that require no sharp implements. We can look to the nation’s lunatic asylums and baby food manufacturers for guidance on assembling a safe menu for the nation.

Knives are only part of the problem, though. Damilola Taylor wasn’t killed with a knife; according to the prosecution, he was stabbed with broken glass from a bottle. So clearly, the UK needs to go beyond simple deposits on glass bottles, and start making it prohibitively expensive to put liquids in bottles.

Once everybody is eating baby food from plastic jars and drinking their beer from plastic bottles, the UK may finally see the same kind of change in the number of knife crimes that it has seen in handgun crimes.

© mathew 2017