(1 Dec 08)  The willingness of young people to use knives against one another, with inevitable tragic consequences, is obviously a matter for concern.  It is also a matter that needs serious and clear-headed attention, not media and Governmental hysteria.  For example, about 20 people are killed with knives every month, year in, year out.  Do the recent killings show any change in this or are they just receiving media attention? 
That said, the twitchy and patently useless response of the Government so far provides an excellent insight into one of the reasons why young people feel so insecure.  In any society, the tone is always set from the top, and when our politicians – of all parties – are so inadequate and so out of touch with reality, not to say commonsense, we all feel insecure.  Young people are just unable to deal with it as well as (most) adults.
What to do about it?  Ideally, get rid of the main cause – our politicians.  That not being an immediate possibility however, schools could do a great deal.  Not by futilely attempting to stop knives being brought into school but by enabling pupils to police themselves.  A simple announcement at morning assembly will do it:
‘Forget everything you have ever seen on the movies – at close range, knives are far more dangerous than firearms – a cut does not have to be deep or large to kill or permanently injure someone.  If you are carrying a knife you must declare it at registration.  If you are found with a knife you have not declared, this will be treated as a major breach of school discipline.  If you brandish it, or threaten anyone, you will be handed straight to the police.  If you know someone is carrying an undeclared knife, quietly mention it to a teacher, your name will be kept secret.  Any questions?’  This will remove the mystique of the knife as a forbidden weapon, give the knife carriers a clear choice and, most importantly, will enable the silent majority – the pupils – to do something about a problem which almost certainly concerns them more than it does the school authorities.  Many eyes and much insider knowledge.