Right now, in the British media, there’s a lot of breast-beating about the increasing violence of British teenagers, and debates on why, and what’s to be done.
Lets look at the question of knives. I grew up, in the fifties, at a time when everyone carried a pocket knife (and yet, we conspicuously failed to slaughter each other), and, indeed, I still carry a knife – ever tried opening a new CD without one? The huge difference between knife-carrying kids then and now, is that modern-day youths are mind-bogglingly violent; a knife, to them, being nothing but a weapon, when to earlier generations it had simply been a very useful tool. Sadly, though, if I’m ever caught with my very useful tool, it’s likely to get me five years in jail, despite the fact that it’s too small to be useful as a weapon anyway. The current wave of teen and sub-teen violence, which makes Alex and his Droogs look like a bunch of pussies, in which knives feature largely, although often they’re just happy to kick people to death. It has no easy-to-define causes – and no simple answer. I don’t claim to have either – just opinions.
A major factor is the total lack of discipline these days. At school, teachers have no way at all of enforcing discipline, in the absence of corporal punishment. (I actually typed “capital” – wishful thinking!) If a child transgresses, he (yes, I know it’s not a gender-specific problem, but typing he/she is going to get very old very quickly), may be given lines as a punishment, which he refuses to write, so he’s given detention and doesn’t turn up. And so it goes throughout their school careers, and those with the mindset to capitalise on this will very soon learn that they can do just as they like, when they like, without any punishment at all. We are now reaping the whirlwind sown by all those fuzzy-minded liberals who pushed through legislation banning corporal punishment in schools.
I went to school in an era when corporal punishment was the norm. Most normal kids learned very quickly the consequences of transgression and, apart from occasional lapses, toed the line. Yes, corporal punishment was painful and degrading, it was supposed to be (and woe betide you if you shed a single tear after a caning, you’d never live it down), but by god it instilled a healthy respect for authority, a respect that these days it totally absent. A couple of years ago, I was confronted by a youngster I found mooching around the car park at home. When I told him to clear off of, he stood up to me and told me he could go where he liked. He wasn’t a day over 5! If anyone is going to be in need of a remedial thrashing it’s this brat. Can you imagine, unchecked as he will be, what he’ll be like by the time he’s 18? Assuming he makes it that far; he clearly has a death wish…
Even at home, parents daren’t physically chastise their own children without running the risk of being accused of child abuse, and far too many of them simply don’t care what their kids get up to, just so long as they’re not around.
Then we have the video culture, where ultra-violence without consequences is the norm – kill as many as you like, as horrifically as possible; no-one cares at all, and there’s no comeback. No pain either. Exposed to this from a relatively early age, the idea that you can do absolutely anything you like to anyone who gets in your way (or even anyone who happens to be handy), very soon becomes a firm mindset, and it’s a very short step from there to kicking to death the man in Warrington, whose only “crime” was to try and defend his own property. If he’d have gone out with a baseball bat to defend what was his, he’d probably still be alive – and probably in jail. He did the decent thing, and asked what the hell they thought they were doing – and they killed him for it in front of his family.
We now have a generation raised entirely without any meaningful discipline, steeped in an online culture of mindless violence without penalty – other than losing an entirely notional “life” – and while, fortuitously, the majority are perfectly normal, we should not really be surprised that a large proportion have zero respect for authority, property or life.
We have bred a sizeable population of youngsters who are worse than animals – animals, of course, don’t kill for fun – and I can see only one sensible solution. All my adult life I have been utterly against capital punishment, simply because it has never been a deterrent (because offenders never expect to get caught), now though, in the light of the current situation, I’d be happy to see it return, simply to excise these scum from the skin of the planet. They are so subhuman they’re not worth the expense of keeping them in jail.
Hell, right now I’d be happy to see a cull!