UK stabbings: why are we no longer surprised?

Just hours into 2019, another knife attack on innocent civilians occurred on the streets around Victoria Station in Manchester. This was dubbed the ‘first’ stabbing of the new year, reflecting the idea that stabbings should be seen as everyday life occurrences on the streets of the UK.

This seemed to be the message of most British newspapers and tabloids, referring to the horrible attack in Manchester as the ‘First Stabbings of the Year.’ Most notably, the (now-deleted) atrocious headline of the Evening Standard seemed to reiterate the commonality and ‘everyday aspect’ of these attacks, displaying the photos of the victims as the ‘First Stabbing Victims of this Year.’ Are we expecting more stabbings to come? Is there a cancellation for this weekly/monthly stabbing-spree subscription?

The Manchester stabbing was not an anomaly of this year, nor the last. A few hours later, another subsequently occurred in London: Charlotte Huggins, a 33-year-old woman, was stabbed to death by Michael Rolle in Camberwell, South-East London. Following these two incidents, more stabbings have occurred. Take for example the 17-year-old boy, who was repeatedly stabbed at an Enfield Bus Station – a 17-year-old!

This stabbing epidemic follows a year-long trend in the United Kingdom. In 2018, London surpassed New York City in murder rates, where according to the BBC, there were 22 murders investigated in London compared to 21 in New York City in March 2018, with this gap widening in subsequent months. This reflects the trend of violent crime overall in England and Wales, where there has been a 14% increase in homicide offenses, and a 12% increase in police recorded offenses involving knives and other sharp objects. The Manchester stabbing is also suspected to be terrorist related, which links to a significant rise in terror-related incidents in the UK since the London Bridge stabbing in 2017. These incidents are so common that they are not even ‘news’ anymore.

Though it feels as though we should be fearing for our lives, our government remains significantly detached from these circumstances. The Metropolitan Police are more concerned with spending £1.7m pounds on ‘twitter trolls’, patrolling speech rather than the streets of London (knives hurt, but words hurt more apparently!).

Meanwhile politicians such as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan are detached from reality, making insensitive statements such as terrorism being ‘part and parcel’ of living in a big city like London. Newsflash, it isn’t! While Khan prioritises patrolling online ‘hate’ and squandering the police budget, liberals prioritise stopping ‘racial profiling’ through halting stop and search. As a minority, I would rather be stopped and searched than be stabbed. Unpopular Opinion!

Do we simply live with the fact that on our way to university we could be the next victim of some lunatic with a knife? Politicians and popular media are selling us the idea that these stabbing sprees are normal occurrences to cover their own incompetence. However, did it feel ‘normal’ for the Manchester stabbing victims, or for Charlotte Huggins, or the 17 year-old-boy? Will their lives ever be ‘normal’ again? This could happen to any of us, but don’t worry, it will just be ‘another stabbing’ of 2019.

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