With 55 murders already this year, London’s homicide total has surpassed that of New York, a nearly 100% increase over 2017. But guns are nearly impossible to obtain, you say. How can this possibly happen? Criminals always find a way and much of this year’s jump has been due to knife and acid attacks (while some still manage to get their hands on firearms).
Social media marketing mavens and keyboard the UK’s keyboard warriors have taken up that most modern weapon in fighting against London’s spiraling crime rate: the almighty hashtag. Their weapon of choice: #knifefree. Perhaps #defenseless might have been more appropriate, but that’s neither here nor there.
Currently, Londoners caught with a knife that’s more than three inches can face up to four years in prison and an unlimited fine. There are some exceptions, such as if you’re transporting a knife you just purchased, or if you can show a need for carrying one, but good luck with that.
You might think that in a disarmed society, self defense might be a sufficient need, but you’d be wrong.
London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, former chairman of the National Council for Liberty (the Brit equivalent of the ACLU), has done what every politician does when they don’t know how to tackle a problem. He’s appointed a committee. In this case, a 120-member violent crime task force he’s charged with tackling the city’s murder problem.
The one-time civil liberties advocate is also adding 300 more duty officers to the Metropolitan Police Service who will be charged with performing “targeted” stop-and-search operations designed to root out knife carriers.
As Mr. Khan tweeted:
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. https://t.co/XILUvIFLOW
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) April 8, 2018
Basically the Mayor, a former civil rights “leader/lawyer,” wants to expand the application of random searches and enforcement of policies that are clearly not working. While that may sound like a joke (Mr. Khan’s did try his hand as a stand-up comedian, after all) there’s nothing funny about the situation to disarmed London citizens whose lives are at stake.
As with all prohibition efforts, the #knifefree campaign will prove about as effective as the war on drugs or an assault weapons ban did on this side of the pond. And allowing Londoners to exercise their (nonexistent) right to defend themselves against criminals who know their victims can’t fight back will never occur to Khan or anyone else in a position of authority.