20060909

When was the last time you heard of a drive by stabbing?

Apparently in Scotland stabbings have become such a problem that they intend to ban knives.

Now, naturally this makes sense in that band-aid on a sucking chest wound kind of way. The problem is not the weapons or the ease with which people get them. It is with violence. It is the perception of violence as a solution.

Weapons, of course, can turn an altercation that is merely violent and injurious into something fatal. Even a small blade can make a slight a bar-room disagreement into a manslaughter charge, but then there are the martial arts; if enough people were killed using tae kwon do, would they feel justified in banning tae kwon do? Probably not, because those people who used tae kwon do to kill made the decision to kill in the first place.

And there you have it. They made that decision. You could ban everything and wrap people in cotton their entire lives, they'd still make poor decisions.

The real agony of government being so mind blowingly intrusive and spend millions of dollars on law enforcement, legal prosecution, prison and so on is that they could spend half of that on education and teach people not be so cruel to each other, and that generation would pass those lessons along to their children and in a generation or two the numbers of stabbings would plummet.

That's a great idea but there's a problem: politicians, in a perfect world, represent the people. If the people have had to deal with knife violence their entire lives, they will be so fed up that they will want an immediate solution. Immediate solutions for social problems, almost without fail, look great in newspapers and on TV and actually don't do anything except pacify people enough for them to think the problem is solved and they relax. When they relax, the problem comes back, sometimes worse, and they want their immediate solution again. The vicious cycle begins anew.

Long term solutions never feel as good as short term solutions, but they work better. Now perhaps the knife banning in Scotland, is a long term solution but it's a solution that bends society

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