Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CFGNEWS to 80360 or email us »
CAMPAIGN EXCLUSIVE: Help us drive deadly knives off our streets
TODAY the Gazette launches a hard-hitting campaign to drive the scourge of knives from our streets.
In recent months our communities have been rocked by an unprecedented level of violence – much of it knife-related. Lives have been destroyed and families left devastated.
Earlier this month 17-year-old Jay Whiston was stabbed to death outside a house party. The tragic teenager’s funeral takes place today.
And in December young dad Liam Mearns’ life was cut tragically short after he was knifed during a disturbance in Clacton.
The killers of Oli Smith-Daye are now behind bars following his brutal murder in the early hours of New Year’s Day. No knives were used in that most savage and senseless attack but it, again, seems only too indicative of the spiralling violence that threatens the very fabric of our society.
And all too often it is the carrying of knives that leads to the meaningless loss of lives.
That is why the Gazette is today launching the LIVES NOT KNIVES campaign.
We don’t pretend to have a magic wand which will suddenly wipe this menace from our streets.
But that does not mean we are powerless to act.
We believe raising awareness of the horrific consequences of knife crime will make people think twice before going out armed with a potentially lethal weapon.
Some may stupidly think carrying knives is “cool”. Others may naively believe they are a legitimate means of self-defence.
But it is all too easy for a knife suddenly to become a murder weapon.
We are calling for more awareness and education to make people think twice before they take that risk.
Schools and youth groups can play their part. Parents, too, must warn their children of the perils. And above all, individuals must take responsibility for their actions.
Only when they understand the stupidity of carrying knives can we hope to see the beginning of the end of this cycle of violence.
Only then can the families and friends of those who have already paid the ultimate price be comforted by the thought that their lives were not lost in vain.