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Not all right, Jack

War Cry comments on knife crime

He speaks about the importance of faith in his life

‘HOW many more young people will it take for us to declare the knife stabbings as a national emergency?’ asked the Bishop of Woolwich, Dr Karowei Dorgu, a fortnight ago. The Bishop was speaking on the theme of social justice during a service at Westminster Abbey commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

That morning, news bulletins had reported on knife and gun crimes in London. That morning was not a one-off. Media outlets have carried other stories of shootings and stabbings in cities and towns around the UK. As well as facts, they have given room to analyses of the rise in gun and knife crime in the capital, of the potential causes and of potential ways of tackling the problem. To what extent are drugs, social media or police cuts to blame? Observers agreed that action rather than just words was needed.

One person who has been taking action to tackle knife and gun crime is Michael Smith. In this week’s issue of The War Cry, he says that the knife bins placed by his Word 4 Weapons scheme have collected ‘in excess of 30,000 weapons’.

But he worries that, over the years, society has not cared enough about the lives lost. He says that the attitude of ‘I’m all right, Jack’ is not good enough.

It is a truth that accords with what Martin Luther King said in a sermon on Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan.

Speaking at a time rife with violence, division and military conflict – a world that perhaps seems familiar to us – Dr King said we fail to think of people of other nationalities, beliefs or colours ‘as fellow human beings made from the same basic stuff as we, moulded in the same divine image’.

He added: ‘No longer can we afford the luxury of passing by on the other side. Such folly was once called moral failure; today it will lead to universal suicide.’

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