Gig got me wondering, why is it standard for the young of today, or at least the written-about minority, to get involved in glassings/knifings?
When Gig and I were young, it was considered extremely bad form to use a weapon against an unarmed opponent. You just didn't do it. Today, weapons are par for the course.
In the interests of clarity, I asked some teens. I went walking with my 14 year old son, and some of his friends on the weekend (both Friday and Saturday evenings), and at various times, we met people they knew, and we discussed the weapons issue.
The concensus seems to be that you need to. One young man put it thus; "I don't like carrying, if the cops get me I'm in shit, but I'm scared. The really bad ones carry 'em, and if I ever get jumped, I want a chance, so if I'm alone, I carry it in my hand, half open just in case. They'll prob'ly kill me anyway, but I'll give the fuckers a good fight. My mum will know I tried."
The rest agreed with this point of view. They want to protect themselves, and make it home to their families. The prospect of hurting an innocent made them all pale, and brought a few close to tears. But they are frightened, and, while they know that in reality, a knife isn't going to help them, they want to believe that if the worst happens, they will at least be able to do some damage to those who wish them ill. The fact that they are more likely to wind up dead if they carry doesn't sink in. They want a fighting chance.
This doesn't cover the glassings or stabbings which appear on the news regularly. When I mentioned a recent glassing at a party here, every single person said "Yeah, but he's a wanker. You don't do that to someone. It's just fucking wrong."
The teens I spoke to were from a variety of familial/economic/social backgrounds. They all agreed that when they are travelling in a group, no-one carries, unless they were alone initially. But you never, ever pull a weapon on an unarmed man. You don't keep going once they're down. You don't jump in and help your mate bash some poor bastard senseless. And you never hit a woman.
Maybe there is hope for some of them.