There was a front-page story in my local paper the other day - NewsEXTRA, the freebie cousin of the Hampshire Chronicle - about a knife amnesty. Apparently Hampshire police have been running one and are clapping themselves on the back because they’ve recieved so many (3000 in Hampshire, almost 100 in Winchester).
There are two problems with this:
The police are sending an inconsistent moral and practical message. Is owning knives wrong? One can assume it must be - after all, people have been handing in ‘peeling knives’ - and otherwise, the police would reject those, right? But in which case, er, how am I supposed to peel my carrots? Oh, maybe knives over a certain size are wrong? So are museums supposed to turn in their collection? The police should get their principles straight before they try to make people feel bad for owning knives per se. Disclaimer: I only own kitchen knives.
The headline was ‘Amnesty Success’. How do you know? If no-one was going to be injured by those knives (we’ll never know), you’ve just deprived several hundred members of the public of their knives by making them feel bad for … er, owning property. This would be less than a success. Instead of jumping to conclusions, one would hope that the paper would employ at least some inquisitiveness and dig a little deeper. But what else would you expect from a local freebie, I suppose?
Maybe all of this sloppy journalism explains why such papers normally go from my mailbox to the bin without stopping.