I am struck by the extent to which I have become inured to stories of violence and knife crime in the UK. This morning’s pictures of Jodie Chesney in her Scout uniform – and reading of her participation in the Award – have punctured the bubble. I grieve with her family and friends – and the families and friends of other young people whose lives have been so needlessly extinguished.
But grieving is not enough.
There will be calls for more action to be taken in schools to educate young people about the dangers of knives. Teachers and youth workers can help, certainly, but they should not be expected to take responsibility for the moral wellbeing of our nation, or be held accountable for it.
That accountability and responsibility lie with all of us.
What I find both heartening and deeply sad is that, whilst my own generation and the one that followed it seem to have abdicated much of our responsibility, there is a growing movement of young people who do want to seize the nation’s moral compass and recalibrate the path society is taking. Not with grandiose gestures, just by living their lives as active citizens committed to building interdependence within communities.
I am heartened, because Jodie’s generation brings me hope for the future. I am deeply saddened, because Jodie won’t now be helping to chart the way ahead.