No doubt everyone is well aware of the recent issues with knives in Melbourne. It seems every second day there are young people (100% of them male from reports I have seen) who are caught carrying knives, or worse still inflicting harm upon someone else with their weapon of choice.
It’s a sad state of affairs when you realise just how close to home the kids and their knives are. Our Teen-Child recently asked if he and some friends could catch the train to a skate park on the west side of town, for a session at the end of the school holidays. I knew of the skate park, as he had visited it with a friend before, whose father had kindly driven them, and checked the venue out to ensure it was well-run.
But being the mother of a teenager, there were a few things that alarmed me instantly:
- Teen-Child had never caught the train to the said location, and didn’t even know which line to catch (via Flinders Street even worse). Moreover, he’s normally on the tram, not trains, which makes it a bit harder.
- The friends he was going with I had never met. They were all “skate-park friends”, and some attended the same school, but nevertheless I didn’t know them (or their parents) at all.
- Being the paranoid mother I am, I also worried about my son on the train, with his brand new Nike runners, mobile phone and $250 Razor scooter. A prime target for some “thugs” in my view. (To be fair my paranoia is probably warranted, especially since a mate of my boys only recently got “rolled” at an Eastern suburbs train station).
When I explained my fears to my son, he assured me that he would be fine. In fact, he said if I really wanted him to be safe he could carry a knife, but of course you wouldn’t like that Mum. Well you can imagine my response: DAMN RIGHT I wouldn’t like that, didn’t he know cops could now search anyone for knives and if caught the consequences could be serious. It was exactly the knife carrying thugs that were worrying me in the first place. And where had he seen kids with knives?
Unfortunately, it would seem right in our own backyard, at the “nice” eastern suburbs skate park. (And here I was assuming stupidly they were only found in the western suburbs). Teen-Child was quick to assure me that none of his mates did carry them, but that there were some boys that did and he didn’t approve. Thank God for that.
So the upshot – with great relief I learned that one by one Teen-Child’s friends were not actually going. So he didn’t end up going either. I had actually offered to drive him out there, but he didn’t seem too keen on the idea – not very COOL in his friends eyes no doubt. I did subsequently speak to one father I know who said his son had travelled out there with a large group of boys (safety in numbers) once before, and all was fine. To reduce my paranoia, he too had very similar thoughts to me about the potential issues involved with the trip.
As scary as it is, it would seem the knife culture of Melbourne pervades all corners of society. The best I can hope is that my boys continue to understand their danger, and inappropriateness, and avoid them as much as possible.