Gun and knife crime
To put events over the summer of 2007 into context and to provide reassurance for children.
by Gordon Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To put events over the summer into context and to provide reassurance for children.
Preparation and materials
- No specific preparation is necessary but do be aware of local circumstances, particularly if yours is an area that has suffered violent crime recently. This assembly may also be an opportunity to reinforce school policies gently on what it is appropriate to bring to school and on bullying.
- Explain that over the summer, while the children have been away from school, they may have seen and heard many news reports about violent crime, some of it against children.
- Explain that these terrible acts are shocking and just about everyone in the country is appalled and horrified by such criminal behaviour. This sort of thing is not ‘normal’ in our country and this is proved by the fact that most people consider it very wrong to use violence against other people.
- Not only do people think it’s wrong, but there are strong laws against violence and violent crime is treated severely by the courts. So we live in a country with a clear sense of law and order, in which most people obey the law and very few people use violence.
- You should always be careful when out, especially if you’re not with an adult, but the chances of falling victim to violent crime are very low indeed. You are far more likely to be involved in a road accident than to be a victim of a gang and, if you take extra care on the road, you can help to reduce this risk greatly. So don’t be too worried by the knife and gun reports in the news.
- Think about this: many more pages are given in newspapers to these violent events than to road accidents because they sell newspapers – it doesn’t mean that we should all be worried about them all the time. Be careful and be safe!
- It is a sad fact that there have always been violent people. Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus told a story about a traveller who was attacked by robbers and left by the roadside to die.
First, a holy man came along and saw the wounded man, but he didn’t want to get involved so he passed by quickly on the other side of the road.
Next, another man from a different religion came along. He looked at the wounded man and then he too crossed the road and walked by on the other side.
Then along came a Samaritan who saw that the injured man was not of his faith but didn’t worry about that. His heart was filled with pity. He helped the man: bandaged his wounds and took him to an inn.
He gave the innkeeper money to look after the wounded man and promised more when he returned in a few days time.
After telling the story, Jesus asked his listeners: who was a true neighbour to the man who was attacked?
- So violence has been around for a long time, and in fact we are very much safer today than at the time when Jesus was alive. When we hear about terrible and upsetting acts we should think about what we can do to show that we are not part of them, that we would rather be like the Samaritan than the people who walked on by.
Time for reflection
Am I ever violent?
Do I use force to try to get my own way?
How can I be like the good Samaritan?
How can I be part of the solution and not part of the problem?
In a moment of silence, let’s remember all the victims of violent crime.
Let us pray for their families and friends in their terrible grief.
Let us give thanks to God that we live in a country with law and order, where violence does not rule.
Let us think about how we can avoid violence and live in love and peace with all people.