Those aren’t my words in the title, they are the words of one of the churchmen involved in the Nottingham University vigil. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which one. It’s been the big news in Nottingham this week – two students (both 19) stabbed to death, a school caretaker (65), stabbed and his van stolen, with it eventually used to run three people down, one of whom is in critical condition.
It’s a familiar fear for those of us with kids, and one of my main feelings, apart from sympathy for the families, is relief that mine manged to get through their youth without serious violence. The family of the caretaker have asked to be left alone. The deaths of the other two have been marked by vigils and flowers. I’m sure the death of the caretaker will be marked more as the days pass. The problem is that no matter how private you want to keep things, there are other people involved, and they need some sort of way to process their grief.
There is a tendency for too many people to get involved these days. It isn’t for me to say what is useful or acceptable in this case. If the parents and students draw strength from a vigil that is their affair. I’m sure that the school will, eventually, have its own vigil to help the kids work through their grief at the loss of a man who appears to have been a well-loved member of staff.
Unfortunately, as usual, people are trying to take a share of the proceedings. The head of the City Council keeps telling us, amongst other things, that Nottingham is a strong and diverse city. Yes, it is, but this is about the deaths of three innocent people, not about the City, and not about the message the leader of the council is trying to promote. Nor is it a tragedy for the city. It’s a shock, but it’s not a tragedy for most of us. The same goes for the message that it’s a safe city despite the murders. That’s not really in question. Murder happens. It’s always a tragedy for someone, but we are generally a safe City and a safe country.
That’s about it. I felt it needed to be mentioned, as it’s a local event, but I don’t want to dwell on it. The families have my sympathy and the city is a safe place despite these events. To say much more would be to hijack the story of others, and there is already plenty of that going on.