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Schoolboy stabbed & killed

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Vince_Ulam, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Are you kidding?
    Another sad incident and we can be so grateful it did not end in death. But how many does that make?

    How about:

    Look at the most recent.

    That's 15 dead in three months. A pattern that has emerged in some of these killings is that the perp was male, white and was angry that 1) he hadn't got a girlfriend, 2) No girl liked him and 3) He hadn't gotten his end away.

    Now that's a pattern.

    What I do agree with is that it may be indicative of a possible trend with knifes being carried by certain (very few) individuals. But to call 4 incidents over many years, a pattern is stretching a point too much.

    That schools need to have a heightened awareness of a possible increase in knife carrying is obvious but does this mean we flood schools with metal detectors because it's a pattern?
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Four within twenty months.

    Patterns are where you find them e.g. school, knife, assault: Pattern.

    Four assaults at schools involving knives within twenty months. A mean average of one every five months. It would be contrarian to deny the pattern.

    You tell me, it's your idea. Such would not have had an effect in this case, given the nature of the attack.

    How long will it be, do you think, until the next knife assault at a school?
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Maybe linked to declining standards of mental health in UK schools?

    Just speculating.. not sure myself.
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    This one sounds like a gang attack. Lack of discipline at home & lack of discipline at school. If children aren't given boundaries they act as they please.
    lanokia likes this.
  5. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Aye does read that way... this case...

    On a wider level?
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Fatherless families. This ties in with your mention of mental health: boys need a father.
  7. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    This is no way a pattern. Mere juxtaposition does not indicate a linked cause. You need to do a whole lot better than that.

    And what is the statistical significance based on a sample of 4? You are getting desperate here. Working out an average does not indicate a pattern.

    And what is your evidence that that this is in any way relevant in this instance, given the information available? It could just one bully and his pals (too cowardly to say no) working out a grievance. We don't know and we will not find out the truth by jumping to conclusions.

    The worst possible thing you can do is jump to conclusions and declare a pattern when the evidence does not support it. Any action enacted as a result has little chance of delivering the desired result.

    Knife crime in Britain has a long history.

    I used to help friends run a disco in the 60s when I was at school. As the disco became more successful we had to employ bouncers at the door who frisked people coming in. Boys for knifes and girl's handbags for booze. A typical haul in one night was about 6 knives, types ranged from small bladed knifes (good for close in stabbing) to a dirty great meat cleaver on one occasion (good for.....).

    If you wanted to see the effects of knife crime on an even grander scale you only had to go to Glasgow's Central Station on the Friday evening before the Fair Fortnight when Glasgow traditionally emptied down to Blackpool (or so it seemed).

    A very large contingent of the Glasgow Police were usually on hand and they were needed. Cut throat razor's were the weapon of choice in a lot of incidents. Standing , waiting for a relative to leave on a train for about half an hour we saw the aftermath of four different incidents. It's amazing how your eye homes in on the splash of red from a knife wound in amongst the crowd.

    Of course, any time there was a grudge match between Rangers and Celtic, Argyll Street usually just shut early.
    I've seen patterns of knife crime.

    Four incidents are four too many but do not justify the term pattern.
  8. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    This is not 'mere juxtaposition'. This is a pattern, nor does the apparent lack of anything which would indicate a 'linked cause' disqualify it as a pattern, e.g.:


    Do you see an intentional pattern or a 'mere juxtaposition' of uncaused stripes?

    I did not say otherwise. I just threw that in from generosity. The pattern is there anyway.

    I was answering @lanokia.

    Wake me up when you get to the part with the boat. Or if there's a glitterball.

    School, knife, assault: Pattern.
  9. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Of course there's a pattern it's a human designed artefact. You are desperate.

    Do you see the pattern?

    Humans are hard wired to see patterns and so often see them when none exist.
    Anyone investigating a crime or an accident has to be aware of this and not simply find patterns where none exist. To declare something as a pattern you have to do more than baldly state "there is a pattern". This is all you have done.

    Simply an unwarranted assumption on your part. Something you seem particularly prone to. An axe to grind perhaps?
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    No, I'm not desperate. You gave me exactly the response I had hoped. There is nothing in that image of a Zebra crossing which indicates that it is artificial. Patterns do not necessarily bear obvious clues as to their causes.

    Yes, it's a granulation consistent with a pattern of convection cells within a fluid. Happy to educate you, no charge.

    No, we aren't. Stick with the nautical metaphors.

    A grudge? How could I have a grudge against you. We've only spoken on this new format and then I've always had the better of you - unless, unless you had a previous moniker where we've interacted with identical results. Your dead horse flogging does seem familiar: It's rare to see a pony so badly striped.

    There is a pattern to these knife attacks, no two ways about it.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  11. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    What!!!! Everything in that image indicates it is artificial, you are talking utter nonsense.

    Which is completely random, no pattern. Happy to educate you. I also note the equivocation in the use of the word "pattern".

    A view that will find contradicted in any biology book on the human brain and it's workings.

    How long have you had these delusions? In our conversations it is you who have been flogging the dead horse simply repeating what you have said before as if it changes anything. Simply repeating what you have said before doesn't achieve anything and it certainly doesn't win any arguments.

    If you want to insist you see a pattern out of four events then that is your prerogative but you do so without a shred of evidence. The examples you have provided to try and bolster your position are laughable in the extreme.

    There are approximately 25,000 schools in the UK including 5000 secondary schools. Out of 26,370 knife crimes last year it would be a miracle if none occurred anywhere near a school. The fact that only four occurred is statistically insignificant. Pure random chance would do better.
  12. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    if you post the stats for the last 10 years, I'll tell you if there's a significant "pattern"
    irs1054 likes this.
  13. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter


    This is a worldwide list but I kept on finding lists for the US so this was an improvement. The link for secondary is the best to look at since it has the recent ones in the UK interspersed between the ones for the rest of the world. Puts them in perspective though.
  14. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter


    This one puts the UKs 4 into perspective. I think the total death toll by gunshot stands at approx 12,000 per year in the US.

    Any killing no matter how random anywhere is a sad event and we need to make sure that we do all in our power to reduce or eradicate killings such as these.

    We will not, however, do this by jumping to conclusions.
  15. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Very hard to come up with any meaningful data...

    A proxy for violence in schools is exclusions, so:


    Exclusions for violence (both permanent and fixed term) against an adult are down over the period 2006/7 - 2011/12, most notable permanent which has seen a fairly large decrease. However, the issue is that we don't know if changes to recording methods have been made. There are also notable differences between ethnic groups.

    The figures for violence against pupils also show a decrease.

    Graphs of data here:

    The recent attacks Vince quotes are too few in number to be a genuine indicator of a pattern of increase of that type of attack at the moment.
  16. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Too late at night to go through this lot.

    The real problem is the hidden one of how many school age children are carrying concealed knifes into school and whether this number is unchanged, decreasing or increasing.

    My experience was, of course, from a city and a time which was renowned for violent gang crime. There were places which, for a while, were no-go for the police. Glasgow today is a very different city.

    Generally, knife crime has declined though the last figure (for 2014) rose slightly. It is certainly something that needs a careful response. If too many kids get the perception that it is not safe in schools then we could, very suddenly, find an epidemic of incidents.
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    There is nothing necessarily artificial about a bands upon a surface:



    No, you are wrong. If it were as you say then I wouldn't be able to recognise it as a granulation consistent with convection cells within a fluid.

    I have not equivocated. The surface you showed exhibited a granulation consistent with the presence of convection cells within a fluid. The pattern approximates beautifully a Poisson-Voronoi tessellation. Where you only see noise, sharper minds hear a signal.

    No, you're appealing to popular science no better than a Just-So story. We don't know how the brain works anymore than we can define what it is that it produces. All we know is that if we cut certain parts from a living brain then we will be able to observe specific disabilities to apparent function. No wiring, no blueprint.

    Marvellous, you're assuming that chance has a pattern we may reference. Well done.
  18. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Thanks Scint. I don't have the last decade's data on the number and severity of assaults in schools against teachers and students. I would be happy to learn that such assaults have not increased in number and severity.

    Your proffered proxy is difficult. It's not only that recording methods may have changed but that, for reasons of reputation &c, schools have no incentive to record assaults e.g. the sexual assault against a cleaner in Westminster City School in 2004. On the other hand, the reports we have give pause.

    Not a direct proxy but I can point out that the number of juvenile offenders receiving immediate custodial sentences for knife possession offences has increased in the past seven years. In Q2 2008 7% received immediate custody, in Q2 2015 this rose to 12%. It's not a decade but it's good enough.

    We cannot say these attacks are a statistical indicator for the ten year frame you've imposed because we do not have the explicit data for that period. This does not mean they are not a useful indicator of a problem. I've offered only four particular events in twenty months, and I'm certain it is not an exhaustive list. We could avert our eyes for another one hundred months and hope for no reoccurrence; after one hundred months if there have been further school knife assaults and murders then we could feel smug about considering the formulation of evidence-based policies which confirms what was correctly intuited one hundred months earlier; or we could accept that these four events are indicative of a problem, the tip of an iceberg. The chill has been in the air for a while now and the glacier is calving at an alarming rate.
  19. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I wasn't talking about bands in general I was talking about the specific example you gave. It demonstrates nothing about your argument and neither do your other examples. All they demonstrate that not everything in nature is random. I never argued that nature was purely random and it is simply irrelevant to your argument.

    The process that produces this is completely chaotic and random. The pattern produced in any one snapshot in time is different to any other snapshot in a completely unpredictable way. No pattern. The fact that you recognised the picture is because you had seen a similar one before and your brain stored a generalised form. Unless you happened to have seen this exact picture before your brain would have information different from this picture. It allowed you to recognise this because it is hardwired to turn what is seen into generalised patterns. You are confusing perception with reality.

    Oh dear we are getting desperate. You are claiming to be able to do something that no other human claims to do. Predict chaotic events. None of us see "what is there", we only see an approximation invented by our brains. Our brain will quite happily put in information that is simply not there. An unbiased mind sees a closer approximation. A biased mind sees what it wants to see regardless of what's there. This why researchers in all fields try so hard to remove bias within themselves.

    Now you are claiming to know better than all the scientists around the world working in this area. Science knows a great deal of what the brain does right down to the biochemical level.

    26,370 incidents scattered randomly over the heavily populated areas and you don't think that at least four would land in amongst or near an area occupied by one of 25,000 schools. I would love to see your maths on that one.

    You know I would be more impressed with your attempts if the ground which you decided to defend were more valuable, but it isn't. You are doing what a lot of people do when they have an axe to grind, you are trying to make the data fit your particular belief. This is fundamentally dishonest (to yourself) and will never produce a valid answer. You are also tackling this from totally the wrong angle.

    My argument is simple: four events is not enough data to draw a conclusion that there is some pattern linking them. Your repetition of your mantra does not persuade me otherwise.
  20. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    True. The elephant in the room is the validity of the data... as so often in education, the numbers are very fuzzy. I suspect under-recording is rife... (there's no problem here look!)

    I suspect that is more down to sentencing policy than a reflection of a genuine increase, which is not to say there hasn't been an increase...

    I agree.

    However, then we are in danger of entering the "crimes we know nothing about are increasing too" zone. FWIW, I have a gut feeling - as you do - that attacks of this kind are genuinely increasing and may even be set for a more marked increase... I hope to be wrong though.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.

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