Message of real love required
In 1992 the whole country was appalled when Jamie Bulger was killed by two young boys.
We all thought that this was terrible and wondered if we could sink any lower as a nation.
Today, we feel similarly about the awful loss of young lives through stabbings and shootings.
It is not just in our big cities. We returned from holiday to read of a stabbing in a churchyard in our own Shropshire town of Oswestry.
We welcome the amnesty on knives and the work of the Knife Angel, but clearly it is not working.
Many feel it is getting worse and shrug their shoulders – and say nothing, because they have almost given up hope. Someone suggested to me children need to be disciplined.
Whilst that may well be true, something more fundamental needs to be done to bring about a significant change.
Can anything be done? Sadly, thousands in our prisons and communities have never known real love.
I believe this is the key and the Christian message can bring about a lasting change.
The murderous Saul of Tarsus was changed on the Damascus Road into the apostle Paul who wrote the wonderful words quoted in thousands of marriage services reminding us that love never fails.
Some 50 years ago a man called David Wilkerson took this message to the gangs in downtown New York and one of the most notorious young leaders, Nicky Cruz, became a Christian (his story can be found in a book he wrote called The Cross and the Switchblade).
He came to UK to share his story and thousands of young people packed theatres and halls to hear first-hand about his changed life.
I believe that this is our only hope. Let us pray for people to be called to share this message and have the courage and the conviction to take it to the neediest in our nation now while there is time and for our prison chaplains who are doing a wonderful work in these challenging days.
Roy Whittall, Oswestry