10 April 2008

Knives Out

Reading this article concerning the epidemic of male violence against women earlier this evening reminded me of a rather horrible experience I had on a train from Cornwall to Bath last Friday. A very scary drunk man threatened me, and, although I was oblivious to this particularly nasty aspect of the encounter, he had a knife. He slashed his throat in the buffet carriage before being carted off the train in Bristol by 4 policemen, presumably armed. However, before the train got to Bristol, he was seated right across the aisle from me. He didn't harm anyone else on the train, although the women he had shouted obscenities at and otherwise threatened were undoubtedly, like me, rather shaken by the experience.

The niggling thing, for me, is this; at what point would it have been reasonable to consider him a very real threat? At what point should action have been taken? Looking back, I was in very real danger for that whole train journey. It was extremely easy for that man to be on the train and cause so much trouble - and he was left totally to his own devices. What can we do to increase the safety of people in a confined environment, such as a train?

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