Brave fundraisers have been doing their bit for weapons awareness charity....There we have it - Big Society in action!
..... by getting tattoos in memory of a Clacton teenager.Oh.
More than 50 people were inked with Cookie Monster tattoos in memory of Jay Whiston, who was stabbed to death at a house party in September last year.Now, I certainly don't want to trivialise the family's bereavement; I am sure that not one day passes in which they do not think of their loss, and, in the same way, I imagine his friends are unlikely ever to forget such an appalling event, despite the efforts of those intent on witness intimidation.
But, in a way, that's just it - since it's hardly necessary as a reminder, why should a tattoo have become today's memorial of choice? Where once our Georgian and Victorian ancestors produced elaborate jewellery as a way to commemorate the departed, today's mourners are more likely to seek out the tattooist's needle.
Jay had a Cookie Monster tattoo himself and this was seen as a fitting way to remember the teen and raise anti-knife awareness.Ah, raising awareness. Actually, I suspect that most people in Clacton are all too aware of knives, given the number of stabbing incidents the town has seen over recent months; I can't see tattoos of a muppet making much difference.
"Most of Jay’s friends have already had them, so these were mainly people who just wanted to support what we are doing."
I'd have thought a t-shirt or wristband would have done the trick admirably, but I am clearly behind the times. The event was - perhaps unsurprisingly - the idea of the tattoo artist concerned:
On both Saturday and Sunday there were two 12 hour tattoo sessions at ‘Let it be Tattoo’s’ in Old Road, Clacton.(Let us pause for a moment to savour that apostrophe, an unwanted addition to the Studio's logo which can presumably be laid at the door of the Gazette's intrepid newshounds.)
Jay’s mum Caroline Shearer said: “It was fantastic to see so many people taking part – they had tattoos on their arms, chests, necks and even their bums."The latter, perhaps, showed the most prudence in terms of future employability, though I suppose it is somewhat churlish to criticise, given the well-meaning intentions of all concerned.
One thing does bother me slightly, though; since carrying weapons is at the extreme of a continuum that begins with minor breaches of the law and a general lack of respect for authority and since the law forbids the tattooing of anyone under eighteen, was it really right and fitting to commemorate 17-year-old Jay by replicating his illegal tattoo?