THE “KNIFE CONTROL” DELUSION

In case you need proof that, when it comes to preventing attacks with a deadly weapon, well-intentioned stupidity can be found on both sides of the Atlantic…

…we have this, excerpted from Joel Adams’ article for London’s Daily Telegraph:

judge has proposed a nationwide programme to file down the points of kitchen knives as a solution to the country’s soaring knife crime epidemic.

Last week in his valedictory address, retiring Luton Crown Court Judge Nic Madge spoke of his concern that carrying a knife had become routine in some circles and called on the Government to ban the sale of large pointed kitchen knives.

He said laws designed to reduce the availability of weapons to young would-be offenders had had “almost no effect”, since the vast majority had merely taken knives from a cutlery drawer.

As a result – said the judge – the most common knife a youth will take out is eight to ten inches, long and pointed, from his mother’s cutlery tray.

He asked: “But why we do need eight-inch or ten-inch kitchen knives with points?

“It might even be that the police could organise a programme whereby the owners of kitchen knives, which have been properly and lawfully bought for culinary purposes, could be taken somewhere to be modified, with the points being ground down into rounded ends,” he said.

It’s hard to know where to begin.

Let me start with the fact that nowhere in Judge Nic Madge’s lecture on knife dulling does he suggest that the problem lies with the knife-wielding attacker.

No, you see, it’s the knife itself.  Just make the knife safer – i.e. less able to penetrate a human body – and a blow has been struck for safety from knife attacks.  Yep, that’s the ticket.

I have asked, more times than I can remember, whether there is a gun that can spontaneously jump up and shoot people by itself.  The same question applies here:  is there a knife that spontaneously jumps up and stabs people?  Maybe, just maybe, the problem is the person holding that gun or that knife.

Next we have the issue of how easy it is to get around the problem.  In the USA gun control laws, even strict gun gun control laws, have not prevented their use in criminal activity, because people willing to use them for criminal activity, by definition, do not give a damn about gun control laws.

Illustratively, last year the city of Chicago, with laws so strict that it is nearly impossible to legally obtain a gun, had 650 gun murders, 2,785 shooting incidents and 3,457 shooting victims.  How many of these involved legally obtained guns?  Almost none of them.

Now, tell me how expensive it is to buy a knife and how hard it is to sharpen that knife’s point.   This is supposed to solve the problem?

I think my favorite part of Judge Madge’s delusional dream world is the suggestion that there could be a turn-your-sharp-knife-in programme (I’ll spell it their way), in which the government rounds the points of sharp knives.  That, I am sure, will work just as well as gun turn-in programs have in the USA.  Yeah, you get a few (probably a great many broken/unusable units among them), and gun crime continues unabated anyway.

Evidently Crown Court Judge Nic Madge is in the same state of denial that many well-meaning, but amazingly ridiculous, folks are on my side of the ocean:  namely, that changing human behavior – or, at the very least, making it worth violent criminals’ whiles not to carry the weapons they would use to commit their violence (mandatory prison sentences for possession, for example) – is not the first order of business.

Sorry to tell you, Judge Madge, but anyone who thinks dulling knives is the answer, has a dull mind. 

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