Skeptical views of the anti-gun crusade

A modest proposal for universal safety

March 16, 2000

A modest proposal for universal public safety

On page B5 of today's New York Times there's a story about a ten year from Tom's River, NJ, a woodsy New York suburb, who stabbed his father to death with a five inch knife. A terrible, terrible story.

The circumstances leading to the assault were as follows:

The father accused the boy of eating a container of chocolate frosting. The boy denied it. At one point, no doubt as the argument reached a fevered pitch, the father handed his son the knife and told him: "If you hate me so much, why don't you stab me." The boy did. Right in the chest. It only took one thrust.

(In a sign of how insane reporting and police work has become, this was the final sentence of paragraph four of this story in the New York Times: "...investigators said they thought the boy had eaten the frosting.")

So what do we do to prevent things like this from happening in the future? Ban chocolate frosting, the obvious "cause" of the argument?

No. That would be ridiculous. Ban knife possession instead. The fact is if there hadn't been a long, sharp knife in that home this man would still be alive.

Ban knives now

I have a five point plan to accomplish this:

First, make it illegal for an adult to hand a child a knife, bare his chest, and say "stab me."

Second, make possession or handling of knives illegal by anyone under 21.

Third, require that all knives have lock guards on them that can only be opened by their owners. (Of course, the father could have unlocked the knife and handed it to his son, but by doing so he would have been in violation of at least two knife control laws.)

Fourth, cities should sue all knife manufacturers for all police calls, ambulance trips and emergency room visits related to people suffering from stab wounds.

Five, require that all knife owners be registered and that certain kinds of especially sharp or long knives be

It's just common sense

These are common sense laws that no person in their right mind could possibly object to. The Second Amendment does not guarantee anyone's right to own knives. That's just right wing, lunatic fringe propaganda from militia members and NRA fascists like Charlton Heston.

How can these knife loving nuts (puppets of the cutlery industry by the way) tolerate the number of knifings that take place in this country each year? Children stabbing their parents. Parents stabbing their children. Even children stabbing children.

People who advocate knife possession are the lowest kind of scum. If feasible, detention camps should be set where they can be held without bail until they agree to change their opinions - or at least stop talking.

I've sent this proposal to President Clinton and Charles Schumer. If they aren't too busy protecting us from domestic terrorism (thank God) or developing justifications for assaulting civilians in bad countries like Serbia and Iraq, I feel certain this has a chance to quickly become the next new wave public safety initiative. Hey, those kooks in Waco had knives too. Big sharp ones. The knife nuts never seem to mention that, do they?

Speaking of public safety, here's how Australia's gun control program is working:

"It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed, a program costing the government more than $500 million dollars.

And now the results are in:

* Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent; * Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent; * Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent). * In the state of Victoria, homicides with firearms are up 300 percent.

Figures over the previous 25 years show a steady *decrease* in armed robbery with firearms (changed drastically in the past 12 months). There has been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly.

Australian politicians are on the spot and at a loss to explain how no improvement in "safety" has been observed after such monumental effort and expense was successfully expended in "ridding society of guns."

I'll tell you why. They only took half measures. Ban all knives and while you're at it all hatchets, baseball bats, and bricks and then we'll start seeing real results. No half measures. We all know the statistics. Knives have got to go: NOW!

Not as original as I thought

After I sent this, a reader points out that my proposal to make knife ownership illegal is not so farfetched. It's happened before.

Note well anti-weapon zealots:

"In 1938, five years after taking power, the Nazis enhanced the 1928 (gun) law. The Nazi Weapons Law introduced handgun control. Firearms ownership was restricted to Nazi party members and other "reliable" people.

The 1938 Nazi law barred Jews from businesses involving firearms. On November 10. 1938 -- one day after the Nazi party terror squads (the SS) savaged thousands of Jews, synagogues and Jewish businesses throughout Germany -- new regulations under the Weapons Law specifically barred Jews from owning any weapons, even clubs or knives."


Regardless of the flavor of the propaganda or the emotional tone of the argument (and anti-weapon zealots are nothing if not emotional), there's only one reason to ban citizens from owning weapons to defend themselves.

As another subscriber pointed out:

"Today's neoliberal state is Max Weber's worst nightmare -- on crack. Not only does the state exercise a monopoly on the "legitimate use" of violence, the state also is attempting to appropriate for itself a monopoly on the "legitimate means" of violence, and by any means necessary. Now that public education, public housing, environmental protection, and other traditional state functions progressively have become "defunded" or left to the most reactionary elements of the private sector -- state violence in the form of surveillance, control, incarceration, and of course, taxation, are about the only functions that the state has left.

At it's core, endorsement of this state monopoly is an intensely cynical acceptance of the political-economic status quo. Those who accept the state's monopoly on violence surrender their own ability (and the ability of future generations) to resist or avenge the brutish treatment of citizens by the current regime in power. Such individuals are, in a sense, no longer "citizens", but self-absorbed "consumers" -- dependent upon the state to protect their own property rights and privileged lifestyles.

This issue is at the core of the neo-liberal propaganda war against the NRA and firearms owners in America. No conscious government-media conspiracy is needed. As you point out, after all, "Experts agree..."

This issue also may be at the core of the (Irish) IRA's refusal to disarm -- and even their principled refusal to lie about it (to claim they have disarmed, but not do so). They may see disarmament, or even sham disarmament, as setting a poor example for their followers at a time when the Blair government has become ever more aggressive at home and abroad.

Keep up the good work. And stick to your principles."