British police push for duller knives... seriously

It’s pretty difficult (though clearly not impossible) to get a gun in England, even for criminals. Has that stopped crime, included attempted murder? Well, it’s definitely slowed it down a bit, but no… there are still people trying to kill each other and the weapon of choice is usually the knife. What’s an oppressive government to do? Easy answer, boys and girls. We’ll just make sure all the knives are duller. (NY Times)

In an attempt to tackle domestic violence, the police in a British county came up with a startling plan: Replace the sharp knives in victims’ kitchens with blunt-tipped instruments to prevent their partners from stabbing them to death.

While the blunt-knives proposal was only one among many by the Nottingham City Council to tackle knife crime, it was immediately singled out for criticism by medical experts and advocates for domestic abuse survivors, who called it “ludicrous” and ill conceived.

The proposal by the Nottinghamshire Police, in the East Midlands of England, comes as Britain struggles with an epidemic of knife crime outside the home, which some analysts say is fueled by reductions in the nation’s police forces under austerity and cuts to social service programs.

As we read further into the story, we learn that this plan was only adopted in one county, the location of Nottingham City. It also only applied to the typical kitchen knives that most of us have. The reason is that nearly one in five of all knife crimes in the region are domestic violence assaults and I suppose a kitchen knife is the most common lethal weapon most people have on hand. This program hasn’t even been fully implemented yet, either. Police have purchased the new knives, but they haven’t begun handing them out and confiscating the pointy knives yet.

Also worth noting is that the blade’s edge is still sharp on the replacement knives the police ordered. It just the point that’s been dulled to a rounded tip. One might assume that since it would now be harder to stab your flatmate, you’d be forced to slit their throat instead. I’m not entirely sure what problem is being solved here.

But in the end, to paraphrase a common saying from our side of the pond, knives don’t kill people. People kill people. If someone is so intent on killing you that they’re willing to shove a blade in your heart, they’re probably going to find a way to do it, even if you dull the tips of every knife in the country. And if you ban knives, they’ll dig up a cricket bat. Or a half-brick in a sock. One way or another, they’ll figure it out.

So how is the overall knife control program going? In England and Wales, there were 3,682 crimes in the first quarter of this year involving knives or “other bladed weapons.” Over the past year, there were more than 22,000 total knife crimes, but a large portion of those were simply for possession. Here in the United States, we had nearly 1,600 murders committed with knives in 2017, but the total number of attacks was obviously much higher. By comparison, the number of murders committed with rifles (and that’s all rifles, not just “assault rifles”) that year was 403. For the entire country of roughly 350 million people.

I’m not sure what the Brits are thinking with this move, but we’ll keep an eye on the situation. Of course, I probably shouldn’t be giving the Democrats here at home any ideas. We could have new knife control laws coming any day now.