When we debate gun control in America, gun rights advocates who want to illustrate that guns are just a tool and not the cause of crimes ask, facetiously, if we ought to have knife control laws too to prevent stabbings and robberies committed with sharp, pointy objects.
This is usually dismissed as being absurd by gun control advocates, but in Great Britain (where gun violence has surged after the country instituted tough new gun bans) a group of doctors are advocating for a ban on kitchen knives to prevent stabbings.
A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.
They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.
They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.
None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.
This illustrates the absurdity of attempting to address crimes with policy aimed at restricting access to the tools of those crimes. For whatever reason, violent crime is up in Great Britain, so these doctors assume that if people can’t just grab a kitchen knife when they’re angry and go on a slashing and stabbing rampage there will be less crime.
Which is foolish. The knives aren’t motivating the crimes any more than the guns are. People don’t commit crimes because they have a knife or a gun handy. They commit crimes because of other factors, and the guns/knives become a means to an end.
To the extent that policy can address things like violent crime, it should be aimed at the motivations for that crime not the implements of it. Because it is foolish to limit the freedoms of the vast majority of law-abiding citizens in whose hands a gun or a knife is no threat to society at large because a small minority of citizens might use those things for evil.