By Mike McDaniel
Many readers are, I’m sure, familiar with the Tuelller Drill. In 1983, police officer Dennis Tueller conducted research that revealed that an assailant armed with a knife can close 21 feet and inflict deadly wounds on a police officer before he can draw, fire and hope to stop the attacker. Obviously, a sword-armed attacker can do the same at greater distance or in a shorter time due to the length of their blade.
It might seem counterintuitive to some, particularly if they reflexively consider the Second Amendment a menace. But this knowledge absolutely refutes one of the fundamental gun control arguments: without guns, violence would be greatly reduced or eliminated. Some phrase their anti-liberty desires to suggest that if there were no guns, there would be no gunshot deaths.
Radical gun control and confiscation, of course, would disarm only the law-abiding. Only criminals and governments would retain firearms, and history reveals gunshot deaths would continue at very high levels; only the people doing the shooting would change. Governments with a monopoly on lethal force inevitably use it against their citizens, as there is nothing to restrain their worst impulses. And of course, criminals are always armed as they please.
Just for the sake of argument, though, let’s consider what a world without firearms would be like. Would violence really be substantially reduced?
At the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, as many as 6600 were killed within five days using weapons no more modern than spears and swords. At the battle of Actium in 31 BC, using the same kinds of weapons, as many as 7500 were killed in a single day (almost twice the number of Americans killed in the entire Iraq war).
At the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD, as many as 6000 died in a day. At the battle of Agincourt in 1415 between 7100 and 10,500 died. All of these men were killed and wounded without the use of firearms. Their most advanced personal projectile weapons were bows, but edged and blunt trauma producing weapons accounted for much of the casualty total.
It takes only seconds and an Internet connection to find thousands of people contemporarily killed or wounded with knives. But to extend the argument just a bit further, consider these recent cases of crimes committed by people wielding swords.
The self-avowed racist explained he committed the murder in Manhattan because it is a global media capital and that he expected the coverage would garner widespread support for his cause. He said his intention was to “inspire white men to kill black men, to scare black men, and to provoke a race war.”
Caughman, who was collecting recyclable bottles at the time Jackson attacked him and repeatedly plunged a sword into his chest, was a variable in the killer’s plan. According to Jackson, he had been stalking another victim but lost his nerve and chose Caughman at random, not realizing he was an elderly man.
A man is facing 11 charges stemming from a Saturday incident in which police say he forced his way into a stranger’s Great Falls apartment where he sexually assaulted a woman.
Jarrell Aaron Anderson, 39, armed with a katana, a long sword, is accused of forcing the door open at an apartment on 10th Street North, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Once inside, he forced a woman to give him oral sex, the affidavit says.
And Florida (of course) – Pasco man arrested for threatening child with sword
An arrest report says 45-year-old Kenneth Lamella took out a two-foot sword in Port Richey on Saturday night and was intentionally swinging it near the child’s abdomen.
When the child asked him to stop, deputies say he continued to swing the sword and said, “I’m going to cut your head off!” The child later told deputies Lamella’s actions scared him.
There are thousands more like those examples. Edged weapons—swords–can also be used in self-defense:
A Georgia man is facing charges after allegedly molesting his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter, according to police and media reports.
The child’s mother reportedly caught her boyfriend, John Lawarren Williams, in the act when she walked in on Williams allegedly assaulting the child in her Twiggs County home, WMAZ-TV reported.
The woman grabbed a sword that was in the home and slashed Williams as she tried to stop him from leaving while she called police, according to WMAZ.
The wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan have taught many lessons, but one is particularly applicable to this issue: even essentially medieval craftsmen can produce modern firearms like functional AK pattern rifles.
Consider this passage from a 1922 book regarding Afghan gun makers:
“The villages of the pass are famed for a strange industry — the manufacture entirely by hand of rifles and ammunitions, especially rifles, to the eye so like the products of European arsenals as to deceive all but experts. For these, since they are comparatively cheap and serviceable, there is a ready sale all along the border.”
Fast forward to 2012:
“We met a local gunsmith, Farid Shah from Zarghoon Khel, Darra. This man has a workshop set inside his small shop and has a single helper. ‘I produce Kalashinkov (AK-47) rifles and 12 gauge shotgun rifles in the Kalashinkov design,’ said Farid Shah.
Replying to a question about the quality of his guns, he simply said that his guns were no match for the Russian, Chinese or Pakistani guns produced in Wah Ordnance Factories.
‘A gun made manually from ordinary steel manually cannot match a gun produced in a well equipped factory from weapon grade steel using computerised machines,’ claimed Farid, adding that his guns were bulky and since there is no standardisation in the workshops, it is not possible to replace parts.
Hence, if something goes wrong the entire gun has to be thrown away.
‘This gun costs Rs12,000 a piece and takes 10 days to complete. But we cannot produce quality automatic weapons. Locals know it that is why no one would buy a Darra made AK-47 rifle in Peshawar or the rest of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).”
Even with these drawbacks—by western standards—there is a real market for these guns.
Even if gun grabbers had their wildest dreams realized and guns could somehow magically disappear, it would take little material and time to produce new firearms. It would take even less time and materiel to produce swords. The armament genie is out of the bottle and has been for centuries.
As has always been the case, it is not the weapon that kills, but the human being who decides to use it for evil. Gun control is always an attempt to somehow harness and alter human nature. Because it is invariably focused on depriving the honest and law-abiding of the means of self-defense, it has never worked. And it never will.
Mike McDaniel’s home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.