By Warren Lind
More than one-third of all U.S. homes have at least one firearm. But there is another weapon that is in 100 percent of all homes: bladed weapons.
Knives are the most common, but this also includes hatchets, axes, swords, kukris, machetes, tomahawks, spears and the list goes on and on. It’s unlikely that the average citizen is aware of the vast diversity of bladed weapons, which are probably mankind’s second weapon development (following the caveman’s impact weapon, the club).
If you talk to many police officers, most will tell you they would rather be shot than stabbed. If this seems strange, consider the differences between gunshot wounds and those from bladed weapons. When some people are shot, they don’t even realize it and keep on fighting. It’s not unusual that police must shoot suspects multiple times to end the fight, especially when the suspect is mentally ill or under the influence of illegal drugs. On the other hand, cuts—even minor ones—are very painful.
When gunshots hit the extremities, they may not be fatal. They can also create the classic “through and through” wound when they enter the body on one side and exit from the other, without hitting an artery or vital organ. Some bladed weapons are capable of chopping off an extremity (or even a head) with one blow; thus bulletproof vests offer little protection.
Second, bladed weapons can easily sever an artery in a leg, arm or neck: unless medical intervention is immediate, the person will bleed to death very quickly. Third, bladed weapons can pierce a vital organ. Last but not least, a puncture wound to the chest can cause an acute pneumothorax (collapsed lung), which can be fatal.
From John Lott, PhD . . .
For the average multiple victim Chinese knife attack since 2010: 4.4 people were killed, and 14.5 injured. Excluding the Kunming Railway Station attack the average is: 3.1 people killed and 8.6 injured. If you look at all the cases where at least 4 people were harmed the average attack had: 4.7 people killed and 15.8 injured.
Bladed attacks occur all around the world but are rarely reported extensively in our mainstream news media. Britain, with its strict gun control laws, has seen significant increases in knife attacks over the last several years.
Terrorists have discovered the lethal combination of vehicles plus hand weapons, running as many people down as possible, then getting out and shooting or stabbing survivors. Such attacks have occurred in Europe and the U.S., and I expect these to increase due to easy access to both vehicles and knives. And the largest terrorist acts are still being accomplished with explosives, and fire.
Serial killers frequently prefer knives as there is no forensic evidence left behind such as bullets or shell casings and no unnecessary sound when they’re used. Bladed weapons are cheaper and easier to obtain than firearms, and don’t require the rigorous licensing process for purchase or permitting to carry. You’re very likely face an attacker armed with a blade during a robbery, rape or home invasion.
Massad Ayoob’s core advice about knife fighting can be paraphrased as: You may well kill your attacker with your knife, but he won’t die until 3 hours after he has killed you. I carry a “Missouri legal” folding knife, but see this as a last ditch self-defense tool should my gun, pepper spray and impact weapon all fail…all highly unlikely.
Mass shooters can be stopped by determined unarmed persons, either when their guns jam (as they often do with inexperienced shooters), they run out of ammo, or they have to reload. If the defender knows how to properly grab a pistol, it can’t fire the next round. There is also a physical limit to how many guns and how much ammo one person can carry. By contrast, bladed weapons don’t usually break, they don’t jam, they don’t run out of ammo, and they never need not be reloaded.
Imagine trying to stop a determined attacker who has a bladed weapon in each hand and a few more on his body. I don’t see how, unless you have a gun and he’s farther away than 21 feet. Pepper spray may slow him down and allow you to escape. However, criminals who are highly motivated, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or mentally ill can attack right through both pepper spray and TASER charges.
Despite the lessons of the “21-foot rule” by police officer Dennis Tueller, the media and public are still under the delusion that an attacker with bladed weapons should be reasoned with, shot with pepper spray or TASERed, as if responding with a firearm is somehow disproportional. If ignorance is bliss, then these ignorant advocates of “non-lethal means” are hoping that God really does protect fools.
Some bladed weapons like Tanto knives and tactical tomahawks, can break through auto glass and even cut through the steel doors of cars like a table knife cuts through butter. Also, there are knives make of nylon that can be sharpened and aren’t picked up by metal detectors. If you think you’re safe in a “NO WEAPONS ALLOWED” zone where every visitor has gone through a metal detector, think again.
Crime is caused by defects in morality and mindset, not by weapons. Pens don’t cause libel and neither knives or guns kill people. Murder has been with us since Cain killed Abel. Those who want to protect themselves and their family should be on guard against criminals and terrorists who utilize bladed weapons, not just firearms or clubs.
Warren Lind is a retired licensed clinical social worker and former security officer who writes extensively about crime, survival, and self-defense. He is a member of too many pro-2A organizations to list.