[Paleopsych] NYT: British Medical Experts Campaign for Long, Pointy Knife Control
checker at panix.com
Mon May 30 22:13:11 UTC 2005
British Medical Experts Campaign for Long, Pointy Knife Control
[Switch blades have long been illegal in New York State, so precedents for
knife control in this country are already in place.]
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Warning: Long, pointy knives may be hazardous to your health.
The authors of an editorial in the latest issue of the British Medical
Journal have called for knife reform. The editorial, "Reducing knife
crime: We need to ban the sale of long, pointed kitchen knives," notes
that the knives are being used to stab people as well as roasts and
the odd tin of Spam.
The authors of the essay - Drs. Emma Hern, Will Glazebrook and Mike
Beckett of the West Middlesex University Hospital in London - called
for laws requiring knife manufacturers to redesign their wares with
rounded, blunt tips.
The researchers noted that the rate of violent crime in Britain rose
nearly 18 percent from 2003 to 2004, and that in the first two weeks
of 2005, 15 killings and 16 nonfatal attacks involved stabbings. In an
unusual move for a scholarly work, the researchers cited a January
headline from The Daily Express, a London tabloid: "Britain is in the
grip of knives terror - third of murder victims are now stabbed to
death." Dr. Hern said that "we came up with the idea and tossed it
into the pot" to get people talking about crime reduction. "Whether
it's a sensible solution to this problem or not, I'm not sure."
In the United States, where people are more likely to debate gun
control than knife control, partisans on both sides sounded amused.
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle
Association, asked, "Are they going to have everybody using plastic
knives and forks and spoons in their own homes, like they do in
Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
Violence, which supports gun control, joked, "Can sharp stick control
be far behind?" He said people in his movement were "envious" of
England for having such problems. "In America, we can't even come to
an agreement that guns are dangerous and we should make them safer,"
The authors of the editorial argued that the pointed tip is a
vestigial feature from less mannered ages, when people used it to
spear meat. They said that they interviewed 10 chefs in England, and
that "none gave a reason why the long, pointed knife was essential,"
though short, pointed knives were useful.
An American chef, however, disagreed with the proposal. "This is yet
another sign of the coming apocalypse," said Anthony Bourdain, the
executive chef at Les Halles and the author of "Kitchen Confidential."
A knife, he said, is a beloved tool of the trade, and not a thing to
be shaped by bureaucrats. A chef's relationship with his knives
develops over decades of training and work, he said, adding, "Its
weight, its shape - these are all extensions of our arms, and in many
ways, our personalities."
He compared the editorial to efforts to ban unpasteurized cheese.
"Where there is no risk," he said, "there is no pleasure."
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