[Paleopsych] NYT: British Medical Experts Campaign for Long, Pointy Knife Control

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Tue May 31 04:01:29 UTC 2005

Next on the agenda: Large, dangerous rocks must be outlawed. But when 
rocks are outlawed, only outlaws will have rocks.

Premise Checker wrote:

> 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.]
> http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/27/science/27knife.html
>    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
>    airlines?"
>    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,"
>    he said.
>    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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