In the last few days there have been 6 brutal murders involving either knives, axes swords and a hammer. In Brooklyn New York, a man entered a restaurant and hit three people with a hammer, killing two. The other is in critical condition. In the latest rampage in Oregon, four people were killed and a fifth, an eight year old girl, was saved by a hero police officer who fired his sidearm killing the perpetrator who was closing in for the kill. How ironic.
First, any of these usually benign tools can be deadly in the hands of a dangerous and deranged individuals. There have been numerous stories from Japan for example, where a man kills a number of people with a samurai sword. In one such case, seventeen people were injured or killed. In the two recent cases neither crime involved a firearm. But never are the instruments of death questioned unless it’s a firearm, regardless of what kind.
There is an important point to be made here. We need to focus first and foremost on the mental health and mental state of any individual who commits a crime, first and foremost. People are the causes of such horrible scenes, not their weapons of choice. People intent on killing will find a way to kill. We need to a better job of identifying these people so we can avoid such horrible tragedies from ever taking place.
I am not naïve. I understand that an Uzi can kill more people more quickly than an ax. However, both are deadly in the hands of a disturbed individual or individuals and the scope of a tragedy should never be measured in the number of dead bodies at the scene. Every human life is precious and that should be enough to trigger an all out fight for mental health facilities and help for families who may suspect that either or family member or friend is capable of committing such horrible acts. The tools of life threatening attacks should never be blamed for the acts themselves.
Although I have no evidence to support this statement, I would suspect that most people who fear and would like to ban firearms, have never held, fired, or understand how firearms function. It is that lack of familiarity that instills the fear. However, anyone, at any time, can strike with deadly consequences if they are familiar with and proficient with the weapon in their possession. Knife attacks are often not seen. A knife attack may simply feel like a punch, until you start bleeding out. As a trained martial artist, I am serious when I say that someone with a knife or a sword is as or more concerning than someone with a sidearm. I’m always intrigued when I view some 12th degree black belt on You Tube showing knife defenses. Against a trained knife fighter or even a street fighter proficient with a knife, there are no good defenses, only luck despite what he or she thinks they know. Running is perhaps the best defense or a commitment to the defense as if ones life depends on it is the other. But if you are untrained in any way, I highly discourage it. You can not simply take away a quick-moving, double or single-edged, razor-sharp blade.
Born in Manhattan, I’m always fascinated when I’m in Tennessee or Kentucky and I go to a range, by the number of families with children who are there enjoying a family day out. Those families should no more be judged than any family partaking in any activity. Tennessee is not New York and California and both states can not be the judge and jury for standards in the rest of the country. The only way to reduce the fear of firearms is to familiarize yourself with them. Sticking ones head in the sand and hoping it will go away, is never the correct response.
Most firearm advocates are for common sense laws such as not allowing felons to own firearms but we also must not make rash, unfounded decisions based on uncontrolled fear. And we must also recognize that those members of society who perpetrate harm on people because of hatred or mental disease should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. They are the evil. They are the hateful murderers, not the weapons they choose, to carry out such heinous acts. At a time when the government shutdown is top bill every evening, and emotions are not at a fevered pitch, now is the time for a common sense conversation regarding firearms.