Bans

The U.K. Must Ban Pointy Knives, Says Church of England

When the human condition resists perfection through legislation, the answer always seems to be more—and stupider—laws.

|

Despite a host of legal restrictions on firearms and knives, not to mention a society that increasingly resembles a panopticon in the thoroughness of the surveillance to which it's subjected, the U.K.'s crime rates remain stubbornly resistant to reduction. Last year, London's murder rate briefly overtook that of New York City—a feat likely to be repeated as crime continues its decline in the U.S.—and the latest U.K. figures show an increase in violent crimes committed with both guns and knives.

So, do right-thinking Britons propose loosening the country's tight rules regarding self-defense so that people can more easily deal with two-legged predators? Hell, no. Instead, they want to ban pointy knives. Yes, really—churchmen, physicians, judges, and lawmakers want to tightly restrict or completely outlaw the possession of knives with sharp ends.

The latest call for knife controls comes from the Church of England, the nation's officially sponsored religious franchise.

"We the undersigned are professionals and community leaders from across the UK who call on Government to see the sale of pointed domestic kitchen knives as a thing of the past," reads the not-a-parody open letter from the Diocese of Rochester, signed by church leaders, lawmakers, psychiatrists, academics, and the like. "Historically we needed a point on the end of our knife to pick up food because forks weren't invented. Now we only need the point to open packets when we can't be bothered to find the scissors."

The September letter would be easier to laugh of if it weren't signed by so many people who are in a position to turn it into law, widely reported as serious stuff indeed, and an echo of calls from elsewhere.

Just months ago, a Conservative member of Parliament made headlines when he took a different, but equally restrictive, approach to regulating sharp pieces of metal.

"Every knife sold in the UK should have a gps tracker fitted in the handle," insisted Scott Mann. "It's time we had a national database like we do with guns."

Mann took a lot of ribbing for the proposal, and even admitted that it was "a bit of a shit idea." But that's just because he was a step ahead of the mob. If he'd stuck with grinding off the pointy bits, he would likely have been hailed as a model of responsible opinion.

After all, U.K. Judge Nic Madge used his retirement speech last year to call for blunting cooking paraphernalia. "Kitchens contain lethal knives which are potential murder weapons and only butchers and fishmongers need eight or 10 inch kitchen knives with points," he said.

"We call on Government to see the sale of pointed domestic kitchen knives as a thing of the past," agrees John Crichton, a prominent Scottish psychiatrist who uses his position as head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland to advance his crusade against anything with a sharp tip. "We urge them to take urgent measures to promote the sale of safe kitchen knife designs and restrict those designs which have been used in so many acts of violence."

The problem for Britons is that they're uncomfortably discovering the same frustrating limits that Americans have encountered; laws don't prevent people from doing illegal things, they just define the penalties when people are caught.

The U.K. has banned murder and assault, and it has imposed tight restrictions on the purchase and possession of many things that might be used as weapons. Yet crime stubbornly rises and falls—mostly rises these days, in the U.K.—without regard for what lawmakers put on the books.

The most recent British crime figures show a 3 percent increase in offenses involving firearms, despite restrictions that American gun controllers could only dream of imposing, and an 8 percent increase in offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument, to record levels. Excluding terrorist attacks, homicides are up again, on top of a 14 percent rise in 2018.

With guns already tightly bound in red tape, the responses have included many that would be familiar to Americans but applied to knives instead of firearms. Media outlets stage "stings" to show how easy it is to purchase something sharp, police agencies publish photos of lethal implements of destruction—or cease such publication out of fear of disturbing the delicate public—and politicians pledge extra resources to battle the crime "epidemic." To shame naysayers into silence and ease the passage of legislation and approval of funding, children get marched in front of TV cameras to put forward comprehensive lists of new programs, powers, and restrictions that look an awful lot like they were pulled off a shelf and reprinted by adult activists.

And, of course, very responsible people call for yet more "common sense" controls. Why do you need an "assault weapon"—or a carving knife with a point?

This should be taken as a warning to Americans suffering from badgering fatigue and tempted to surrender in hopes that the busybodies will just, finally, shut up. There doesn't seem to be an end—just an extension of the same tactics to new targets when the human situation inevitably proves impervious to perfection through the application of legislation. If their respective populations give in on the debates of the day, 20 years from now, Americans will be replicating the British debate over knives, and Britons will be probably be discussing the merits of restrictions on hammers and pointy sticks.

Knife control is supposed to be a joke—where control freaks take their next efforts when gun laws prove unenforceable and criminals decline to discontinue their efforts just because they've been rendered even more illegal. But British politicians took that joke and turned it into national policy. Now they want to double down on that policy because the bad guys still won't play along.

So, laugh at the proposals to ban pointy kitchen knives and to require people to grind the tips off the ones they already own—they're certainly ridiculous. But also take them as a demonstration that life can't be perfected by legislation, and there's no end point to the silliness if you insist on making the effort.

Advertisement

NEXT: U.S. Consents to a Turkish Invasion in Syria; Kurdish Forces Call It 'A Stab in the Back'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The sun never sets on the nanny state.

    1. News story from the near future:

      U.K. Judge Nic Madge used his retirement speech last year to call for elimination of blunt heavy objects. “Workshops contain lethal hammers which are potential murder weapons and only carpenters and mechanics need eight ounce or heavier blunt objects,” he said.

      1. At what point are people forced to notice the absurdity of this stuff? As Tucille notes, kitchen knife countrol should be a joke, but somehow isn’t. Let’s see them keep a straight face when they call for banning any substance more dense than balsa wood.
        Do they really not see how easy it is to make and conceal a weapon suitable for stabbing someone?

        1. Forced nudity will be the law inside of 20 years in the UK.

    2. At least they haven’t banned pointed sticks yet. Or fresh fruit.

      https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2nde65

  2. “Now we only need the point to open packets when we can’t be bothered to find the scissors.”

    *Scissors*?! SCISSORS?!! Why TF are *they* allowed?

    1. They only sell children’s scissors. You know, the ones with the rounded ends. I am more worried about files, grinders, and knife sharpeners.

      1. could you imagine if they started outlawing sharpening stones except by the local sharpener which you have to have a permit to go to to get your knives sharpened. this will be soon enough I’m sure since a stone is a dual personal weapon both as a sharpener and for throwing when you loose your knife

  3. We need moar lawz!

  4. A pox on Britannia.

  5. Pointy knife ban goes into effect and bench grinder sales skyrocket, British lawmakers baffled.

  6. I salvaged a butcher knife with a broken tip by repurposing it as a hunting/camping knife by grinding a new tip. Rough cutting the tip by whetting it on a slag of concrete, before going to file and whetstone.

    There’s a tradition here in the mountains of making your own knives from scrap steel and handles from scrap wood and sheaths from scrap leather. No scrap gps devices to install in the handles.

    “Now we only need the point to open packets when we can’t be bothered to find the scissors.” — The Church of England

    Ha! Let them ban pointy knives, next they’ll be coming after the scissors, lest ye run with a pair. Then if they realize you are reduced to opening your packets with your teeth, they’ll recognize teeth as personal weapons, and nails after that.

    It’s nice to have all these folks wanting to save use, but who will save us from our saviors?

    1. It is Britain, I don’t think they have to worry too much about the teeth.

    2. I pity the pathetically useless people who can’t think of any use for a pointed knife besides stabbing someone.

  7. I’m surprised a country full of fat vaginas needs knife control.

  8. It is clear the commonality among all crime is that crime is committed with gunsby people. We must ban guns people to stop crime! Not all gunspeople mind you, just the scary looking black ones.

  9. Maisie Williams hardest hit

    1. Needle will be confiscated immediately.

  10. Keep in mind the head of the C of E is the monarch. Remember government and religion are literally one and the same over there when you go to criticizing Government Almighty and the faith that laws can miraculously change human nature.

  11. Let’s see; a long time ago, in a land across the sea, things were so peaceful that the cops did not carry guns. Crime was a bit high, but the cops handled it fairly well, and killers were hung by the neck until dead, and quickly. At that time, people could and did carry pointy things, some quite long, called swords. Often concealed in things called canes, which were also weapons of the blunt trauma kind.
    But now, guns are banned except for the cops, and knifes are regulated, and no one gets executed, and somehow things are worse. Because of all things, criminals do not obey the laws against guns and knives, because no one gets executed.
    Well, boys and girls, those in the USA might want to pay attention to the politics of the leaders who brought this downfall about across the sea, and not vote for socialists.

    1. At one time every free man in that nation carried a dagger. Because serfs were not allowed to. Carrying a weapon was a sign that one was free. Still couldn’t carry a sword as that was reserved to the nobility, but a freeman could carry a knife openly to proclaim himself free.

    2. at one time Britain simply exported their criminal element. they can’t do that anymore unless they go off planet.

      1. cf. D. G. Compton’s “Farewell Earth’s Bliss” about a British prison colony on Mars. Extremely good book. He wrote Synthajoy too.

    3. As much as I enjoy your little fable, I do have to point out that per capita violent crime (possibly in absolute numbers as well) in the times you’re referring to was still abominably high by modern standards. Murder rates in feudal England were something like ten to twenty times than even its dim current totals.

      I think it’s important to note that the principal driving factor of this reduction of violence in the modern era seems to be the ever important twin factors of elevating the human condition, increasing freedom (through the rule of law, mostly) and increasing prosperity. The most violent places in a nation are its poorest. But you’d be hard pressed to find a politician of either team in the US who’d say that Chicago’s murder rate has more to do with its restrictions on housing development and occupational licensing than its gun laws.

  12. Who needs a pointy tip? Slash the jugular!

    1. or just splash some acid on everyone, oh wait they already do that there

  13. Well next on the list will be sharpen pencils and martial arts. You know when China a few hundred years ago banned the populaces from having knives, Kung Fu got invented and some say history does not repeat it self.

  14. dudes. Monty Python was parody not instructional.

    1. What about point-ed sticks?

      1. no more stick races under the bridge in Winnie the Pooh land

    2. Is Monty Python the Simpsons of Britain, what with the foretelling of the future and all?

      1. MP were smart enough to know history repeats itself and good enough to be funny w/philosophy … i could threadjack for a week about the Simpsons

    3. All new laws in the UK should start with the phrase “and now for something completely different!”

    4. Tis but a flesh wound!

  15. Re “only butchers and fishmongers need eight or 10 inch kitchen knives with points”.
    I agree with the criticisms of this call on freedom etc. grounds. But, to fight it, perhaps focus on the situations in which people who aren’t professional butchers and fishmongers need knives with points! I dislike most fish and rarely cook it, but when I have prepared a whole fish, I needed a knife with a point to cut into the fish to the other side and filet it. Blunt scissors or a knife with no point won’t do it. And depending upon the size of the fish, you need a longer knife.
    Even better, accuse them of being privileged unwoke one percenters who’ve never had to cook fish for themselves…

    1. You sound like one of those radicals trying to put honest fishmongers out of work. You have no right to prepare your own food.

    2. not just fish but ever tried to skin a deer or game birds with out a point. Maybe they don’t hunt in the U.K anymore either

      1. not just fish but ever tried to skin a deer or game birds with out a point. Maybe they don’t hunt in the U.K anymore either

        It’s Britain, you pluck the feathers/fur, drain the blood to make pudding, and then boil the animal whole.

      2. “Maybe they don’t hunt in the U.K anymore either”

        You mus think they are savages over there.

    3. Can’t listen to that judge, he is obviously a loon. Britain is on the metric system or is the metric system out with Brexit?

  16. JFS. I mean…JFC.

    I’m not what one would regard as a ‘ruffian’ but JFC the UK is a nation of Cucks ‘n Nannies. The people calling for such a ban are Nurse Ratchet incarnate.

    Crazy.

    JFC.

    1. “Nurse Ratchet incarnate.”

      They aspire to be an open air asylum, thank you.

  17. I earned $5000 last month by working online just for 5 to 8 hours on my laptop and this was so easy that i myself could not believe before working on this site. If You too want to earn such a big money then come and join us.

    CLICK HERE►► Aprocoin.com

  18. Counterpoint: it’s legal to open carry a sword here in Texas. Freedom for the win.

    1. Fuck yeah.

  19. I thought pointed knives were already illegal in Britain. Is that only in London? I see stop-and-frisk being applied to pointed knives, and comically, butter knives, as far back as at least April 2018.

  20. “This should be taken as a warning to Americans suffering from badgering fatigue and tempted to surrender in hopes that the busybodies will just, finally, shut up.”

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

    By a Britain named CS Lewis

    1. C.S. Lewis, good. I’ll up the ante with Edgar Allan Poe and Peter Graves.

      “`He that is born to be a man,’ says Wieland in his Peregrinus Proteus, `neither should nor can be anything nobler, greater, or better than a man.’ The fact is, that in efforts to soar above our nature, we invariably fall below it. Your reformist demigods are merely devils turned inside out.”
      –Edgar Allan Poe in Marginalia

      “… men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can’t be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection… they find only death… fire… loss… disillusionment… the end of everything that’s gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can’t be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself.”
      –Peter Graves in It Conquered the World

      1. Fantastic work, guys. I’ll add only this:

        “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.” – Oscar Gamble

  21. i am making easily persistently $5k to $7k simply by doing direct work at home. Multi month again i have made $25550 from this movement. amazing and smooth to do work and standard pay from this is bewildering. i have propose each final one of you to join this progress right directly as low protection and get than full time salary through take after this association.GOOD LUCK ★★ 
    🙂 ⇓⇓⇓⇓COPY THIS WEBSITE .⇓⇓⇓⇓ 🙂  

    ══════HERE► ►  Www.Career25.com⁰             

    Please do not copy ↣” ⁰ “↢with Website thanks  

    1. We’re all out of cake.

  22. Peak Derp is a myth.

  23. Lack of points won’t stop the Shropshire Slasher.

  24. I smell a potential Monty Python skit in here somewhere.

  25. I had an acquaintance who as stationed in Germany after WWII. His job: liquidate the flood of Soviet agents who were pouring into the west. Cloak and dagger work in the most literal sense. His preferred method of killing his targets was a knife to the kidney. Quiet and quick, though a pointed knife was absolutely necessary.

    Part of his training was desert survival in Australia. The boiled sweet he was issued was to be sucked briefly, placed on an ant hill to attract protein, then popped into the mouth, again briefly, to suck off the ants.

  26. What a pointless proposal.

    1. You got a good reason to be carry’n that ere’ ‘ammer mate?

  27. See people talk about the rising sea level like it’s a bad thing but stories like this make me think that I should start a tire fire so Great Britain gets reclaimed by the sea sooner rather than later.

  28. After that, England can ban blunt objects—followed by hands and feet.

  29. Many pro second amendment people in the US warned of this several years back when there was talk of the Gun ban; they said Knives would be next and here were are. So the real question (in all seriousness) is what will they go for next once the knife ban is in place and a few years have passed and they are still having crime issues? The knives thing was easy when guns were banned but what do they go after next once Knives have been restricted? Tools? Hammer? Does anyone who is not in construction really need a hammer these days? Or a tire tool. Does anyone who’s not a tow truck operator really need a tire tool these days, those things are soo dangerous and racist.

    1. They’re already there. It doesn’t have to be a knife to be considered an “offensive weapon” and the UK police routinely confiscate common tools.

    2. Probably it’ll be cars, honestly. It’s already happened a bit over there, but mostly terrorists, not regular criminals.

      Alternatively, it’ll be guns again, because criminals have people to kill, and most of the reason they switched to knives was expense and convenience – since obviously legality isn’t of any real concern to murderers.

  30. “…the answer always seems to be more—and stupider—laws.”

    Stupid people elect stupid politicians.
    Stupid politicians enact stupid legislation.
    Stupid legislation creates stupid public policy.
    Stupid public policy creates stupid people.
    Wash.
    Rinse.
    Repeat.

  31. AirstripOne has finally morphed into an actual Monty Python Sketch …

  32. Why should the knives be any sharper than the clerics and intelligentsia?

    1. A law that a knife cannot be sharper than the average bishop would ban most butter knives, to say nothing of steak knives.

  33. It is impossible to prevent murders and mayhem by making the tools used in such cases illegal. There has to be a respect for the law of the land otherwise the people will only obey the laws as long is the police is near by. In addition the more the laws the less the respect will be for the law. Have fewer laws and when the law is broken then have punishment commissariat to the crime. For instance if a person kills without a legal reason they the killer pays with his live. In other words life for life.
    Nations are now showing what the movie “1984” a dramatization of a book George Orwell by the same name was dramatizing. Which is a world that I don’t think that many of us would want to live in.

    1. I think the word you were looking for was “commensurate” but commissariat does have a certain ironic flair in this case.

  34. I’m surprised a country full of fat vaginas needs knife control.
    فروش تجهیزات شبکه

  35. The information you have shared is valuable to me. qwop

  36. “Every knife sold in the UK should have a gps tracker fitted in the handle,” insisted Scott Mann. “It’s time we had a national database like we do with guns.”

    British people: “Hey, guys, we all love Monty Python, so what if we made our entire country into one big, ridiculous Monty Python sketch. Everyone will say completely stupid, nonsensical things, and come up with ridiculous ideas, and everyone will take them seriously! It will be a great laugh!”

    All the other British people: “That sounds fantastic!”

    At least, I’m hoping that’s the explanation. The alternative is too depressing. OK, guys, haha, the joke was funny. You can stop it now. Guys?

  37. My Brother, My Enemy..
    In Biblical terms, they have become idolaters.For all intents and purposes, freedom and liberty are entering a modern-day Dark Ages. And just as in the dark days of European persecutions and inquisitions, those Christians who stand for liberty today are being ostracized, marginalized, vilified, and demonized–by their own brethren.
    More and more, the same man who is my brother is also my enemy.
    http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3619/My-Brother-My-Enemy.aspx

  38. Thought experiment: What if our islamic brethren decided to start smothering people with pillows? Discuss.

    1. I mean, if you’re killing somebody with a knife, you could probably manage a plastic bag filled with gasoline and a lighter. Seems more horrifying, and it’s also two things the nanny statists already want to ban, so it seems like a perfect target.

  39. What about chisels, screwdrivers and ice picks? Any of those is potentially more dangerous than the paring knives that this law would restrict.

    How long before it becomes “only commercial textile mills need to be knitting clothing” so they can ban long needles of all kinds.

    At some point they’ll literally be down to trying to regulate rocks and sharp sticks if they stay on this path.

    1. I believe the replacement of choice for pointy knives in the UK is bicycle spokes; truly nasty weapons.

      This will cause heads to explode; are the UK nannies also going to ban bicycles?

  40. The UK was born behind pointy knives.

  41. “Historically we needed a point on the end of our knife to pick up food because forks weren’t invented. Now we only need the point to open packets when we can’t be bothered to find the scissors.”

    Spoken by a person who, obviously, has never used a kitchen for more than making a cup of tea.

    Knives have points for a reason. Some (e.g., paring knives) could be blunt. But others, such as fillet knives and butcher knives, *require* a point to be effective.

    I suggest a grass-roots movement by cooks and kitchen staff everywhere in the UK (especially private cooks for politicians) to–for one month–prepare only the dishes that can be made without using the point of any knife.

    I’ve even got a hashtag for it: #MakingThePoint

    The ironic thing is… if they do manage to ban knives with points, violent criminals will have to learn how to *slash* with a knife. Slash wounds are far worse than stab wounds–and they tend to target more vulnerable areas.

    1. Knives have points for a reason. Some (e.g., paring knives) could be blunt. But others, such as fillet knives and butcher knives, *require* a point to be effective.

      Yes, but fillet knives and butcher knives are used to eat foods that are VERY BAD for the environment and will cause us ALL TO DIE! Therefore, banning those knives not only protects the SAFETY of all citizens, it will also protect GOOD MOTHER GAIA and prevent the PLANET from being DESTROYED by your meat-eating ways!

    2. Not even to slash. Something like a machete would be legal under these rules – no point – but it does some fairly horrifying stuff to people and doesn’t require any particular finesse on the part of the operator. I’ll go ahead and assume they have a ban on knife length already, but what about meat cleavers? They’re relatively similar, plenty lethal, and it’s hard to argue there’s no practical use for them. Though if they’re trying to ban pointed knives, I suppose they’ve already left the realm of reality when considering legislation.

      #MakingThePoint is hilarious, though, and also has that British flair for understatement. I would definitely retweet it, if I actually used social media.

  42. That’s perfectly fine: when government mandates that you eat meat replacements only, why would you need steak knives? Anybody who wants pointy knives must be one of those secret meat eaters!

  43. What are they gonna do when criminals start maiming and killing with sticks and stones?

  44. Next they’ll come for the cricket bats, and I’ll say nothing because I don’t understand cricket.

  45. A piece of 12ga copper wire with a sharp point made by the cutting instrument, can have the end rolled up into a useful handle. I think this may be part of the reason why they want to stop all production of electricity. Also, copper mines are nasty things.

  46. They must put tighter controls on wood and pointy shoes.

Please to post comments