The anti-stab knife

There is some buzz in the British media about anti-stab knives: The Times has something on it, and the BBC, too.

According to government statistics, there were 322 stabbing deaths in 2008. This sounds like a lot; however, for comparision, in 2007 there were 2946 deaths in road accidents (I couldn’t find numbers for 2008 – the Department for Transport still seems to be working on provisional numbers for Q3 2008). Conventional traffic is a far more dangerous killer than knife stabbers. On the other hand, knife stabbings claimed 322 times more lives than the dreaded swine flu in the UK. And as the WHO warns us of this killer pandemic using the highest alert level it has to offer, we should not treat knife stabbings lightly. Meeeeellions could die.

Nearly a year ago, I had suggested a solution to the problem of knife attacks, but British politicians simply don’t listen to me. So, police officers will not be equipped with Bat’leths, and other ways had to be found.

And in fact, British ingenuity has found a solution: a knife that you cannot use for stabbing. The knife still has a tip, but this tip is formed in a way that makes it impossible to bury the knife deeply in your victim’s body. And to spread that wonderful news, the inventor, John Cornock, has set up a website; I urge you to explore it.

The Times cites him with Mr Cornock, 42, from Swindon, said that the knife will cut vegetables, but will make it almost impossible to stab someone to death and will reduce the risk of accidental injuries. From which I draw the conclusion that firstly, Mr Cornock has never been in a knife fight (you don’t stab, you slash at the arteries; this is the reason that professionals hold the knife with the blade downwards); and secondly, he is a vegetarian and doesn’t process meat in the kitchen; and thirdly, that he hardly ever works in the kitchen at all, as he thinks a common injury would be to stab the knife tip into your hand, not to cut yourself with the blade.

I also like the BBC’s The common kitchen knife has remained unchanged for centuries so now we’re hoping to introduce a safer, more intelligent design for the modern home. Well, perhaps there is a reason that the common kitchen knife hasn’t been changed? The old form was simply optimal for its purpose?

And, of course, He says a knife can never be totally safe, but the idea is it can’t inflict a fatal wound. Nobody could just grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone. My dear Mr Cornock: Are you willing to bet your life on that? I know of a way to just take your own knife from the drawer and kill you with it.

And I just love the remark Doctors have lobbied in the past for kitchen knives to be redesigned. They argue that while a redesign is not a complete solution to the complex problem of knife crime, it could help to save lives. Not a complete solution … what could be missing?

So, let’s suppose for a moment that this new knife could be introduced on a large scale in Britain. Of course, all other long knives would be confiscated, and the populace would go along with this happily – after all, it is for a good cause. And of course, all current knife carriers would comply, and give up their beloved killer knives. They don’t want to stand in the way of the perfect society, right?

Will there be no more knife deaths, then?

No. At least those who have served in the British armed forces know how to wield a knife without a tip, and still kill people; and I’m pretty sure, others will figure this out, too. Furthermore, there is a technical invention called a grinder, and it can be used to reintroduce the tip to the tipless knife. You could even use a simple stone, it would just take longer. And if this were not enough, even if there were no knives at all, stabbings could continue.

How do I know? There are places in Britain that have no knives, and nonetheless stabbings happen there. Those places are called prisons. The devices used for stabbings are called shivs, and prisoners make them from nearly anything available to them. Actually, they show some real ingenuity in making them; and prisoners are not exactly university professors and Nobel laureates – if they can figure out how to construct a shiv, people on the street can do so, too.

So what to say of this anti-stab knife? In one word: FAIL.

What amazes me is that the BBC seems to take this invention seriously. And I always thought the Brits had a sense of humour – on the other hand, perhaps they are making fun of it, and I simply don’t recognize it, as I am a German, and have no sense of humour at all.

About Daniel Tiggemann

Software-developer living in Cologne, Germany. Was once a physicist, specialized in computer simulations and parallel programming. Now more into JavaScript, web frontend development, and especially mobile computing.
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