British doctors call for KNIFE control
May 27, 2005
New York Times
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.
Click here to read the entire story from the New York Times.
That Peter Hamm is envious of a country whose crime rate has surpassed America's is incredibly telling. The very laws which Hamm would like to see passed in America haven't done what they claimed in Britain. As John R. Lott and Eli Lehrer pointed out in an op-ed last year, the government has reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the four years from 1998-99 to 2002-03. The serious violent crime rate soared by 64%, and overall violent crime by 118%. The violent crime rate in England and Wales now stands at twice the rate of that in the U.S.