Knives are less dangerous than guns, duh!

There is a reason that there is a saying that one does not bring a knife to a gunfight and that is because while a knife in the hands of a killer is dangerous, it is nowhere near as lethal as someone armed with a variety of high-powered guns. But that has not stopped gun nuts in the US from pointing to the knife attacks in London as to why gun control does not work because, according to their ‘logic’, if people’s guns are taken away, they will use knives instead. People like Donald Trump paint a lurid picture of knife attacks that have no relation to reality, like in this speech last year.

Donald Trump on Friday fuelled fears of a knife crime epidemic in London by comparing a hospital in the city to “a war zone”, with blood all over the floors.

Using a familiar conservative argument to defend gun ownership, Trump asked sarcastically whether vans, trucks and cars, which have been used by terrorists, should be banned. Then he turned to knives.

“I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital, right in the middle, is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds,” he said. “Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns, they have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital.”

Trump was of course lying again. As a London trauma surgeon pointed out, “There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair.”

In fact, for all the rubbish in the US about how it takes a good person with a gun to subdue a bad person with a gun, in reality, subduing a heavily gun-armed person is not easy even for a person with a gun and it is very rare that the rosy scenario painted by gun advocates is seen. On the other hand, it is possible for a few people to subdue a person armed with a knife and last week’s knife attack in the center of London showed this, because several unarmed people managed to overpower the attacker using whatever they could find at hand.

A convicted murderer was among ex-prisoners and members of the public who grappled with and grounded the London Bridge knife attacker before police arrived.

One man was armed with a fire extinguisher and another a 5ft narwhal tusk as people at the scene surrounded the attacker, who was eventually pinned to the ground.

In footage that has since emerged, Khan is sprayed with a fire extinguisher, while another man tries to suppress the assailant with a narwhal tusk – a long pointed tooth from a type of whale – lunging at him. It is believed the item was pulled from the wall of Fishmongers’ Hall, a Grade II-listed building on London Bridge, by a Polish chef called Łukasz.

Imagine if those people had tried this against a gun-wielding killer. Well, actually, we don’t have to imagine because just two days ago we had yet another mass killing in the US, this time a shootout in the streets of Jersey City in which two gunmen held out for four hours against heavily armed police and that resulted in six people ending up dead

Police in the New York metropolitan area were on high alert to protect Jewish neighborhoods on Wednesday after two suspects opened fire on a kosher market in Jersey City as part of an hours-long attack that left six people dead, authorities said.

The four-hour police shootout with two suspects armed with high-powered rifles erupted after midday on Tuesday in Jersey City, New Jersey’s second-largest municipality directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The six dead included three civilians, one police officer and both suspects, authorities said.

Tuesday’s attack began at a nearby cemetery, where 40-year-old Detective Joseph Seals was killed after approaching the suspects, who had been sitting in a U-Haul van linked to a homicide over the weekend.

Mayor Steven Fulop said CCTV showed the suspects driving slowly through the city’s streets before stopping outside the Jewish JC Kosher Supermarket, where they calmly got out of their van and immediately opened fire.

One suspect had published antisemitic content online, and investigators believe the attack was motivated by those sentiments, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, quoting a law enforcement official.

The suspects have been named as 50-year-old Francine Graham and 47-year-old David Anderson, who appeared to be linked to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which is considered to be a hate group.

The standoff lasted for four hours! No knife-wielding killer could hold for that long or cause so much death and injury.


  1. jrkrideau says

    5ft narwhal tusk ?
    I wonder if that person had a licence to carry that?

    Of course Trump lied. It is really only newsworthy when he [accidentally] tells the truth.

    Re knife vs gun: It is difficult to carry out a successful drive-by axe attack.

    What the devil were the police doing in a four-hour shoot out? Why not just evacuate the area, draw back and wait the shooters out?

  2. Matt G says

    Great idea, mediagoras! Instead of sniper training, they get knife-throwing training. When they get out of the military, they can join the circus.

  3. starskeptic says

    Yeah, one of the notable things about knives is that they don’t tend to “go off”, even if you drop them…

  4. Wounded King says

    This isn’t even the most ridiculous form of this argument. I recall back in the 90’s after the Dunblane shooting in the UK when Prince Philip argued against a handgun ban by suggesting someone could go into a school and kill multiple people with a cricket bat.

  5. says

    @6 Crip Dyke

    Not even. The instructor (Cleese) wanted them to defend themselves against an attacker wielding various kinds of fruit. He yelled a lot at the one student (Idle) who wanted to at least learn how to deal with someone with a pointed stick.

  6. mnb0 says

    “if people’s guns are taken away, they will use knives instead”
    I call that progress, because it increases my chances of survival. And yes, I’ve look at both the wrong end of a gun and the wrong end of a knife.

  7. seachange says

    Wanna kill an idea, like like a lying liar who lies.
    Wanna kill a person, use a knife.
    Wanna kill an army use a gun.
    Wanna kill a planet, use “vans, trucks and cars”.

  8. says

    The Netherlands, March 2018: A man armed with knives tries to attack school children. They beat him with their schoolbags, fighting him off. No injuries were reported. Predictably, ammosexuals used it as a “pro-gun argument”. Are they suggesting that the attacker should have had guns so that he could kill a dozen children? That they’re disappointed none died?

    Here in Taipei five years ago, a mentally ill man injured 24 and killed four people on the subway, an enclosed and moving car. Imagine how many more would have died had he possessed guns, with nowhere to run. Instead with knives, passengers reacted and fought to subdue him.

  9. says

    Obviously, knives are less dangerous than guns.

    So what’s up with the utter panic on your side of the pond over knives? Knives are valid, useful tools, with about a zillion non-violent uses (again, unlike guns, which have one use.)

  10. lochaber says

    Also, if for some bizarre reason I tried to stab (or slash, not being picky here…) someone with a knife, I don’t have to worry about the knife punching through a wall 3 blocks down and killing some innocent kid.

    Also, while it’s not impossible, it’s pretty unlikely for me to accidentally kill myself (or someone else…) by unsafe handling of a knife.

    And, as mediagoras said, if knives were as effective as firearms, we’d equip our military with them, in stead of heavy, maintenance-needy, ammunition consuming, malfunction-prone firearms…

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