My house is an armoury. I am constantly surrounded by implements of destruction both blunt and sharp. From where I’m sitting, I can see a selection of items with which I can easily bludgeon, stab, cut, mutilate, disembowel, and otherwise dispatch any inconvenient human. And that’s without going into the garage, where the good toys are. In fact, the hardest thing would be deciding which item to go for. The only limiting factor would be the blood splatter on the carpets.
I’m not a psychopath. I’m a homeowner, DIYer, gardener and cook. I own a legal array of tools so I can carry out a variety of constructive and destructive activities – hammers, axes, picks, knives, rotary and reciprocating saws, and so on. All these items can be lethal. Hell, if everything else fails, I crochet, and having a crochet hook stuck in your eyeball would seriously ruin your plans for the day. All and still, the only thing I own that routinely freaks people out, that makes parents shout “DON’T TOUCH!” at their kids, is my re-enactment sword.
The sword is actually a blunt. It’s infinitely less dangerous than the axe sitting right near it. But the sword is a WEAPON – it is designed to hurt people. The sword is bad and scary. The axe is just a tool.
Most normal people see huge moral differences between objects depending on their primary purpose. It doesn’t matter that you can easily stab someone to death with a pair of hairdressing scissors; a dagger is still infinitely scarier, because it is designed to kill. This doesn’t make a great deal of sense and drives many a self-defence expert to distraction, but this is how the average person thinks. And it doesn’t matter if they are “right” or “wrong”: how the average person thinks can change your life, because it’s them you’re most likely to face in a jury if you ever find yourself taken to court following a self-defence incident.
Say someone attacks you, you find yourself physical overwhelmed and use an implement to fight them back. You may believe you’re in the right and may think you have won the fight, but your problems have just started. You’ve got another fight coming – in court. Marc MacYoung explains self-defence claims in “In The Name of Self Defence”, which is simply a must-read for anyone who has any level of interest or involvement in the subject. I can’t begin to touch the surface of the issue here. It is a complex legal situation that flies against most people’s intuitive beliefs about justice. The very bottom line, though, is that if you have injured or killed another human being, you will be called upon to explain your actions. And if you can’t, the rest of your life will suffer.
How easily can you explain yourself? “Your honour, I was knitting on the bus when he came at me, and in the ensuing scuffle I stuck him.” “I was in my kitchen making breakfast when he jumped me, hence the bread knife in his chest.” This sort of explanation may be nowhere near enough to see you home and dry, but at least it makes some level of sense to the average person. “He walked into my kitchen so I cut him up with the chainsaw”… not so much.
If you really, really want to jeopardise your situation, though, if you want to antagonise the average juror and end up immediately classed as a bad person, all you’ve got to do is go tactical.
Tactical blades are one of my bugbears. I could rant about them forever. Even the ones who are well-designed suffer from indelicate marketing and obnoxious names. If you think this is a non-issue, think again. Anyone can find out about them on the Internet. If you could find an advertised fighting knife order to buy it, so can your prosecutor’s minions. A tactical blade is not seen as a tool; it’s a weapon, designed and marketed specifically for the purpose of hurting other people. It doesn’t matter that you could have caused just as much injury at a fraction of the price with a screwdriver: their primary advertised purpose is entirely different.
The sad thing about most of the tactikool blades is that they are not designed to be good at killing people, like daggers. The majority of them are nothing but bog-standard knives that have been painted and tweaked to look oh soooo dangerous and menacing. The cool, black swept-back lines of the Eviscetron 2000™ do not make it any more useful as a weapon, and neither does its inflated price tag.
However, the Eviscetron isn’t just you average knife. Stab someone with it and, as if by magic, you’re not just your average citizen defending themselves with the nearest tool; you’re someone who planned to be fighting, hurting or killing. Why else would you even own, let alone carry, a horrible thing like that? If you have also engaged in highly questionable behaviour such as having a martial art as a hobby, you’re frankly making it too easy for your prosecutor. You’re not an innocent victim: you’re a wannabe warrior, a troublemaker, someone for whom this incident is the culmination of an aspiration rather than a tragic and sordid yet unavoidable event.
Whoever calls these things “tactical” is in terrible need of a dictionary. If you Google “tactic”, the second definition is “the art of disposing armed forces in order of battle and of organizing operations, especially during contact with an enemy.” That’s all well and good, and it fits the marketing of the tactikool stuff perfectly. The FIRST definition, however, is “an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.” And unless your chosen specific end is to spend several years eating prison food, tactical blades just aren’t the right tool for your job.