Is It Time to Outlaw Hammers, Long-Blade Knives, and Gasoline?

Until someone picks up a gun, puts bullets in it, aims it at someone, and pulls the trigger, a gun can’t do anything. It’s an inanimate object. The same is true of kitchen knives, baseball bats, pick axes, subway trains, and hammers.

A Webster, New York man who killed two firemen this week with a gun had been charged in 1980 with beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer.

Researchers in England are saying that there is no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available. The BBC reports:

“A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase — and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings. They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.


“The use of knives is particularly worrying amongst adolescents, say the researchers, reporting that 24% of 16-year-olds have been shown to carry weapons, primarily knives.

“The study found links between easy access to domestic knives and violent assault are long established.

“French laws in the 17th century decreed that the tips of table and street knives be ground smooth.

“A century later, forks and blunt-ended table knives were introduced in the UK in an effort to reduce injuries during arguments in public eating houses.”

And then there’s gasoline. Not only is it a pollutant, but it’s a killer. “A homeless woman was in critical condition in a Los Angeles hospital after a man doused her with liquid accelerant and set her on fire as she slept on a bus bench, police said on Thursday.” Then there’s this tragic story:

“A Florida man is fighting for his life after being doused with gasoline and set on fire on Christmas in a horrific attack that has baffled police.

“Darrell Brackett, 44, was driving with his girlfriend at 11:30 p.m. in Miami when his car ran out of gas and he walked to a nearby U-Gas station to fill up a can of gas. He told his girlfriend to wait for him in the car.

“After leaving the station, ‘witnesses reported that they saw him running in the middle of the street on fire,’ Miami-Dade Police said in a statement.

“Brackett’s mother Bridgett Brackett said she has been told that her son was surrounded by three men who ‘doused him with gas and set him on fire.’”

People who want to kill other people will find a way despite the best efforts of lawmakers to stop them. That’s why comments by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan   that if Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza had not had access to a gun “he would just be punching his pillow, and his mother would still be here to give him support” are just a bit off base.

He might have beaten her to death with a hammer, stabbed her with a long-bladed kitchen knife, or doused her with gasoline and set her ablaze.