The Christmas anthology is under way and I need to stay on my game for this one. It has to be loaded up in the first days of December if anyone is going to get a copy in time. As with every anthology so far, there is at least one new author in this one and I hope to see a lot of the regulars too. Although, it’s a busy time of year so I can’t really press anyone.
Anyway, more on that when I have something concrete to report.
We have a total ban on hand guns in the UK. Absolute. If you have a handgun, even if you have no ammunition and it doesn’t work, you go to jail. Judges have no discretion in this, if you have a handgun in the UK, jail is automatic.
This even applies to the British Olympic shooting team. They have to go overseas to practice.
It does not apply to MPs’ armed guards of course. They have to defend MPs against people who don’t have guns.
This ban has been so successful that it has increased the rate of people getting shot in the UK to about once a week. How did it manage that? Simple. When they said ‘hand in your guns’, the law abiding people of this land handed in their formerly-legal guns.
The guns held by criminals weren’t legal in the first place. Making them more illegal had no effect at all. So the criminals not only kept their guns, they now knew for certain that any house they broke into had no guns.
Well, not entirely. In some places, and particularly out here in the countryside, shotguns and hunting rifles are not unusual. I’ve never owned a real firearm but I did get a go at clay pigeon shooting with a shotgun once. At university, I had a go at a .22 live round rifle at a club’s open day. The latter was way before the gun paranoia set in. I much preferred the .22 but as a student there was no way I could afford a gun and regular beer drinking as well. I can see the appeal but it’s an expensive hobby. I had to prioritise.
So, if I’ve never owned a gun, why do I care about a gun ban? Well, if someone wanted to break into my house before the ban, they had to factor in that I might have a gun. A rifle or shotgun can be a difficult thing to swing around in a confined space but the burglar had to consider the possibility that there might be a pistol in the house.
Now they have no such concerns. They know there are no pistols in anyone’s house. There might be a shotgun or hunting rifle but those will be in a securely locked cabinet and the ammunition will be well separated from it in a different locked cabinet. While you are fumbling with keys and cabinets they have plenty of time to shoot you with their own illegal handgun or stab you with their already illegal (hint: they don’t care) flick knife.
How, then, would I defend against an armed intruder? Well, I could get the bow out I suppose. I could ask them to have a cup of tea and a biscuit while I put it together, string it and nock an arrow. Even if they were daft enough to agree to that, I use quite long arrows and the bow is pretty tall. It’s that confined space thing again.
I used to have a crossbow, but sold it when I was skint. I might get another one. Even so, while it’s smaller than the bow it isn’t too useful in a confined space and takes a while to load each bolt. Also I fully expect them to be banned soon, in the modern drive to disarm us utterly.
I do have a powerful slingshot and a bag of steel balls but haven’t practiced enough yet. I’d probably break every window without even inconveniencing the burglar.
No, my defensive weapon of choice would be a blade. Any blade I can get hold of. Most rooms here have at least one blade – hanging on the wall or in a drawer or stuck to the big strip magnet on the kitchen wall. Blades are very useful things. Especially in the kitchen.
I’m pretty good at throwing them too. I’d throw a small one, it won’t kill or seriously injure but it will hurt like hell and give me time to get to the big ones. Or maybe one of the axes. My wood splitting axe and sledgehammer for the log ‘grenade’ (it’s a steel cone you bash into the side of a log until it splits) are in the living room, because that’s where the back door of the house is and that’s where I go out to split logs. There are other, smaller, axes placed near to where they are used. Obviously not outside, that would be stupid.
When I was younger I had a swordstick. They’ve been banned for a long time but I didn’t have to hand mine in because I broke it. It was a cheap one from a little shop in Cardiff and it was legal to have it then. Some years later I tried using it to chop down a bush but it wasn’t up to the job. So it got binned long before it got banned. If I’d known I could never get another one I’d have taken more care of it.
I used to have a butterfly knife in my fishing bag. Very useful. I could open it and close it in one movement, with one hand. Then the buggers banned that too.
I never owned a flick knife. I had a Fonzie flick comb that looked like a flick knife. That might still be around somewhere. And I was never clear on what was meant by a ‘gravity knife’. As far as I could tell it was like a flick knife but without the spring.
I used to carry a lock knife until they were banned. The lock was a safety feature, it wouldn’t close on your fingers while you cut open a box or cut through string. That safety feature is illegal now.
In my school days almost every boy had a penknife. Now they’d be in trouble if they had a butter knife.
It’s closing in. Every new law further restricts what you are allowed to have and what options you have to defend yourself. Now we have this bill to restrict it even further.
The ‘zombie knives’ they talk about – I’ve seen them but would never buy one. They are ornaments, meant to be hung on a wall. They have no practical use at all and are made of cheap steel. As far as I know they have never been used in a knife attack. Those attacks normally use kitchen knives or machetes.
The ‘possession of corrosive substances in public’ will be applied to the bleach and vinegar in your shopping bag and the acid in your car battery. What’s that? You think there will be some common sense here? Hahahaha!
As for buying knives online, teenage hoodlums do not do that. Ever. I do it, I recently bought a machete for garden purposes. Don’t think I need that much blade? Well this is no suburban square of grass. If I told you I recently bought a ride on mower and have a scythe which gets used every year, perhaps that will give it some perspective.
No, city hoodlums don’t buy knives online. They go to Mum’s kitchen drawer and take their pick. If they want something bigger they talk to the dodgy guy in the raincoat at the back of the pub. If they are doing something illegal they do not want that weapon traced to them.
I note the bill places another layer of restrictions on the types of gun that are never used in shootings here. That is not to combat crime. What would you imagine that might be for?
What the bill does, mainly, is to make it a lot harder to get even a steak knife. For anyone. This is going to achieve nothing at all in terms of the stabbings and shootings that are happening daily now. Not a damn thing. That’s not what it’s for.
It’s tightening the noose. Not on the criminals, they won’t be affected at all. It tightens the noose on the rest of us. Soon you will have to learn how to carve a roast chicken with a plastic spoon and a hard stare. And the stabbings and shootings will continue. This bill seems to achieve nothing but it does exactly what it sets out to do. It removes another layer of defence for the public. The next one will remove more.
When I was at school, there were the compulsory subjects for O level: mathematics, English language and English literature. The rest were options. I took French because I thought it might be useful but since 1976 I’ve been to France twice so I’ve pretty much forgotten it all now. I took chemistry, biology and physics because that’s what I was interested in. I also took an optional one year O level called Engineering Science and passed it without knowing, to this day, what it was really about.
I had one option left to fill. The school had just merged with another and for the first time, metalwork was an option. If it hadn’t been I’d have gone with woodwork, which was fun, but metalwork was something new. So I opted for that.
I would never have been a blacksmith but basic stuff, easy. I can temper and anneal. I can braze and solder. I can cast. I can take a decent bit of scrapyard steel and make a knife so sharp you won’t be able to see the edge. A full tang blade with a wood or leather handle, heavy, forward weighted, and very sharp indeed.
Making a knife is not difficult. It’s just much easier to buy one – at the moment. I don’t have a forge but if I start with something already strong, say a car/truck suspension leaf spring, the forge isn’t needed. It’s all cutting.
I have never attacked anyone with a blade of any kind. I’ve been attacked with one but never used a blade on anyone else. But I can make one. Heck, if it came right down to it, there’s a lot of flint lying around here and I could learn flint-knapping.
You cannot ban knives. They are easy to make. You can make a stabbing weapon out of a pencil, for Pete’s sake. This new bill will have as much effect on criminals as every other weapons ban. None at all. It’s not for them, none of it ever is. It’s for us.
Maybe I should learn flint-knapping. The way things are going it’ll be the only way to carve a roast soon.
That’s if the proposed meat taxes allow any of us to afford such luxury.