An alarming discovery

Brits learn, to their astonishment, that people managed to kill each other in large numbers before guns were ever invented:

The power of the knife is its banality. Guns are illegal (in most circumstances), serial-numbered, maybe not hard to obtain in London or Manchester, but you have to know the go-to guy. Guns are good for only one thing. But how can you legislate against knives when, for every 528 seized by Operation Blunt2, there are a gazillion more in kitchen drawers? After amnesties, sabres and machetes, switchblades and flick-knives are displayed in triumph. Yet you can kill with a £3 fruit parer from Sainsbury’s.

The reason knife crime is more likely to get out of control than gun crime is threefold. The first is that guns are the great equalizer in more than one sense; one man defending himself with a gun can hope to stand off a greater number of attackers than a man defending himself with a knife. The second is that knife attacks are far less likely to draw immediate attention; it’s a lot harder to notice the sound of a lung being punctured than the sound of a .44 magnum going off. The third is that the use of guns doesn’t appear to connect as naturally to the wolf-pack beating mentality as the use of knives does. The transition from punch to stab is much easier than the one from punch to step back, draw, and fire.

Britain would be wise to bring back the guns. That will put an end to the recent spate of stabbings in a hurry. And if a few would-be murderers get their heads blown off while trying to stab someone to death for kicks, so much the better.