British Church Leaders Want Government to Ban Pointy Knives

Britain has effectively banned firearms, so in recent years the country's criminal class has turned to killing with knives -- leading certain church leaders to call for banning the sale of common chef's knives.

I swear I'm not making this up.

In the Diocese of Rochester, church leaders published an open letter urging government to "take urgent measures to promote the sale of safe kitchen knife designs and restrict those designs which have been used in so many acts of violence."

"Knife violence" in Britain is up an estimated 80% in just the last five years.

While well-suited to stab-and-run criminality, a pointed-end chef's knife isn't a very good tool for self-defense. Unless you're trained in close-quarters combat, you'd hate to be a 110-pound woman trying to defend herself against a 220-pound assailant. Hell, I'd hate to be a 160-pound blogger in that situation. Nevertheless, Rochester representatives of the Church of Buttinskys insist, "Criminologists have demonstrated that reducing availability in turn reduces crime."

I'd advise criminologists to try spending a weekend in Chicago, but I'm not sure if that would make me an accessory to murder.

While we're on the topic of "reducing availability," that's exactly what the UK has done in recent years to the only means of self-defense left to Briton: The police. Budget cuts have led to the reduction of 20,000 police officers across the country over the last decade. Worse, police say that "drug gangs and the 'county lines phenomenon' is causing criminality to spill over from urban to rural areas."

It seems that when you outlaw self-defense -- up to and perhaps eventually including the sale of common kitchen knives -- and make radical cuts to the police force, criminals will take advantage. Who knew?

Let's suppose though that Britain gets its pointy knife ban, and let's suppose even further that dutiful subjects across the realm all turn in their favorite Wusthof and Henckels and Global chef's knives. Not to mention carving knives, paring knives, steak knives, most serrated kitchen utility knives, and (I suppose) even locking pocket knives. What would criminals do then? Presumably the same thing they do now in prison: Make stabby pointy things out of whatever is available. They're called shivs, they're already banned in prison, and they're also very common.

You can use a shiv to kill, but you can't use a shiv to prep dinner. Advantage: Violent criminals and idiot lawmakers.

ASIDE: My wife and I are both amateur cooks, with a knife collection built up lovingly and painstakingly over the years. Under not-so-distant-future UK law, that collection would be reduced to exactly one santoku knife, one butcher knife, and one salmon knife. What would your collection look like?

Britain doesn't have a "knife violence" problem any more than America has a "gun violence" problem. Victims of both are mostly limited to areas either poorly policed, or where people aren't allowed to properly defend themselves. In this country that's mostly in urban areas (typically with strict gun control laws) and charmingly-named "gun-free zones." In Britain, that's the whole country. What they really have is a self-defense problem.

Then again, I'm an American with a constitutionally recognized right to self-defense, and I'm licensed to carry. And that license isn't limited to a blunt-tipped santoku chopping knife, either.

Maybe there remain a few sturdy Britons who would say, "They can have my Messermeister carving knife when they pry it from my cold, dead hands." The problem is, you're much more likely to end up dead trying to defend yourself with a kitchen tool than you are with a firearm.

Then again, the UK is already well along the road to comically complete disarmament, so I suppose the kitchen cutlery is destined to go next.

Famed British chef Gordon Ramsey, perhaps best known for his extremely vocal intolerance of stupidity and incompetence, could not be reached for comment. But you can imagine what he might say to a meddlesome priest trying to take his chef's knife away.