A few days ago I was asked to speak on Radio Kerry regarding my views on the ban on the sale of samurai swords.
In short, while I’m in favour of getting blades off the streets, I don’t think the ban is the right way to go.
While driving to and from Wild Geese HQ, I have time on my own in the car to spend thinking about various aspects of life. Since the phone call with Radio Kerry, I’ve been thinking about knives a lot. Then I thought, well it’s not the knife’s fault, it’s the person wielding it. Then I started to think back over the most recent incidents.
The phone call from Kerry was due to a clash between two rival feuding families. During this clash various weapons were seized by the Garda (Irish Police), these weapons included a few Samurai swords, several Slash hooks, hammers and various other weapons.
The most recent event leading to the sword ban was a chopping in Dublin, where a samurai sword and hammer were used in an attack which left a man missing a hand.
There was an incident in one of Dublin’s more affluent areas where a lad walked off, only to return with a kitchen knife which he used on several people before ending his own life. If I remember right, he actually walked around to a nearby shop to buy the knife before returning.
While we can successfully ban the outlandish, speciality knives, but slash hooks are a farming & gardening tool, kitchen knives are well, we know what they’re for, fancy living without them?
Then in the news there is talk of harsher penalties for those that are caught carrying a blade. Again fair enough. But still, I think they’re missing the point.
When asked about the ban and the various penalties I often compare knife attacks with shootings. In Ireland guns are illegal, they have never been legal and most likely never will be, yet there are still people getting shot in Dublin with alarming regularity.
If guns are banned, and the penalties for owning one, never mind carrying or using one are serious, what difference will it make for those who favour the blade?
In my mind, none.
So, back to knives. We’ve got two warring families using whatever’s at hand. We’ve got gangland choppings, most likely as a punishment or warning. We’ve got a disturbed young man on a suicidal rampage. All used blades in their attacks. Which of the three do you think was considering the possible penalties from their actions?
Most likely none of them. So what if the blades they used were unavailable, ie banned?
In my mind they’d simply find an alternative weapon. Hammers, screwdrivers, chisels, glass & bottles, baseball bats, hurls the list goes on. These things are merely tools, inanimate objects, without an operator to use them they are absolutely harmless. This was illustrated in Thursdays Independent newspaper there were two reports following the deaths of people beaten to death. Punched and kicked in the head so brutally as to cause death. Now we’re hardly going to ban shoes, or are we?
So if a ban isn’t going to stop people destroying other people, what is?
This is a whole other issue, one that I am far from qualified to talk about. There is however a comments button below this post, please use it and offer your opinions if you have them. Maybe we’ll come up with a few answers.
The final point I’d like to make, is that the majority of these attacks and their victims are targeted. Criminal gangs and families that are fighting and feuding for whatever reason. The reasons are unimportant to you and I, we merely have to make sure we don’t get caught up in the crossfire.
Many people are unlucky enough to get caught in these things, with a little bit of training in awareness and self defence, perhaps they’d be able to get out before things turned nasty.
Obviously there are attacks with purely vicious motives, thefts and even random attacks where the attackers don’t know their victims. These our the main types of attack we need to prepare ourselves for.
Your safety is your responsibility, keep yourself aware of your surroundings and undertake some form of training so that you can get yourself out of trouble.
Remember the bodyguard mantra:
Avoid – Stay away from the threat
Escape – Get away from threat
Confront – If all else fails, go on the attack and dissolve the threat.
If you choose to learn how to defend yourself against a knife, Wild Geese chief instructor Paul Cox is one of the few European Doce Pares blackbelts to be registered in the Philippines. It is commonly accepted by those in the know that the Filipino Martial Arts are at the top of the food chain for when it comes to weapon defence. Paul regularly travels over to Grandmaster Danny Guba, a man with, as he says, a record.
I myself learn from Paul, when I have opportunity, Danny Guba and also have put together self defence training programs that are now being implemented by our associates over at ESTS (www.specialist-security.com)