Teacher and Pontefract councillor Philip Thomas caused something of a furore with a posting on his blog in late July, titled “Knife knowing you”, in which he apparently endorsed knives as “cool”. He also criticised as a “shrill zealot” a mother who lambasted a judge for producing his own (legal) pocket-knife in court to show that it took two hands to open the blade. Thomas’s local newspaper, the Pontefract & Castleford Express, covered the story on its website, as did the Daily Mirror:
Thomas has since claimed that his remarks were quoted out of context, and his views misrepresented, in the Mirror. Perhaps – although he didn’t do himself any favours with comments like
I’ve dozens of knives at home and not one has killed anybody because I’ve never put them to that purpose. I have a huge meat cleaver and two massive machetes, bought as much because I found them cool as their practical use
though in fairness, he continues:
I’ve never used them against anyone nor have I any intention to (excepting perhaps any burglar stupid enough to catch me at home).
OK, so Thomas’s comments were ill-judged. On the other hand, he has a point, insofar as the mother’s criticism of the judge was over the top.
All the same, there’s a big difference between admiring a knife as a trade tool and glorying in a knife as a weapon. And the paraphrasing of that tired old NRA slogan “Guns don’t kill people – people kill people” won’t wash either. Sure, barring accidents, weapons don’t kill. But it’s a hell of a lot easier for a person to kill if they’ve got a handy weapon, isn’t it?