How to tell if you should carry a knife

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A knife is a great “weapon”*. It’s a fantastic equaliser, which is basically what a weapon is there to do – even the playing fields (and stack things in your favour). And everyone knows how to use them.


So how do you know if a knife is right for you? How do you know if you should carry a knife? There’s a simple test:


The “should I carry a knife?” test

Don’t carry a knife unless you’re willing to pull it.

Don’t pull a knife unless you’re willing to use it.

Don’t use a knife unless you’re willing to kill with it.

Marc MacYoung’s stepdad


Have you sat yourself down and thought this through long and hard? That’s the test.

Not just a quick, glib “Yeah, sure, of course I am.” Many long and difficult, soul-searching looks at yourself, and what might go right and what might go wrong.

If you still think thoughts like “I can cut him a little bit” then you shouldn’t be carrying a knife. Because you’re trying to hedge your bets and avoid the killing aspect. You’re giving yourself permission to use a knife when the BG doesn’t need killing. And that means you’re not ready to carry a knife as a “weapon”.


Cut him a little bit? Don’t make me laugh

Also, you haven’t been honest with yourself about the fact that if you “cut him a little bit”, ever so slightly wrong, you still end up killing him. Slightly off your angle. A little bit too deep. Any number of things. And then you might get the chance to explain yourself to a judge.

In fact, a whole stinking heap load of things have to go right just for you to be able to pull your knife in a shitty situation. And even more things need to go right for you to be able to cut the BG. And more things still need to go right for you to cut him a little bit without killing him.


Knives and children

This came about because I was considering when it’s OK for your kid to carry a knife around. And it occurred to me that my kids are still too young, because I can’t expect them to fulfill the requirements above. I have much confidence that they could carry a knife safely. And that they can use a knife to open boxes and cut food and whittle wood. But not to use it on another human being. Not yet. And so I decided that EDCing a knife isn’t for them.


Knives and everyone else

After that I got to thinking, and I realised a large number of the people I’ve met who EDC a knife haven’t sat down and had an honest conversation with themselves. They carry a knife like people get humanities degrees – because that’s what you do once you finish high school. They carry knives because that’s what you do when you’re worried about “self defense”. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, not a carefully thought out decision as part of a well-designed safety pyramid.


* – I say “Weapon” because it’s just a tool to do a job. You don’t call your knife a weapon when you’re using it to chop carrots for supper do you? A “weapon” is what we call a tool when the job happens to be damaging other humans.

1 Comment

  1. Hello,

    It’s is really difficult to decide to carry a knife or not. When I need it most or when not if I can decide it then
    it must be fun to use and any one who are intended to use a knife he or she must know how they gonna use it and also must know safety issue. your article was damn good to read 🙂 Hope get more from you.

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