By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
In China, where firearms are tightly restricted, it’s probably no surprise that those who want to hurt people found another way to do it. The dramatic rise of knife attacks around the world shows that the problem these days isn’t with guns. It’s with people.
Mass knife attacks have become so common over the years that a Chinese police department recently released a video to teach citizens how to defend themselves against knife-wielding assailants and it has gone viral, with 16 million views in just a few days. It has subtitles and some great advice that even I would be able to follow.
All humor aside, some folks in the US who want to do away with the Second Amendment are probably saying smugly, “Well, knife attacks are bad, but only people with GUNS can kill dozens of victims quickly.”
Those folks would be wrong.
- In 2014, 33 people were killed and 130 more were injured when a group of men coordinated a terror attack using knives at a train station in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
- In 2015, fifty workers at a Chinese coal mine were killed in a coordinated knife attack. Fifty more workers were injured.
- In 2016, a facility for the disabled was attacked by a man with a knife. He killed 15 people and injured 45, then later surrendered himself to police.
- In 2017, 18 people walking down a city street were injured when a man attacked them with a knife
- 13 people were seriously injured by a knife-wielding assailant at a shopping mall in Beijing earlier this year. One woman died from her injuries.
This tells me that it isn’t really a problem with guns. It’s a problem with people.
Instead of school shootings, they have school knifings.
While in the United States, school shootings have become shockingly commonplace, what many don’t know is that in China, where gun control is strict, school knife attacks are a frequent threat. On the very same day as the Sandy Hook shooting in the United States, a man with a knife injured 22 children and one adult at a school in Chenpeng village in the southern province of Guangxi.
Knife attacks at schools in China are common. Last year, a man climbed over the wall of a kindergarten and attacked 11 students. None suffered life-threatening injuries.
In 2016, a man in the southern province of Hainan stabbed 10 children before killing himself, authorities said. And another man killed three students at a school in 2014 before jumping off a building.
Perhaps the worst spate of stabbings occurred in 2010 when attackers targeted schools on three consecutive days. (source)
Just last month, a man wielding a knife killed 9 children and injured 10 others outside a middle school where he says he was bullied.
This isn’t just a problem in China
There have been mass knife attacks all over the world.
In the UK, there has been a deadly knife attack every third day of 2018. In 2017, Met Police recorded 37,443 recorded knife offenses and 6,694 gun offenses. The problem is so bad that a judge has suggested banning the sale of large kitchen knives and that those who already have kitchen knives should file them down to avoid stabbings.
Four people were injured and one was killed when a knife-wielding assailant attacked them in Paris last week.
These are just a few examples and I haven’t dug any further than the first page of Google. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
What happens if you take away guns
In each of these cases, something different was blamed.
- Some of the attackers were shouting “Allahu Akbar” as they stabbed their victims.
- Some of the attackers cited crippling stress.
- Some of the attackers said they were bullied or mistreated.
- Some of the attackers were mentally ill and had a history of psychological problems.
- Some of the attackers had religious and ethnic differences from their victims.
- One attacker just didn’t like disabled people.
You can’t fix people who want to harm others for their various reasons by taking away guns. You can only make it harder for the rest of us to defend ourselves against them.
Take away guns, and you get knives. Take away knives and you get improvised explosives. There is no way to take away the yen that some people have to kill others.
And if I am involved in a knife-fight, well, personally, I’d rather take a gun.