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The Mass Stabbing We Feared

While some gun control proponents say that you don’t see mass stabbings, only mass shootings, a Western Pennsylvania high school just proved them very wrong this morning. I’ve waited for a little more to unfold in the story before commenting because it’s not an issue of guns or no guns, knife control, or even metal detectors at every door, as it seems that some people are already pushing while students are still undergoing major surgeries since they are in critical condition.

A local paper featured a comment by a senior that I thought was very telling on how the issue of violence as a whole is very complicated and not easily solved by one policy that focuses on the instrument used:

“Everybody was just freaking out,” he said. “It’s been a tough senior year. We’ve had a lot of fights in school — more than usual — and a suicide this year.”

Mental health issues going unaddressed in the community? Check. Increased violent outbreaks as a whole? Check. Those won’t be fixed with gun control, knife control, or metal detectors. It sounds like there won’t be many easy answers for this community. Certainly, they are in our thoughts as this story continues to be investigated.

22 Responses to “The Mass Stabbing We Feared”

  1. Carl from Chicago says:

    Yes, but they will certainly claim that fatalities were fewer (because knives rather than guns were used).

    The bottom line, really, is that no degree and manner of laws is going to substantially impact the actions of a few insane individuals.

    • Other Steve says:

      So to them, deranged and violent is OK to go unchecked and walk among us, as long as they keep the body count down?

      That’s the same line of thinking that seeks to restrict guns from everyone in response of the acts of a few alright.

  2. Renegade_Azzy says:

    My take, as its all over the news here, is that kids freaked out. We dont teach self reliance, we only teach pacifistic methods, essentially closing the blowoff valve of the adolescent male.

    Sometimes, one needs to use violence to combat and prevent future violence. Sometimes, words are enough, but it helps if you can back it up with a good square fist to the gut. And later, when someone still blows their lid and starts doing damage to your friends, you have the mindset to deal with it, not just to run away.

    Kudos to the kid who got stabbed, pulled the alarm, and then tried to get other people out of the area.

    • aerodawg says:

      I am really and truly shocked that it took that many casualties before someone could subdue him. There are just so many “weapons of necessity” found in a typical school that can counter a knife wielded by an inexperience attacker. Think about it, how many things can make a good club?

      Hell take it from my experience, a broomstick broken across the jaw will put you on your ass. You don’t want to bring a knife to a broom fight…

      • joated says:

        The use of a fire extinguisher or a chair would have put the attacker on the defensive, too. If only someone had been able to keep their head about him/her.

      • RP says:

        I think people are expecting an awful lot out of kids here.

        • aerodawg says:

          Expecting an awful lot out of kids? They might be minors but they’re in high school. They are a half a step from being adults. For crying out loud, a very small child will struggle and fight back if they feel threatened and cornered, I don’t think it’s too much to ask from people who are nearly adults to do the same.

      • Archer says:

        It’s a testament to the pacifist mentality that the schools push (force?) on the kids, as Azzy mentioned. “Fight or flight” leans heavily toward the latter, and “Give them what they want” is the order of the day, even if what they want is your life.

        The mindset that it’s acceptable – let alone preferable – to fight back against an attacker is being systematically conditioned out of our kids, and the severity of this event – not the event itself, but its magnitude – is a direct result.

    • The thing is, in most schools, a defender who uses force is considered as guilty as the kid that started it.

      In bizarro public school land, using force to stop the mass-stabber would probably earn an expulsion for the would-be hero.

      • Jack says:

        And if the defender is a good kid, then the same level of punishment will affect him/her worse. While the bully has a higher chance of being used to it. Heck the bully could already be facing a punishment (like mandatory detention or activity ban) and thus get off with no marginal penalty.

        And that’s not counting the cases where the school steps in and actively punishes the defender worse than the bullies.

  3. Lethality is less than with a gun, but not as much as most people assume. For blades, ice picks, or screwdrivers nine inches long or more, there seems to be not a huge difference between a knife and a handgun. And knives don’t require reloading.

    • Archer says:

      I’ve made that point (no pun intended) in a well-known anti-gunner’s (highly moderated) comment section before. Swords and knives were the “assault weapons” of not-that-many generations ago, and someone bent on causing harm could cause more harm with a blade than a gun, if for no other reason than that a blade doesn’t need to be reloaded to keep functioning.

      Funny thing is, she was one of those who insisted that you don’t see mass knife attacks, and ridiculed, ignored, and/or memory-holed all the responses showing that mass knife attacks are an almost-monthly occurrence in heavily-gun-controlled China.

    • Geodkyt says:

      The fatality stats I’ve seen seem to indicate that knives are actually more lethal than handguns (as in, you’re less likely to die or suffer permanent physical disability from a handgun wound than a deliberate knife wound. . . shotguns and centerfire rifles are a whole different kettle of fish) — knives just aren’t as likely to be immediately disabling, are melee weapons, and take more strength than guns.

      Meaning, knives make it more likely the target will die or be messed up for life, but when used defensively, are less likely to have that effect fast enough to keep the defender relatively unhurt.

      The key seems to be reasonably prompt access to First World medical treatment. Knives are really good at severing really important things (tendons, nerves, and blood vessels) that can cause death from exsanguination or permanent disability, even from limb hits, whereas guns are better at reliably getting to vital organs (but not much likely to actually hit those vital organ zones).

      Of course, icepick attacks are less likely to be damaging than an equivalent knife stabbing, for obvious reasons.

    • Alpheus says:

      Another difference between guns and knives: once someone shoots a gun, you are alerted to its presence. Granted, you might not recognize the sound as a gun shot, but it’s nonetheless there. “Silencers” don’t make the gun silent, either–only quieter.

      Knives, on the other hand, don’t make a sound; sometimes you don’t even feel much pain. (I’ve once heard someone describe being stabbed as feeling like he was being punched.) How much damage could you deliver with a knife, before someone recognizes that something bad is happening?

  4. Matthew Carberry says:

    If I’m reading it right at least one student had the wits to pull a fire alarm to get kids moving out of the building when they realized something was wrong, which is probably a better move than “sheltering in place” if you don’t know what’s going on.

    Knives are quiet, unless you see them, or blood, all you’re likely to actually perceive is someone running along, hitting people who fall down or not. Even some of the victims weren’t sure what hit them.

    To intervene with a weapon presumes you realize a weapon is actually present.

    In any event, they were kitchen knives so “knife control” of pocket knives and such is not reasonably on the table.

    • Archer says:

      “In any event, they were kitchen knives so ‘knife control’ of pocket knives and such is not reasonably on the table.”

      Key word in bold. I agree, but the people who prefer to ban objects rather than address behaviors can hardly be considered “reasonable.”

      Besides, in most schools, possession of any kind of knife is already a Zero-Tolerance offense. They’re already banned, but I’m sure – just sure – that making them “more illegaler” will fix everything.

      • Matthew Carberry says:

        True, but, as always, what the *banners* view as “reasonable” isn’t important. It’s what they can sell to the undecided middle as “reasonable” that matters; their argument for further knife restrictions is, as you show, weak due to the facts in this case laid out.

        • I think too much is made of the “undecided middle.” The undecided middle didn’t give a shit about gun control in Colorado. All that mattered was that (A) the Dems had a majority and (B) the Dem leadership from national through state level decided to invest heavily in the issue and were willing to take a few losses.

          Even if there were a few genuinely pro-2A state senators in CO they didn’t vote their conscience, because “B” above.

          We’ll see if the folks like Angela Giron get “taken care of” by their patrons in the DNC. If they land nice fat appointed jobs or consultant gigs courtesy of Joyce/Bloomberg I think it goes to show that more Dems will be willing to fall on their swords.

          Winning over the “great middle” doesn’t really matter if your political opponents have a majority and make it a high priority issue.

          • Matthew Carberry says:

            If the Dems got a majority big enough to ram stuff through, that means they had that middle on their side before gun control became an issue. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think any of them ran on it to get elected.

            Now that it *is* an issue in the case of Colorado, “our side” has to win over the middle to the point they don’t defend the anti-gun incumbents but rather support or acquiesce to their ouster, and the overturning of the laws.

  5. Rob Crawford says:

    *shrug*

    Still a disarmed victim zone, regardless of what the lunatic armed himself with.

  6. Ronnie says:

    Since this story did not involve any guns, I doubt that there will be any in-depth reporting or computer-animated simulations from the MSM to show exactly how the event transpired. What I would still like to know is how this mass stabbing went down. Was it in a hallway of the school? Or did it happen in a classroom? Did the kid just run along and stab at everybody in his path?

    All I can say for now is that a chair, like the type of chair often found in schools, can make a good defensive weapon against somebody who comes at you with a knife, or even two knives. Even one of those chair/desktop combo pieces that are in some schools could work in this situation. If this kid attacked while everybody was out in a hallway, then somebody might have been able to ward off his blades with their loaded up backpack, or their stack of books, or maybe even their iPad. Just about any solid object of a certain size can be used as a shield against a knife attack.

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