Back to Blood
In a scene that seemed borrowed from the pages of a Tom Wolfe novel, the edgy/arty patrons of the ultra-chic Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition at the Miami Beach Convention Center watched in rapt fascination as a woman amongst them was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and arms during the show’s main event. Initially, witnesses uniformly assumed they were being entertained, mistaking the assault for a theatrical enactment. The stabbing occurred adjacent to the collected works of Naomi Fisher and Agatha Wara, two artists whose presentation was collectively entitled “The Swamp of Sagittarius.” Artist Fisher subsequently explained that “A guy walked up to me and said, ‘I thought I saw a performance, and I thought it was fake blood, but it was real blood!’”
As it dawned on Fisher the stabbing was not a guerilla theater recital, she exclaimed, “It’s horrible … I’m so freaked out…I feel nauseous.” But it was no time to quibble over grammar. As local artist Rudy Perez casually snapped cell phone photos of the victim slumping to the floor with bloodstains spreading across her white blouse, security guards hastened to cordon off the scene. Attendees showed no signs of panic, however, since the majority of them misconstrued the newly strung police tape as part of the show. Enthralled by the spectacle, two Coconut Grove women stood at the tape’s edge and sipped champagne until a reporter convinced them that the stabbing was genuine. “It makes me very nervous,” declared onlooker Sune Smith, whose friend, Amanda DeSeta added “It’s a very strange place for something like this to happen.” Gregg Hill, a visiting New York sculptor, agreed. “I never would have thought there would be a stabbing at Art Basel,” he told reporters. “People didn’t really know what had happened. It was calm and everyone was milling around and talking.”
The victim was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Her assailant was arrested at the scene. Calm has returned to the brie-and-chablis sybarites of Dade County’s art community—but the events of that bloody December 4th remain of the utmost moment, symbolizing as they do an unchecked reign of violence both in America and abroad attributable to a weapon statistically proven to be five times deadlier than the nefarious ‘assault rifle.’ Absolutely silent, concealable, and capable of inflicting an infinite number of wounds without reloading, this historically fabled instrument of death may have flown for decades below the radar of the liberal establishment, but it has not escaped the keen eye of WOOF, and we devote ourselves in this article to exposing it as the societal menace it is. Yes, Woofketeers, we refer here to that most insidious, most commonly employed, widely disseminated and historically favored of all murderous utensils— the knife!
Avoid the jelly!
Faisal Mohammed was a computer science and engineering major at University of California, Merced; but on November 4th he forgot about all that and, with a broad smile on his face according to witnesses, set about stabbing and slashing people in the vicinity of his freshman general education class. Faisal had carved up four victims by the time police arrived on the scene and shot him dead. Wounded were two of Faisal’s fellow students, a university employee, and a construction worker. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke was the first public official to remind reporters that Mohammed’s actions should in no respect be considered terroristic, pointing out that young Faisal was merely upset with certain persons on campus.
Nothing in Mohammad’s history, Warnke assured the press, nor on his computer, nor in his belongings, indicated anything other than “personal motivations” for the attack. Nor did Sheriff Warnke consider the fact that Mohammad’s backpack contained zip-tie handcuffs, petroleum jelly, a night scope, and a hammer to break windows, indicative of anything other “than a teenage boy that got upset with fellow classmates and took it to the extreme.” True, Sheriff Warnke later confirmed that a printout of the Islamic State (ISIS) flag was prominent among Faisal’s belongings and yes, Faisal also jotted notes to himself reminding himself to, “continually praise Allah,” while knifing his classmates, and yes, he left a manifesto that prominently averted to Allah as well as the author’s desire to behead quite a few people, but investigators insisted there were no indications of any associations with terror. The petroleum jelly, by the way, was to squirt on the floor, causing first responders to slip and fall. In the event, it seems not to have worked, but we knew you were probably wondering.
An attack by a knife-wielding student on a college campus near Houston back in 2013 left 14 people wounded – two of them seriously – and might have sufficed to put authorities on alert regarding the potential dangers of knife ownership in America, but the Liberal Establishment shrugged off the attack in which Dylan Quick, 20, ran the breadth of the Lone Star College’s CyFair campus, slashing fourteen students as he went. The local newspaper accurately denounced the knife attack as “yet another brazen daytime assault” but authorities quickly trotted out criminologist Grant Duwe, flown in all the way from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, to explain that such concerns were unwarranted. “Mass stabbings are exceptionally rare,” Duwe told reporters, adding that since 1901 there have only been seven mass stabbings in a public place in the USA where four or more victims were killed. ” Duwe omitted any discussion of knife attacks before 1901, knife attacks wounding less than four people, and knife attacks occurring in other-than-public settings. With a bit of prompting from reporters, however, he recalled that “Mass stabbings usually occur in the home, where the suspect uses a knife on unsuspecting family members.” (Oh, those! ) James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, Boston, explained that Mr. Quick’s slashing spree was “unlikely to lead to anything resembling a national debate on knife safety or tighter regulations on their sales,” because “knives just don’t create that same sense of fear.” Well, gentle readers, WOOF is here to change all that!
According to Duwe (rhymes with Bowie– Jim that is, not David), the “first major high-profile mass stabbing” in the USA was the 1989 case of Ramon Salcido, a vineyard worker in California who killed seven people, including his wife and two small daughters, before fleeing to Mexico. Salcido was later extradited and convicted of the murders. Indeed, these slayings constituted a vicious example of knife violence—but Duwe’s assertion that the Salcido case was the first high profile stabbing incident is ridiculous.
One of America’s most notorious mass murderers, Richard Speck, began his criminal career on January 9, 1965, when he assaulted a woman in a parking lot in Alabama, brandishing a 17-inch carving knife and demanding she keep quiet and yield to him sexually. The lady, being a Texan, chose to struggle and yell instead, so Speck fled and was subsequently arrested and briefly imprisoned. In 1966 Speck stabbed a man in a barroom brawl but was freed after paying a ten dollar fine for disturbing the peace. Next, he raped a 65 year old woman at knife point and committed several additional felonies before finding his way to the townhouse at 2319 E. 100th Street in Chicago where he famously proceeded to kill nursing students Patricia Matusek, Nina Jo Schmale, Pamela Wilkening, Suzanne Farris, Mary Ann Jordan, Merlita Gargullo, and Valentina Pasion, with a switchblade. Suffice it that knife slayings were prominent in the news during the early ’60s.
Among many sordid crimes that rounded out that twisted epoch, the whole Charlie Manson imbroglio was a stab-and-slash fest. True, one assailant brought along a 22-caliber “Buntline Special” and used it here and there to partial effect, but almost everyone murdered during the Tate and LaBianca killings was hacked, slashed or stabbed to death by everything from kitchen knives to a chrome-plated bayonet, contributed by Manson. For that matter, so-called “serial killers” tend overwhelmingly to prefer knives over other available weaponry. The sundry murders of young females committed by Edmund Emil Kemper III (who served as the basis for “Buffalo Bill” in Silence of the Lambs); the ritualistic slayings performed by dedicated Satanist Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez (nicknamed “The Night Stalker” by Los Angeles tabloids in the mid ’80s); and the bloody trail of corpses left by Tommy Lynn Sells, a Texan who may have killed as many as 70 people before his capture in 1999, provide only a minute sample of such crimes–each directly traceable to an abnormal fascination with knives!
Serial Butt Stabber remains at large…
The sado-sexual fixation many assailants exhibit with regard to penetrating a victim’s flesh by stabbing or cutting is a documented psychological aberration. In his 2002 compilation The Concise Dictionary of Crime and Justice, Mark S. Davis refers to this obsession as “piquerism,” which the author defines as a “sexual interest [in] penetrating the skin of another person, sometimes seriously enough to cause death…a paraphilia and a form of sadism.” Often, these tendencies surface in less than homicidal intensity. Over the summer of 2011, numerous shoppers at the mall in Fairfax, Virginia were assaulted by a felon local newscasters dubbed the Serial Butt Stabber. The mystery stabber repeatedly assailed female shoppers in the mall’s parking lot, jabbing their buttocks through their clothing and then making good his escape.
Piquerism–a looming epidemic?
Or, take the sad case of Frank Ranieri. Long before the mysterious butt slasher of Fairfax Virginia entered the picture, Frank Ranieri was arrested in the Arden Heights section of Staten Island and charged with assault. The police report states that Mr. Ranieri was in the habit of paying women “large amounts of money,” in receipt of which, the ladies agreed to allow Mr. Ranieri to jab their posteriors with “sharp objects.” In the end (no pun intended) Mr. Ranieri got off with ten years probation.
Let’s move on to Dr. Mark Griffiths who maintains a fascinating website devoted to “addictive, obsessional, compulsive and/or extreme behaviours.” In an article on the subject of piquerism, Dr. Griffiths first notes “the relatively regular incidence of piquerism in the popular media,” and then admits he “was quite surprised to find next to nothing academically” despite the fact that “there are numerous examples of such practices.” He further laments that “There are passing references to piquerism in the clinical and forensic science literature but nothing…on the prevalence or etiology of the disorder.” Well, see, Dr. Griffith? That’s just where we here at WOOF come in handy–alerting the public to what academia won’t acknowledge…take, for example, the article in which we exposed “liberal delirium” as a mental disorder. (The casually or intensely curious may locate our article by clicking here. Those who find most WOOF articles annoyingly turgid may wish to scroll down to the heading “Bury my Heart at U of C ” and save time!)
Happily, Dr. Griffiths finds some solace in the book Juvenile Sexual Homicide (2002) by Dr. Wade Myers, Dr. Myers having devoted an entire section to the topic. Suffice it for our purposes that Myers’s accounts of sado-sexual teenage murder are too appalling for the genteel eyes of our readership, but would prove more than sufficient, if consulted, to establish to any reasonable person’s satisfaction that piquerism often attains a homicidal intensity reflecting sexual motivation. Those among our gentle readers who are willing to risk being appalled in the name of science may view the entire story on Dr. Griffith’s excellent blog site by clicking here. Chillingly, after consulting Dr. Richard Walters (Omega Crime Assessment Group, and former prison psychologist for the Michigan Department of Corrections) Dr. Myers concluded that: “The prevalence rate of piquerism is unknown.” Yipes. And this fact alone suggests that it is time we have a national discussion about—knives!
Do androids dream of electric carving knives?
And this thought necessarily leads us to Sigmund Freud. We know. We are asking a lot of our beloved readers–expecting them to keep up with this screed’s weaponological sardonicism, and simultaneously abide a revisitation of Freud’s largely superannuated hypotheses. But we are interested here only in the Viennese cokie’s theorizations pertinent to knives–or put more subtly, the meaning of phallic symbolism in his writings on the unconscious. Restricting ourselves (so as not to unduly tax the patience of our beloved readers) to Freud’s theories of dream analysis, we offer this portion from the Shrink Meister’s A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1920), which we have severely truncated, first in order to maintain pertinence, and second, as a further gesture of considerateness toward our readers:
“The dream has a number of representations for the male genital that may be called symbolic… the male organ has a symbolical substitute in objects of like form… symbolized by objects that have the characteristic, in common with it, of penetration into the body and consequent injury, hence pointed weapons of every type, knives, daggers, lances, swords… as well as its representation by other objects that have the power of elongation, such as hanging lamps, collapsible pencils, etc.”
Thus spake Freud. The overly punctilious may complain that we are leaving hanging lamps and collapsible pencils out of our discussion, but one can search the available records extensively and find no data indicating that either of these devices has been employed to commit murder, or to advance anyone’s fetishistic obsession with bodily penetration in such a way as to constitute a menace to the public. Similarly, we omitted Freud’s lengthy analysis of zeppelins, which have it in common with lances and swords that they are rarely problematic nowadays. But we are certain that the larger portion of our readership already knew most of this stuff, so, many among you may be wondering, what are we up to here? Let us speak frankly on that point (no pun intended):
Freud is derided nowhere more enthusiastically than in the archives of WOOF, but we maintain that the phallic implications of penetrative weaponry are among the few clearly reasonable interpretations offered in his theories. Thus, we ought not to discard the baby with the bathwater as we dismiss the questionable, highly unlikely, and patently ludicrous components of Freudian teachings. Or, to offer a Chestertonian inversion of our own devising, “Sometimes a cigar is absolutely not a cigar.” But knowing that knife violence is almost certainly a physical expression of humankind’s hellbroth of unconscious impulses and repressions is only to say that a deep, ungovernable, and trans-cultural fixation on the sexual symbolism of knives must be acknowledged as a driving factor in the ever-increasing incidence of stabbings and slashings. Also, even more forebodingly, the realization that knives represent an all-too-frequently irrepressible expression of man’s most deeply concealed urges underscores the need to wipe out knives altogether as the only means of rescuing our civilization.
And all this having been said, we have addressed only the psychoanalytic explanation of knife violence. A more complete understanding of the problem requires us to examine the more obvious inducements provoking wave after wave of these attacks. Sadly, this will oblige us to (briefly) avert to behavioral psychology, which contains all the theoretic excessiveness of psychoanalysis and none of the charm.
Could a Bobo doll stand up to Anthony Perkins?
If you paid attention the time you had to take that Intro to Psych class, you will recall the world-famous Bobo doll experiment. It made a behavioral-psychology superstar out of Albert Bandura and proved that even the simplest and most predictable result can pass for revelation if documented in the proper patois. Here is the basic idea: the experiment began with a Bobo doll placed in a room–Bobo dolls being those inflatable punching bags that are weighted at the bottom so that no matter how often they are punched or shoved they always return to the upright position. For reasons that remain obscure, they usually bear the image of a clown. Anyway, the Bobo toy was in placed in a room and then 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford University nursery school were hauled in. One by one they were placed in a the room and given some toys to play with; but they were warned that the Bobo doll was only for grownups. In half the cases, an adult entered the room and by pre-calculated degrees began to show more and more aggression toward the doll, hitting it with his fists, bashing it with a mallet, slapping it, sitting on it, and all the while verbally abusing it. But in the second group, the other half of the kids were placed one-by-one in the same room, the difference being that the attending Bobo Doll was spared any indignities since the adult was instructed to refrain from any aggressive actions or utterances.
In case you aren’t already way ahead of us, the results showed that children exposed to the aggressive adult models were far more likely to act out violently than those who were not. Put less decorously, the children in the first group, once isolated with Bobo Dolls of their own, proceeded to beat the holy bejesus out of them at rates in considerable excess of children in the second, non-violent group. In fact, the children who not did observe an adult modelling violence or hurling obloquy at a Bobo Doll treated their own dolls humanely by an overwhelming majority. Are you surprised, gentle readers? Of course not–anyone with a functioning brain could have predicted Bandura’s findings, so why did he bother? He had two unspoken motives. First, he wished to scientifically verify that observing violent actions induced children to behave violently because doing so would make his research irresistibly topical. It was 1961, and concerns were ballooning that violent television programs might be creating armies of little hoodlums all over America. Obviously, Bandura’s findings no longer exercise any restraint whatsoever on televised violence, the current levels of which make laughable the concerns of parents, pastors, and politicians who, in the dawning ’60s, worried that kids might go psycho watching Gunsmoke, or Bonanza. But Bandura is useful to our current purpose, since his findings lend scientific credence to the argument that knife violence is partly promoted by depictions of such violence in media, and has been for quite some time.
The second unspoken motive we confidently attribute to Bandura was his desire to make a splash in the field of behavioral psychology by establishing his theory of “social learning.” This theory, that people learn through observing and imitating modeled behaviors, may again strike readers as so dumbfoundingly obvious that even the dimmest percipient could have confirmed it without involving a single Bobo Doll or nursery-school pupil. But pause here to consider that the entire behavioral school of psychology was in that day dominated by the preternaturally unimaginative B. F. Skinner (you know, the guy who conditioned pigeons to play ping pong). Bandura’s study and theory of social learning demonstrated that Skinner’s hypothesis–that all human and animal behavior results from reinforcement or punishment and nothing else–was actually kind of moronic. And this achievement alone justifies the Bobo doll experiments in our view! But the next obvious question related to our current discussion remains unresolved–namely, how do these seemingly disparate theories combine to explain the raging epidemic of knife attacks in our own time? But wait, there’s more!
What is the real cause of knife violence? We owe it in fairness to the pundits of the Left to factor in the liberal belief in “the instrumentality effect hypothesis.” That is, the notion that the mere presence of the object somehow induces an adjacent person to employ it violently. On the Left this has long meant that even if one concedes–however briefly and purely for the sake of argument– that people occasionally kill people, the onus is otherwise instantly transferred to the weapon itself. It is canonical in liberal lore, therefore, that guns somehow encourage otherwise placid individuals to pick them up and shoot people. So in the name of socio-scientific consistency, we must conclude that knives, too, somehow seduce vast numbers of otherwise normal Americans to perpetrate mayhem. It seems we’ve only to pick them up, say, to peel an onion or fillet a mackerel, and all too often the unintended result is an otherwise inexplicable surge of psychopathic homicidality. Thus, in applying the liberal template to our quest for knife control, it seems incumbent on us to acknowledge forthrightly that the cause of knife violence is quite possibly knives. That said….
No matter how ardently one subscribes to the instrumentality effect hypothesis, certain societal trends must be taken into consideration as well. From a “social learning” perspective, numerous cultural factors appear to stimulate knife violence nowadays quite apart from the simplistic supposition that mere availability impels otherwise average citizens to snatch up a blade and succumb to homicidal mania. Thus, the influence of pop culture would seem an obvious component of our national proneness to piquerism, and this influence is supported by Bandura’s experiment. The knife as an instrument of salaciously vicious bloodletting has long been the stuff of tawdry paperbacks, sleazy comic books, and innumerable films over the decades. While the “classic” West Side Story romanticized teenage violence for generations to come, Rebel Without a Cause conjoined the switchblade in the popular psyche with the magnetic screen persona of James Dean. Countless films from the ’50s to our present time sensationalize the knife as an expression of post-adolescent rebellion.
The imagery of nihilistic youths clicking their switchblades open to initiate violent confrontations is enshrined in films such as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (the book was better), Walter Hill’s The Warriors, (Last Man Standing was better) Glenn Ford in 1955’s seminal Blackboard Jungle (which recurrently touched off riots among teenagers in the audience) and even Burt Lancaster (sporting a crew cut!) in The Young Savages. These relatively polished efforts did not differ in their depictions of the knife as an instrument of empowerment from countless low-budget teen-sploitation mellers like Naked Youth, Key Witness, High School Confidential, Juvenile Jungle and the never-to-be-forgotten Switchblade Sisters.
Into our living rooms!
Even as the movies manufactured lurid tales of switchblade duels and rumbling teenage gangs, the TV screen began to offer Americans a variety of knife-related entertainments. The most relentless barrage, ironically, came from the highly successful Christian programming of the mid ’50s and early ’60s. Yes, Christian. Few today remember This is the Life, a show so ancient it actually began its first season on the now-long-defunct Dumont Network. The idea was a simple one: every week some character or characters who resided in the fictional city of Middleburg would get into a deeply disturbing personal dilemma, usually ethical, criminal, marital, or grief-related. Things would look pretty hopeless, but in the nick of time the kindly, and uncannily sagacious Pastor Martin (Lutheran church, Missouri Synod) would appear and put folks back on the track for spiritual deliverance. The show’s willingness to deal with controversial subjects of that era was often applauded as courageous.
But the issue This is the Life seemed to deal with more often than any other was juvenile delinquency, and that usually came with switchblades! In fact you could reasonably anticipate a televised dose of knife-brandishing delinquency courtesy of the Lutheran church just about any Sunday morning before the indefatigable Pastor Martin stepped in to lead everyone to God. And if that didn’t pay off, you could check out the show’s various imitators. Yes, other churches took note of the recruiting power of the Lutherans’ popular TV series and began shooting their own versions. The Southern Baptist Convention hit the airwaves with This Is the Answer (1958-1961), while Insight drew on the Catholic perspective. Frontiers of Faith and The Eternal Light soon appeared on NBC and the ecumenical anthology Crossroads often included Hollywood personalities in stories drawn from the putatively true-life experiences of priests, ministers, and rabbis. Naturally each of these programs took note of the ratings boost teenagers in leather jackets commonly produced, so if you couldn’t find knife crazy delinquents on one program, you could reasonably expect them to pop up on one or more of its competitors.
Besides the Christian onslaught, there were shows like The Adventures of Jim Bowie and Northwest Passage that made knives a central theme every week…as well as a variety of detective and police dramas that often dealt with nefarious stabbers and slashers. Today, of course, the carnography on television is hyperbolized to an extent that would affright Sam Peckinpah, galvanizing our latent national piquerism and interacting symbiotically with “the instrumentality effect hypothesis.” The obvious result is our climbing rate of knife violence–and TV is only getting worse.
Reaping a harvest of Karo Syrup and RFD 40.
We have already established that television violence in the time of the Bobo experiments was almost genteel by comparison to the contemporary product. Today, knife attacks are depicted much more extravagantly and in lingering, almost fetishistic detail. Owing to the modern ubiquity of color TV (we hear they even have it in Russia now) the current exploiters of our national obsession with slash-and-stab entertainments are able to fill our screens with riveting spurts of carefully contrived scarlet. Today’s network, cable, and dish dramas spray the camera lens with color-conscious concoctions–usually variations on Sam Peckinpah’s Karo Syrup and red food dye recipes. All of these advances, sadly, must be viewed also as a national exposure to Bandura-style”social learning” courtesy of an industry that constantly floods our living rooms with one big, never-ending Bobo-doll experiment.
We realize that many of our readers do not watch much television and may therefore hike an eyebrow at our assertion that the situation has reached paraphilic proportions. We pause, therefore, to offer a few prime examples, and prime examples must suffice since a complete catalog of similar programs would quickly swell to encyclopedic proportions. For starters, unless we’ve missed something worse, the most unabashedly brutal program devoted to little other than massive displays of slashing and stabbing while remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value is the recently cancelled but unforgettably nauseous The Following. To add more gore to this show than Fox’s Standards-and- Practices committee would ordinarily approve, Executive Producer Kevin Williamson boasted he used “certain tricks” to outfox Fox, and they must have been good ones, because the show’s violent ends seemed endless, supplying enough Karo Syrup and food dye to distract viewers from the absurdity of the story line and the absence of anything resembling character development or engaging dialogue. Permit us, gentle readers, to belabor the example of The Following despite it’s removal from Fox’s schedule, not because it deserves commemoration, but rather because it typifies the kind of “social learning” to which national audiences are more and more subjected.
Perhaps character development was deemed pointless (no pun intended) since almost nobody goes more than a few episodes before getting slaughtered.Actually, the show’s most nuanced (though conformingly psychopathic) character, Emma (Valorie Curry), lasted two seasons before being knifed to death in a knife fight with Claire (Natalie Zea), who was knifed to death in the first season but returned (don’t ask!) to out-knife Emma in the second. For most of those seasons the driving plot line consisted of Kevin Bacon, an alcoholic agent recalled to FBI duty because he is the only person capable of tracking down the diabolical serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), chasing his nemesis. But Bacon can’t catch him either, largely because like almost all protagonists of his ilk he never remembers to call for back up, and when he does his reinforcements always get there too late, or get there on time only to be duped by the killer’s brilliant machinations.
Besides the fact that Purefoy as Carroll isn’t interesting enough for the role, the character of Carroll isn’t interesting enough either, Carroll being a failed writer and a college lit professor whose obsession is Edgar Allen Poe. Really? Would the Marquis de Sade be too highbrow? Baudelaire? Anyway, to distract us from these deficiencies, producer Williamson has Joe kill a bunch of people, and also asks us to believe that while in prison, via the Internet, Joe established an army of fanatical supporters–an army, seemingly, at least the size of China’s. Members of this underground force are perfectly okay with undertaking suicidal missions of mass mayhem on cue; hence the series title, and a great excuse for having almost any background character or passerby suddenly pull an ice pick or a butcher’s knife and pounce on some blood-squirting cast member about whom we might care a bit had he or she ever been presented as more dimensional than a cardboard cutout (no pun intended).
A similar, though far more skillfully crafted killer-of-the-week program is Criminal Minds, on CBS. Our heros are members of an FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) devoted to psychologically profiling criminals, almost always blade-crazy serial killers. The series follows a personality-rich group of profilers as they set about catching various criminals by psychologically profiling them with mind-boggling proficiency. Despite the fact that none of the lead characters has a degree in psychology, (except the boyish Dr. Reid, resident genius, who holds three PhDs, but only a BA in psychology), the team never misses, solving one case every week and usually killing the evil doer(s) just in time to fly home to Quantico in their private jet while one of them overdubs a profound quote from somebody or other, usually at least vaguely pertinent to the hour’s events.
Taking time to flesh out its characters and infuse small doses of psychiatric and philosophical wisdom has made the show’s graphic immersions in blood, guts, skinnings, dismemberments, beheadings, disembowelings, and exsanguinations seem socially justified, or so the audience seems to feel– Criminal Minds is well into its 12th season.
Not to be outdone, the Lifetime channel opted to reboot the legend of Lizzie Borden–a legend that required a positively surreal amount of embellishment before it could serve as the basis for a weekly television drama. Armchair criminologists will recall that Miss Borden’s family occupied a relatively upscale residence in the pastoral township of Fall River–a sleepy Massachusetts hamlet where nothing out of the ordinary ever happened–until Lizzie’s father and mother were found brutally axe murdered in their home. Lizzie was arrested and tried for the murders, but acquitted. The only additional crime of which she was ever accused was shoplifting, and those charges were dropped without the issuance of a warrant. These facts notwithstanding, Lifetime’s series portrays the reclusive spinstress as a female Hannibal Lector, except that she doesn’t eat anybody. Perhaps by way of sublimating this omission, Lizzie slashes, hacks, and stabs people to death at a rate Hannibal would frown upon as distastefully wanton. Despite the program’s devotion to serving up scene upon scene of blade thrusting, hatchet hewing, blood spurting slaughter, viewers seemed to prefer their mayhem in that time slot on the contemporary side (Revenge on USA), or zombified (The Waking Dead on AMC), or dissembled as haute cuisine (Cut Throat Kitchen on the Food Channel). Lifetime cancelled Chronicles after one season, citing low ratings as the determining factor and giving dozens of hack reviewers (no pun intended) the opportunity to observe that Lizzie got the axe.
We haven’t room here, of course, to discuss every TV program currently contributing to America’s rising tide of piquerism. It would seem negligent, however, to omit certain exemplary titles from our discussion. Consider the recently cancelled Dexter, featuring a lovably picaresque serial killer who, for eight full seasons, only chopped up bad guys, so nobody was too bothered by it. Wives with Knives brought us three seasons of true stories, each featuring wives who used knives on their husbands. Fargo, The Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Vikings, Stalker, Game of Thrones–all deserve mention.
A problem of international magnitude!
America is not alone in its seeming insouciance to the threat posed by unregulated knife possession. Many of the countries that most comprehensively restrict gun ownership exhibit the highest rates of violent crime, particularly stabbings. Great Britain has long been lax in its efforts to control knives. In May of 2013 two Muslims hacked a British soldier to death in east London. The assailants had time to tell stunned onlookers “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” before police arrived and shot them. Terror-related knife violence surfaced again in east London this December 5th when a blade wielding man yelling “This is for Syria!” and “All of your blood will be spilled!” slashed the throat of a hapless commuter in the Leytonstone tube station, and was about to wade into a cluster of cowering women and children when he was tackled and subdued by angry commuters.
Better life? Surrender your knife!
Britain, however, has lately taken a convincing lead in controlling the situation! Enlightened organizations now wage private advocacy campaigns to eliminate the threat of knives in the United Kingdom. The visionary members of “Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife” are even placing knife-collection bins throughout the UK so that conscientious English citizens can anonymously divest themselves of any potentially lethal cutlery. The Scotland-based national initiative “No Knives/Better Lives” maintains a substantial web presence advocating the elimination of bladed weaponry across Great Britain, with major youth programs driven by catchy slogans like “Choose life, not a knife!” and “Remember, there is no safe place to stab someone!” Why can’t America get on board with some equally inventive policies?
And let’s set aside the myth that “tactical” or Assault Knives are the only kind used in the commission of crime—far from it! In 2005, the BBC reported a study by the British Medical Journal including a statistical analysis proving that kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings committed in the UK. Apparently, a shocking number of homicides occur in British kitchens owing, perhaps, to the widespread use of alcohol while cooking is underway. The resultant diminishment of self control and rise in impulsivity lead to a startling number of slayings linked to meal preparation because, as the BBC so starkly observed, “a kitchen knife often makes an all-too-available weapon.” A team from West Middlesex University Hospital notes violent crime is on the increase in Britain – and kitchen knives are used in half of all recorded stabbings!
Arguments that knives are necessary for cooking have been dismissed by experts. The BBC consulted ten top chefs from around the UK, and learned that “pointy” knives “have little practical value in the kitchen.” None of the chefs consulted by the BBC thought that knives were particularly necessary to their craft, and all agreed that big pointy knives were utterly uncalled for “since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.” True, researchers found that even stubby knives can cause “a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault” but remained unlikely to “penetrate inner organs.” By comparison, a pointy kitchen blade pierces the body like “cutting into a ripe melon.” Thus researchers want to impose bans on pointy knives to curb the waves of culinary violence in England and Scotland. Indeed, consider all those fabulously popular cook-off shows that are everywhere nowadays–those seemingly innocent culinary entertainments that are cast more and more as gang rivalries with huge, flashing knives chopping, slicing, and dicing in nearly every scene! No matter how innocently intended, these shows too must be viewed as part of the problem–sending Bobo-style messages spreading waves of of piquerism among countless unwitting gourmandes and other unwitting viewers.
Red Chinese police destroyed 113 illegal gun factories and shops during a three-month crackdown in 2006. Police seized 117,000 guns, but the Communist government has been slow to address the elephant in the room, namely that outbreaks of knife violence occur in China with an almost uncanny regularity. Despite the horrifying nature of these mass slayings, Chinese authorities have proved slow to seize knives from the citizenry, and slow to criminalize their possession! Stranger still, the ruling communist oligarchy actively encourages mainland youth, both male and female, to learn knife fighting. Because of this it is no exaggeration to report that knife attacks constitute a problem of near-epidemic proportions in Communist China. To list these assaults and review them in detail would require more space than can be spared here, but a couple of examples may suffice to underscore the situation’s gravity. Back in 2014, the Chinese city of Kunming in the Yunnan province came under attack by eight screaming men and women, all armed with knives. The killers focused their efforts on commuters milling about the railway station at 9:20 am. Before the police arrived and “neutralized” them, the attackers managed to slash and stab 143 civilians, 33 of whom died.
China is plagued by the problem of unprovoked, seemingly motiveless attacks on its population, most often carried out by seemingly deranged citizens brandishing knifes or meat cleavers. Recently, a September 2015 attack by nine assailants left 50 workers dead at a Chinese coal operation in Aksu, Xinjiang, China. After carving up the government security guards, the assailants swarmed into off-duty bunkhouses filled with sleeping coal miners, and mercilessly stabbed and slashed them. Besides the fifty dead, an additional fifty were left horribly wounded. The killers escaped into the mountains and ravines surrounding the camp site and remain at large.
The ideal solution
Obviously, the surest way to end this floodtide of knife violence in our own country is to ban all knives. There is a general misconception on the part of the public that only certain knives are used in attacks on humans, but as we have clearly demonstrated, this is far from the case. Ideally, therefore, we should strive to eliminate all knives from production, purchase, or private ownership. To compensate for this absence in the kitchen and at the table, American ingenuity can be relied upon to produce a solution that satisfies legitimate cutting needs without providing death-dealing instrumentation to the ever-increasing swarms of piquerists and other varieties of stabbers and slashers in our midst! After all, the same free-enterprise system that gave us the “spork,” can presumably deliver the “spife,” or the “nork,” or the “fornifoon”, or some equally viable means of circumventing knife ownership while providing options for chefs and diners who find it occasionally necessary to sever a food item! Meanwhile a massive public information program would be required to create public awareness–and to launch knife buy-back programs on a national scale.
The grim reality…
But let’s face the facts, gentle readers, it would prove impossible to confiscate every knife owned by every citizen of the United States, besides which, of course, some families maintain hunting and fishing traditions that may legitimately be argued to require some degree of knife usage. Add to this the grim reality that knife smuggling from Canada and across the wide open Mexican border would soon foster mammoth black-market enterprises likely to exacerbate the situation–even as knife registration would end in a morass of paperwork impacting overextended government knife registrars while providing no sure means of authenticating who had genuinely given up every knife, and who might be secreting knives within the home or burying them in the rose garden. Sadly, confiscation, while it might work in England, or possibly even Canada, must be set aside as utterly impracticable in America. So what is to be done?
Let’s re-examine the record, straight from the data banks of the FBI, shall we? According to the Bureau, knives or other cutting instruments were used to kill 1,490 victims in the United States in 2013 whereas rifles (including what Liberals like to call ‘assault rifles’) were associated with only 285 murders. More recent statistics from 2014 reveal that 1,567 people were murdered with knives in the United States, versus a mere 248 murders committed with any sort of rifle, assault-type or otherwise. Gentle readers, a grotesque trend is obvious! If we cannot eradicate knives from our culture, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to obtain protection for our families and our fellow citizens. Clearly, to paraphrase NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the surest way to stop a bad guy with a knife, is a good guy with an assault rifle! Here are some suggestions on how to ready yourselves, supplied by WOOF’s very own “Guns and Whamo” editor, Bang Gunley (not his real name). Even if you have never considered owning an “assault rifle” before, we beg you to reconsider before you and your loved ones are mercilessly hacked to pieces by some psychopath transmuting his unbearable levels of sexual dysmorphia into a homicidal rampage and clutching a big, sharp, knife! Right now, as we polemicize, New York City is experiencing a 20 percent increase in stabbings and police say they cannot explain the sudden upswing and aren’t certain how to combat it. As of March 13th of this year, police records disclosed 809 such incidents in the Big Apple, compared to 673 a year ago.
Don’t be caught unprepared! –byline: Bang Gunley)
As should be evident from everything that’s been said above, knife wielding felons are a major and ever-increasing problem in 21st Century America–and anyone who can understand simple math must be persuaded by this point that a far safer possession than a knife, yet a possession that has the fire power and the magazine capacity to defeat any aggressor armed with a knife, is the good old American assault rifle. Awhile back, we of the Guns-and-Whamo division of WOOF proved that assault rifles aren’t readily available in our country–sad to say–even though liberals think they see them everywhere. But the tried and true guns available in all rational states of the Union–the kind that liberals call assault rifles–and others that while less criticized by Senator Feinstein can be just as useful–are more than enough to protect ourselves from all those blade-crazy assailants the FBI tells us are out there! So to obtain protection that the government’s own research has proven to be comparatively safe, yet more than sufficient to deter maniacs with anything from letter openers to machetes, let’s check out some options!
Many contemporary semiautomatic firearms have seeped into the public’s consciousness because of sensationalized news coverage of crimes involving them (or allegedly involving them) and may therefore seem tainted by association. You’ve probably heard of the Bushmaster, for instance. (I recommend their 16″ A2 Heavy Carbine.) Concerned about the weapon’s image? Remember, no gun was more associated with massive criminality than the Thompson submachine gun during the “roaring ’20’s.” Every gangster movie showed Thompsons blasting from automobile windows, obliterating storefronts, or mowing down rows of screaming, writhing thugs in portrayals of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Even movies about Bonnie and Clyde routinely showed the outlaw couple brandishing twin tommy guns despite the fact that the Barrow Gang didn’t use them. Clyde preferred a sawed-down Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and made one for Bonnie too, who became highly proficient with it.
Yet despite its reputation as a gangster gun–the infamous “Chicago typewriter,” favored by Capone’s mob, Pretty Boy Floyd, Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly, the Thompson served admirably in World War II and Korea and won universal respect as the close-quarters firearm of choice for several decades. By the same token, the classic silhouette of the all-American AR-style rifle or carbine should bestir a sense of pride and independence in the hearts of patriots despite progressive efforts to tear these extraordinary firearms from our grasp and smear them at every opportunity!
And when it comes to keeping the American spirit alive, hopeless romantics may prefer to own a classic Colt product, and there are plenty available. (I recommend the Match Target HBAR model for lovers of the rampant pony!) Most contemporary “assault rifles” of this type come chambered for readily obtainable .223 ammo, and besides the noble Colt and infamous Bushmaster, Les Baer, Mossberg, Del-Ton, Windham, and Smith and Wesson all offer excellent guns of this type!
Looking for a little more punch in case of especially burly psychopaths? Try the new, improved AR-10 from Armalite, the folks who started it all! Bored for the powerful .308 Winchester cartridge, this beauty combines updated striking power with all the traditional charm of the classic M-16! Prefer something in designer camouflage from a legendary maker of sporting guns? Why not snag a Remington R-15 Predator carbine in .223 caliber or in optional .204 Ruger? Both versions sport a magnificent coat of spritely MAX-1 HD camouflage that will have you exclaiming, “Out of sight!” And by the way, most manufacturers now offer a variety of pink and other exotic DuraCoat finishes sure to win favor with the ladies. You say you prefer a shorter, more maneuverable gun but crave the classic look of the M-16? The AR-15 carbine was the personification of these features in Vietnam, except it almost always jammed and suffered other inbuilt deficiencies. Fear not, however, because the good folks at Armalite now offer the new improved M15 Carbine series– the spitting image of the original with none of the bugs!
Those seeking a Cadillac AR experience will find Sabre Defence provides its classy new M4 Tactical model ready to accessorize with optic sights, but with with flip-up iron sights for those who prefer them. This model also boasts a free-floated quad-rail fore-end, the CTR collapsible buttstock, and an Ergo pistol grip. And for the lady of the house, I recommend the optional Tactical Gill Brake, which cuts way back on unseemly recoil! How can you resist?
But no matter what firearm you choose, you will be arming yourself and your family with peace of mind, knowing that despite all the baloney on the Internet, nobody really wants to bring a knife to a gunfight– and unlike the helpless masses of Europe and the British Isles, you have a second amendment that allows you to take the necessary steps to thwart any slicing, slashing head cases that lurch your way! We hope the government soon awakens to the need to provide poorer Americans, or those who are retired and living on fixed incomes, with free or partially subsidized AR-15 style weapons. Surviving knife violence shouldn’t depend on your income. Not in America. But in the meantime, see your local gun shop owner for advice on obtaining protection with a weapon that is not only five times less dangerous than a knife by the FBI’s own admission, but also part of what America is all about: guns!