Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Knives don't kill people; psychotic felons with knives kill people.

Mr. Issaruh Jackson walked into a mall restroom in Phoenix, AZ on Monday. He did not walk out again. His crime? Breathing air in the same room as a convicted felon who had a history of mental illness and a butcher knife. That he'd just bought. At Macy's.

If only we had tougher background checks on... Wait, that's a cheap shot.

Here's a different idea: How about not letting convicted felons that are known to be crazy as bedbugs wander around in public where they can buy knives. And cars. And gasoline. And matches. And rope. And any other thing they want.


Mark said...

Yeah, I had an astonishing episode t'other week.

I'd let myself (d'oh!) fall into a conversation with a bunch of Englandians on self-defence, weaponry, and the right to self-defence. It had come up because of a new knife ban in the UK. *snort*

I caught a huge deluge of "How Dare You!" righteous wrath for responding to "I'd never let you have any kind of weapon!" with "Yes, well - you're psychotic. Actually diagnosed and on medication."

*blank look*

So, the fact that someone's actually diagnosed as being insane isn't a good argument that they're not a good judge of things. Astonishing.

Matt G said...

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't and damned if we do sumpin' else.

1. We suck at diagnosing crayzee.
2. We suck at diagnosing Dangerous Crayzee.
3. Crayzee gets you out of jail.
4. Jail gets you out of jail, pretty quick; there're other folks that want a ride.

Turk Turon said...

Fifteen years ago the New England Journal of Medicine published one of their infamous "gun-control" studies.
Ten years later the authors finally got around to publishing their raw data. Turns out that many of the "gun deaths" were actually stabbings. The authors categorized them as gun deaths because the victim owned a gun. In fact, only 45% of the homicides in the study were shootings, but they were all categorized as "gun-related" because the victim owned a gun.
I understand the concept of statistical "risk-factor" analysis, but it seemed to me that since it was almost a certainty that every single one of the victims lived in a home where a knife was kept, that all of the homicides could have been just as easily attributed to knife ownership. And using the same "risk-factor" rationale.

Matthew said...

How dare you introduce logic and reason into a political discussion! For shame!

brbiswrite said...

"Here's a different idea: How about not letting convicted felons that are known to be crazy as bedbugs wander around in public where they can buy knives. And cars. And gasoline. And matches. And rope. And any other thing they want."

Once upon a time we used to do just that. But in the interest of lower taxes, smaller gov't, and individual rights, we dumped them all on the street. As we used to say in fifth grade: "Smooth move, Ex-Lax."

Unintended consequences? You get what you pay for? I dunna know, how is it working?

Tam said...

Matt G,

I think we need to:

1) Re-stigmatize actual crazy. Part of the problem with the normalization of bugnuts is that the voices-hearing psychotic is seen as no better or worse than the overstressed housewife or depressed office worker; they're all just sick people who need help. Except help for the latter should be a pshrink and maybe some meds, and help for the former should be a lifetime rental at the rubber Ramada and a steady diet of pancakes and flounder.

2) Lack of space in the jails? You know how I feel about that. I think that our priorities of who stays incarcerated and who rides the Merry-Go-Round of revolving door justice are seriously out of whack.

Tam said...


"As we used to say in fifth grade: "Smooth move, Ex-Lax.""

What's funny about that is how quick the lefties in the media are to point a finger at Reagan and not notice the three pointing right back at Kesey and Forman.

brbiswrite said...


Thanks for the lesson. I had to look up Kesey and Forman. But it was just a movie/book. (Saw it, I did) Reagan could ACT.

I know I come across as a leftie, but don't throw me in that pool. I have no friends there, either.


Tam said...

"But it was just a movie/book."

No, it was part of a movement. A movement that said that just because someone is receiving messages to kill from planet Krypton, there's no reason to deprive them of their civil rights.

brbiswrite said...


Yes, it was a movement. Many who deserved to be in state hospitals were housed alongside those who may have attempted suicide or just had the fortunes of life overwhelm them.

But the politicians (I hate them all)saw it as a way to get re-elected in the name of fiscal responsibility. Let the charities and do-gooders take up the slack.

Other movements at the time: Back to the land: I put our family of four living in a tent in a campground. T-groups or group therapy, another movement (thus the Ex-lax reference.)

I am BRB, still paying the price.

Mark said...


I suppose one of the side-benefits of letting pants-on-head crazy people roam around is that people like me don't have to eternally moderate our behaviour and pretend to be normal (that is, like the Great and Moral Majority (hahahaha, I made funny)) to evade incarceration.

After all, who gets to decide what crazy is? That's right, kids! The Peepul! Want to put your right to do as you will in their arbitrary, capricious hands? You know - more so than it already is.


Can't win.

José Giganté said...

You can't lock up all the lip-flippin' loonies Tam, who'd vote for Obama or Hills?

Less said...

One thing I learned was never pee in a urinal.


If you can't take the stall, wash your hands and keep looking in the mirror until you can take the stall.

If there is a line, find a different bathroom.

Rabbit said...

A little situational awareness goes a long way.

I've worked in 'state hospitals' and trust me, there are folks who are there for a good reason. I've met women who killed their children and men who dismembered a household because they were home. Every day that I got in my car and drove out the gates I was glad that the facility was open and sought to find ways to expand it.
The trouble is, some folks think these people would do better in a 'community setting' out among the Rest Of The World.

See ref.ex., Bernard Allen.


Less said...

This is, um, totally off topic, but I'm tagging you.

the pawnbroker said...

well, ya'll can keep debating on whose rights need protecting most; the loons or the for me, while i'm keeping an eye on my surroundings, i'm also keeping a hand close to my carry-on; a maniac with a knife might still get to me first, but i'm taking a gun to that knifefight...maybe they can learn more about his "illness" from the brain of his freakin' cadaver...jtc

The Duck said...

Well you can never really keep weapons out of their hands, & you can't likely in the real world lock them all up all the time.
But it was handled well here:

Billy Beck said...

I recently had a very brief encounter with an Objectivist moron who held that "guns have no purpose but to kill" because that was the essence of their design. ("Form follows function," rot.) It was astounding to me that this asshole, experienced with technical philosophy, was committing essentially the same error that Ayn Rand had corrected in Aristotle. (She was the first one in history to do this, placing the concept of "essence" in epistemology where it properly belongs, instead of metaphysics.) Pointing out that all knowledge is contextual (another key Objectivist insight), I noted that a baseball bat is a weapon, too, in context.

I wonder when the stupid sonofabitch is going to come out for knife control.

I swear to Christ: some days, I'd just as soon watch this whole thing fall right over on the heads of people like that. They're not worth saving.

Jeff said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels a tad bit of vulnerability standing there at the urinal with my pants undone and my back to anyone who comes in the room. I was starting to think I was just paraniod.

Gregg said...

I've used urinals in multiple countries and basically I just kick up to condition orange if anyone steps into a danger zone. Admittedly, I choose which urinal, or which portion of the wall or trough to utilise, from a defensive standpoint.

Sadly, what I see as the second best outcome, A bystander putting a round through the head of the goblin, is not currently wise.

There is crazy, then there is crazy and a danger to others. In the former case, who cares if they live in a residential program? In the latter, if the family won't take responsibility then the dangerous psychotic needs to be put down. Admittedly that is a fine line so it is best if it happens in the midst of the commission of a crime.

Oh, yeah I am against warehousing people. Fine them, whip them or kill them. Don't imprison them. The first two options allow and even encourage a person to rehabilitate. The latter two do not.

DirtCrashr said...

Hey cool! My wife's grandma was bra-on-the-head crazy, around town jabber-talker. The institutions (Agnews) and therapies (electroshock) didn't correct the cobwebs and things in her upstairs. She never hurt nobody but she never had access to a gun either - everything was kinda up to her, how it went down. In the end benign neglect at home was kinda the final "institutional response" and she passed away there without a lot of drama.

the pawnbroker said...

munchkin wrangler's current post adds a new wrinkle to this debate, as to how to deal with juvenile behaviors without assigning adult consequences and/or rewards...interesting. jtc

Geoff said...

What scares me is that someone very well might decide that they need to protect us from the dangers of knives and eventually the deady "Assault Blade."

What irks the daylights out of me is that the idiot behind the counter sold a guy who was acting strangely a knife. I work retail and we post signs saying we reserve the right to refuse service for a reason. I'd be hard pressed not to terminate an employee who demonstrated such a lack of judgment. Even at the barest minimum, the second he unwrapped the knife and headed toward the mall, it's time to alert store security that a problem was rapidly in the offing.

Tam said...

"What scares me is that someone very well might decide that they need to protect us from the dangers of knives and eventually the deady "Assault Blade.""

It's already happening in civilized countries like the UK.

jimbobob86 said...

"What scares me is that someone very well might decide that they need to protect us from the dangers of knives and eventually the deady "Assault Blade.""

"It's already happening in civilized countries like the UK."

Is that the same UK that has the the Capital that natives keep referring to as Londinistan, because it resembles a third world county more and more all the time? Just askin...

Mark said...


Yes, that would be here. It's illegal to carry a panoply of knives, and pubs, schools and the like are in the throes of installing "knife arches" (spare me!).


The rules are, of course, so wobblicious and vague as to autoparody. You can only carry a knife in public if you can convince the cop stopping-and-searching you that "you have a good reason". By his definition, not by yours.

Amazingly and astoundingly, violent crime continues to accelerate. I just don't understand - how can there be so many shootings and stabbings when guns and knives are illegal? Why aren't criminals, violent types and psychopaths paying attention to the laws? Shame on them for not playing fair!

Don't worry though - next month, we'll ban them even more and then our Socialist Utopia will know peace, prosperity and equality for all! Yes!

It's no bloody wonder I drink so much.

perlhaqr said...


"I just bought it, officer, I'm carrying it home."

and then:

"I didn't care for it, officer, I'm returning it to the store."

Lather, rinse, repeat. :D

DoubleTapper said...

Here in Israel,Knife wielding terrorists are getting more popular every day.

But a Rabbi with a gun did what had to be done
...and saved lives.

Gun's do save lives in Israel. Don't they in America?

DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

the pawnbroker said...

hey, tam: i know this is an old article but it'll never be old news until personal carry rights are universal and unabridged.

breda's recent post directly connects to this one;

the question is, is there really any alternative to personal defense? if the guy in the mall restroom is armed and trained, he's in for a bad time but he's probably alive today. if breda had taken her friend to the deserted, book-walled 900's and he's not just an allen? if she's got her purse and necessary contents she's on the news but as a hero, not a bled out corpse.

ahh, but there's that sign; she can't be armed and that is what is dangerous. no police response could have helped in either of these scenarios. no reasoning with prescribed behavioral response is going to help; pleading, crying, cooperating? please. and what manner of physical defense is likely to overcome a size/weight advantage and/or a big ol' knife?

so there's the answer, the only one, really. i'm at our north georgia mountain place for a few weeks, and the gov here is on the verge of a gun rights law, protecting a licensed individuals right to carry his firearm without arbitrary individual exemptions such as gun in car on employer property...we'll see how the details work out, but it sure is a positive step.

and the focus of all of us who believe personal responsibility for first response to threats to our lives and loved ones has to be as always, vehement support of the constitution and vigilant oversight of efforts to nickle and dime, nibble and nudge, defile and debase those rights.

and the outcome benefits all, not least of which are the folks among us who are allens, and they are many...some born and/or bred, some created by the misguided benevolence of entitlements...and the thousand of them who just are what they are could receive, if not respect, then at least a bit of empathy, understanding, maybe even guidance, instead of fear, averted eyes, and rudeness.

and the one in a thousand who is the unwound, unchained, unbridled psychotic with no reason not to kill and every reason to believe his victim is defenseless (hell, the sign says so!)? he's in for a fast, rude societal solution when the guy in that restroom or the lady in the back rows of the library takes first responsibility for first response and puts a +p through his demented brain. jtc