As the city of London under the stewardship of Mayor Sadiq Khan sees a vast rise in fatal stabbings, the argument of “control” rears its ugly head once more. It has become almost axiomatic to ban the latest weapon of choice for feral thugs, yet it is regular, law-abiding citizens that will be most restricted and ultimately harmed.
London now seeks to introduce new laws to manage the possession and purchase of knives, much in the same way as they did “acid” last year. As the gangs and criminals move on to new weapons each time one more is outlawed, we must ask the question…When does the control ever stop?
Crime and Criminals
Last year, the number of acid attacks in London rose again; a steep upward trend that is likely to continue. These disfiguring and disgusting attacks are portrayed as being with “acid,” but this obscures the reality. These are most often household cleaning products that ordinary people have in their homes. The British government solution to this problem was to introduce laws that banned children from buying acid products.
Clearly, this is a law that will have zero impact. First, it is not just under 18-year-olds that are committing these types of attacks. Second, the products sit under the sinks of almost everyone’s kitchen, just ready to be picked up. Is there a single person behind these new laws that really believe we will see even one less attack because of their actions?
And what of knives? The new laws being set up right now seek to:
- Ban the sale of knives online (yes, including butter knives and steak knives).
- Ban the delivery of knives to home addresses.
- Make it illegal to walk around with a so-called “zombie knife” (a knife that appears designed for person-to-person combat).
Idiocy in the Law
Over 13,000 knife attacks took place in London during 2017, a record that is well on its way to being beaten this year as the London murder rate overtakes New York City for the first time in 200 years. How many of the knives used in these horrendous attacks were either bought online, delivered to the attacker’s home, or were “zombie knives”?
The fact is that most knives used in attacks are sharp kitchen knives or utility knives that will in no way be impacted by the proposed laws.
A nation can not regulate its way out of a crisis such as this. When guns were banned, people turned to other weapons. When knives and kitchen products are banned, those intending to harm others will choose something else. Bike chains? Cars? Stones?
Addicted to Regulation
Regulation does not work. If it did, we would not see a rise in attacks. So, what is behind the government’s decision to keep making new laws? The idea that they are “seen to be doing something” appears to have been a priority over doing something.
Mayor Khan has announced that he is ready to get tough on knife crime in “his” city. He tweeted:
“No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”
To enforce this, he will begin a massive campaign of Stop & Search which will target those suspected of carrying weapons or of being engaged in criminal acts. In an odd twist of irony, one of Mayor Khan’s campaign pledges when seeking election was to reduce Stop & Search because he saw it as pointless and racially divisive.
The idea that more laws will make for a safer society does not hold water. It makes us more likely to be criminalized and negatively impacts those who follow the law. The criminals will find new ways to cause the damage they wish; it just means their victims will have no practical method with which to defend themselves.