Law and Order

Editorial: Some Thoughts on the NYC Hatchet Attack

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The Eastwing Camper’s Axe: Used by thousands of people for decades for bushcraft and camp chores. Used yesterday by a jihadi nutjob to attack 4 police officers.

Last night’s news was so wrapped up in the NYC Ebola case that yesterday’s NYC hatchet attack flew under my radar until this morning . I would have posted something when it was breaking news had I caught it. The more grievously wounded officer remains in critical condition and we  send our prayers for his recovery as well as for the bystander struck by an errant police bullet who likewise remains critical.

The biggest news today regarding the incident is that the NYPD has the cojones to actually admit that this incident was an act of Islamist terrorism and not “workplace violence” or other politically correct nonsense. They deserve a Bronx cheer for that courageous act.

New York State knife laws suck, and without preemption, NYC’s are among the most draconian in the world. The Manhattan DA’s office has made great theater out of busting Home Depot and other retailers, by willfully misinterpreting the term “gravity knife”. If this misguided crusade against private business were not bad enough, people who have been innocently carrying these common folding knives have spent many years in jail (See David’s excellent post here).  Of course if you are a celebrity like Stephen Colbert, you can qualify for the David Gregory treatment and escape prosecution.

 

I honestly have no idea what the rules are regarding axe possession in NYC. I did a little Google-fu and drew a blank, at least on anything I consider adequately sourced for publication.  I would love to know if you could go into REI or a hardware store and simply buy one. Modell’s, NYC’s iconic sporting goods store does offer two axes on their website, but in a sense it is irrelevant. Even if these “evil” tools are verboten, this fact certainly didn’t stop the perpetrator. Even if the District Attorney held a press conference to announce that he was shaking down charging REI with peddling weapons to citizens without an NICS check, even if he managed to remove all of the axes from Modell’s; he would then need to ban all of the baseball bats as well.

Yesterday’s attack featured a hatchet, but a bat could have just as easily left an officer with a critical head wound. There were two fatal jihadi attacks in Canada this week, one of which used a car. No matter what object you chose to ban, there will always be some item which can be used to cause harm. Failing that, bare hands have been the weapon of choice in countless acts of violence throughout history. No tool acts on it’s own. It is an extension of an evil mind.

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Not your Father’s Eastwing Camper’s Axe. (photo from nydailynews.com)

There is also the “Good-Guy with a Gun Factor”.  We have commented before on the NYPD’s tendency to accidentally wound civilians. Whether that is mostly due to population density, to lack of practice, or to the complete eradication of “gun-culture” in the city is something that I can’t answer, but it is some permutation of the three. The fact remains that the only thing that stopped this psycho was being shot. Obviously, the crime deterrent aspects of CCW laws are not in play when the perp is seeking martyrdom. However, had he chosen civilian targets instead of armed police, there is no telling the carnage that he could have caused. The honest people of NYC deserve self defense laws that protect their right to carry whatever tool they desire. The bad guys tend to ignore the laws forbidding this.

Discussion

3 responses to ‘Editorial: Some Thoughts on the NYC Hatchet Attack

  1. In many places the treatment of edged tools by the law is based on intent rather than a straight legal / illegal possession approach. I’d guess that New York would use a similar approach where axes would not be controlled because society views them more as tools than weapons, but a person could not openly carry one on a city street without having some explaining to do to the cops.

    Where I’m from you see gardeners on their way to work in the morning openly carrying machetes with the blade wrapped in newspaper. It’s never carried by the handle – always by the blade or on the outside of an equipment bag. It’s those little things which flip it from being illegal to legal.

    • i bet my paycheck if you used a forklift to run around skewering things, it would be “weaponized” by the Media.

      Problem is, anything, including your bare hands, can be used as a weapon. The approach to making weapons illegal is wrong in essence. The punishment for harming people and property should be focused, not what item they used.

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