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July 21, 2008
Scary Knife Makes for Great Newspaper Headlines
Who can not feel a little chill of fear after reading this: "Britain on alert for deadly new knife with exploding tip that freezes victims' organs."
Yes, it's real. The knife is designed for people who need to drop large animals quickly: sharks, bears, etc.
I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though.
EDITED TO ADD (7/24): Knife crime is rising in the UK.
Posted on July 21, 2008 at 6:12 AM
• 63 Comments
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> I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though.
Because most people ignore the fact that any normal kitchen knife is a deadly weapon.
People fear the new & unknown, while they ignore the dangers of everyday objects.
They're just looking after something else to fear -- and scare citizens about.
> I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though.
It's the Daily Mail - don't pay too much attention to it (especially as you're a Johnny Foreigner, and therefore probably an immigrant scrounging off British benefits or a terrorist)
> "I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though."
Britain presumably isn't, given that the article is from the Daily Mail. The paper is well known for hysterical scaremongering at every turn. Witness the lovingly-quoted bit of unsourced conclusion-jumping from a nameless commentator: "I think it is only a matter of time before one of these is used because the internet makes it much easier to find and buy weapons like this."
Note that while the headline proclaims the country to be 'on alert', the actual article makes it pretty clear that the Met have basically received an informational briefing about the weapon.
We interrupt this fear mongering for a public announcement: sharks are considered fish. Thank you for your time. We now return you to the breaking panic over exotic exploding knife-tips.
The daily mail loves publishing stories to scare the shit out of middle-class Britain.
The government loves making bad laws to reassure middle-class Britain, because they are considered the swing-voters in UK elections that actually choose who wins.
We've reached a point now, that a 16 year old caught carrying a swiss-army penknife will likely end up with a criminal record and be unemployable for the rest of their life. :(
> I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though.
Because you got the article from the Daily Mail. Somebody sent them a link to one of these knives so they made up a story.
Unusual that they didn't manage to get something about asylum seekers in the headline though...
2nd comment, "maybe(sic) put to good use against terrorists and other warmongers"
I bet on an "asylum seeker" ref. within the first 10.
> It's the Daily Mail - don't pay too much attention to it
Keith: however repugnant the Daily Mail is, it is one of the most influential newspaper in the UK.
Its scaremongering, its racism and its generally disgraceful articles have echoes everywhere around here: next thing you know, the government will put forward a ban or licensing system for fishing equipment and will have broad support in parliament. I wish that was a joke.
"The knife is designed for people who need to drop large mammals quickly: sharks, bears, etc."
This sentence is confusing, do you mean that sharks are large mammals, or that sharks and bears are example of people needing to drop large mammals?
Hey now, NM.
In the USA, our constitution guarantees us the right to weapons just like those that bears use. And to castles.
"keep and bear arms."
It's because of the 'knife crime epidemic'. Any time there is an knife crime anywhere in the country it is reported to the extreme - despite the stats saying that this isn't more common. However, the perception is that it's more common.
Couple this with the fact that the Daily Mail (a paper known for it's 'middle England' prejudices) and hopefully you can see why we're 'On Alert' (though it is the first I heard about it).
Last year it was guns. Before that it was paedophilia.
Don't take anything you read in the Daily Mail seriously, no one over here does.
This is par for the course for them, publishing pointless scare mongering stories to ramp up fear. Tomorrow it will be immigrants and then probably the impending breakout of the bubonic plague on Wednesday.
Its just like the panic over the citizenry having guns; if you are killed with one of these ueber-knives you dont resurrect back from death like you do if you are killed by a regular knife or a brick or a car or a baseball bat or a screwdriver or a spear or a tire iron or a stainless steel kitchen sink or a having a safe dropped on you or ....
Does anyone know where I can buy one of these?
@ "why Britain is on alert"
In London 50 people (including 20 teenagers) have been slained with (normal, old fashioned) knifes so far . There is a lot of news and discussion about knifes as weapons, so Britain seems to be on alert regarding anything that is knife-related.
BTW, this sure is quite a curl weapon, and the manufacturer is advertising it not just for hunting and fishing but also for the use of military and S.W.A.T .
My two cents:
1) Britain is *not* on alert
2) the piece is just marketing disguised as news --and quite good at that as we see.
Bruce, kudos for your blog, it's just as terrific as your books.
> Don't take anything you read in the
> Daily Mail seriously, no one over here
Except for your rulers.
Bruce the reason for this 'worry' is the recent amount of stabbings we've had in this country. I dunno if you can watch any UK news channels but if you can give them a go, we currently have a new stabbing at least every other day...
"It's because of the 'knife crime epidemic'. Any time there is an knife crime anywhere in the country it is reported to the extreme - despite the stats saying that this isn't more common. However, the perception is that it's more common."
No that's right it's just people's imagination that someone gets stabbed to death every other day. And it's all just the media blowing everything out of proportion, stabbings have obviously always occured at this frequency.
Or you could be one of the three idiots in the country who still believe government statistics. While we're on that, did you know inflation is still only 3%??
Incidentally pretty much your entire post is bogus, it's only when people are stabbed TO DEATH that the media go beserk on it, recently someone was stabbed outside a convenience store in a small country town near me, this was mentioned on the local news but did not get mentioned AT ALL in the national news.
The Daily Mail?
It's a rubbish sensationalist paper - it peddles headlines because it sells papers to idiots.
Murk, I don't think you made your point very well in the post above, cos I followed your link and read your article on this subject and I tend to agree with your thoughts... (Yes I was also a scout, and a keen fisherman in my youth, a penknife was essential!)
Question for you - do you actually believe government statistics?
"I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though."
Since it's from the Daily Heil, I presume it's the culmination of a series of articles describing how paedophile, immigrant drug dealers are using them to stab upstanding members of the community in order to:
(i) Steal their jobs.
(ii) Sell drugs to their teenage children.
(iii) Eat their pets.
(iv) Molest their younger children.
"Who can not feel a little chill of fear after reading this: "Britain on alert for deadly new knife with exploding tip that freezes victims' organs." "
Maybe you were being ironic yourself, but the only thing I felt when reading that was "wow, that sounds like it's straight out of the Onion".
The NY Times recently said that England has had an increasing number of knifing deaths that have caused the authorities concern.
>I have no idea why Britain is on alert for it, though.
Because there's likely a cold, bleeding, angry sharkbear nearby.
Zorro: "No that's right it's just people's imagination that someone gets stabbed to death every other day"
No, it's people's imagination that anything has changed in the last 10~15 years. Knife crime is at the same incidence it has always been, and knife fatalities is roughly the same it has always been. There were roughly 250 knife deaths last year, there will most likely be roughly 250 knife deaths this year, and there were roughly 250 knife deaths in the late 1990's. And this in a population of 60 million and growing. In contrast, there were roughly 3,000 car deaths last year, yet the likes of Jeremy Clarkson can complain in the Sun - who are so rabidly anti-"yoof" - about speed cameras.
It's manufactured hysteria: it sells papers, and utterly distorts the truth.
"Because most people ignore the fact that any normal kitchen knife is a deadly weapon."
Fear not. The British constabulary knows this, and has for some time been mounting a campaign to ban the sale of kitchen knives with pointed tips.
Maybe people would feel better if more blunt objects were used in murders. The murder rate is not going to be lowered by outlawing goofy knives. People are crazy and hate each other.
I must admit, I find the ongoing debate about knives in the UK somewhat perplexing. The leader of the Conservative Party wants mandatory jail time for anyone caught carrying one. Editors at the BBC argue that the problem may be overblown. To me, it seems like what people are missing is the fundamental difference between knives and weapons. Obviously, a knife can be used as a weapon. So can a hammer, umbrella, or fork. While we rightly appreciate that it is illegitimate use of the latter that is problematic (and addressed through laws against assault, uttering threats, etc), it seems important to remember that use-as-a-weapon is aberrant, rather than to be expected.
Assuming that someone is carrying a knife as a weapon strikes me as unfair, as well as a reversal of the presumption of innocence. The onus must be on the authorities to prove malicious intent, rather than upon the individual to prove their intentions benign.
"Fear not. The British constabulary knows this, and has for some time been mounting a campaign to ban the sale of kitchen knives with pointed tips."
This is supposedly the origin of the fork - some British King banned pointy knives out of fear of assassination.
"This is supposedly the origin of the fork"
I guess something good comes out a stupid idea once in a while. The fork is the greatest eating utensil of all time.
Wow: "a needle in the tip of the blade shoots out the frozen ball of gas which instantly balloons to the size of a basketball, freezing organs."
It's twenty years since I last studied a science, but I'm intrigued by this frozen gas (in ball form) ballooning to the size of a basketball. I don't think it will so much freeze the victims organs as propel them everywhere.
Then again, I suspect the damage will already have been done, what with it being a knife in close contact with one's vital organs.
If you enjoy tabloid newspapers rewriting the laws of science, why not drop by Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column - http://www.badscience.net
No matter what happens exactly to my organs, I have to admit to admit to being creeped out about being stabbed with that thing. It's overkill on a person really, but I can see where it would help if you needed to fend off something that would normally scoff at a human with a knife.
Given that sharks -- even the mammalian ones, I presume -- are sea creatures, I would expect the sudden appearance of a large gas bubble in their body cavity to cause them not to drop, but to rise. Quite rapidly.
Another knife/stabbing epidemic? I seem to remember several of these in the past. Doesn't help when officials say things like this:
"The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, today urged Londoners to 'pull together' after four fatal stabbings within 24 hours across the capital."
Pull together? The Telegraph points out that the chances of getting stabbed are high for certain segments:
"Up to 60,000 young people, mostly male, may be stabbed and injured each year, the equivalent of more than 160 victims a day, according to a worst-case estimate for knife violence in England and Wales.
Taking out the knife violence which occurs in the home in domestic attacks, the pattern of "public" knife violence shows, in the words of a report from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College, London: "Knife, like other violent crime, is suffered most by the young, the poor and the black and ethnic minority communities.""
No word on the risk if you are a shark or a bear.
I have to agree. Used offensively against humans, this is just gadget wankery. If you want to kill someone with a knife, you don't want to stop stabbing to push a button. If you scored a hit deep enough that the compressed charge would hurt the guy, the way to finish him would be to quickly sink a few dozen more blows just like it as fast as you can. This technique has worked just fine for centuries.
This weapon only makes sense to me underwater, where water resistance prevents fast movements and one hit against a shark has to count. So, basically this toy combines a dive knife with a really short bang-stick (shark-stick) for a weapon of last resort against hostile fish.
"The knife is designed for people who need to drop large mammals quickly: sharks, bears, etc."
"This sentence is confusing, do you mean that sharks are large mammals, or that sharks and bears are example of people needing to drop large mammals?"
No, they mean it's for killing people who have it in for large mammals. ;-)
Davi Ottenheimer: "The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, today urged Londoners to 'pull together' after four fatal stabbings within 24 hours across the capital."
"Pull together" ?
Reminds me of a Terry Pratchet quote: "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all different directions". (From the book, "The Truth")
The youtube video makes it look like it needs too much force to trigger to be that useful... though maybe the guy just didn't want to accidentally blow it into his hand.
For use against mammalian sharks the product website claims it'll float the shark up, before blood starts pouring out, putting the blood pool away from the diver - something that seems useful given what I've seen of sharks on discovery channel...
What is it with self-defense videos focused on watermelons? First the umbrella, now the exploding knife tip.
I think someone needs to start a People for the Ethical Treatment of Melons (PETM) organization to protest this senseless waste of innocent fruit.
@ Alexander Else
Cool site. They say "a clear pattern between teenage murders and deprivation emerges" but fail to specify where/how they see the pattern...
I see plenty of deprived areas (including my old neighborhood) that have no teenage murders.
The most clear thing to me is to stay away from roads. Every spot with a murder, there also seems to be a road. Pavement, to be exact. Stay away from pavement. This would indicate parks are safe-havens, but something tells me the map could mislead on this.
Wonder if we could map vending machines? It could be vending machines that we should be afraid of (apologies to Steve Martin).
Injection of pressurized air (well, CO2) is used in some existing antishark "bang sticks." It's gruesomely effective.
If the UK ever undergoes a surge in crimes by cane, I predict trouble.
Well, now we have to take away everyone's knives. What will we spread butter with?
This sort is definitely more deadly than common knives. It's not that easy to actually kill a man with a knife and it's even more difficult to do it _instantly_. And there are many cases when one wants to kill instantly (and silently).
Can the U.K. require padlocks on the knife drawers? Or perhaps a locking sheath? Thirty day waiting period to buy a kitchen knife? Or a computer registry with a no-buy list?
Or . . . (gasp) decriminalize firearms?
I really feel for the armored car guys in the U.K. Talk about dangerous work. Your opponents have automatic rifles. You have a hand held alarm.
For those not from the UK thinking "what the..." we currently have a minor political problem here.
We had a Prime Minister (Tony "the japanapes" Blair) who founded "Nu Labour" and surounded himself with a bunch of inefectual ministers who's only (apparent) usefulness was to take the blaim when the japanapes policies failed.
Tony finaly realised the game was up and "retired" to become a middle east envoy who's first action was to declare he had become a "Roman Catholic"...
On leaving Tony basicaly gave the position of Prime Minister to Gordon "The bottler" Brown, who had previously run the Treasury. How ever his inability to act (except by bullying) has shown that his feet are not even as substantial as clay...
Worse for him it is now abundently clear he was not actually any good at running the UK's finances and has pushed the country into the start of what may be a very major recesion of the sort that has not been seen since the 1970's.
Put simply nobody but a lifelong Labour Supporter would place a bet on him surviving the next election. Even "The bottler" himself gives the impression he knows very well he has blown it and Labour has not got a prayer of being re-elected.
Her Magesties "Official Oposition" is (currently) the "Conservative Party" also known as the Tory Party. A lot of their supporters are the aging "Middle England" "Blue rinse brigade" of "ladies who lunch" and their inner city contemparies known as "the chattering class". The Tory men are supposed to read the "Telegraph" and their "women folk" the "Daily Mail". These newspapers are also known as the "torygraph" and the "Daily Fail" due to their dwinderling readership (probably due to them dropping dead of old age).
The Tories have recently had a modernisation similar to a face lift, resulting in a problem Labour (colour Red) and Conservatives (blue) realy have little or nothing to tell them apart which is why you here the phrase "purple politics" every now and again. To demonstrate how little the two parties understand of the general populace the solution they try is to be "Tougher on crime" than each other and the results are predictably idiotic.
This also accounts for why we have a rapidly rising prison population while the crime statistics are dropping (which of course would have nothing to do with senior Police officers getting significant bonus pay if they do drop, so no conflict of interest there then).
The proplem is we cannot house these "new prisoners" as we just cannot cram any more than three people into a prison cell designed for one.
Solutions touted by Labour include prison ships and Titan Prisons designed to house 10,000 or more prisoners in one institution.
The people who know something about the business of "banging prisoners up" the Judges and prison officers have repeatedly indicated the proposed political policies cannot work but they get ignored for the next "headline grabing" piece of spin that might move one party further up the polls than the other...
Thankfully we have not yet progressed to the stage of out right charecter assination but I think that will start after "The bottler" finaly anounces when the next "General Election" will take place.
As I have noted befor on this blog in the UK we do not have democracy we have "representational democracy" where you vote for a "monkey in a suite" who then goes on to stick their nose well and trully in the trough on the gravy train. They politicos have just awarded themselves a 14% pay rise (they had 40% not so long ago) whilst insisting everyone else gets less than inflation. Oh and they had a "second home" alowance system that enabled them to claim tax free money each year over and above their other income equivalent to the average UK household income. Due to extream bad publicity they have just agreed that it should go down to around 2500GBP (5000USD).
For many of us in the UK we are hoping that politicians quickly join the Dodos and other spiecies that are irreversably extinct...
"...and has pushed the country into the start of what may be a very major recession of the sort that has not been seen since the 1970's."
...which by astonishing coincidence was the last time Labour were in power.
@Clive Robinson: Your lot have to vote themselves raises? How common. Over here ours have it set to automatically go up every year, like clockwork; that way they can all wring their hands and complain about government waste while having it shoveled into their pockets with both hands.
@Boc McBob "We've reached a point now, that a 16 year old caught carrying a swiss-army penknife will likely end up with a criminal record and be unemployable for the rest of their life. :("
I think - at least I hope not. It is not illegal to carry a knife per se. Specifically, folding blades (which do not lock open) and have a blade length of less than 3" are perfectly acceptable tools to carry. Oh - they can't be auto openers either.
@milan - Well said sir!
I carry a small "gentleman's folder" with me at all times.
Please consider the source :) British "news" is notorious for being dramatic and a source of gossip...
I'm amused by their disclaimer: "WASP Injection Systems, Inc. does not condone the killing of innocent creatures."
Are there "guilty creatures"?
I mean other than humans. . .
Am I the only one who bothered to look at the website, and notice that it has a section for military/tactical uses? To help our fighting men and women overseas, as it were? Please consider that I'm not shouting panic, but it is by no means far-fetched to say that the makers have considered the anti-personnel potential, especially in terms of marketing. Laughing about sharkbears is all very nice, and I'm aware that plain old normal knives are easier to acquire, not to mention less easy to trace than a signature weapon of this sort, but it does have obvious human application. Being an ass is unnecessary, just as the risible panic-mode of this particular press is.
Consider: a weapon like this is used, with triggered-gas-injection, the body of the victim does what it does, leaves a distinctive forensic trace, and the police have an easier time because they aren't looking for just any knife. They're looking for a special weapon, possibly a discarded handle or cartridge, and plenty of fingerprint opportunities. A knife with all of the accoutrements and trace opportunities of a gun, how nice.
Remember the saying about "bringing a knife to a gunfight." If you have to get (or already are) close enough to a grizzly to stab it with a 6-inch blade, it's paws and bite can take you out about as easily. With a shark, maybe you could get it in the side, but with open jaws facing you, I'm not sure you'd want to stick your arm out and try. I'd rather have this sort of thing mounted on the end of a long stick.
What scares me the most would be accidentally stabbing oneself. I prefer to carry a diving knife with a blunt tip myself, but even a sharp-tipped one at least isn't going to explode my insides.
"A knife with all of the accoutrements and trace opportunities of a gun, how nice."
I suspect it will be the "status" criminals that will get them. Those with a little knowledge or ingenuity would use comanly available household items.
First consider that the idea of injecting gas is not very new. back in the late 1970's early 80's sombody invented the CO2 gas powered bottle opener. This had a fizzy drinks maker sized gas cylinder and a very nasty hollow needle you pushed right through the cork. Press the button and the injection of CO2 was sufficient to drive the cork from the bottle.
If I remeber correctly some less than plesant fellows from Scotland stuck one in an informant as punishment.
Also have you noticed how easy it is to take the spray button of lock de-icer and glue a short large gauge hyperdermic needle in it's place. Simply shove it in sombodies kneck etc for a quick injection of isopropal alcohol...
Or how about a spray canister of "ant killer" some contain nerve agents that I'm sure would have some effect if directly injected...
Finaly how about an ordinary hypo with a strong solution of "low salt" disolved in boiled and filtered water. (For those who do not know low salt is actually potasium chloride not sodium cloride). Apparently a sufficiently strong solution of potasium cloride is used as a leathal injection in some parts of the world as it stops the heart without causing problems to the other organs...
All of the above are easily obtained and easily disposed off often without any suspicion what so ever.
And as for those ideas as they say "there are plenty more where those came from"...
just wondering, where's the "kneck"? somewhere near the nee?
@Anonymous "just wondering, where's the "kneck"? somewhere near the nee?"
I suggest you pop down over to London and allow Clive to demonstrate with one of his suggestions.
"there are many cases when one wants to kill instantly (and silently)"
Uh, man, you're scaring me.
Please keep those voices *inside* your head, mkay?
"just wondering, where's the "kneck"?"
Ho hum, it looks like I'm getting famous for the wrong reasons ie my spelling mistakes...
Some are accidental others unfortunatly not (as the old joke says "dyslexia roles ko").
Also unfortunatly the keyboard I'm typing on is about three by one and a half inches on my mobile phone. My thumb however covers about seven keys at once, so the odd typo makes it in if I do not check. Sadly this mobile does not posess a spell checker so even if I do check quite a few get by 8(
Last decade could be described:
from "Where do you want to go today?" to "What do you want to ban today?"
They have a point - if I have to deal with a pissed off shark/bear (worse yet both) I want to do it 72 miles away from an air conditioned remote control facillity using a hellfire-armed predator UAV. Screw that up close and personal stuff.
"Freezing" comes from the fact that the expanding gas needs energy, which it will take from the environment. Ever seen serious tournament paintball on humid day ? Even the nitrogen tanks get frost on them (CO2 is practically not used in the tourney scene, but that has even more profound freezing problem).
As for this particular knife, I could see use for it as last resort if I was diving in places with overly aggressive sharks (usually shark attacks are mistake on the sharks part, they see hand or foot [or something slightly fish, eg. triagle, shaped on your suit, there is one particular color one is advised to avoid, called "yum yum yellow"] and think it's fish, and get really confused when they find out there's more attached to it). If you see the shark coming you can probably avoid it and use a weapon (sharks have rather specific attack patterns).
Land animals not so much use, in general it's easy to make them just avoid you or simply leave you alone.
I doubt the gas discharge is anywhere near silent enough for "covert" operations, and there many ways to the lungs with conventional knife (hard to scream with collapsed lung, also hard to get the ever so necessary oxygen to fight back, so it matters not if dying takes its time).
One of my instructors has a saying (probably not originally his) "there are no winners in a knife fight" (referring to cases where both parties are competent, basically even if you "win" expect to get cut several times and probably stabbed too).
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