What will happen to Col. Mustard in the dining room with the kitchen knife? It is not just Clue aficionados that will be effected by a new reform being proposed in England, pointy kitchen knives may soon be a thing of the past. A group associated with West Middlesex University Hospital is proposing a ban in the British Medical Journal on pointy kitchen knives as unnecessary from a culinary standpoint and downright dangerous from a crime standpoint.
The proponents of the ban insist that the ready availability of pointy kitchen knives are fueling injuries, particularly in cases involving alcohol and drugs where they are used as weapons.
The group interviewed 10 top chefs around England and none of the chefs described pointy knives as essential. They said that they could use small pointed knives instead that threaten a far less serious wound in an attack. There does remain of course the question of the cleaver which resembles a medieval weapon.
The group notes that 24% of 16-year-olds have been shown to carry weapons, primarily knives. I doubt though that those are kids carrying kitchen knives, which leads to the question if other knives like camping knives will also be banned.
One fact that I was not aware of was that the French ordered table and street knives ground smooth in the 17th Century and that blunt kitchen knives were decreed in England in the 18th Century. We have seen a steady stream of kitchen knife attacks like this one where the availability of the knives combines with momentary rage.
For many, the proposal is a continuation of England’s reputation as a growing “nanny state.” We have previously discussed (here and here and here and here) some English laws that do appear to micromanage the choices of adults in that country. Previously we saw how scissors were being regulated at English library in fear of people stabbing each other. This proposal does raise the interesting question of why kitchen knives have to be pointed. I can see an educational campaign to encourage people to move away from the use of such knives, but is a prohibition warranted?
Ironically, the move will be cited by NRA advocates who have long argued that once guns were regulated, advocates would move to control kitchen knives. The argument was treated as absurd but this proposal is now picking up steam inside and outside England.
Putting aside the personal choice issue, there is also the question of what Hollywood will do without the ever present kitchen knife to use in movies like Fatal Attraction. Somehow the blunt butter knife is not going to cut it, even in the hands of a furious Glenn Close. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow showed how a meat thermometer can be a perfect substitute in A Perfect Murder.
So what do you think? Is it time to disarm Col. Mustard . . . or if we outlaw kitchen knives, will only outlaws be able to chop and mince effectively?