Opponents to a ban on guns voiced their concern for a need to register knives after a knifing which took place on the Lone Star College campus in Texas injured 14 students. It does make total sense that a knife is a lethal weapon just as much as a gun is. Is it a justified question though to ask, “Do we need to register our knives?”
There is a chart at the government Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) on the following PDF
In this chart is a listing of the use of weapons in violent incidents reported during the year of 2009. It shows that there were 326,090 firearms used in violent crimes during that year and that there were 235,380 incidents of a knife being used in a violent crime during the same year. There was no listed report of firearms being used in sexual assaults however it reports that there were 10,480 incidents of a knife being used with a sexual assault.
The registering or banning of knives would be impossible. Just as with removing guns from law abiding citizens will not decrease the use of a gun by criminals, removing knives would not decrease the incidence of stabbings. Many objects can be used, or made into a knife. A person could (it has happened) use an ink pen as a lethal weapon to stab someone.
According to reports of the stabbing incident at the Lone Star College the suspect told authorities that he has had fantasies of stabbing people to death since he was a child. The problem in this case is not the knife but the fantasies that were acted upon. A knife is an innate object that can do no harm in and of itself just as a gun cannot walk up to a person and fire itself without aide, neither can a knife.
A fantasy alone is harmless. A fantasy on paper or in some one’s mind is only a thought. It is what we do with our thoughts that can cause problems. When a person has such thoughts they are referred to as ideations. An ideation can be intrusive and difficult to put out of a person’s mind. Many people are tempted to do things that are wrong. All healthy people are tempted at times to give in to temptations. The strength of will power and personal conviction to resist temptations is what determines the ability to avoid giving in to ideations. Healthy people can do this naturally with little effort. People who struggle with illness find it very hard to defuse an ideation.
How does a healthy person resist a temptation? A person who is tempted to drink will stay away from alcohol. If a married person is tempted to have an affair then they have to avoid being around whom they are attracted to. It is possible to avoid such temptations. Those temptations are easier to deal with than an ideation in the mind of someone who has a mental illness. For example, a person who is suicidal will be inundated with ideations of ways to end their life. Everything the suicidal person sees in their environment becomes a means to cease their existence. Their ideations can be many and constant. It can be impossible to avoid all objects which can tempt them. So the coping skill of avoidance becomes less powerful. The intensity can be so severe that they have to be protected from themselves.
If you are a person struggling with ideations there are some things you can do to help yourself overpower the ideations. 1) Use positive Self Talk. Tell yourself that you are strong enough to resist. Remind yourself that you are a good person and will not do something like that. 2) Occupy your mind with something else. Read a book, sing a song, listen to uplifting music, or memorize a positive saying or a poem to recite to yourself when tempted. 3) Stay busy. Find a hobby or sport that you can be involved in. Join a club or a group of people who are fun to be around. Avoid being alone. 4) Seek help. If you are struggling with powerful ideations then don’t try to face them alone. Talk to someone about your ideations. Speak to a family member or a counselor or to your church leader. There is help available if you look for it. There are many non-profit organizations that can help. Try using the AA program; it can be applied to any type of weakness.
If you are a family member or a friend of a person struggling with ideations you may not know of their struggles. Most people do a very good job of hiding the fact that they are having ideations. There are signs to watch for though. They may show avoidance of objects, such as guns and knives or they may do the opposite and be overly attracted to such things. If they are attracted then they will likely be constantly talking about them or collecting them. If they appear to be a danger to themselves or to others then they need to be encouraged to see a counselor. If they make verbal threats or start acting upon their ideations then the time to encourage is past and its time that they are assisted in getting help. Most people will resist such assistance out of fear. It is important that their fears be addressed. If they realize that it is safe to get help then they will be more cooperative.
Being supportive to your struggling relative or friend is very important. Help them keep busy doing normal constructive things and let them know that they are not alone. Most people who struggle with a mental illness feel very isolated and alone. Such isolation increases the risk that they will act upon dangerous ideations.
In this world of fear that our country is finding itself in there is a great need to find the source of the problem. Banning guns or any other weapon will not solve the problem. Our children will not be safer with fewer guns or less knives. Society will not improve by removing tools. Weapons are just that, a tool. The problem lies with the individual who uses the tool. As a people we need to help each other improve our mental health. Violent games and violent videos only increase the problem by feeding ideations. Shunning people who are different only causes more negative feelings and problems. Failing to teach good morals because of a fear of offending the politically correct will only lead to a society of people with a weak will power and poor personal convictions. By all of us helping those who struggle our country can become a safer place.