Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Case Against Deterrence

My Friends,
   I bought a knife.  A 9.25″ Ka-Bar partly serrated knife to be specific.  It replaces the 12″ version which I lost when I got robbed last September in Madeira.  I waited for it in the mail for about two weeks and needless to say I was so excited when I received it this past Thursday that I had to bring it into work to show my friends on Friday.
   So I did a little show & tell on Friday at lunch but instead of going home after work I had plans to go to Toronto and run some errands.  After running said errands I ended up hanging out with a friend until past midnight.  By the time I got off the bus in Hamilton it was past 1 a.m. and I still had a 15 minute walk home.  I thought of my knife in my duffel bag and I wanted to hold it.  Now understand this didn’t owe to any feelings of insecurity; my neighbourhood is fairly safe and despite the advanced hour, there were still cars on the street and people within 100m of me.  Rather, I just wanted to hold my knife.  If you’ve never held a Ka-Bar, its a beautifully crafted knife, with a comfortable grip, an elegant aesthetic and a nice weight and balance.
   So I pulled out the knife (in its sheathe) and just kind of held it discreetly so that the intermittently passing vehicles had no cause for alarm.  I was wearing a large knee-length coat so I had no problem concealing it in my pocket.
   Something funny happened as I walked though; I began to think of instances where I would actually have cause to use the knife in my own defence.  These fantasies of repelling an attacker who didn’t suspect I was carrying a concealed weapon started playing themselves out in my head and I began to work out how quickly I could shed my bag, unclip my knife and draw it from its sheathe in order to ward off would-be attackers.
   Suddenly I became acutely aware of the footsteps around me: there was a girl about 50m back who had gotten off the bus with me and although I had passed and outpaced her, I quickened my pace to put more distance between us.  When I turned onto my own street (less lit than the main street I had been on) I nearly panicked when I realized there was a guy walking 20m behind me.  My breathing got heavier and I held my knife in my hand ready to pull it out and swing if necessary, all the while watching my shadow on the ground to make sure no other shadows came too close.
   As I got to my parking lot I looked behind me again and realized that the guy behind me had turned down a side-street probably a minute earlier and I had been dreading a mere phantom.  I felt foolish until I noticed someone walking on the catwalk which runs perpendicular to my sidewalk.  I quickened my pace again lest he had malicious intent and didn’t relax my heightened state of alertness until I was safely home and my door dead-bolted and chained.
   I think the moral of the story is pretty obvious.  Almost counter-intuitively, I feel much safer unarmed.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo


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