By Nick “Novel” Gabanski
“Dangerous weapons are strictly prohibited within this building”
This is the sign upon a library with government-sanctioned offices sharing space. Now, I can understand the need for restriction of such items, especially in today’s society. However, there’s something terribly wrong with this sign.
Well, what exactly is a dangerous weapon? What makes a weapon dangerous? Surely, guns and knives immediately rise to mind, but what else constitutes as a “dangerous” weapon? If they’d said “dangerous objects,” that would make more sense. Or if they had specifically listed off certain items such as guns, knives, batons, tasers, pepper spray, etc., it would make more sense. However, they did not do that. They went with the redundant phrase “dangerous weapons”. Let’s take a minute and exam each word individually. You know, before we haphazardly slap them together in the same sentence in a half-hearted attempt at emphasis.
Dangerous: Typically meaning something that could cause harm or damage to oneself or someone else, usually resulting in injury or even death. Such things labelled as “dangerous” are things we are told to stay away from or not use for our safety.
Weapon: An object that has been specifically designed for intent/use of injuring, wounding, harming, and even killing another living organism, such as another person. Such items are typically used in warfare, hunting, or crime. Some weapons are deemed too dangerous for civilian use and are termed “illegal” to own or possess.
Do you notice anything with those definitions? Do you notice how “dangerous” is already incorporated into the “weapon”? Maybe we should take a different approach to this. Perhaps examining a few specific items might clarify this issue. A knife is obviously a weapon. It carries an edge for cutting, slashing, stabbing, and/or cleaving meat, which we are comprised of. Granted, not all knives are meant to be weapons. A kitchen knife isn’t exactly made for combat. Now let’s look at something not so obvious. What about a folding-baton? It’s blunt, has no edge or sharp points upon it, and it certainly doesn’t launch any projectiles that leave a hole in your body. However, I’d argue a folding-baton can do far more damage than a mere knife. Knives require accuracy for certain organs, veins, or arteries if your intent is to kill someone. Even slashing and cutting is target-specific. Whereas a folding-baton offers you more reach than most knives, and can break bones with one or two hits. I’ve yet to encounter a knife that can break your arm or skull with one cut. So which item is more “dangerous?”
As far as knives are concerned, I always carry a three-inch, non-assisted folding EDC knife. For those unfamiliar, “non-assist” refers to the lack of a spring in deploying the blade. It’s supposedly safer because it’s slower than an automatic or spring-assisted knife. The blade of my knife is non-serrated as well. Is it a weapon? Well, since the opening mechanism is my finger and physics, the blade is a measly non-serrated three-inches, and I use it as an every-day carry tool, that’s all it is-- a tool.
The only dangerous thing here is the brain. This wonderfully complex organ which grants us the ability to shape the world around us as we see fit and gives us the concept of turning a chair into a crude club when its intended use is for sitting. The brain is what gives you the power to decide whether to use a knife as a tool or a weapon. How do you think weapons came to be? We created them. We twisted objects’ purposes and intended uses into our desire to spread violence. So, what is a “dangerous weapon?”
It’s not a knife or a gun, I’ll tell you that.
Edited by: Anna Grace Dulaney