I had a bit of a revelation while at work the other day. A co-worker used his knife to open a letter that came for him. There was really nothing unusual in that activity in and of itself. However this person received "the look" from most of the people around him, including myself. He looked around at the "shock and awe" upon the faces of the others, and reacted with the ubiquitous WTF? attitude. Since I was the nearest to him, he commented to me... "You non-knife people are so scared of knives, it's just sad." I calmly called him closer and then showed him the five knives that I was carrying that day. He then wondered why I gave him the "look" along with the others, since surely I knew better than most others the value of a knife. I explained to him that it wasn't the knife per se that bothered me, it was the manner in which he deployed it. From that encounter an epiphany ensued.... "knives don't scare people, knife people do." The way in which a knife is retrieved and deployed, combined with its design and size, will reflect in others the impression as to whether the user seems to be in control or seems to be out of control. I have since modified that epiphany into the following maxim... Knives Don't Really Scare People. A Knife User's Attitude Does.

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Tags: Attitude, Epiphany, Knives, Maxim, People

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Comment by kage on January 17, 2010 at 9:47
Hhmm, using a knife to eat with it, as being unusual? Well that might be more of a cultural thing. Those from British backgrounds are more used to and see it as more common to eat certain items with the knife, rather than with their fork, such as peas for one. Although some might considered it to be more of a lower class manner. However, sticking a knife (no matter what the size of it) into one's mouth while in public, might simply be an aspect of being oblivious to others about one's self... Then again, there will be some who will say that blowing your nose into a hankie and then putting the hankie in your pocket is disgusting (at least to them.) So it might just be a case of Trahit Sua Quemque Voluptas. ;)
Comment by Allen Lutz on January 17, 2010 at 9:29
I live in western PA and work in a office enviorment. Hunting is big here and I sell many knives to co workers for hunting or EDC. It is not uncommon to see someone with a sheath on there belt or a telltale pocket clip. But one fellow I work with carrys a Victorinox in a sheath all the time. When we go out to lunch he uses it to cut his food rather than the provided utinsels. The thing that bothers me and the others who see this is the fact that when he is done eating he puts the blade in his mouth and pulls it out to clean it. It then goes back in the sheath until the next time he eats. THE REASON HE AND OTHERS GET THE LOOK IS BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T USUALLY USE TOOLS TO EAT WITH. Not to mention his cleaning procedure. Hobo knives for camping or slicing up an apple is a different story. But slicing up a hot turkey sandwich with gravey on it, licking the blade off and putting it back in the sheath until next time is questionable. Thats why I have several EDC knives. You don't need to pull out a Flash II or Buck 110 to open a letter in the office. A small Victorinox classic will do the job and raise less eyebrows. I love knives have over a hundred of my own. What I'm saying is getting the look or not depends on the situation and the knife. I MUST ADMIT THOUGH IT IS ALWAYS FUN TO PULL THE OLD CROCODILE DUNDEE QUOTE " THATS NOT A KNIFE, THIS IS A KNIFE"
Comment by Jim Norman on January 16, 2010 at 23:10
I agree completely! When I was in Public School as a youth...WE ALL HAD KNIVES! I lived in a farming community and knives weren't looked at as weapons, but as TOOLS!
Comment by Kevin S Gallagher on January 16, 2010 at 12:45
You think that being edge tools have been man's best friend for thousands plus years people would not react this way but then again should us knife people be shocked with the way society has headed in recent decades? KG has the right idea with these people, use a two-handed opening and do it slowly.

I am fortunate to live in Oregon where knifes are part of many peoples everyday lives more so than what I saw on the East Coast yet there are still those here in my area who are shocked when you actually open one.

One of the best things we (those who carry and use edge tools) can do is educate people. For instance, in my workplace I told people that I teach edge weapon defense and that I have been a collector and everyday user of knifes all my life. Couple that with showing them various knifes and allowing them to examine them in the form of trainers. While doing this will also educate them on proper methods to handle sharp knifes, opening them and how to determine if they are sharp enough in a safe manner. Usually this puts them more at ease.

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Comment by Sunil Ram on January 16, 2010 at 12:03
I often use my pocketknife to cut my meat and such at a restaurant, church dinner, at home, or at someone's house. If I get looks, I just tell them that MY knife can cut the food, their knife (metal or plastic) doesn't cut anything! I leave my knife open right next to my plate until I am done using it or I have finished eating. Then I clean it off and put it back in my pocket.
Comment by Paul J Granger on January 16, 2010 at 8:04
For the most part, I think you are sopt on, Kage. But I think that there are some ninnys that are scared by knives alone.

I took my very first hand-made up to the mall to have my name engraved on it. There was one other person at the counter, a young woman. I explained to the sales lady what I wanted and what I wanted it on, all the while this young lady was listening as she pondered her purchase. When I took my knife out and layed it on the counter, I began to show the sales lady where I wanted it engraved.

The young woman turned around and looked at my knife for a moment and said, "that knife scares me."
I was stunned. I said, "I promise; I won't let it hurt you." Then I continued with my business. I've heard several people over the years say, "guns scare me." If knives scare you, don't play with them. If guns scare you, don't play with them.

To my knowledge, there's never been a knife or gun slip out of a drawer, trot down the hall to an occupied room and either unfold and cut someone or pull it's own trigger and shoot someone.
It's groundless fear like that (and tough guys deploying knives in a menacing manner in public) that got most knives banned in England.

When I was 11 or 12 we all carried knive to school and never though of misbehaiving with them. After school. We would try to get out slip-joints to flick open like autos. But by 13 or 14 we'd out grown that. Sadly your co-worker hasn't. Kage, thanks for bringing up the point.

Comment by kage on January 15, 2010 at 12:43
Whether with an assisted or manual folder, I've found that the best way to deploy and recover the blade so as to not frighten the sheepple about, is to do it two-handed. If it's a threat scenario, well then that's another matter. ;)
Comment by Dan Evans on January 15, 2010 at 12:16
Agree about the attitude, but also an auto opener can get attention. I carried a SOG Flash II for several years, and it seemed that everytime I opened it someone would look at me. The "snick" as it opened got their attention, and probably got a few panties in a wad.

Now I carry a Benchmade 940 Osborne which has an Axis lock. I can either "snick" it open, but more often I simply let gravity open it. Less noise, less attention. It one hand closes too. Best EDC I have ever owned.
Comment by Thorvan Patten JR. on January 14, 2010 at 19:58
Hi, at my job I'm the go to guy to sharpen my co-workers knives. I have my steel and stone right there handy. I work at a mine and knives are a common tool for most of us. I carry a Buck 119. Thor.
Comment by Rick Cothren on January 14, 2010 at 16:43
great post Kage and so true... I have seen that even when I pull out one of my EDC's and casually open it to cut up a pork chop at lunch or something like that. Now I have a small buck T988 that flips open really easy with just a flick of my wrist... that really gets 'em sometimes.

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