"Good reason" to carry a knife

Discussion in 'American Knife & Tool Institute' started by James Mattis, Jun 18, 2000.

  1. James Mattis

    James Mattis

    Oct 3, 1998
    There are jurisdictions out there, i.e. the UK, and individual authority figures who may ask you for what reason you carry a knife. ("For protection" is the wrong answer!) As if you needed a reason ...

    "Good reason?"

    My good reason to carry a knife is that God gave me rather weak teeth and rudimentary claws in an evolutionary trade-off. The hairy-armed person who figured out how to put an edge on a suitable rock made it possible for us to be recognizably human in the first place. I wear a wristwatch whether or not I have an appointment to keep, and I carry a pen and/or pencil because I am a literate person whether or not I have a specific writing task ahead of me, and I carry a knife because I am a human and not an ape.

    A knife comes in handy for all sorts of random tasks that involve separating matter. Like cutting a string, or making a sandwich, or opening a package. It can also come in handy in an emergency, which need not involve a human assailant, and emergencies are by their nature unforseen, so one should carry a knife all the time.

    And in a perfect world where nobody needed a weapon, I'd probaby carry a slightly larger knife, because it wouldn't scare people.

    (For some longer thoughts in this direction, visit Daithi's essay at www.knives.com )

    - JKM
    AKTI Member # SA00001

    [This message has been edited by James Mattis (edited 06-18-2000).]
    marchone likes this.
  2. CJ Buck

    CJ Buck Moderator Moderator

    Apr 15, 1999
    I really like the pen analogy. I have carried a knife my whole life. I do have people ask me why. I tell them it is like a cel phone. We all got along without them for years. They make life so convenient. My knife is the same way. I could rip open bags with my teeth, break string with brute force etc...but why. Knives make life so convenient.

    CJ Buck
    Buck Knives, Inc.
    AKTI Member #PR00003

    GABaus likes this.
  3. medusaoblongata


    May 1, 2000

    I agree with your reasoning completely. I prefer to carry a knife always, even when I consider the possibility of being attacked to be as small as it ever can be (i.e., negligible), and I feel "naked" without a knife on me. But somehow I feel that being human, though it is a good reason to carry a knife, would probably not fly if an LEO asked why I have a knife (or several). The pen analogy should be sufficient if a reasonable person asked for a good reason, but then a reasonable might not even need to ask, and definitely would not have to ask twice. Any suggestions for what to say to an unreasonable person who asks for a "good reason"?

    I liked Daithi' essay that you linked, sorta reminds me of my signature, i.e., I could be neither kind nor peaceful with the possibility of being otherwise. I object to infringement of my rights to be kind and peaceful.

    Jason aka medusaoblongata
    "I have often laughed at the weaklings who call themselves kind because they have no claws"

    - Zarathustra
  4. David Rock

    David Rock

    Oct 3, 1998

    I think I'll memorize that monologue, with your permission. It might come in handy, and with jittery nerves and too much adrenalin surging through the system, I might end up improvising a far less eloquent statement.

    I generally go out of my way to use the "tactical" folder du jour for as many peaceful tasks as possible throughout the day. The more mundane, the better. Make it a point to slice an apple or a bagel every morning before you go to work, and you won't have to base your defense solely on imaginary scenarios. "Why, just today I used it to slice a bagel, peel an apple, sharpen three pencils, scrape a bagpipe reed, and slit the tail of this delightful origami goldfish . . . (As an optional coup de grace you can give the goldfish to your accuser and say, "Here, I'll bet your little girl will like that.")

    If you're ever in the UK, just plan on saying, "I like thick sandwiches, and I like to share with my friends." (It won't hurt your case if there happens to be a bit of mustard residue on the knife.)

    David Rock

    AKTI Member # A000846
    Stop when you get to bone.

    [This message has been edited by David Rock (edited 07-16-2000).]
  5. Jeff Clark

    Jeff Clark

    Apr 27, 1999
    Just trying to save some of James' words before they get dearchived.
  6. fixer27


    Nov 17, 2004
    James' word's seem righteous to me. :thumbup:
  7. Walking Man

    Walking Man Banned BANNED

    May 28, 2003
    Well written, thanks for bringing this back up.
  8. spraay


    Aug 8, 2005
    Where I live, the good reason is, 'Because I want to.'

    On a more serious note, if I had a dime for every time someone who knows me holds out their hand and says "Hey Shane, can I borrow your knife?", I'd be a rich man.

    If I had to name a few, good reasons, I'd say that I open packages, cut food, scrape dried up paint and glue, break down boxes, clip errant fingernails, clip coupons, pull splinters, strip wire, dress game, cut fishing line, drive screws, trim small tree branches, trim flooring, whittle a good marshmallow roasting stick, and do countless other useful things with the knives and pocket tools that I carry everyday.

    There's only one reason why people think you need a 'good reason' to carry a knife. They are afraid. And that's a shame.

    GABaus likes this.
  9. marantz


    Aug 1, 2004
    I used to work in an office where several of the women had long fingernails, either grown or more probably attached. I'd ask them why they had long fingernails, and they'd ask why I carried a pocketknife.

    Their reasons were a) it made them feel sexy, and b) they could cut the tape on a box, pry up little things like staples, etc.

    My reply was that if it made them feel good, fine, but don't confuse a fingernail with a pocket knife. I'd pull my knife out, open it, and tell them this is my stainless steel fingernail. If I use it to cut open a box or an envelope, I can't get a painful paper cut. If I use it to pry up a staple, or pop open the back of a watch, it won't break and hurt like heck. And if it does by chance break, I can resharpen it.

    Sometimes I could see the light come on for them, and they would ask me where they could get something like the Swiss army knife or Spyderco I was carrying that day, although they usually wanted something small enough to put on their keychain. More recently I've converted some of my female coworkers to carry a Schrade Simon, because they can unclip it from their keychain to use more easily.

    I'm not picking on the women. I've seen several guys that will resort to cutting open boxes with their keys, or the nearest ruler, etc. When I point out that ripping through fiberglass filament shipping tape with their keys is guaranteed to eventually make their keys not fit their locks, they usually want to borrow my knife. Sometimes I let them, sometimes I tell them it's time to buy one.

    To make a short story long, what makes us human is not just opposable thumbs and the capacity for abstract reasoning, but the ability to use them to make tools, so we can do more, and do it more easily. The question isn't why do I need a knife, the question is why are they wasting their time getting by with a poor substitute.

    marantz..............pocket knife missionary
  10. fixer27


    Nov 17, 2004
    This being the AKTI contact place, is there any chance that there is a way
    that I can join into a e-mail campaign that supports the AKTI cause?
  11. Tim-Gabz


    Nov 24, 2003
    Just Because,

    It makes me more efficient, makes life easier and gets the job done. I have learnt the hard way, don't leave your SAK on your desk, it may come in handy to all those anti-knife advocates and you have to spend alot of time looking for it.
  12. Dijos


    Nov 20, 2001
    AAh..the late, great James Mattis...I was looking for this exact quote a little while ago..R.I.P.
  13. Andrew Taylor

    Andrew Taylor

    Jul 17, 2005
    I moved from the UK to Canada recently and in the UK I had to stop wearing my brass bolstered Buck folder due to 'Government Regulations'. I can't believe the the same Mr CJ Buck is on the same forum and in this thread! I was given the knife by a good friend, the president of the National Chopper Club in an NCC leather pouch. It always kept a keen edge and the brass bolsters were polished like gold. It is one of the things I am looking forward to getting back when my household possessions are shipped over.
  14. chisel


    Dec 18, 1999
    Hey Jeff, thank you sir!
    i sure do miss Mr.Mattis :(
    he always had such a cool insight on things...
  15. Vess


    Oct 2, 2001
    This is so unbelievably true. Pre-cut World. So simple and so accurate. Everything is pre-cut, for most of the "civilized" population. Naturally it's hard for them to fathom a reason to carry a knife.

    Many packages have a cord that rips them open, coke cans have the little thingy on top, same with many canned goods, glass bottles have screw-on caps. The cheese is pre-cut into slices and individually packaged. Everything except CD wrappers.

    Lately, whenever someone asks me why I carry a knife, I ask them how they open their CDs. Seriously, how do you do it? Most of us lack the sharp nails, and teeth can't grab that slick, tight plastic. So we're reduced to knives or scissors (two knives connected with a pin). Smartypants sometimes try to use keys or nail files, but those are functioning as dull cutting instruments, or dull knives. This really makes many people stop dead and think about it, because many, especially the recent generations, have opened enough CDs to remember how painful that was.

    Reason why I carry a knife? Pack and open boxes (done daily), cut string (done semi-frequently), and open CD cases (done even less frequently, but who need to know what?), etc.
  16. cmd


    Feb 7, 2004
    A neighbor of ours, a good friend of my wife's and her kids and our kids play together a lot, came by the house the other day. I was putting a balisong back together again after a little cleaning and minor maintenance.

    She asked "What do you use that for?" in a slightly worried voice. I answered "to cut things". In her reaction it was interesting to see the object change in her mind from something potentially dangerous to being a useful tool.

    What good reason do I have for carrying a knife? To cut things.
  17. savagesicslayer


    May 24, 2005
    That is the best knife related writing I've ever read Bravo.:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
  18. whittet

    whittet Banned by Moderators Banned

    Nov 20, 2005
    A knife is a handy thing to have in your pocket, but I'm hard pressed to say there is one knife that covers all possible contingencies including giving them away to friends and relations.

    I like knives that cut clean and do their work in one pass but there aren't many city places you can take a scary sharp knife out and leave it lying around without making people nervous so folders have to do some jobs they weren't intended for...

    I think you need to have about three different types available so I tend to stockpile them in places where I have a presence. At home I have more knives at my desk than I do in the kitchen.

    In the office I like small really sharp knives that look enough like a piece of art work that they don't make the secretaries nervous but can still cut through the packaging.

    In the car my knives do a couple of things the leatherman doesn't, I keep one in every tool box in the shop , in the golf bag, in the boat, in the camera bag,
    and I keep finding a need to make more and to add to the collection.
  19. trackinman


    Dec 21, 2005
    I tell folks who ask why I carry a knife..."To make people like you ask questions!"
  20. shooby


    Jun 30, 2003
    That's the same answer I always give, and everytime I give it I get a secret pleasure out of watching the person realize that the question they just asked was really pretty stupid. ;) :)
    GABaus likes this.

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