Friday, July 27, 2012

Gun. Knife. Violence. Good Result.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith's store.
Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith's employee Dorothy Espinoza says, "He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people."
You wonder how many people the guy with the knife would have injured or killed if not for the guy with the gun.


  1. This was actually April 27th, not July 27th.

  2. While it is a good story of defense of self and others, it is also old. Date on the linked story is 4/26. "Every so often old stories percolate to the top of the internet." - G. Washington

  3. Notice that there isn't much detail about what kind of knife.

    A butcher knife is as deadly as a switchblade on the cutting end.

  4. For an upcoming paper on knives as Second Amendment arms, I did some research, and discovered that knife lethality seems to be largely determined by the length of the blade. A 10" sharpened screwdriver and a Bowie knife are generally much more lethal than the vast majority of switchblades.

  5. That is an interesting observation about the length of the blade. Does the level of danger increase consistently with length of blade, or does it step up at a certain length?

    Kind of on a whim, I searched for the store mentioned in the story. Several branches of "Smith's market" are in Salt Lake City. The website for that chain of stores says that they are a subsidiary of Kroger. Lots of food & pharmacy deals are mentioned in the online ads.

    Somehow, I don't think that the knife in question was a folder, a switchblade, or any variety of pocket-knife.

    Oddly, the news report doesn't even mention the length of the blade. The report also doesn't give any description more accurate than "purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon."

  6. I don't think any study has determined the step function on this, but my guess is that the reason so many knife laws draw distinctions at 3" or 3 1/2" is that legislators have historically perceived that a 3" knife is unlikely to be lethal, while a 6" knife likely will be.