Today's Wall Street Journal Article

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Appler
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Today's Wall Street Journal Article

Postby Appler » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:20 am

Section B, top story: "How New, Deadly Pocketknives Became a $1 Billion Business."

Not flattering, and disappointing from the Journal.

First draft of my letter to the Editor:

"Ok, now I am worried.

When the Wall Street Journal, one of the last enclaves of common sense, begins to fan the flames of safety paranoia, it is time to worry. Regarding your article on new and "deadly" pocket knives, I am saddened that it was never once mentioned that much of what earns a pocket knife the foolish “tactical” label are the things that make it user-friendly. Pocket clips replacing belt sheaths, one-hand-opening replacing microscopic nail-nicks, and high-tech composites replacing fragile, heavy, and possibly in-humane natural materials (bone and antler, for example) are all evolutions the have helped make humankind’s oldest tool into a better tool. Ask my co-workers who are rendered helpless in the presence of a simple sealed box if a knife is ever helpful.

The fact is, rarely is a folding knife used for premeditated offense, at least no more than a hammer or bare hands. Frankly, if you were raised wrong and want to live a life of crime, you use something a little bigger, a little more menacing, and something that is a little less intimate.

There’s a wagon going around of people who wish to eliminate every possible way for us to hurt ourselves or each other, even if that means making life harder than it once was. If they get their way, the citizenry will be eating smashed tomatoes on their salads and everything will be held together with glue. It certainly saddens me to see the Journal hop that bus.

This pervasive fear of everything and each other is suffocating our dignity."

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rcbalt2
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Postby rcbalt2 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:33 am

I like how they have to add the word deadly. Sure its not really needed, but it makes for a hell of a read. Its just sensationalist journalism at work. Good reply by the way.
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brainus
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Postby brainus » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:42 am

Good letter, make sure to send it in.

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Ruud
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Postby Ruud » Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:21 am

Before I decide to make up my mind about this article, has anyone actually read it? As I haven't, could someone who has read it give some sort of summary of what is said?
I mean, it seems a bit foolish to get all excited about something you haven't actually read. So for now I'll reserve judgment.

Best regards,
Ruud

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markg
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Postby markg » Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:40 am

I once heard that screwdrivers were the most common stabbing tool...

I say we do this...

-Let's all take some golf clubs, and go out and beat at least 2 people with them... Maybe they will ban the "sport"

-I am sure I can find something from Pampered Chef to stab or slash someone with... Dear God!!! Imagine all the terrorists that are planning Pampered Chef parties!!! Ban them this instance!

-Don't terrorists use transportation for their terrorists acts. Let's ban planes, trains, cars, and buses. When was the last time you heard of a "horse bomb?"

-If we banned hip-hop, MTV, Video Games, and the Maury Show... I think we just might save society.

Just remember, I have a Spyderco Cricket... Be afraid, very afraid... :rolleyes:

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Postby Lost Jaguar » Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:49 am

Appler--superb letter! I think that the term "nail-nick" might be a little esoteric, but I can think of no better alternative.

I haven't read the article, but if you describe it correctly, it's part of a worrisome trend that has washed onto our shores from some fearful and tyrannical cultures abroad.

Or it's another domestic manifestation of the dreadful, universal human tendency to seek safety in the refuge of an overlord's castle.

Didn't the majority of our ancestors come to this land to get away from lords and barons, despite the risks inherent in self-sufficiency?
Prepare for Anything, Expect Nothing

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rcbalt2
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Postby rcbalt2 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:52 am

Why are we so worried about knives its the carrots that we shoud worry about
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showt ... p?t=413975
There ain't no rules around here. We're trying to accomplish something.
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SoCal Operator
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Postby SoCal Operator » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:34 pm

Does the article mention that a lot of knife attacks are done with kitchen knives? Think about it from a thief's standpoint: their big, pointy, and in every house in the country. If they ban pocket knives because of this, I'm going to start carrying a kitchen knife. Thumbs down to the Wall Street Journal for scare tactics and back-asswards thinking.
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Postby FRIZ » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:15 pm

The Wall Street Journal
July 25, 2006; Page B1

How New, Deadly Pocketknives - Became a $1 Billion Business
By MARK FRITZ

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115379426517016179.html

A decade ago, Jim Ray brought together a champion martial artist, a former Navy Seal and a police-weapons specialist to draft designs for what he hoped would be the perfect pocketknife.

But the high-tech knives the team created were never meant to whittle sticks. Instead, the team produced knives whose blades could be flicked open with one finger faster than the widely outlawed switchblade -- but were still perfectly legal. "Nobody wanted to call it a weapon" at the start, says Mr. Ray, a former proprietor of a North Carolina tourist shop. But eventually, he adds, "that changed." And soon Mr. Ray and the company he formed, Masters of Defense Inc., were marketing the blades' utility when "shooting is just not appropriate."


The knives have ergonomic grips and are compact -- and they can inflict deadly damage.
Mr. Ray was a pioneer in a technological revolution that has transformed "tactical" knives -- originally used in military combat -- into a $1-billion-a-year consumer business, aimed at just about anyone in the market for a small knife. These 21st century pocketknives, with their curved, perforated or serrated blades and ergonomic grips, can inflict deadly damage, but they are also compact, easily concealed and virtually unregulated.

In March, a monthly FBI bulletin alerted law-enforcement agents nationwide to "the emerging threats" posed by the knives. Though there are no statistics on how many crimes have involved tactical-style knives, the FBI says knife-related crimes have edged up, to 15.5% in 2004 from 15% in 2000. In that time, violent crime in general dropped 4.1%.

The knives' popularity has been a boon to some retailers. Mike Janes, owner of Second Amendment Sports, a hunting, fishing and camping superstore in Bakersfield, Calif., says that knife sales have been climbing an average of 25% a year in the past decade and that 75% of the pocketknives he sells are tactical. "Are you tacti-cool? That's what we say down here," Mr. Janes says.

Dave Vanderhoff, who runs U.S. Martial Arts in Clifford, N.J., recently taught a knife-fighting class that included a judge, a banker, a nurse, a young woman with a belly ring and a French chef from Manhattan. And Spyderco Inc., for example, makes a tactical knife that, when folded, masquerades as a credit card.

But the marketing techniques for some of the new pocketknives aren't so mainstream. Cold Steel Inc. makes the ¾-ounce "Urban Pal," which has a 1.5-inch blade. "The Urban Pal should be standard equipment for survival in today's urban jungle," its Web site says.

Lawyers for the tactical-knife industry have persuaded government officials that even minor manual movement -- no matter how enhanced by levers and springs -- separates the knives from switchblades, which require pressing a button on the handle to flip open the blade. "We have to resist the application of the 1950s switchblade laws to the new technology," says lawyer Daniel Lawson, a knife collector in Pittsburgh who represents the tactical-knife industry. Thirty-seven states now outlaw switchblades, partly because they developed a cult following among teenagers in the 1950s. But, says David Kowalski, a former knife magazine editor and a spokesman for the industry, tactical knifes have remained legal because "the laws across the U.S. are a mishmash because [legislators] really don't know anything about knives."

Modern tactical knives are rooted in the 1980s, when some martial artists in the U.S. became practitioners of a Filipino style of knife-fighting. An early innovator was Ernest R. Emerson, a martial artist and custom knife builder. In 1995, Oregon's Benchmade Knife Co. collaborated with Mr. Emerson to mass produce the Closed Quarters Combat 7 knife. It opened quickly, locked in place and could be closed with one hand.

Mr. Emerson, 51 years old, says he insisted on selling that knife for $159, believing the high price, performance and custom look would give it cachet. The knife was a hit, and competition got hot. Mr. Emerson formed his own company in 1997 and says annual sales rose to about $10 million last year from $800,000 at the start.

Worried that they might face regulatory scrutiny, makers of the new-style pocketknives formed the American Knife and Tool Institute. The trade group credits U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, with persuading U.S. Customs in 2001 to stop seizing shipments of one-hand-opening tactical knives that some investigators considered switchblades. A spokesman for Sen. Wyden, Andrew Blotky, says he can't confirm the senator's involvement.

Soon the upstarts who dominated the self-defense market were jolting the traditional knife industry. Buck Knife Co., a staple among sportsmen; W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery, famed for its collectible pen knives; and Leatherman Tool Group Inc., which makes pocket-sized tool kits, have all introduced tactical knives since 2003.

"It's a testosterone thing," says Buck's chairman, Charles "Chuck" Buck, 75 years old, who estimates the retail market for tactical knives at $1 billion.

Leatherman Tool Group jumped on the tactical-knife bandwagon in 2005, introducing a full line of tactical-type knives. The most prominent feature on its knives is the "Blade Launcher" mechanism, which lets the user flip a menacing-looking blade out of its handle with lightning speed. Yet it also has a bottle-cap opener, a nod to Leatherman's heritage.

Not all makers of tactical knives agree on how to market them. Buck, for example, boasts in marketing materials about the "stopping power" of its tactical knives and bills its "Bones" knife as "bad to the bone."

But Tom Arrowsmith, chief executive of W.R. Case, accuses competitors of "weaponizing" the pocketknife and says it's an approach his company won't take. He does concede, though, that customer demand has prompted his company, a 117-year-old maker of pretty penknives, to offer a line of one-hand-opening knives with tactical features.

The blades on most of the new pocketknives are less than four inches long, the maximum length that passengers were permitted to carry onto U.S. airlines before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks concluded that the hijackers in those attacks used short knives -- not box cutters -- to seize control of the planes. At the Pennsylvania crash site, 14 badly damaged knife parts were collected, and at least half have tactical-knife characteristics. But the FBI cautions that it can't be sure those parts are from knives that belonged to the hijackers.

Technology has made blade length almost irrelevant. The city of Atlanta prohibits people from carrying pocketknives in public with blades longer than two inches. Yet, in a widely publicized case, ex-Marine Thomas Autry used a two-inch blade in May to kill one mugger and wound another when he was confronted by five assailants armed with a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol.

"Clearly we are seeing wounds you would expect from a bigger blade from what victims say was a small knife," says Andrew Ulrich, a Boston Medical Center emergency-room doctor.

Mr. Janes of Second Amendment Sports is one of several retailers who have added knife training to their businesses. He says "this large influx of people carrying 'tactical folders' didn't know how to use them."

Nicholas Nobella, 25, took a four-hour class at the Bakersfield shop. Several months later, he admitted to police that he stuck his tactical knife into stripper Edward Pedrosa, 24, during a melee that broke out when men attending a bachelor party raided a bawdy bash for the bride-to-be, says Kern County, Calif., Deputy District Attorney Matt Magner. Mr. Pedrosa died. Mr. Nobella's lawyer says his client was acting in self-defense.

Mr. Janes says Mr. Nobella isn't typical of the students at his knife classes.

Meanwhile, in the race for the next big thing, some companies are competing to make more durable ceramic and plastic knives that can pass through metal detectors. Plastic "assisted-opening" knives that flick open with a slight nudge of the blade can be purchased on eBay for $20.

Cold Steel sales director Rick Valdez describes the company's $15 "Night Shade" plastic knives as "letter openers." Nonetheless, the company's Web site has a film clip of men attacking slabs of meat and decapitating plywood people, and it notes that the knives can be "taped just about anywhere" on the body.

Write to Mark Fritz at mark.fritz@wsj.com1

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The Mastiff
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Postby The Mastiff » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:17 pm

Not to be alarmist but our congressmen aren't always exempt from sensationalist trends about anything from Steroids in sports to the latest "we must ban..." idea. There is always one around. An example was the switchblade laws in the 50's that were rooted in fear produced by a few movies about bike gangs terrorizing people with switchblades.

Not always logical but we vote these guys in office. The newspapers can't hurt us. Our congressmen can. Think before you vote, and send letters when they displease you.

To be honest I think they'll go after .50 caliber rifles, "assault rifles" again, high capacity pistols, body armor in civilian hands and a few other things before they get to lock blade knives.

Us gun collectors have been reading these type articles for years. No big deal IMO. Joe L.

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argyll
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Postby argyll » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:19 pm

Did you catch this line:
Spyderco Inc., for example, makes a tactical knife that, when folded, masquerades as a credit card


WTF? Oh yeah, it would be so easy to mistake one for the other :mad:

Best regards,

Argyll
Qui non est hodie cras minus aptus erit -- Ovid (He who is not prepared today will be less so tomorrow)

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The reply

Postby Puyallupknifegu » Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:23 pm

Appler,

I like your reply. It is a good way to show the Wall Street Journal that the knife collecting/carrying community are intelligent members of society and that we don't disagree with someone by sticking them with our "tactical" pocket knives.

I live in Washington state near Tacoma, an hour or so south of Seattle. The local newspaper just in the last two weeks had an article about the City of Tacoma trying to ban the sale of automatic knives, (currently illegal in WA to posess unless military or LEO), butterfly knives, (illegal to carry, but not to collect), and "waved" knives, although they didn't exactly describe the wave correctly. They described it as being able to open from a sheath. I don't believe there was any mention of a pocket.

My question is this: If they are trying to ban "more dangerous guns", and tactical knives etc..., how long before the teaching of any martial art becomes illegal??? :eek:

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Tim
God bless!
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STR
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Postby STR » Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:34 pm

My letter went like this:

Mark.

As a knife maker I am a bit upset with your one sided view of one hand opening pocket clip equipped folding knives. The one handed opening folder is not something new or even from the 80s. Its been around much longer although it picked up popularity during that time. I made my first one hand opening folder in the early 70s.

There are plenty of 'working men and women' out in the public that carry and use a one hand opening and closing convenient to carry folder for daily work tasks and not for tactical reasons or self defense. For people like myself that often get into situations where one hand is tied up or holding a piece I'm working on it is a necessity these days to be able to pull out your knife open it use it and close it before slipping it back on or in your pocket. Going back to the old way of having to get your knife out and open it with both hands or give it to your partner to open it for you would be like trying to go from high speed cable back to dial up connections on the internet. The one hand opening folders have their place and not all one hand opening pocket clip equipped knives are tactical or sold as tactical.

If you are going to write an article showing one side of the coin to the readers by showing what companies like Cold Steel are doing to make a sale you should really include views from the other side for the readers also and make as much of an attempt to be even in your scrutiny on both sides. The obvious leaning slant to your take on folding knives says loudly and clearly that the Wal Street Journal is taking an anti knife stance here. I for one find that completely unacceptable and to be perfectly honest surprising. What next? I guess we can expect some anti gun articles from you too then? .

Steve Rice
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riot77
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Postby riot77 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:47 pm

markg wrote:I once heard that screwdrivers were the most common stabbing tool...

I say we do this...

-Let's all take some golf clubs, and go out and beat at least 2 people with them... Maybe they will ban the "sport"

-I am sure I can find something from Pampered Chef to stab or slash someone with... Dear God!!! Imagine all the terrorists that are planning Pampered Chef parties!!! Ban them this instance!

-Don't terrorists use transportation for their terrorists acts. Let's ban planes, trains, cars, and buses. When was the last time you heard of a "horse bomb?"

-If we banned hip-hop, MTV, Video Games, and the Maury Show... I think we just might save society.

Just remember, I have a Spyderco Cricket... Be afraid, very afraid... :rolleyes:
That was one of the funniest **** threads I think I have ever read!!!

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riot77
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Postby riot77 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:49 pm

DARN :eek: threads!!! Sorry families out there :confused:

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Senate
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Postby Senate » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:00 pm

the only shocking thing for me was :
Mr. Emerson formed his own company in 1997 and says annual sales rose to about $10 million last year

holy cow, I got to start making knives!!!! :D
Alexandre.
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Spyderco WTC#1978

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markg
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Postby markg » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:07 pm

What I find most troubling about the story, is the idea that someone has created a "tactical blade" that is around 2 inches, yet inflicts wounds far graver than a larger one?!?!

Does the man have some snake oil to sell us?

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Disturbing Trends

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:15 pm

This is just another clue that the main thrust of the "Powers That Be" have a long term goal of disarming all of us. England for instance is in some kind of legislative battle over kitchen/butcher knives. I have even heard that there is talk of licensing such knives over in the British Isles :( .

I agree with what Mastiff said about the fact that this is in one respect nothing more than a re-hash of anti-weapon sentiment that all of us have been fighting for several years now. These trends are not going to die out anytime soon either. We as Sportsmen/women and hobbiests/afficionados are just going to have to get organized. So many of these current groups who claim and pretend that they are lobbying for our cause are nothing more than "controlled opposition" and I think most of you know exactly who I am referring to. If not PM me and I will share it with you.

Another disturbing thing about this is that most people think because we have a quote/unquote conservative president who a lot of us think is automatically on our side>> that is the furtherist thing from the truth. To prove it just ask yourself what if anything has his administration done to "UN-DO" some of this draconian legislation that the previous administration perpetrated on us.

We have all been lulled to sleep to large degree ( present company included) and we all need to get active. I plan on E-mailing the leadership of the AKTI which is a "Pro Knife" organization I belong to about this atrocious article. I encourage all of you to immediately write them if you feel led to and if nothing else just simply cease to purchase their rag ( newspaper). If enough of us put the pressure on our representatives in this election year I think we have an opportunity to be heard and hopefully stymie some of this insanity. I am so thankful that our good brother discovered this article and called it to our attention. With our precious liberties being whittled away constantly when we the people never did any of this recent terrorism to begin with. We need to be proactive and try to get active in at least one area of this fight to keep what liberties we have left. It's up to us the people to bring this to the forefront and get in their faces. If we lose all of our GOD-GIVEN rights to self defense and the rights to bear arms of all types then this place will turn into a cesspool in short order. GOD help us all :(
Long Live the SPYDEREDGE Spyderco Hawkbills RULE!!

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Manix Guy 2
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Postby Manix Guy 2 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:48 pm

Sad so sad , but expected as well . We see a lot of over the top advertising in the knife market that can frighten non knife types and and for lack of better words disgust users . Positive rebuttal is the only answer . As some one has already said the most common knife used in an attack is most of the time a kitchen knife , I read about it all the time . The stats would show it also , funny there was no break down of knives used when committing a crime . Just like firearms , lowlifes do not go out and spend a lot of bucks on any weaponry unless stolen .

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STR
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Postby STR » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:59 pm

This way of thinking has no end in sight. Its gotten to insane levels in Europe already and to a large extent in Australia also. If we are going to be so ridiculous now in the USA to hop on that same train, to stoop to this kind of idiocy in our leadership, our society and our media then we may as well go all the way and ban forks and spoons and all other kitchen wares because everyone knows that they are the direct cause of obesity.

STR
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