A blanket ban on edged weapons on German trains and buses may shortly become reality, despite the obvious challenges of compliance and enforcement.
The idea has been germinating since last January’s Brokstedt tragedy, the mass stabbing that occurred on a train in Brokstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, claiming two lives.
Using a kitchen knife, a 33-year-old stateless Palestinian killed a 17-year-old girl and her 19-year-old boyfriend. A few weeks later, the deadly stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two girls of similar age in Freudenberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, likewise shocked the nation.
Half a year later, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser is now taking the next step to introduce a knife ban on all public transport and associated venues, hoping to bring down the number of such incidents, which more than doubled last year.
336 knife attacks—82 on trains and 254 at train stations—were recorded, an increase of 102% compared to the previous year.
In an interview with Bild, published Saturday, June 10th, the SPD politician said she would propose “a general ban on knives on trains and all public transport at the interior ministers’ conference next week.”
“I am in favor of a ban so that stricter controls can be carried out and terrible acts of violence can be prevented,” Faeser added.
She first announced her plan last April, when she told Funke Mediengruppe: “Violent criminals can do terrible things with knives,” pointing out that “even with a kitchen knife, one can injure someone very seriously.”
Knives, she concluded, must be removed. Anyone who violates the new weapons law would be committing a crime that can incur “severe punishment,” according to Faeser, as she added that “after all, if you travel by plane, you are not allowed to take a knife with you.”
While she said that both federal police and state police forces could increase “spot checks at train stations,” the rub lies in its enforcement, a point raised by Germany’s police union (GdP), which is less enthusiastic about the prospect of adding to their members’ workload.
Blade show was a week and a half ago. There were thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of knives. Not one knife leapt from a table and stabbed someone. Maybe Germans are just violent.