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That the media is prone to hyperventillation over anything weapon-related should hardly come as a shock. Our friends in the firearms community face it all the time when the media label what to many is just a light range trip worth of guns and ammunition an “arsenal”. Well they are at it again, and this time it is the knife community’s turn in the barrel, as the media frenzy over the quadruple homicide in Moscow, ID rages.
If you haven’t tuned into the news this week, 4 University of Idaho students were brutally stabbed to death over the weekend, and the Police seem to be at a loss. Their decision to focus on the potential murder weapon, looks to this reporter like an attempt to give the media anything in the face of very few public leads. The murder weapon remains undiscovered.
I am not a forensic expert by any means, though I took a few forensic anthropology classes in graduate school and I understand how the coroner reached their conclusion as to the nature of said weapon. The wound channels from the stabbings would have particular characteristics in terms of size and shape, and from this they have deduced that they match the characteristics of one of the most, if not the most mass-produced and iconic American fixed blade knives, the USMC Mark 2., commonly known as the KA-BAR.
From Idaho Statesman:
Moscow police appear to be searching for a “Rambo”-style knife involved in the killing of four University of Idaho students, a store manager said Wednesday. Scott Jutte, general manager of Moscow Building Supply, told the Idaho Statesman that police have visited the store more than once to ask whether the retailer sold anyone Ka-Bar brand knives, which are also known as K bar knives. Idaho State Police spokesperson Aaron Snell told the Statesman on Thursday that detectives visited several local hardware stores that may carry “fixed-blade type knives,” but that they weren’t solely asking about Ka-Bar knives.
Ka-Bar, of Olean, New York, manufactures military-grade blades that were originally designed for use by American troops in World War II.
Jutte said a police officer stopped by the home improvement store and lumber yard off North Main Street in Moscow to speak with him on Monday. “They were specifically asking whether or not we carry Ka-Bar-style knives, which we do not,” Jutte said in an interview. “If we did, we could’ve reviewed surveillance footage. But it wasn’t something I could help them with.” Jutte said he is familiar with the military-style weapon, even though his store doesn’t sell it.
He says he is “familiar with the “military style weapon””…
I am trying to figure out what is specifically “military” about the KA-BAR, other than its history of course. The name of the Mk. 2 in Government-bureaucratese is “Knife, Fighting Utility”. Fighting is a verb, something you could do with it, not a description. I can fight you with a stapler. An entrenching tool is a devastatingly effective melee weapon. We don’t call it a “Fighting Shovel”, no matter how efficiently it can be used as such.
Utility is a good descriptive word, as they are used for everything from prying open crates to opening ration cans. The “KA-BAR” (originally made by Camillus, PAL, and others under WWII contract) was much better at these tasks than the WWI era M1918 Trench Knife, with its more fragile, less utilitarian stiletto blade and single grip knuckle-duster hand guard.
The USMC Mk.2, now manufactured by KA-BAR Knives Inc. of Olean, New York, remains one of the most popular fixed blade outdoor knives in existence. A good portion of this is due to its military heritage. Many a serviceman or has carried the knife on deployment, even into combat just like their grandfathers before them. They are an heirloom quality tool, and it is entirely possible that someone actually carried their Grandfather’s own knife in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Of course plenty of civilians, this writer included, own one as well. It is an extremely robust and useful knife to have in the woods. It can shave, baton, drill, and all of the other tasks one might need in the field. I imagine that there is at least one in 20% or more of households in Idaho given the lifestyle and demographics. And that doesn’t count other fixed blade hunting knives as well of which Idaho most certainly has an abundance.
I feel for KA-BAR, which is being dragged by the media online. They slant their coverage to imply that anyone who owns this most common of fixed blades is some sort of survivalist nutball. It is expected, but disheartening.
Where they have made a heck of a jump is to apply the “Rambo” label to the knife. Rambo carried two different Jim Lile custom knives in the First Blood Movies:
The third Rambo Knife was made by the equally legendary Gil Hibben:
Why does this matter? It most certainly doesn’t to the victims, for whose families we pray. It matters to those of us in the knife community because we are in a constant struggle to normalize the carry and legal use of all edged tools. It is a fight that matters to all of the Second Amendment community, which absolutely encompasses knives.
By playing up the “Rambo” imagery, and military pedigree of the KA-BAR, the media is sensationalizing the tools which were misused by the perpetrator. It paints a broad brush which tars millions of ordinary people that carry knives for any number of legal uses. That includes oversized flamboyant Lile or Hibben fixed blades if one wants to. It takes the spotlight away from the perpetrator of the act and instead fetishizes an inanimate object. Unfortunately, with no suspect forthcoming, sensationalism is the order of the day.
“after I read an outrageous and highly inflammatory article headlining the Wall Street Journal, entitled “How New, Deadly Pocketknives Became a $1 Billion Business” demonizing so-called “tactical knives.” A discredit to the Journal, the overwrought and sensationalist article was filled with distortions, misrepresentations, innuendo, outright lies and cherry-picked quotes pushing a transparent rabid anti-weapon and anti-freedom agenda. But, the story didn’t quite spark the anti-knife response the reporter probably hoped for — in fact, it had precisely the opposite effect.
One wonders what the editors were thinking when they chose to illustrate that fateful article with their poster child for evil and dangerous “tactical knives” – a diminutive Buck Knives “Metro” lock-blade keychain folding knife / bottle opener with a 1.125-inch one-hand opening blade. In any case, it demonstrates the absurd idiocy of assigning malevolence to an inanimate object based on physical characteristics. No knife is inherently “deadly” — that’s an irrational and nonsensical label”.
As is apocryphally attributed to Mark Twain, ““a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth puts on its shoes”. Unfortunately, that is all we are left with as the media races to interpolate a story from only the barest skeleton of facts presented thus far.
The media needs to do better. I have no faith that they will.