Surprise! Good Guys With Guns Are A Bad Idea

From this article in The Nation:

A case in Texas two weeks ago highlights the risks of civilians intervening in chaotic situations. Police say that as two carjackers struggled with the owner of a car at a gas station in northeast Houston, a witness decided to take action into his own hands. He fired several shots, but missed the perpetrators and shot the owner of the car in the head. He then picked up his shell casings and fled the scene. Police are still looking for the shooter.

The potential for that kind of outcome is why most police agencies strongly recommend that concealed carry holders only use their weapons as an absolute last resort, and not intervene in robberies or other crimes in which they’re not directly involved. David Chipman notes that even police officers are told that if they encounter a crime in progress while off-duty, “maybe the best thing to do at that time is not to take lethal action but instead try to be the best witness you can be.”

I carry a knife with me almost everywhere I go. I harbor no illusion that using it in a violent situation would be a Bad Idea. I think people are really deluded if they think they can spend time a little time at the range and avoid making a bad situation worse.


What kind of knife? Like a pocket/swiss army knife? Or bigger?


Answered in a dead thread I started a while back. There are a ton of uses for a knife. It actually used to be incredibly common for people to carry even in places where civil arms were banned, like early Protestant England, because they were seen as an everyday tool.

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That answered “what kind” not “why”.

At the bottom of that post, I pointed out that I’ve tended to work jobs where I have to open boxes a lot. At my current job, I open them all day long. I also carry twine and recently paired the two too effectively lock a busted bathroom stall door in an hour of need. Sometimes I use it to whittle, or sharpen art pencils. If you learn to do it right, it can save you money on expensive Prismacolors relative to a conventional sharpener and you tend to get less internally broken lead. And then there’s just whatever little thing I need to cut. Ever have trouble getting an orange started when you brownbag your lunch? I don’t.


I think its a good question, although off topic. I do have a knife, carry it quite often. For cutting cheese, bread, like that. I’m quite sure my kind of (although sharp) knife will take to long to use for other purposes.

I carry a small Swiss Army knife with me whenever possible (e.g., not when traveling by plane). As others have said, there are so many times a knife can come in handy, especially one with other attachments.


I also carry a knife any time I leave the house.

When a kid gets a sliver, they look at me. When a bolt needs turning on some random thing, I got it.

Hangnails and broken nails can get pretty nasty without field management.

And there’s that lady who got saved from a carwash by a guy with a knife close by.

When I carried a gun, I never used it out and about. But I use the knife just about every day. And it’s got nothing to do with defense.


I keep meaning to get a credit card knife–wozniak has a cool one that is literally just a piece of spring steel with one mildly sharp edge. He takes it on planes :smile:


Ooh, definitely post a link when you find it! I feel naked without some sort of tool on me. Can you tell I spent my early childhood in the backroom of a hardware store?


I saw this video not that long ago. I have a bizarre affection for Wozniak, I think he might just be my role model.


I find man-crushing on the Woz not bizarre at all.

He’s like the Teller to Steve Jobs’ Penn Jillette, if Penn were an asshole. (Which he isn’t.)


Why do I carry a knife?

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Not that I haven’t enjoyed the conversation, but this a graphical representation of the thread.


Now I feel like I should start carrying a knife.

Nobody to argue with.

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I actually used to carry one of those (gerber mark ii) but I worked out where I was alone for long stretches

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