Summer Of The Knife

Sixty-five years on Earth, and I’d never had reason to look with concern at the sharp end of a knife. A revolver was pulled on me once, and pointed straight at my chest at point-blank range. That was a long, long time ago. But never a knife. Not until last week.

It was a Sunday evening at the beach motel. I approached a large group of loud twenty-somethings. My intent was to politely suggest that they turn down the noise. It took maybe two minutes to climb one flight of steps and walk down one wing of the motel. In that time, the group dispersed. Three young, white males remained to confront me.    

It was about 8:45 p.m., and the lights on the balcony were behind us. I thought I saw a movement and heard a faint sound. The young man in the middle of the threesome was holding a pointed object at his side, pointing outward, about belt high.

In the dark, I had to look twice to see it. My first reaction was — a box cutter. On second thought, I decided it was a knife. What can that young man have been thinking?

I turned around, walked away, and called the police.

They arrived in about 10 minutes, by which time the three young men and their cohort had fled. Indeed, all the balconies were suddenly empty and quiet.

The police seemed to wonder if I was imaging things. But a sharp-eyed officer spotted the discarded knife. He gingerly flicked it open. A switchblade with a black handle and an evil blade.

“It’s not an illegal knife,” the officer said.

“It’s illegal if you point it at someone,” I said.

Let the record show that I have a zero-tolerance policy regarding knives.

The police confiscated the knife. The young men wisely did not return. All’s well that ends well. One knife in 65 years. Nothing to worry about. Odds are it won’t happen again, even if I live to be 100.

You may consider this post an update on “Summer of Discontent and Division.” 

A few years ago, we had the plague of green laser pointers at the beach. I suppose 2013 is the summer of the knife.

— John Hayden

11 thoughts on “Summer Of The Knife

  1. The knife is the street weapon of choice in the UK. Knife law is meant to be strict here but little is done to stop kids from carrying. Nowadays it is better to assume someone is armed. The problem is the right to protect ourselves is NIL.


    • For years, I’ve kept in the back of my mind the knowledge that nearly anyone might be carrying a handgun. It’s always been about guns. But this summer, in my locale, police are reporting knife incidents. Maybe it’s the economy? Common thugs can’t afford a gun?


  2. Brrr. I’m glad you didn’t come any closer than that.

    I carry pepper spray, which I expect to use on a dog befure I ever use it on a human. I recommend the Gall’s catalog, which is supposed to be for law enforcement officers only but seems willing to ship its extra strength formula to me, possibly because my ex who worked at DOJ used to get it shipped here. Or any running store. You should have it on you in this job.


    • My father was a mailman, and the Post Office provided letter carriers with a pepper-spray sort of deterrent. Thanks for the tip on Gall’s. I’m sure a lot of readers might be interested in that information.

      After reading the “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” a Swedish who-dun-it trilogy, I’m seriously thinking about acquiring a taser. The female protagonist made good use of tasers. Not sure if they’re legal.


  3. I taught in a tough school in Brooklyn, New York. One of my hot headed students pulled a knife on me and then fled when I went after him. I was stupid and wanted to get cut, workman’s comp was a great idea for me and I would have been glad to nurse the wound and not go back to the hell hole. Of course I was young and foolish for I did not consider I could have gotten killed. After that no one bothered me again for the students thought I was insane and loca en la cabesa.


    • Reminds me of the days of “mutually assured destruction.” The leaders of the Free World and the Communist World tried to persuade the each other that they were both just possibly insane enough to pull the trigger.


      • Yeah, it is really bad, I remember standing in New York under a revolving neon that ticked the hours down at the crisis got close; I and a few others need to go home and change my underpants.. It just got to close.


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