I lived for several years on my own homestead in rural NM, and during that time I became very accustomed to the culture of the area, namely and for the purpose of this article, carrying a knife. My pocket knife goes every where with me. If you live out in the country, 30 miles from the nearest town, own livestock, and maintain your own house, a pocket knife is possibly the most valuable tool you own. It is almost like having a third hand. I have always thought of my pocket knife as a tool. It cuts things, it shaves things, it pries things open, and if you need it to, it can provide the main ingredient of a fine chicken dinner. I even use it in the garden to harvest beans, peas and squash. Never, ever have I thought of it as a weapon, there are better tools for that sort of thing.
Bear with me for a moment, because I need to talk a little about what my pocket knife looks like, instead of what it can do for me. It has a three inch carbon steel blade, has a pocket clip, and when folded is about four inches long. It's a Kershaw, some of the best cutlery money can buy. I don't wave it around or show it off, it's a tool, and I don't brag about it any more than a carpenter would brag about his hammer.
I recently moved into a large city, and reacquainting myself with all the social niceties has been kind of a challenge for me. I miss my animals, my house, and my land, but one thing I am unwilling to go without is my pocket knife. Even in the city I can find uses for it (scraping gum off my shoe being the main exercise I have for it these days). Apparently that makes me a terrorist.
I fully understand there are some places no one should be allowed to carry a blade, the air-port comes to mind. I would expect to get in trouble if I carried a knife into a bar (although this was a common practice in NM.) I would never dream of carrying one into a court house. No sharp objects of any kind should be allowed in any of these places. That's the law, and I agree with it. The law, however, can be taken to extremes of absurdity.
A few days ago I had to go to the social security office to do some things for my seven year old son (thank the powers that be he was not with me). I walked in with a briefcase full of papers, a mountain dew, and of course, the ever present pocket knife. There were about thirty people in the lobby, several secretaries behind bullet proof glass, and an armed police officer sitting in the corner. I took a number and looked for a seat - I expected a long wait. As I was about to sit down, the officer loudly called me over to him. I didn't realize he was talking to me at first - I had done nothing to get his attention. He yelled louder. I picked up my briefcase and walked over to him. When I got to his corner of the room, he demanded that I give him the pocket knife (he could just barely see the clip on the outside of my pocket.) I gave it to him, and he made a show of opening it and letting the whole lobby know that he should and could take me to jail. He then proceeded to confiscate it. At this point all kinds of things come to mind, but the best thing I could think of was just to go back to my seat. There was no point in arguing with someone who had just threatened to arrest me. I did wonder however, just what he expected me to do with this pocket knife. Did he think I was going to scratch my initials in the ballistic glass. Maybe he thought I was going to attack some of those other poor souls waiting in the lobby with me. Certainly he would shoot me if I tried something as barbaric as that. Perhaps he thought I was going to threaten him with it. If a person really wants to be gunned down, attacking a police officer seems a sure way to get it done. Any way, I am getting off point. My pocket knife and I were no threat to any one in the building. As I said at the beginning of this article, there are better tools for that sort of thing.
As for this terrorist, he went home without his WMD. I just hope there is still some chewing gum on the blade, and it got all over the inside of his pocket, as I am sure he took it home with him.