UK Sword Attack Kills Teen, Leaves 5 Injured...But At Least No One Had A Gun

Picture under Creative Commons

While I'm a gun guy, I'm not just a gun guy. I'm also someone keenly interested in medieval combat. I study and teach medieval martial arts as part of a non-profit group. It doesn't pay anything, but I enjoy it.


That means, though, that I'm someone who knows how to use a sword, and not just some Olympic fencing version of a sword. It also means I know how to use a spear and a dagger some as well.

I generally tell my students that what I teach them isn't generally practical for the modern streets. I mean, it's a sword. When are you going to find yourself in a sword fight?

Well, in the UK, that was apparently a possibility.

A man wielding a sword went on the attack in London early Tuesday, killing a 14-year-old boy and injuring at least four others, including two cops, after first driving a van into a house, according to authorities.

Shocking images show the unidentified suspect in a yellow hoodie holding the terrifying-looking weapon around 7 a.m. while walking through a street near Hainault Tube station in north-east London.

He was “running around with a samurai sword,” one witness told the Telegraph.

Another heard a woman’s terrifying scream and then “the words, ‘he’s got a massive knife,’ or ‘he’s got a massive sword.'”

The first people stabbed were at a house where the suspect crashed his van into, according to cops, who did not elaborate on whether the property or its occupants were deliberately targeted.

The suspect “went on to attack other members of the public and two police officers,” said a rep for the police force.

Stuart Bell, the chief superintendent of London’s Metropolitan Police, later announced “with great sadness” that a 14-year-old boy had died from his injuries.


At this point, someone will joke about the UK passing sword control. 


They already have it.

Seriously, there are restrictions on swords already on the books in the UK. You can have them and the rules aren't anywhere near as extensive as for firearms, but they already exist.

Clearly, they worked wonders in stopping a mass casualty attack with a sword, now didn't they?

Just think, though. What if one of the people there had a firearm?

The idea of deflecting a bullet with your sword is the stuff of movies and television. While it's technically possible to split a bullet or something with a sword, no one is fast enough to do that reliably. A firearm would have stopped the attack quick, fast, and in a hurry.

Instead, you had victims who had no clue how to defend themselves. I study this stuff and I can't say I could reliably defend myself with most of what's permissible in the UK. And none of what I could use with any degree of certainty would have been available to anyone other than the occupants of the house that where the initial attack began.

People don't walk around the streets of the UK with long sticks, swords, or other such implements these days.


Some will make the argument that this would have been so much worse if he had a gun. I'm not so sure you can make that guarantee since we've seen shootings with less damage than this attack.

What we can say, though, is that guns aren't the issue. The issue is the people, and no one seems to be trying to delve into the psychology of why people break like this. Remove the guns all you want, but people trying to slaughter the innocent will still try to find ways to slaughter the innocent. 

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