Earlier this month I spent a lovely weekend in Atlanta at the Blade Show. For those of you unaware, the Blade Show is the largest gathering of knifemakers and knife enthusiasts in the world. It takes place every year at the Cobb Galleria and includes everything from cutting and chopping contests to prizes for knives of many and varied styles. It is the one place in the knife universe where you can talk to a kilt-wearing swordsmith and an engraver who regularly adorns knives with gold and jewels while waiting in line for a Chick-fil-A sandwich.
Our Mission at Blade Show
I was there with a portion of the USCCA traveling show team getting the word out about the fact that USCCA Member benefits apply to the use of any legal weapon in a self-defense incident. We talked to thousands of people, gave away more than 1,000 free T-shirts and generally welcomed a whole bunch of new people to the concealed carry lifestyle. If you are a responsibly armed American, I don’t care what you use to defend your loved ones.
The Blade Show has been around for something like three decades. The folks who attend represent the breadth and depth of the industry. You will find everything from kitchen knives to tactical folders to ornate swords to custom-made art knives. And then you have the materials for knifemaking. It is the only place I know of where I am certain to find fossilized mastodon ivory, stabilized burl and giraffe bones for sale all under the same roof.
Our goal was to introduce the members of this community to the USCCA and to educate them about what we do and how we do it. Many of the attendees at the Blade Show consider knives to be defensive weapons. There is much discussion about how and when to deploy a knife, but I noticed a genuine lack of discussion about what will happen after a knife is used. This became a topic of conversation with many visitors to the USCCA booth.
Have You Thought About This?
Talk about a socially awkward conversation starter. Try it once. Just walk up to a person and say, “Have you ever thought about what might happen after you stab a guy?”
Luckily, I am used to people giving me odd looks at the beginning of conversations, so I was not the least put off as I began my efforts to educate.
Stopping the Threat…
In legal terms, using a knife for self-defense is a lot like using a gun. The use of a knife is considered deadly force. That means you can only use your knife if you are facing an imminent deadly threat. It is also true that if you use your knife in self-defense, you must stop your defensive actions as soon as the threat stops. You are not intending to kill anyone. You simply want to stop the threat. These are some of the universal rules of self-defense. But there is more you need to know about the legal aspects of using a knife in self-defense.
It likely won’t surprise you to know that prosecutors, and especially jurors, typically don’t have much understanding of how knives work in self-defense incidents. The wounds inflicted by a knife can be large and ugly. It is easy to use images of those wounds to portray the knife-wielding defender as someone who used too much force while attempting to stop the threat. In short, if you slash the biceps of an attacker to stop a sudden assault, you had better have a good and knowledgeable attorney for the inevitable court proceedings that will arise.
The Aftermath of Self-Defense
These are the things we think about. It is this type of information we will research, vet and present so that you have all the tools you need to defend yourself. Remember, you are not just trying to win the fight on the street. You also have to win the fight in the courtroom. The aftermath of your defensive actions can be just as difficult as fighting for your life.
The more you know, the better prepared you will be for dealing with these issues.
About Kevin Michalowski
Concealed Carry Magazine Executive Editor Kevin Michalowski is a fully certified law enforcement officer, patrolling the mean streets of rural Wisconsin in his spare time. A Certified Trainer through the USCCA and the NRA, he has attended training across the U.S. as both a student and an instructor. Kevin is passionate about the concealed carry lifestyle, studying the legal, ethical and moral aspects of the use of force in self-defense.