Sunday, April 06, 2008

EEEEK!!! Sharp Objects!!!

Boston Herald: Machete Mayhem

An eruption of machete attacks in cities across the Bay State has law enforcement officials worried about the savage weapons, which can be bought in stores for as little as $25 with no questions asked.

Who the hell is paying $25 for a machete? They're going for less than ten bucks at the Lowe's and Wal-Mart up the street from me.

Since the start of 2008, there have been at least seven machete attacks in Boston, Lynn, Springfield and Chicopee, according to police reports and news accounts.

The brazen and bloody assaults include a daytime attack on a 15-year-old on City Hall Plaza in Boston, an after-school brawl that nearly severed the right thumb of a 16-year-old Lynn boy and a nighttime ambush on two people in Springfield. In total, the attacks have sent nine people to the hospital with serious injuries.

Law-abiding American citizens run amok, no doubt. Driven to uncontrollable, murderous rage by the mind-altering powers of a sharpened piece of metal with a plastic handle screwed onto the end of it.

Nationally, attacks have been reported against police in New York and in Connecticut, Florida and California.

For the love of God, it's high time we made "assault and battery on a police officer" a criminal offense in this country!

“It’s obviously a very dangerous implement. It can cause severe damage when wielded against another human being,” said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. “We’re very concerned when we see any uptick in violent crime. It has not yet reached epidemic proportions. It’s certainly something to pay attention to.”

What, exactly, is the cut-off point between "eruption" and "epidemic"? I haven't received my updated glossary yet.

Unlike firearms and certain kinds of swords and blades, the sales of machetes are not regulated.

Nor are the sales of kitchen knives, hatchets, axes, and saws.

State law carries a 2- to 5-year prison term for anyone convicted of carrying a stiletto, dagger, dirk knife, switch knife, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, kung fu sticks or a manrikigusari. Machetes aren’t on the list.

Yes, but notice how Massachusetts hasn't recorded a single drive-by zoobow attack since that law was enacted. Not one!

On Friday, a Herald reporter was able to purchase a sharp machete with an 18-inch blade for $25 from Kenmore Army & Navy Store in Downtown Crossing without any questions asked.

Ooooh...quite the exposé there. What's next? Are they gonna take a hidden camera crew into Macy's and buy a set of unregistered steak knives?

“As long as it’s not double-edge blade, dagger, dirk, stiletto or anything spring-activated, they can sell it,” said Boston Police Superintendent Daniel Linskey.

Unregulated gardening equipment sales???

Oh, the humanity!!!

Cities such as Boston and Lynn have ordinances that prohibit people from carrying a blade longer than 2 inches. The Boston ordinance, introduced by Conley when he was a city councilor, also prohibits the sale of a knife having a blade with a length of 2 inches or more, an ice pick or straight-edged razor or razor blade fitted with a handle to those under 18. Street sales of the weapons are banned under the ordinance, which carries a civil fine of $300 per offense.

And, we all know what a deterrent that law is sure to be for the subset of our population, for whom the laws against rape, armed robbery, and first-degree murder are of zero consequence.

"Yo, G! If we buy that dude's knife from him here in Boston, we could get hit with a $300 fine! Let's go to your cousin's neighborhood in Somerville to buy one, instead. And, then, we'll drive back here to carve up the guy living upstairs from you who called your girl a ho."

But enforcement of the ordinance can be confusing. If someone caught with a knife claims its use is for hunting, fishing or food preparation, an officer might not be able to confiscate it.

You mean chef's carrying their knives to and from work might actually be allowed to maintain possession of these deadly weapons! Won't somebody think of The ChildrenTM?

With machetes, Linskey said, law enforcement is staring at a cultural divide.

Here it comes.

Step 1: Bend over
Step 2: Insert politically correct 2-by-4 (A) into rectum (B)
Step 3: Repeat

“People involved come from cultures that use machetes like people use hammers and knives,” said Linskey, who described the three machete episodes that unfolded in Boston last month as “isolated incidents.”

Yeah, they're just trying to preserve and honor their heritage as they strive to become productive members of society here in their newly adopted homeland. I'm sure.

“Some come from either South America or tropical islands where machetes are something that is as common as a lawnmower is here,” Linskey said.

Which explains why you see so many Americans from the Midwest, living illegally in South and Central America, walking around the streets attacking people with farm equipment.

That divide is manifesting itself in a frightening way among members of the El Salvadoran MS-13 gang and the Hispanic 18th Street gang, which have a foothold in parts of East Boston, Malden, Revere and Chelsea. “These two groups are well-known for gratuitous violence using knives and machetes,” Conley said. “It is a peculiar trend with those two groups.

No mention of any "peculiar trend" pertaining to immigration status, of course.

Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said he’s open to tighter regulations of machetes. He said the incidents of machete attacks in Lawrence are few, but “very vicious.”

“Why would anybody be carrying a machete in Massachusetts? What would be the purpose?” Romero said.

I dunno. If I'm ever set upon by a bunch of dipshits armed with screwdrivers and pocket knives, I'd think a machete wouldn't be a bad thing to have under the front seat of the truck. Not as easy or efficient to operate as the .45 on my hip, but in a pinch, sure. Why not?

UPDATE: Flashback to this post from March 2006.


Any individual who requires a machete for the purposes of cutting vegetation shall register the machete with the local police department on an annual basis and, upon payment of an appropriate annual registration fee as determined by the local granting authority, shall be issued a permit authorizing him to possess the machete solely for the purposes of cutting vegetation.

And, from Jay G. in the comments attached thereto:

"Hey Jim, did you remember to renew your hatchet license?"

"Sure did, Bob. Gotta stop by the PD and renew the chainsaw card, though. That's coming due next month".

UPDATE II: Man, did the Herald ever get hosed! For an extra dollar, they could have bought four machetes at my local Wal-Mart. Big-ass camping Rambo-style assault knives and hatchets for less than ten bucks too.