Tuesday, September 08, 2009

No Knives For British Scouts

Well, possibly if there is a "specific need," Scout knives might be okay in the UK, but:
A Scouts spokesman said, "Scouting helps to prepare young people with valuable life skills, while keeping them safe by not carrying knives."
Um, yeah, right. Scout knife, weapon, unsafe.* Geesh, I didn't even fear my baby brother when he became a knife-totin' Scout. Commonsense is not dead Across The Water:
Sheila Burgin, from 4th Sevenoaks Scout Group in Kent, said: "Scouts by law are allowed to have Swiss army knives. I think this is going too far – you just don’t know when a Scout will need a knife."
But does anyone hear her?

...Help me out here; what I remember U. S. Boy Scouts carrying were mostly "stockman" or "whittler" knives, a little bit bigger than the common penknife all men and most women once carried. Were they carryin' something all that different in the UK? C'mon, Swiss Army knives? Biggest blade is what, 2.5" and usually in some stainless steel formulation that stays shiny but won't hold much of an edge?

I don't get it. Neither does Unwanted Blog, which is where I found it.
* By modern UK standards, I am Death Incarnate at work and something far, far worse on my own time, with two or three knives on my person just as a start. Booga-booga!


Bob S. said...

Someone, who hopefully will remain nameless, has started a petition online :)


Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

A 1950s/60s official BSA catalog would show the well-prepared lad to own the official four-blade knife (cutter, can opener, bottle opener, awl screwdriver); PLUS the official sheath knife, a c. 5" hunter; PLUS the official hand axe with belt sheath; PLUS, the official whittling knife (much like a stockman).

Thus equipped, your average kid at Philmont had the lethal potential of Ghengis Khan. And you will recall the corpses piled high by crazed Eagle Scout knife wielders at the national jamborees.

Bob said...

Over at Random Acts of Patriotism, that worthy blogger, an ex-Scout himself, did a whole series on US scouting, including a piece on safe use of the pocket knife: click the link to read it.

Alan said...

When I was a Boy Scout back in the 70's, it was usually a Gerber or Buck lock blade for every day carry. You weren't prepared unless you had a knife on you.

kahr40 said...

And you still aren't unless you have a knife on you.

Old Grouch said...

It's all on account of those ingenious ASBO recipients... they keep coming up with new sources of weaponry.

Look for the U.K. to next ban letter openers, hammers, corkscrews, cricket bats, sharp sticks, and rocks.

Blackwing1 said...


What do you regularly carry for sharp edges and miscellaneous toolage? Just curious.

One of my two carry-scimitars is a Leatherman Juice CS4, which replaced 25 years of carrying a Swiss Army knife. Most commonly-used implement: Cork-screw, followed by the pliers (which is why it replaced the SAK).

For actually cutting things it's a 4" Beretta skeletonized lock-back (it's ultra-light-weight, which is why it replaced the Buck 110). Takes a great edge, but loses it a little too quickly.

Tam said...

Forget camping in the woods for the moment; I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of people walking about in their day-to-day urban lives without a knife.

With what do they cut things?

Don said...

Oh, Bobbi . . . Swiss Army Knives go WAY beyond what you describe (well, OK, maybe not in the UK.)

I have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn't carry a small pocketknife. I don't expect everyone to be a collector with a Benchmade in one pocket and a Camillus in the other, but walking around with no way to slit an envelope or cut a piece of radiator hose to length is just undignified.

I saw an article the other day on how to open the horrible, "impenetrable" clamshell packaging everything comes in nowadays . . . just get your can opener and run that around the edge, then cut the rest with scissors!
"Sure wish I could open up this cell phone charger so I could charge my phone, but I didn't buy a can opener and mine is at home. Oh, well."

BobG said...

How the hell can anyone have a motto of "Be Prepared" and not carry something sharp? What kind of boys are they trying to raise over there?

I can't imagine going around without at least one knife on me. I usually have two or three.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

A Scout without a knife is like a gunblogger without a gun.

This shall not stand, methinks.

Personally I don't know what I'd do with my pocketknife. I feel naked without it, particularly in places where I feel like I need it for self-defense -- like, whenever I go into the City-County Building...

Anonymous said...


I LOL'ed, and maybe even snorted a little bit.


Anonymous said...


The boyscouts are doomed.

Are there no men left to stop the insanity?

See Ya

sam said...

Wonder what they would think of the machete I carried in my 'sprouting' days (along with sheaf, buck folder, and pocket knives), not to mention the saw and/or axe in my pack . . .

Roberta X said...

Let's see, my "constant companion" knives are a Kershaw over-center-assist one-hand opening knife and a Japanese carpenter's knife with neither spring nor latch; this is usaully joined by a Leatherman Wave on my belt. There's a Leatherman Juice-type multitool in my purse (somewhere), a pair of folding scissors on my work key ring and a tiny toolkit in an eyeglass case that includes a flat penknife with two small, sharp blades and a folding steel rule.

Like I said, Death Incarnate by UK standards, for all that the very largest of this lot has a blade only 2.75" long.

If I have to enter a secured area, I usually just empty my pockets and leave my purse behind; it's too much trouble to dig out every last nail file or whatever. "I have become Death, sharpener of pencils," or something.

Roberta X said...

Bob S., I am sorry to be the one to say this: Robert Baden-Powell is buried in Kenya. Nyeri, in St. Peter's Cemetery, to be exact, and his wife is buried next to him.

(I found myself on a long wikiwander some months back on this very topic, and why in the US we were not "Girl Guides" and how come Scouts used to carry a staff and so on...)

Scouting (and Guiding/Girl Scouts) has fragmented enormously in recent years, with competing "traditional" and "modern" organizations in the U.S., UK, Canada and other countries, as well as multiple versions of "Lone Scouts," originally for would-be Scouts in isolated locations. I'd like to think there was some tiny bit of the original spark in each of these, even the most milquetoast, namby-pamby versions.

If we wanna do a little something to nudge 'em back, B-P's orgnal book is found here online and for sale and the 1911 American version is in print, too. Planting a few of these where they'd do some good would not be remiss.

The notions of preparedness, doing a good turn daily (or more often!), mastering basic skills, awareness of one's surroundings, culture and history do not pass out of style. And neither does carrying a darn penknife.

rickn8or said...

"Geesh, I didn't even fear my baby brother when he became a knife-totin' Scout.

I'm guessin' that's because by the time he was of age to become that 'knife-totin' Scout' Big Sister 'Berta had taught him Honor, Courtesy and Fear. Lots and lots of Fear.

Roberta X said...

Fear, as they say, was my Profession!

Not really. He was annoyingly well-behaved, for a saxophone player.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...


The Boy Scout Fieldbook, either 1st or 2nd edition, is also highly recommended.

Most of the Scouters I work with believe that the 3rd edition stunk in comparison. I've never seen a copy of the 4th so I can't comment on it.