There is nothing in the world to which Nature, wise mistress and benign mother of the universe, with greater genius, and more solicitudinous regard, than for the conservation of one’s self provides him (of which Man is, more so than any other noble creature, demonstrating himself very dear of his safety), as the singular privilege of the hand, with which not only does he go procuring all things necessary for the sustenance of his life, but if he arms himself yet with the sword, noblest instrument of all, protects and defends himself, against any willful assault of inimical force; nonetheless following the strict rule of true valor, and of the art of fencing.
-Ridolfo Capo Ferro da Cagli, 1610
I saw something interesting the other day. I saw a man not get arrested. On its own, this isn’t so interesting. Why, I bet you’ve seen several people not getting arrested today. What made this interesting is that he was wearing full military camouflage and army boots. He wore a twelve inch combat knife which, at the time I came around, was in the hands of one of the three police officers who were firmly escorting him off the bus. Of course I hung around to watch.
The officer in charge said she was “very concerned” about the knife but because he never outright said he intended to use it as a weapon she didn’t arrest him. Such is the law in Canada. A weapon is defined by your intent to use it. The knife was confiscated, mind you, but few would think that was wrong. I imagine it would seem inconceivable to some as to why he would carry it at all, but the military garb gives me some insight in to his motivations.
There is a deep held respect for the warrior class that many would imitate. For me, there are days when I would like to carry a sword. Some prefer to dress like a modern soldier. It could be pointed out that you could easily take the costume without the weapon, but I think that would destroy the illusion for a lot of people. Of course it’s not strictly illegal, so you could try. Officer’s Discretion is a tricky thing to gamble on, though.
Frankly I wouldn’t want most people carrying weapons, even if only for show. It would make me seriously uncomfortable. Even if every single one had a promise with themselves not to use force, even if they all knew that they could be trusted, I don’t know that. Anyone with a weapon is a threat to everyone around them. For a while in classical Rome where carrying a weapon was an equivalent crime to murder. Now I’m not advocating for that, but I don’t like the idea of a fully armed society. I know how easily rage can take over.
The argument could be made that a person has a right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary and I get that. I’ve heard this argument enough times. So what happens when someone wants to be a modern day knight, “sword” and all? Well you could join an organization that is part of the modern Warrior Class. Police and the Military are options. Or you could go the more esoteric route. Carry it inside. You don’t need a weapon to be a warrior and hold to warrior ideals. If you need a weapon to feel safe, a weapon probably wont help as much as you think it will. But here’s a compromise. Next time I’ll tell you about a couple of things you can carry to give you an edge in a fight.