The Government is Trying to take Your Arkansas Toothpicks

This news article is from the Niles Weekly Register,  September 16, 1837.

8--bowie knives

A tax of one hundred dollars on a particular type of knife (that certainly sold for less than 100 dollars) seems like an attempt to prevent people from owning them.  Leave it to the liberal state of Alabama to try to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

What made the Bowie knife more dangerous than any other weapon at the time?  Perhaps it was the myth that grew out of a real incident that took place.

Perhaps people who purchased Bowie knives fantasized themselves as defenders of the innocent and powerful fighters.  They would play with the knives, defeating imaginary enemies left and right.  Sooner or later the play would turn into an actual incident and real people would get hurt and killed.

Kinda like people do with their guns now.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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3 Responses to The Government is Trying to take Your Arkansas Toothpicks

  1. Finn Holding says:

    Very interesting post Harlan. If a $1000 levy was payable on the sale of every gun maybe less school kids would be dying too young. What’s the feeling in the US now? It seems that Obama is tapping into the prevailing anti-gun zeitgeist post Sandy Hook, but can he prevail over the pro-gun lobby? We see so many school shootings reported in the press here in the UK and it’s completely unfathomable how people can value the 2nd Amendment over the lives of the children and actually advocate arms in schools rather than gun control. Surely that’s not the system that any parent would want their children to grow up in? I’m following the presidents attempts to limit gun owneship with interest.

    • We are a strange country. Yesterday all 50 states had pro-gun rallies at their state capitols. Here in Iowa we had somewhere between 50 and 100 people at a peaceful rally to protect our “right to keep and bear arms.” There was talk about the government wanting to come and take our guns. The thing is, here in the U.S. “the government” is us. At Sandy Hook, the shooter’s mother was a gun-rights zealot, and even took her son out to the firing range and taught him how to shoot. Yet somehow we cannot admit that the paranoid thinking and the guns themselves are a part of the problem.
      I am not optimistic.

      • Finn Holding says:

        It’s a tragic state of affairs and it seems the lack of gun control makes the paranoia a self fulfilling prophecy. How many more kids need to die before the zealots see some kind of sense?

        I guess it’s difficult to see any progress in the short term, but hopefully a debate has been ignited which will slow-burn and eventually common sense may prevail.

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