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A Cutting issue

BY George Thompson

General Wild Kid

As a slight departure from my usual Bushcraft Bairns ‘make and do’, in this article I am going to share some of my opinions regarding knives and young people.

I’m sure most of you have at some point been asked the question: “What would you take, if you were to be dropped into the wilderness with only a single item?” Perhaps after a few jokes about nonessential kit and then, maybe wondering what Ray Mears would choose, I think most would decide on a knife, as from that one item, fires can be made, food secured and prepared, shelters made and further tools fashioned.

Few can deny that the knife is central to bushcraft, but also to everyday life. Without it, cooking would be an issue, and the human race would lose one of the earliest components of its identity.

Unfortunately, knives also make good weapons, and increasingly seem to be labelled as such. Almost every day it seems there is a new story reported, involving knives and often young people; as a consequence, young people as well as knives seem to be prejudiced against in general.

Some of you will know my story. I am sixteen, and one of my hobbies is knife-making. When this comes up in conversation outside of the bushcraft community, before I rush to explain how it ties in with my other hobbies I find that some people assume I am some kind of weapons dealer. I am sure that the vast majority of young people are fantastic, law-abiding and upholding good moral values, just as most knife use is productive and peaceful. However, a nasty incident involving either is bound to overshadow any good actions, leaving both tarnished.

As a slight departure from my usual Bushcraft Bairns ‘make and do’, in this article I am going to share some of my opinions regarding knives and young people.

I’m sure most of you have at some point been asked the question: “What would you take, if you were to be dropped into the wilderness with only a single item?” Perhaps after a few jokes about nonessential kit and then, maybe wondering what Ray Mears would choose, I think most would decide on a knife, as from that one item, fires can be made, food secured and prepared, shelters made and further tools fashioned.

Few can deny that the knife is central to bushcraft, but also to everyday life. Without it, cooking would be an issue, and the human race would lose one of the earliest components of its identity.

Bushcraft is such a positive interest for young people to be involved in. Not only is it great fun but it gives a lifelong hobby, a sense of responsibility and a great respect for knives and their usage. I have handled knives from a very early age and made my first one when I was twelve. I feel that this positive exposure can only be a good thing. The current culture of associating knives and young people with violence and unruly behaviour is damaging as it will only cause a division between young and old.

Knives have been very important in (literally!) shaping our past, and I’m sure that they will continue to have a role in everyday life and activities such as bushcraft in our future.

I know that there are many other young bushcrafters with similar positive views on knives. I would love to hear from you, in the form of letters to the magazine, sharing your views on knives and what they mean to you.

Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður

A man without a knife is a man without a life

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