The Portsmouth Incident and Knife Attack Safety

by / 0 Comments / 126 View / June 6, 2014

1:27PM: A few hours ago, an individual stabbed an unidentified victim at the Navy exchange near Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth.  The suspect of this attack, identified as Wilbur Harwell, was an alleged active-duty 3rd Class Petty Officer.  While the details surrounding this incident haven’t been fully concluded, the attacks on military grounds perpetrated by members or employees of the American military have caught the media’s eye:  Navy Yard Complex in DC,  Marine Corp School in Virginia,  Fort Hood in Texas.

Apart from the tidal and continuous battle between the NRA and gun ban proponents in light of these recent stabbings, such incidents at a military institutions are rare.  All aforementioned incidents, except the most recent, involved the use of semi-automatic or basic guns.  But, outside of military grounds, knife stabbings have become somewhat prevalent.  A few weeks ago, five individuals were fatally stabbed at an off-campus party outside the University of Calvary.  In April, 22 individuals were wounded in a mass stabbing at Franklin Regional High School, PA.  And, while speculating the causes of this incident would be fruitless given the plethora of possible situations and the gargantuan absence of facts, the question of knife safety, specifically at a military headquarters, comes to light.  Is knife safety even possible given the brevity and acuteness of such close-cornered attacks?

In a basic light, no.  It would be seemingly absurd to have each member of a military base, or of a school, party-goer, or official for that matter, to wear heavy padding throughout the day.  Since the suspect remains unidentified, it is impossible to tell if he or she had known the attacker or had the skills to fend off a knife attack. Regardless of this incident, the threat remains: a knife stabbing could happen easily and slyly.  Yet, as a matter of respect of this past tragedy, understanding ways to fend off a knife attack can be useful if such harmful threat arises.

  1. Run.  Running is known to be the best defense against any knife attack since an injury requires close contact.
  2. If there is little room to flee, find something long or heavy to protect yourself from the knife.  This is the best defense if you are trapped.  While the luxury of having such object is scarce, use anything you have to keep and fend off a distance.
  3. In the worst situation, you may have to deal with the knife attacker with your most rudimentary weapons.  Swing at the throat or eyes or try to, if you believe yourself in a capable position, to take control of the knife.

Since knives cannot fall under the same gun-ban type of debate, self-defense and awareness are the main possible shields against incidents like this.  Often, and possibly in the case of this incident, the victim had few, if any, options. While vital details have yet to be released, condolences go out to the families involved and wishes of good health to the injured victim.


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