In the wake of a massive knife attack at the Kunming Railway Station, Chinese netizens have praised China’s gun control measures on Weibo.
“The only thing I can rejoice in is China’s gun ban,” International Business Times quotes one user. “It is difficult to imagine the amount of innocent lives that could have been taken otherwise.”
American gun rights supporters, on the other hand, have mocked the attack as an example of the failure of gun control. “Another win for gun control,” Bullets First.net wrote. “Will China Ban Knives?” Godfather Politics asked. Fire Andrea Mitchell wrote, “Good thing they have strong gun control in China.”
Good thing indeed. Gun control apparently prevented the attackers from using guns.
Using knives, eight terrorists were able to stab 29 people to death in a station crowded with hundreds of unarmed travelers. When Cho Seung-Hui attacked Virginia Tech with two handguns, he killed 32 all by himself. Adam Lanza killed 27 in Newtown with a Bushmaster and a Glock.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but guns are more lethal than knives. First of all, guns can be used to attack from long-range, whereas you have to be within arms reach to attack someone with a knife.
Secondly, gun wounds are more deadly. According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal,
[E]xperts warn stab wounds are typically less likely to kill the victim than gunshot wounds, but a perpetrators’ choice of weapon doesn’t diminish the punishment.
“Anything in the neck is very dangerous,” he said.
Otherwise, he said, stab wounds typically aren’t as fatal as gunshot wounds because bullets typically cause more internal damage.
To illustrate that point, ChinaHush charted the number of deaths and injuries from various gun and knife attacks in America and China. The attacks were chosen based on notoriety, and a number of attacks from 2011 and ’12 were added to increase the sample size. (The number of injuries only counts those directly inflicted by the weapon, not injuries inflicted by trying to escape. Aurora had 58 gun shot injuries.) It’s not scientific, but it is more accurate than pointing at a single news headline about one day in Kunming.
|Attack||Deaths||Injuries||Death to Injury Ratio||Knife or Gun?|
|Loughner, Tuscon, Ariz.||6||13||0.462||Gun|
|2011 IHOP Shooting, Carson City||5||7||0.714||Gun|
|2012 Minneapolis Workplace Shooting||6||2||3.000||Gun|
|2012 Seattle Cafe Shooting Spree||5||1||5.000||Gun|
|Chardon High School||3||3||1.000||Gun|
|Seal Beach Shooting||8||1||8.000||Gun|
|Sikh Temple, Wisc.||6||4||1.500||Gun|
|Nanping City Experimental Elementary School||8||5||1.600||Knife|
|Chenping Village Primary School||0||24||0.000||Knife|
|Shanghai Daycare, 2011||0||8||0.000||Box Cutter|
Someone getting injured in a knife attack is a terrible tragedy, but it’s not as bad as dying.
The International Business Times article does raise another important question about train station security: Should security guards have guns? Right now the guards at train stations only have mace-like spray, batons, and riot forks, but if they had guns, they might have been able to take down the criminals.