The sad state of liberty: handcuffs, fingerprinting and mug shots

Posted By on March 12, 2012


Ever since I can remember I’ve carried a pocket knife … in part because the first one was given to me by my grandfather when I was 5 years old. Yes … FIVE … and I can vividly remember cutting ants in a sandbox (where was Peta?). Although it was a small single blade tourist keychain knife (said “Florida” on the sticker) and only about 1” long (think I still have it somewhere?), I carried it with pride and valued it immensely. Eventually my Grandpa Bluhm gave me his heavily sharped (worn out) two bladed pocket knife with a pearled handle — I carried to school everyday. Then in the short couple years preceding his death in 1969, he gave me a variety of others knives not all pocket only type knives. There were those he taught me to throw at targets, others that would spring open (switchblades) and thin, sharp fillet knives that we used to clean fish … wheelbarrows full of yellow perch from Lake Erie that we packaged up for the freeze. It is amazing the impact a grandfather can make on a 9 year old boy. He died before I turned 10.

To this day, I carry a pocket knife because of him, more for utilitarian purposes, but in part out of respect and memory. I do prefer a Swiss Army models from either Victorinox or Wenger and carry a more petite model for convenience on most days. My family, and particularly nephews, joke about me and my “McGyver knives” and laugh about the time I gave them all a Swiss Army knife for Christmas – of course one of them cut his finger a few minutes after opening the gift. (keep your eye on those questionable uncles!)

But this brings me to the point of our changing culture … and over zealous sensitivity to items that I’ve neverwengerswissarmygiant given much thought too, except more recently in dealing with the TSA and to wisely stow my pocket knife  when traveling plane. While I understand the urge to protect the public, it does seem we go way overboard. Here’s an example of a couple high school lacrosse players who are facing the tolerant [sarcasm] school administration in Talbot County and the local police state force. 

CBS reports:

Talbot County schools are under fire for suspending two Easton High School lacrosse players over equipment they kept in their bags to fix their sticks.

Laura Dennis’ son Graham had a pen knife and a Leatherman that school authorities found while they searched a team bus before it headed to a game. He now faces jail time and damage to his permanent record.

Doug Edsall’s son Casey had a lighter he also used to fix his lacrosse stick.  The school classified it as an explosive device.

So we have a pen knife, a Leatherman, and a Bic Lighter.  The police have classified those as deadly weapons and an explosive device (the lighter).  Most sane people would classify those as useful devices that serve to aid humanity.  Not so with our terrorist police organizations, who see lighters and multi-tools as a direct threat to their authority.

“A police officer came and took him away in handcuffs and they said ‘Give us 40 minutes, we have to process him,’ Laura Dennis said. “So they did mug shots and they fingerprinted. I was able to pick him up from the police department 45 minutes later.”

That’s right.  For the crime of carrying useful tools in their gym bag, these kids are now facing the wrath of the almighty terrorist police state.

Make no mistake, the kids are terrified.

“I’m just really terrified of what could happened, and it’s just been real emotional for myself and Graham of what we’ve been through,” said Casey Edsall, suspended student.

Thinking of my past and my pocket knives in school … and others who brought shotguns to school for show-and-tell would have been lock up and the keys thrown away. Come on … handcuffs, mug shots, fingerprinted?


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.