RESTRICT USE OF SHARPS

Is a needle a tool or weapon? Like the machete or gun, it’s an object that can be considered both. What is a needle? Well, there are many types of needles. “Porcupine” by Quinn Dombrowski For instance, there are pine needles (which rank relatively low on the danger scale), sewing needles (we have invented thimbles for a reason), and porcupine needle     (those are quills). “Pine Tip” by Eric Kilby  Magnetic needles point us in the right direction when we’re using a compass. There’s the famous landmark, the Space Needle, in Seattle, Washington. If you’re a DJ (or just someone who likes to listen to records), a functioning turntable needle is essential. All of these things can be classified as a needle, but what I want to talk about it the hypodermic needle—commonly used with a syringe—a needle that you come into contact with every time you go to the doctor to get blood work done or to get vaccinated. This type of needle is a valuable tool, and many people use it. However, its value is often overlooked or ignored by many people. The hypodermic needle is also feared. There is even an official classification for the fear of needles: trypanophobia. In an essay, “What Is a Machete, Anyway?,” the author John Cline mentions that the distinction between an object being classified as a weapon or a tool is not an easy one. He mentions that “the slipperiness between innocuous utensil and deadly device represents the risk of insurrection.” Now I don’t know of any insurrections where hypodermic needles have been the cause or risk, but that isn’t the...

“Tools” vs. “Weapons”

In John Cline’s article, “What Is a Machete, Anyway?” Cline talks about the multiple uses of a machete. A machete has multiple uses: to clear, to cut, to kill, and the use depends on whoever wields the machete. For example, a farmer could use a machete to cut down his crops, a explorer could use a machete to clear a path, but in the wrong hands, this tool could become a weapon used to kill. So, the person wielding the machete determines how the tool is used and the implications that it creates.  He goes on discussing how certain objects can have so many different uses which brings up the question: Is the object bad or is the person behind the object bad?     When ever there is a school shooting the debate of gun control always comes up. One side believes on stricter control of guns because of the violence that comes from guns, whereas the other side view the problem residing in the person wielding the gun not the object itself. Compared to the machete, it could be argued that the gun has less “practical” uses outside of killing. They can both seen as tools, but the gun’s sole purpose can be seen for killing; however, the extremeness of killing might not always be seen as a bad thing. If a hunter uses a gun to kill an animal in order to control the overpopulation of an animal, it can be seen as a tool because they are doing what is believed is necessary to control an abundance of a certain animal. “Killing” might not be...

Sharp Things

In his article “What Is a Machete, Anyway?” John Cline discusses the nature of a machete’s nature as an object which can fluctuate between a tool and a weapon almost instantaneously. At one point in the article, he gives the example of him and his friend switching from using a machete as a toy for fun to using it as a means to ward off strangers who they perceived as threats. Cline brings to light a concept which is not exclusive to machetes; many objects have the capability of being used as a functional tool or immediately being used in a way that could bring harm upon others.   Pain-killing drugs are another example of this trait within objects. Vicodin is a pain-killer that is known in the medical community for its ability to become addictive to patients who take it for severe pain. When being used to help a patient relieve pain, it is an extremely valuable tool that can have a positive impact on a person’s life, but when overused, the object can take control over the user and can become an addictive substance that has the potential to kill the user if overly abused. One famous (though fictional) tale of Vicodin addiction is the addiction of Dr. Gregory House in the television show House. House, who is a doctor and the main character of the show, begins taking Vicodin to relieve his leg pain, but eventually becomes an addict and cannot stop taking the drug for an extended period of time. He eventually begins to use other severe pain-killer drugs as well, such as Morphine. While...
Blog Post #5: Sharp Things

Blog Post #5: Sharp Things

Why are the most useful objects so often also among the most dangerous? Some objects, such as knives, fire, or chemotherapy drugs have inherent properties that make them hazardous to our health. In other objects, though, the danger stems not from the object’s properties (it’s sharp, it’s hot, or it’s toxic) but from how it is used. For example, one might argue (and some do) that there is nothing inherently dangerous about a gun; guns only become dangerous through the operation of human agency, through intentional use of a gun to cause harm or mishandling that results in unintended injury. How do we tell the difference between a tool and weapon, between poison and panacea? In his essay, “What Is a Machete, Anyway?,” John Cline implies the tendency of any object to oscillate between useful tool and dangerous weapon may be a function of its inherent characteristics, rather than the end to which it is employed by human actors: What contemporary object can be both a tool and a weapon, like the machete? Communication technologies like cell phones might serve as one candidate, especially in light of their application during the “Arab Spring.” But can the iPhone ever bear the same gravitas as the machete? Is silicon the new steel? Information has been a part of every arsenal, revolutionary or otherwise. Still, it’s hard to imagine driving a smartphone into a body “down to the Apple.” By contrasting the iPhone with the “gravitas” of the machete, Cline suggests that, although an iPhone might be used as a weapon, it’s not–unlike the machete–a weapon per se. Does that, though, mean that an iPhone...
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