Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts on thoughts.... tools and weapons


What is a weapon, but just another kind of tool? One that gives us power within a situation or perhaps over another person, but still just a tool.

This thought has occurred to me many times in the past, and I think it again when I contemplate my work situation. I’m an instructor, a teacher, in a public school. To be more exact, a technical center teaching trades. It’s a common joke of mine that our students are not allowed to have a dangerous pocket knife, but we’ll happily equip them with a chain saw. I make the joke, but I also realize it’s a jest based on truth.

Man is a tool using creature. We are not limited to what our hands can accomplish, but reach out with our minds and find useful ways of extending our reach, leveraging strength, and controlling energies. This trait is not limited to single pathways, but expands based on intelligence and talent. Where one person sees a screw driver; another sees both a screwdriver and a pry bar. A third person sees those uses, and also recognizes a metal spike with an easy to grip handle… a weapon. A certain few of us are wired mentally to see many uses in every tool, including the ability to be a weapon.

Let us take the simple act of walking through a grocery store. A place not known for stockpiling implements of destruction, but still chock full of same… given the right thought process. Surely a kitchen sponge holds little danger, but how about a 12oz can of peas? How much kinetic energy can be stored in a simple can of vegetables thrown at maximum force? Enough to kill and maim… and ammunition is plentiful in that aisle. A jar of olive oil…innocent, till a dozen are smashed on the floor making a nearly impassible barrier to a man on foot.

These items, and more, are used daily and never considered to be tools, let alone weapons. The difference is the mind behind the using; the human mind that sees uses in an object never intended by its maker. Be it a tree limb, a hank of string, or a simple steel bar, everything is a tool to the right mind. To some minds, every tool is also a weapon.

In my daily life I use tools, and teach their use to others. One of the lessons is to think beyond normal limits. Yes, a hammer can be used to strike something, but just as easily can the handle be used to gently push something else. Simply turn it over and hold the heavy end in your hand. Pliers that can grasp can also act as a lever. A test light that detects power can also find ground. A meter that measures voltage can measure resistance in a circuit under load. Everything is a tool and a tools uses are limited only by the mind using them.

In that same vein of thought…. every tool is a weapon if bent to that use by the mind using it.

That’s something to consider, as we go through our daily lives. It’s a thought that shines a new light on everything around us, and sometimes the people around us.


Anthony said...

Excellent post. Well said, and I will never shop in a grocery store the same way again.

William the Coroner said...

A lot of the old pole arms (bills, partizans, pikes, etc) are agricultural implements mounted on long ash poles. Nunchucks and flails are threshing instruments, An axe is an axe, whether it is used to cut up a pawnbroker or a tree.

Everything and nothing is a weapon. It all depends on the intent of the wielder.

Farmer Frank said...

Actually a tool is just a tool. IT'S THE MIND THAT IS THE "WEAPON".

Good post. Thanks.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Shrugged said...

No arguments Frank, and that is the thought which first pops into my brain every time I hear of another grand plan to 'disarm' the populace.

Those with working minds will never be disarmed....

Old NFO said...

ANYTHING can be a tool or a weapon, it is up to the user to make that determination... Agree wholeheartedly with Frank! Good post, and thought provoking.

Linoge said...

Well, damn, blow that topic right out of the water, why do you not? This seems to be the biggest source of disconnect between hoplophobes and gun-rights activists... the problem has never been the tool - those mostly just sit around, like lazy little slugs. The problem is the stuff between our ears, and that is not going to change substantially any time soon...

Shrugged said...

I agree with all.... and that's what was on my mind as I wrote the post.

I have known folks who held not a whit of fear for me, no matter what 'weapon' they held in their hands. A preacher/competition shooter I once knew comes to mind. Man had not an ounce of malice in him, and often was draped with 'weapons'.

On the other hand.... I knew a gentleman who would have been well armed with a pencil, or nothing at all for that matter. His mind was tuned that way and military service honed the edge.

I'd like to say that an active mind is a tool, a weapon, that can never be stolen away. I'd like to say that... but my role as an instructor puts me in close contact with a large group of teenagers each year. Every August a new batch to work with.... and what I see each year changes.

The trend is not good. I am concerned.