The Great Outdoors



(Things have changed since I was a boy.)

Things have changed quite a lot and I must say some of them are not for the better. When I was growing up, every boy carried a pocketknife or jackknife, as we often called them. It was usually a Kabar, Barlow, a Boy Scout sheath knife, a Camp King or maybe it was spelled Kamp King, I don’t remember, anyway it had a cutting blade, a screwdriver/bottle opener blade, a can opener blade, and a leather punch. How could you possibly make a paw paw whistle, sharpen your pencil, or play ‘Mumbley’ peg without a knife?

Now days, if a boy (or girl) gets caught with fingernail clippers at school it means they’ve earned some time off and they send them home but usually after calling in law enforcement. What has happened people?

As Scout leaders we teach boys (and adult leaders) how to use, store, sharpen, and care for pocketknives as well as hand axes and saws. We can trust Boy Scouts with sharp instruments and cooking utensils like butcher knifes, steak knives, and table knives because we have trained them properly.

Oh, and who goes fishing without a thin razor sharp filet knife? I think all hunters carry (or should carry) a sheath knife or a ‘skinner’ when they go into the woods after game. It is not only a necessity for skinning and gutting a deer; it could save your life if you can’t make it back out of the woods before dark sets in and you don’t have a flashlight or are lost. It would help you build a shelter and you can use it for protection.

And we can’t trust our children at school with fingernail clippers? Why? Where does the difference lie? I think it is in the education system itself. Don’t take the so called  ‘weapons’ away from the students; teach them how to use them and take care of them; they could save their life when used right. Am I wrong? Does anyone have any suggestions?

You don’t turn a student loose with an electric band saw, table saw, or jig-saw in shop class without proper instructions; think about it. What do they do in, what we used to call HOME-EC class? Surely you have to ‘cut’ meat, and vegetables and carve roasts/turkeys with butcher knives, chef’s knives, etc.

It boggles my mind to think we label a student with fingernail clippers as a criminal and at the same time teach a Boy Scout how to use an axe and then watch him grow up to be president of his country, war hero, or an astronaut. All our soldiers carry knives; why not students?

Write me a letter with a solution you’ve come up with. We’ll print your comments.

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Ray McCune

He has lived in Waynedale for over 45 years. He has taken to his lifelong dream of being a full time Outdoor Freelance Writer and author. Ray has authored one book and has written Kampfire Kookin' as well as other outdoors articles for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer