A handful of recent gruesome deaths has brought the issue of anvil control legislation back into the spotlight of our national discourse. I would like, once again, to dispel the misinformation being blown out of proportion by the sensationalist media. Study after study has disproved any link between childhood exposure to violent cartoons and the adult use of blacksmithing equipment as violent murder weapons. The danger isn’t with people who have been exposed to these cartoons, but the animals involved in their production.
Mandatory waiting periods, anvil registration, and criminal background checks will not create any meaningful reduction in anvil-related crime. Mandatory waiting periods would fail as no anvil related assault is a crime of passion — any rodent patient enough to spend weeks planning and rigging an elaborate anvil-dropping contraption would have no difficulty waiting an extra week for his anvil. Anvil registration would fail as most anvils used in violent crimes are purchased illegally through the ACME black market. Criminal background checks would be equally useless as those most at risk to commit anvil-related assaults (coyotes, wise-cracking rabbits and sociopathic mice) are not currently tracked by our criminal justice system.
Limitations on anvil size and weight are equally nonsensical. Within the blacksmithing trade there is no distinction between a standard anvil and an assault anvil. No anvil was ever built for the express purpose of hurting anyone, save for the anvil used in the recently declassified “Operation Road Runner” — which, you may recall, not only failed to kill Hitler, but also backfired when the agent involved accidentally sawed off the end of the tree branch he was standing on, resulting in a tragic, though hilarious, comically delayed plummet to the ground.
The fact is that if violent cartoons prove anything, it’s how ineffective anvils actually are as a murder weapon. That isn’t to say that anvils are never used as such. But did you know that a knife is twice as likely to be used as a murder weapon than an anvil? A firearm is ten times as likely. Of the 14,000 murders in the United States in 2010, only 840 involved an anvil.
But that number was greatly reduced in states with easy access to firearms. States with the loosest gun control laws, like Arizona, saw the fewest anvil related deaths per capita. And I disagree with those that argue that most of Arizona’s anvil related crimes go unrecorded as they occur in deserted areas populated only by coyotes and road runners. I believe that the best way to prevent someone from killing with an anvil is to put a gun in their hands.
What few people realize is that the vast majority of anvil-related deaths aren’t murders at all. Did you know that you are ten times as likely to be killed in an anvil-related accident?
Anvils should always be stored as close to the ground as possible. Many people make the mistake of tucking them up on higher shelves, which is just asking for trouble. Rooms where anvils are stored should be securely locked and regularly checked for mouse holes. If you ever hear a high-pitched whistle above your head, it is imperative that you immediately step out of the gradually growing shadow directly beneath you. Additionally, you should never, ever play a Warner Brothers sound effect sample mp3 collection anywhere near where anvils are stored.
American parents who practice blacksmithing, either as a profession or a hobby, need to talk to their children about responsible anvil ownership. An anvil is not a toy. It is a 300-pound block of steel upon which other objects are struck in forging.
If you ever find yourself crushed by an anvil and develop cartoonishly large head bumps, flattened hands and feet, or experience hallucinations of little birds flying around your head, seek immediate medical attention. These injuries can prove fatal if not treated. Many anvil attacks can be survived if immediately treated, as is proven in the recently-released memoir of avid rabbit hunter, and anvil survivor, Elmer Fudd.
Our founding fathers’ sacrifice will have been for nothing if we allow ourselves to be stripped of the right to anvil ownership, just because of the actions of a few irresponsible cartoon animals. It would mean the end of artisanal blacksmithing as we know it. And besides, we would not be the only species negatively affected by such legislation. Just think of the ecological disaster that would result from coyote overpopulation.