September 11, 2001

Retribution

While I began making knives in 1980 as a hobby, eventually selling a few before becoming a full-time professional knifemaker in 1997, the events of 9/11 brought focus to my craft and helped me create a style that has remained the basis of most of my designs since. Like many Americans on that day, I was shocked then consumed with rage by the events I watched unfold on TV, particularly towards those who brought that horror to our country and our people. I remain angry today and will likely die angry at all who willfully wage war on innocent men, women and children. Innocents are victims in every war, but innocents are never the targets of war in any civilized cause. On that day, innocents were slaughtered in the name of Allah…

On the morning of September 12, I walked into my shop and designed the prototype for the knife you see to the left, called Retribution. During that week I created three other knives, similarly named, Revenge, Reprisal and Massive Retribution. The Reprisal has since been replaced by a newer model called Vengeance, but these remain the principal and most influential knives in my collection. That many of these are carried and used by our warriors in this battle adds some sense of added purpose to my efforts. I remember clearly while at a knife show in Las Vegas in January 2003 when a man dressed in civilian clothes, but looking unlike most “civilians” approached my table and said, “A team mate of mine asked me to stop by and tell you one of your knives saved his life twice at Tora Bora. He blooded it both times. It was a Revenge.” With that, he turned and walked away, leaving me to get my brain around what I’d just heard and with questions that have remained unanswered since. That memory greets me in the shop each day, reminding me that what I do has meaning and purpose beyond the knife show and security I enjoy because of what that nameless warrior did that day in Afghanistan and in the days since…