“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” deer overpopulationuses 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 seen as a bad thing, which will make the gun be seen as a “tool,” rather than a “weapon” because the purpose is justified. Of course, the act is always interpreted differently by different people because of different views, which shows that determining if the object is a “weapon” or “tool” depends on both circumstances of the situation and also the interpretation of the situation.


In the end of his article, Cline suggests that the iPhone can have the same implications as a weapon can have to the environment. In its first life, an iPhone acts as a convenient tool for its user. This tool can allow a person to have more knowledge with them as they have easier access to the internet. Also, it can be a useful tool when lost or looking for suggestions. However, in regards to referring to this object as a weapon, it is not as obvious than a gun or machete may be. Instead, a iPhone, or smartphone, can act as the newest weapon against humanity.

The video above is a testament to how these smartphones can be a weapon just as detrimental as a machete or gun. And, just as a machete or gun, technology could be the newest subliminal weapon that we might now realize. How? Well, think about the convince of a smartphone: we always have directions, we always have opinions, we always are connected to our friends, but this convince acts as a weapon against humanity because it takes away from interaction. Think about the a recent, everyday experience–waiting for class for example. If there is ten minutes before class many people will just be on their phones. Now imagine ten years ago how much that setting would be different. The would be more spontaneous events because people are less distracted by the outside world and more focused on their surrounds.


Another example is asking for directions. Imagine the world when we went up to each other in the streets and asked for directions instead of looking them up on our phone. Maybe when asking someone for directions you spark up a quick conversation and exchange contact information. Now I know that this romantic idea of the time before smartphones did not always happen, but it was possible–more than it is now. And this is how technology can be classified as a weapon just as much as a gun or machete. Although it is not as obvious as gun or machete may be, it is as detrimental as them because it can bring harm to people lives.

In addition, technology can be a weapon against the environment. According to Chron.com, the average life expectancy of a phone is two years. That means that a object that costs over $500 that can fit in your pocket, can become a paperweight in as little as two years. It is not only detrimental to one’s wallet, but also our planet. The energy that it takes to build and use a cell phone and the harmful parts in it can be a weapon against our planet. According to an article by treehugger.com, “cell phones pose a serious burden on the environment, gobbling up power and precious materials before heading to landfill. In the developing countries where they are repurposed or dismantled, they can end up in the rivers and soil, where they help contribute to cancer, damage to the nervous system and to brain development in children,” and this shows up that technology is the newest weapon that is used in the world and although we might not notice it, it threatens us socially and environmentally.


Do you think that technology is a tool or a weapon socially and environmentally? How has the purpose of technology evolved since the release of the smartphone?

2 Replies to ““Tools” vs. “Weapons””

  1. “’Killing’ might not be seen as a bad thing, which will make the gun be seen as a ‘tool,’ rather than a “weapon” because the purpose is justified.”

    This was a very interesting perspective that I had never thought of prior to reading this post. We give words/actions very specific connotations that don’t fully align with the original meaning of the word… And they become universal. I cannot think of a single situation where “killing” was used in a manner that would be deemed acceptable in real life; when in reality, it is just an action that has been given a negative label. (I’m not saying killing people is positive, just… you know.)

  2. I’m not sure that I completely agree that cell phones can be “detrimental” to us. Many might argue that the lack of personal communication created by cell phones could be an improvement from how people interacted in the past, it depends on the person who is analyzing the situation. You did point out in the post that often situation can be judged in many different ways depending on who is observing them and I think that your point about cell phones is one of those cases: different perspectives on it offer different conclusions on the subject.

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