The Hoosierist: Are Switchblades Legal?

Strange weapons, the White River’s future, and dangerous underground parking garages. Ask The Hoosierist.

Q: Someone told me switchblades are legal in Indiana. Is that true?
A: The favorite weapon of 1950s street gangs has indeed been OK to carry here since 2013, when (for some reason) it was legalized, ending a decades-long ban. In case you’ve never seen West Side Story, the term “switchblade” refers to a spring-loaded knife that flips open automatically at the press of a button. And it’s not the only oddball weapon that’s legal in these parts. This state also allows the private ownership of body armor, blow darts, brass knuckles, swords concealed in canes, billy clubs, and nunchucks. Which means you should probably steer clear of Hoosier bar fights, which could potentially escalate into Hong Kong–style kung fu melees. Though at least you won’t have to dodge throwing stars. Indiana still bans those.

Q: Now that we have underground tunnels to keep sewage from running into the White River, how much cleaner is the water?
A: Well, we don’t have all of those tunnels yet. The first segment of the 27-mile system was recently brought online, but the whole thing won’t be finished until the ’20s. It’s going to be a vast improvement over our current system, which dumps millions of gallons of sewage into the White River and its tributaries every time it rains. Instead, that gunk will be sequestered in those tunnels until it can be cleaned. This will be a godsend for waterways such as Fall Creek, whose 22 sewer outlets make it a biohazard. The effect on the White River, however, could be more nuanced. The tunnels will remove most of the sewage contributed by Marion County, but will do nothing to address the stuff discarded upstream. Will the river be cleaner after the system is in place? Undoubtedly. But clean enough that you won’t mind getting some in your mouth? Probably not.

Q: Downtown’s underground parking garages make me paranoid. are they required to provide security?
A: The Hoosierist actually favors dark, scary garages, because that’s where he used to meet his sources during his days as an investigative journalist. But he understands how these spaces could spark feelings other than nostalgia. Unfortunately, according to the IMPD, garage owners aren’t required to offer any security. “It’s up to the owners to provide whatever measures they think are necessary,” says Public Information Officer Jim Gillespie. In other words, cameras and guards are purely business decisions. The good news is that cops make sweeps of garages where there have been recent incidents. The bad news is that something ugly has to happen to trigger those sweeps.

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