Was the box-cutter used by the terrorists the same as Frank Abate described?

John D. Hopkins hopkins at UTA.FI
Thu Sep 27 11:26:25 UTC 2001

Dear All,

My understanding (from working in the family grocery store in central
Missouri decades back) of a box cutter was exactly as Frank Abate just
described it -- I still have one of the small razor-blade models at home,
about 3.5 inches long.  But is this what the terrorists used on 11
September?  Have there been any pictures or detailed descriptions of the
terrorist box-cutters in the U.S. media?

My students had been wondering how such a small device could have been so
intimidating (the razor blade edge nonwithstanding).  I recently used the
Google Images Searcher to see what came up with "box cutter", and the
first image is of a "Szabo box-cutter with sheath" via the
www.bladeart.com/artists/laci_szabo (etc)  link.  This device looks deadly
indeed, a cross between brass knuckles and a combat knife.  The
description (despite it being called a box-cutter) mainly refers to its
use in fighting, although for the other models there are crate-opening
references.  A trained terrorist with this thing in hand would be
formidable indeed.

But back to my question.  Has there been an exact description of what type
of box-cutter was actually used?  The only reference I've seen is that it
was of Swiss manufacture, purchased in Switzerland.  To me, that would
seem to rule out the small, simple razor-blade box cutter that I have used
and Frank Abate described.


John D. Hopkins <hopkins at uta.fi>
University of Tampere, Finland <www.uta.fi/FAST/JH>

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