Last September I alerted you to the fact that the British government was considering redesigning or banning the traditional pint glass, in an effort to keep British people from trying to kill each other with them. As one report put it, "British pubgoers have an alarming tendency to smash their pint glasses and use [the broken shards] as weapons." That report quoted a National Health Service estimate that 87,000 attacks of this kind occur every year in Britain, costing the country $4 billion in health-care and (probably) beer-replacement costs.
Something is odd there, since the statistics I saw last year said that a mere 5,500 people are attacked this way every year in England and Wales. At the time, I speculated there might be a lot more pub attacks in Scotland, and so maybe I was much more right than I knew. Or maybe each of these people gets attacked an average of 15.8 times a year.
Whatever the number is, the British are determined to lower it, and held a competition to design safer pint glasses for that purpose. Home Secretary Alan Johnson unveiled the winning designs in February. "Glassing causes horrific injuries and has a lasting and devastating impact on victims and their families," said Johnson on that occasion. "I hope these designs will help bring an end to such attacks."
Also horrific: calling it "glassing." Last time I checked, the English language had plenty of perfectly good words suitable for describing the many ways we try to kill each other. "Stabbing," "slashing," and "cutting" come to mind here, for example, or maybe just "fighting." Having to come up with a new word for every weapon we use on each other would take a lot of valuable time away from coming up with new weapons, it seems to me, so let's stick with the words we already have when they work.
Besides, the point here, I think, is that redesigning and deploying new pint glasses is going to cost a lot of money, which would be fine if it would cut down on injuries. But it probably won't. It might cut down on glassings, but won't do anything about chairings, dartings, poolcueings, poolballings, tableleggings or barstoolings, let alone gunnings or swordings (which also seem surprisingly popular over there). I suppose it is better than banning, let's say, alcohol, which may have something to do with this problem.
The new designs are (1) "Twin Wall," which has two ultra-thin layers of bonded glass, like the safety glass in your windshield; and (2) "Glass Plus," which is basically a regular pint glass with a special coating on it. Another report described this as a "thin bioresin coating," which hopefully is a highly advanced compound and not just what you get if you don't wash the glass for a while.
Link: directgov (Official UK government website)