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Guns vs Swords

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by CleverName, Apr 28, 2005.

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  1. CleverName

    CleverName Member

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    Recently I had a friend note that "guns are for killing" and he would like to have a return to swords.

    Excuse me, but swords are for killing (fencing/kendo aside), guns have uses beyond that. A better analogy for the gun would be the sling or bow - you can hunt or just practice with it, and most of the time that's what you do but in a dire situation you could kill somebody if you really needed to.

    Historically, swords have been status symbols or badges of (usually military) office in every society that has had them. Only the rich and powerful, or the dedicated servants of the state could spend the time practicing the sword and develop the raw strength to use them. Only they could spend so much of their income on a item with the express purpose of ending the life of other human beings. The sword does not have the range to take game as well as other cutting instruments. It is not large enough and shaped incorrectly to fall trees, yet it is too large for fine cutting. It cannot hammer. Its most effective purpose is killing, and it was good at that.

    The gun, on the other hand, is egalitarian. The poor farmer can kill you just as dead as Lord Peddington III or Miyamoto Musashi. The poor farmer then can go back and take out that wolf harassing his sheep, or the gophers eating his crops. The rich and powerful fear this, and have sought to ban them since their conception. We should all remember this.

    Edited for clarity of intent.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2005
  2. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    Good points. I hope you set your friend straight.
     
  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Yep. Well said.
     
  4. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Part of comes from the Sillywood myths about how noble swords are and how elegant sword fights were. The antis don't know anything about firearms and they know less about swords. The sword, along with all medieval weapons, was a brutal instrument used to hack people apart.

    The other aspect comes from the legend of feudal japan outlawing firearms. Some antis have turned this into a myth about how the "nobility" of katanas overcame the vile firearms. In reality it was a means of preventing the underclass from becoming anything more than living testing posts for sword sharpness. You see some of this in that absurd Tom Cruise movie where he takes half a dozen .45-70 slugs into his chest and lives.
     
  5. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Can't say my guns do this either.

    While I keep and bear arms for the purposes of defense of my home and recreation, I know sword owners who do the same; kendo is a recreational way for them to keep sharp with their instrument. Not something I condone, but if they think it's the cat's pajamas and they're not hurting anyone else, so be it.

    None of these friends are above the two lowest tax brackets, so they hardly qualify as rich or powerful (though being night manager at Taco Bell can gain you status in certain circles). In addition, swords are commonly used for decorative purposes, and again not exclusively by gentry members of society.

    I speak in the defense of swords because they, like guns, are simply tools. It's quite the paradox that as a gun-owner you would attempt to demonize an object rather than the one who wields it.
     
  6. CleverName

    CleverName Member

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    I'm not opposed to owning swords, and I know that a sword's not going to draw itself and cut anybody. I'm just saying that if somebody opposes guns and prefers swords over the killing arument, he's being especially naive and knows nothing of their history. If you like swords, even just as decoration, go ahead and own as many as you want. Own a couple more than that, even. I in no way mean to criticize the contemporary sword-owner.

    I'm sorry if I didn't clarify that I meant that they were (functional) status symbols in a historical context - Medieval Europe and onwards, Feudal Japan, etc.
     
  7. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Ah, apologies CleverName, the argument makes more sense in the context of what your friend said. Still, tread carefully in your response. The last part of my post still holds true - both are just objects. If you're friend wants to argue against guns by saying swords are somehow more beneficial to society, reassure him that both can make a person equally dead depending upon the skill of the one who controls them. To argue back by putting down swords by their various owners and uses is as equally ludicris as his original argument. Condemn the owners and uses that are wrong, but not the inanimate object.
     
  8. PMDW

    PMDW Member

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    I've noticed a large amout of anti-gun males that I know are sword freaks.
     
  9. bad LT

    bad LT Member

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    Swords are for killing - learn something new everyday :neener:

    Realistically, if someone broke into my home I would rather grab a sword than a baseball bat (but would rather grab a shotgun than the sword)
     
  10. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Neither guns or swords for killing per se. Guns are designed to launch a projectile down range in a controlled manner. Swords are cutting implements. Neither platform is inherently for killing. "Killing" is just an application aspect of either technology.
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I'd rather have an axe.
     
  12. bad LT

    bad LT Member

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    Cosmoline, you would rather have an axe than a shotgun? :neener:
     
  13. Tharg

    Tharg Member

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    all i know i've been taught by my geek friends...

    never bring a sword to a gunfight =)

    heheh

    I love swords...and the one i want costs well over five grand... which means i prolly won't own it...

    the point to ME is that they say there on ... on average... over 300 weapons in the average living room...

    thier effectiveness or "normal use" is not the issue... its the fact they could be used as a weapon....(vs. thier normal use depending on USER....heh there we go defining people and thier motives to the use of the tool at hand...)

    be it bashing or cutting or projectile... and thier relative efficiencies ... ain't the point.... but explain that to an anti.... if you dare.

    after all - those evil guns are just for killing... course that evil 15" TV could crush someone if launched from 10 feet away w/ the cat call of "CATCH!"

    rofl

    J/Tharg!
     
  14. FRIENDLY

    FRIENDLY Member

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    Swords

    keep your swords just give me a good oldfashioned battle axe. after that is a good extended magazine 12 guage pump action shotgun for home defence
     
  15. CleverName

    CleverName Member

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    OK maybe I should come back and examine this a little more... detachedly.

    What I'm trying to say behind all the rhetoric, is that wanting to return to swords over guns because "guns are designed to kill" is ridiculous. The blade design on a non-ceromonial non-display traditional sword makes it better-suited (not saying it can't be used for other things, just they weren't in the sword blade's design parameters and so would not be as effective at "practical" uses) for war and hurting other human beings, whether through slicing or piercing (not that hurting other human beings is always wrong, either).

    Because of the specialization of this tool, the historical use and ownership of the sword was limited to either the rich or the soldier/enforcer - those who had the time and energy to devote to learning its proper use. I've done a little fencing, and seen a little kendo. It's hard, and I could see how much time it takes to even approach competency. The average pesant could not spend so much time on a implement he might use once or twice in his lifetime. That is why so many of the armies of old times had weapons resembling farm implements and hunting weapons - it's easy to see how to use a axe or a spear or a pike or a bow if you've spent your entire life cutting down trees for firewood and to clear the farm, and hunting game and pests with a spear or a bow. Of course, these implements were effective in war for almost exactly the same reasons they were effective in peace. The firearm was like these latter implements in that while it was deadly effective in war, it has "practical" applications as well, and so many of the demonzied properties of firearms (or any of the above tools) are what makes them usefull tools as well.

    Of course almost anything can be a weapon. A weapon is a function of its user's purpose and actions with a tool. Just to deny ownership of firearms based on the "killing" principle would be to deny many other tools, least of which is the sword.
     
  16. thorn726

    thorn726 Member

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    yep.

    i like the sword as a close quarter defense against an unarmed intruder, but
    as an only defense?

    when they come up with the fission blanket and gunpowder canceller field for the earth, and none of this stuff works at all, period, we can trust everyone not to use this stuff against us. until then.......
     
  17. jobu07

    jobu07 Member

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    What??? You've never used you rifles to trim trees?!? :neener:
     
  18. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    You need to tell your friend to do some research. The swordsmiths of yore with the input of the users-worked very hard to design the sword to be very good for it purpose, Which was killing. You have different designs based on many factors: materials available, mission, and probable opponents.

    I've owned three katanas. One had been in a house fire and was ruined as far as fittings, temper, and edge. You run your thumb solidly down the edge and it would not even nick you. However, if you took a sharp knife and just barely cut the edge of a piece of paper and then put the katana into that small cut (less than a quarter inch) it would then cut the entire sheet of paper in two. Friend of mine was slaughtering a hog one day. He wanted to see how my 400 year old katana would cut (This is not the one that been in a fire-it's in perfect shape). We decided that decapitating the hog was the way to go as it was at least as humane as cutting its throat which is what would happen otherwise. As I made the cut; the hog moved forward. Instead of hitting on his neck, the blade struck right above his shoulders just back from where the neck joins the body. The blade went through the hogs spine and its shoulder blades...longways. The blade was through before the hog slid apart. I had thought beforehand that I would feel a shock similar to cutting a sapling with a machete when the blade hit bone. I didn't.

    That sword was designed for killing human beings and nothing else. It might have become a status symbol, or a ceremonial tool, or a repository for the samurai's soul...but it was designed to kill people.

    Practice cutting with a katana is called tameshigiri. It's cutting a rolled up tatami mat that has been soaked in water for a day or so. You can do it today for the same reason that people shoot paper...for practice and enjoyment. That has nothing to do with the katana's purpose. It's purpose is to kill people. The original purpose of tameshigiri was to learn to cut properly with the katana so you could more efficiently kill people with it.
     
  19. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    Swords can be beautiful works of art. The results of using one are not. Nothing messier then a decapitation. They are designed to kill and a well made sword in a well trained hand is an extremely effective weapon.
     
  20. woerm

    woerm Member

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    rude experience

    Guns v swords:

    I had a nasty shock one time when a fella swatted me with a bat.

    I was condition white (walking into my dorm room)

    I guess he thought the bat would knock me down, it didn't it just ticked me off. when I got the bat away from him there was a bit of a waltz and I wound up in the closet (I was 120lbs he topped 250) where my saber was hanging.

    I tossed the bat and came out flatting him upside the head with the sword, thinking it would knock him down. it didn't it ticked him off.

    he picked up the bat and we had a protracted "Error (no way related to Errol)Flynn" episode

    after I flatted him up side the head a few more times he did quit. the hard part was avoiding chopping that bat into two pieces

    note hitting rednecks upside the head doesn't really accomplish much but that option beat sticking him like the toad he was.

    but for the fact that I couldn't have a gun in that stupid dorm he would have been dead of that drunken stupidity

    note: I was a member of the SCA (the saber however was quite real kruppstahl, not rattan and ducttape) at the time and was and am an above average swordsman. the fact that I could use a non-lethal option made it an episode the now Good Reverend probably doesn't use in sermons.

    still have the toadsticker and the bat

    but I have more modern 'tools' available for my home defense now.

    r
     
  21. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    As a student of both swords and guns, I can firmly state that I stink with both. :D
     
  22. Gordon Fink

    Gordon Fink Member

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    Historically, swords weren’t really that heavy. A typical short sword weighed less than many full-size handguns. Long swords, though slightly heavier, still weighed much less than modern rifles. As with firearms, strength was much less important than skill.

    ~G. Fink
     
  23. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    Remember the Individual

    My response would be to think about gang violence in today's cities. If a 1000 gang members decided to start terrorizing an area, what would the police do with no guns? What would the citizens do? The need for an organized militia would increase quite a bit.

    It would be much more difficult for the average citizen to defend himself without banding together with other citizens (at least against gangs). Guns allow an independence that is much more difficult otherwise.

    I think there is a reason that feudalism began to end for the most part after the development of the gun.
     
  24. bukijin

    bukijin Member

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    At the national war memorial here there is a katana on display that is relevant to this discussion. The story goes something along the lines of.. while patrolling in New Guinea in ww2, japanese soldiers burst from the jungle in an ambush and this Australian private was attacked by a japanese officer wielding this particular sword. The Aussie was cut from shoulder to hip later requiring something like 150 stitches. However, the japanese officer was killed by one round of the australian's lee enfield .303 at close range ! Later the australian took the sword as a souvenier and it was donated by his family after he passed on.
    I think that the moral of this story was that even if you are cut - that is not neccessarily the end - and that swords ceased to become viable weapons a long time ago.
     
  25. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Well, I was limiting myself to non-firearm weapons. The sword is impractical and requires considerable skill to use effectively. I've never used one to cut anything. OTOH I've cut down many a tree and sliced up a lot of meat with my axes. Also, when it comes down to it peasant weapons from axes to polearms outfought and outperformed the most expensive swords in the field. They could penetrate armor and hook knights right off their mounts. Once it has lost its edge (which will happen very quickly), even the best katana isn't much of a weapon. It's very light weight and will bruise at best. The axe, OTOH, continues to be lethal even when the edge fades.
     
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