The Gross National Debt

Friday, September 27, 2013

Starting an argument over inconsequential things

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Warning. Going full auto redneck genius geek on you in this installment.

Wanna start an argument? Make a list of things like the world's best rock albums, guitar players, worst politician, best place to live, etc.

With that in mind, I direct you to this list. Why the Fiscal Times would do a story on the 12 weapons that changed the world is something I don't understand. But I read this list and agree with everything the writer listed.
Crossbow on an AR-15 lower. Really. Retail cost $1,200.

Except he left one weapon out. The missing weapon is, in modern lingo, the world's first assault weapon, weapon of mass destruction and the first weapon to be banned. Pope Urban II banned the use of crossbows in 1096; a prohibition that was upheld by Pope Innocent II in 1139.

The crossbow.

"Back in the 12th Century it was considered by many to be a weapon of mass destruction. It was feared and hated not just because it was capable of eliminating anyone on the battlefield from great distances, but because it allowed any lowly peasant to kill a high-born professional knight with the simple squeeze of a trigger – something that many elites feared could shatter the natural order of society. As a result: the highest authority of the day, the church, called for an outright ban on this particular weapon. Violating the decree could lead to excommunication, or worse: damnation of the soul." states an article at Medieval History Now.
This ain't a better mousetrap.


The crossbow brought war to a new level. To use a bow and arrow, all you have to is be able to pull the string back. Ah! To use it accurately and efficiently, you have to spend hours and hours and hours at practice. To use a bow stout enough to pierce armor (a long bow), you REALLY have to practice and have to have serious upper body strength.

The crossbow was the equalizer. Put your foot in the loop at the end, pull the string back until it cocks and you're in business. A few minutes and you can learn to shoot one accurately enough to make an opponent need to change his underwear.

Despite being banned in the Middle Ages, the crossbow is actually a lot older than that. Medieval History says, "Evidence suggests that the weapons were used by armies in Ancient China as far back as the 5th Century BCE. Classical Greek historians referred to arrow-firing catapults in the 399 BCE and Ancient Roman legions had a series of large crew-operated crossbows known as ballistas." Dunno why it took Europe so long to adopt the technology.

Giant crossbow aka a ballista
Of more recent times and thanks to changes in hunting laws, crossbows have made a comeback. I think every land animal of the planet has now been hunted with a crossbow including Cape Buffalo and Elephants. In case you're wondering, I don't clank loudly enough when I walk to hunt Cape Buffalo, aka Black Death, with a crossbow.

I do own a crossbow, one suitable for hunting. I also own a pistol crossbow which is suitable for injuring yourself and anything within 50 feet of where you're standing, including things behind you if you shoot it.

As for the remainder of the list at FinTim, I agree with what the writer has to say.

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