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BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell

GUEST,bob neighmond 11 Dec 04 - 07:55 PM
Ebbie 04 May 03 - 01:45 AM
Doug_Remley 04 May 03 - 01:32 AM
Raedwulf 03 May 03 - 08:23 PM
KateG 03 May 03 - 05:45 PM
Raedwulf 03 May 03 - 04:00 PM
GUEST 02 May 03 - 06:40 PM
Nerd 02 May 03 - 03:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 May 03 - 02:46 PM
The O'Meara 02 May 03 - 02:22 PM
Nerd 02 May 03 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,pdc 01 May 03 - 09:31 PM
The O'Meara 01 May 03 - 08:58 PM
NicoleC 01 May 03 - 07:55 PM
Raedwulf 01 May 03 - 07:29 PM
NicoleC 01 May 03 - 06:37 PM
Raedwulf 01 May 03 - 06:14 PM
katlaughing 01 May 03 - 04:03 AM
GUEST 01 May 03 - 03:43 AM
GUEST 01 May 03 - 03:40 AM
Nerd 01 May 03 - 03:11 AM
NicoleC 30 Apr 03 - 10:30 PM
katlaughing 30 Apr 03 - 10:12 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 03 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,pdc 30 Apr 03 - 09:30 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 03 - 09:18 PM
Raedwulf 30 Apr 03 - 07:41 PM
SINSULL 30 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM
Hillheader 30 Apr 03 - 05:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Apr 03 - 05:15 PM
Hillheader 30 Apr 03 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Raedwulf 30 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM
gnu 30 Apr 03 - 03:57 PM
Hillheader 30 Apr 03 - 01:08 PM
Little Hawk 29 Apr 03 - 07:08 PM
GUEST 29 Apr 03 - 06:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Apr 03 - 03:42 PM
Ebbie 29 Apr 03 - 03:35 PM
gnu 29 Apr 03 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,petr 29 Apr 03 - 03:10 PM
The Walrus 29 Apr 03 - 06:32 AM
GUEST 28 Apr 03 - 10:42 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 03 - 08:29 PM
SINSULL 28 Apr 03 - 07:15 PM
Raedwulf 28 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Clareling 28 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM
artbrooks 28 Apr 03 - 06:18 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 03 - 06:09 PM
The O'Meara 28 Apr 03 - 05:51 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST,bob neighmond
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 07:55 PM

you are a neighmond so am i, from n.j. how about you?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 May 03 - 01:45 AM

DougR, if I'm not mistaken, a great many Moose in Alaska have guns, as do the Eagles and the Elks.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Doug_Remley
Date: 04 May 03 - 01:32 AM

I might hunt again when Moose have machine guns.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Raedwulf
Date: 03 May 03 - 08:23 PM

Thank you, KateG, and... Would Guest care to follow suit & give himself a name?! I wouldn't buy his arguments with a farthing piece, but I'd be happy to wrangle endlessly with 'im if only 'e'd give me summat ter ley 'old of... ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: KateG
Date: 03 May 03 - 05:45 PM

My apologies, to the 'Cat. I did not mean to be anonymous. I'm the liberal with the Rottweiler, and forgot that my cookie doesn't work on my office. Mea culpa.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Raedwulf
Date: 03 May 03 - 04:00 PM

*sigh* If ever we needed proof that Guests should be made to take a name (*any* name!), here it is! We have one Guest who calls himself 'liberal' & would appear to to fall into the camp that the media would call 'anti-gun' (I am by no means saying that this is an accurate definition!).

We have another Guest who is most definitely a gun advocate. You are not the same person?! Please, guys, give yourself some kind of nom-de-plume. It's rude not to, & makes life so much easier for the rest of us if you do... ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 03 - 06:40 PM

The idea of keeping a gun in the home for self protection has always puzzled me. If I understand gun safety correctly, guns should be stored unloaded in a locked cabinet, and the ammunition should be kept in a separate locked cabinet. By the time the various componants are retrieved and assembled, the bad guy has had time to do his thing.

Speaking as a liberal, I have no problems with the shotguns my rural neighbors keep to hunt deer, turkeys, etc., and have been known to seek their help when the groundhogs got too numerous in my garden. My maternal grandmother was a crack shot, and kept a rifle for shooting the rattlesnakes that would hole up in her spring house and the armadillos that uprooted her camelia bushes.

Likewise, I have no problems with the sport of target shooting. My father belonged to a pistol club as a boy in England (pre WW2), and the gun was kept at the club.

I do draw the line, however, at private ownership of AK47's and other military grade weapons whose sole purpose is to kill large numbers of people as rapidly as possible, and I'm not too keen on concealed weapons. After all, if it's concealed its not much good as a deterrant; and it can cause an innocent victim to misread a bad guy...someone openly carrying a gun is more likely to be percieved as a threat.

When I was director of an inner city museum in New Jersey, several people tried to convince me to get a gun. I declined, partly because I haven't a clue how to use one properly and would be a danger to everyone, but mainly because I felt that by the time a gun would be the appropriate response to a situtation, the situation would be way out of hand. Far better to derail it before it gets to that point.

A case in point. I had been having problems with youths misbehaving in the men's room of the museum, but I did not want to lose authority by calling the police. My solution was to bring my dog to work. The first time I had a problem after the dog's arrival, we wandered back and suggested to the boys that this was not the place for their behavior. They looked at me, they looked at my dog sitting at heel. One of them said, "Oh, shit, a Rottweiler," and they left. I never had another problem in the men's room, and the boys who had been causing trouble became friends, with the same dog as my ambassador.

It has been well documented that robbers prefer to avoid houses with noisy and/or large dogs. And I would much rather have a dog help a robber decide to go elsewhere, while I called the police; than to have to remember where I put the keys to my guns and ammunition, remember how to load said gun, and confronted the baddy myself.

(And no, my Rottweiler was not protection/attacked trained, only obedience trained; and was fabulous with the schoolkids and senior citizens who visited the museum. His sucessor is a wiz at Agility, and has just passed the test to become a registered therapy dog.)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Nerd
Date: 02 May 03 - 03:45 PM

It might be too complicated for a Mudcat thread. But here are some more thoughts:

(1)

My point was suppose the system of food delivery most urban folks rely on was seriously disrupted.

If this were to happen, where would these urban folks hunt their food? Would they eat squirrels from Central Park? Breast of Rock Dove? One piece of Rat Tart without so much rat in it? Facetious, obviously, but the point is what I said before: guns would not really help the situation, as there is just not enough meat on the hoof in most regions of the country without the distribution system you speak of. If you wanted to help your country continue to eat meat, the necessary step would be to become a vegetarian for a while and put your efforts into repairing the distribution system, rather than into hunting for own table. Going out and hunting is ultimately an "I'll keep eating meat and f*ck the rest of you" response.

(2)

I didn't mean to suggest that Jefferson was entirely irrelevant because he was a slaveowner. I simply meant to show that the world has changed so much since then that it is pointless to quote one of the "founding fathers" on an issue of practicality such as "maintain weapons to shoot your food with." People in those days had no choice, but now we do.   

Every time a gun-control law is passed, the anti-gun people say "that's one more step."

And what does the Gun Lobby say? "Taking away my automatic handgun is a slippery slope toward outlawing BB guns! You don't want your kids deprived of BB guns, do you?" In fact you make this absurd claim yourself, when you say

In my experience, and according to their stated views, the "gun-control" advocates make no distinction between types of firearms, and their ultimate goal is the elimination of any sort of privately owned firearm, including BB guns and flintlock muskets.

Even if this were true, and rarely is such a thing uniformly true of a large group, this doesn't mean that you also must make no distinction between types of firearms. Why not give up automatic handguns but draw the line at your hunting rifle?

(3)

Both of your examples are of invading armies facing forces who were being supplied with weapons by world superpowers. They were not countries where everyone had his own guns prior to the outbreak of war, and who fought the war with those guns. As such, they don't support your premise, which was that each person having his own guns could be a decisive factor in fighting tyrannical governments.

(4)

The second amendment is not about individual Americans being protected from the American government. The entire text of the amendment is:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

In other words, it's about maintaining the state's power, not defying it. Unless you are part of a "well-regulated militia" working for the security of the state, the amendment is irrelevant to your guns!

(5)

There's some merit to the argument that guns serve to protect "good guys" from "bad guys." But in my experience, "bad guys" are not after me but my property. Would I kill someone to protect my property? No. So unless someone specifically decided to kill me, and to do it in such a way that I could stop them with a gun, having a gun will not protect me. I agree that I am gambling that no one will specifically decide to kill me in such a way that I could protect myself with a gun, just as I gamble that they will not try to shoot me with an assault rifle through my windows and thus do not install bulletproof glass, or gamble that they will not throw nerve gas into my house and thus do not own HAZMAT suits. I've survived this long, but who knows?

As to your question: I'd prefer if only the army and police were armed, yes. In the long run, our democracy survived McCarthy and it will survive a lot more civil-liberty eroding bozos. But it may not survive the racist kooks out there who have arsenals of assault weapons and believe the government is a "Zionist-occupied" state polluted by blacks and jews. So I think the guns out there on the ground are more likely to increase tyranny than reduce it. I do not suggest, by the way, that anyone here falls into this category, but such groups do exist!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 May 03 - 02:46 PM

Well, they might not have formally altered those first ten amendments, but the US Government seems to have no problems in driving a horse and cart through them. Especially these days.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: The O'Meara
Date: 02 May 03 - 02:22 PM

(1) The T.P. thing happened in the mid 70s on the heels of "The Great Gasoline Shortage" with long lines at the pumps,etc. I lived in
Northern Virginia and worked in Washington, DC at the time. My point was suppose the system of food delivery most urban folks rely on was seriously disrupted.
    (2) (You evidently don't care for Mr Jefferson's owning slaves. Neither do I. But that doesn't make his ideas automatically wrong. BTW, in both the declaration of independence and the constitution itself, he attempted to prohibit slaverey.) I most definitely disagree with the notion that those framers of the constitution are irrelevant to the modern world. Good point about hunting for meat, though, definitely food for thought. (The pun is accidental.) Nevertheless, I still reserve the right and the tools to provide food for myself and my family.
    Every time a gun-control law is passed, the anti-gun people say "that's one more step." Toward what? In my experience, and according to their stated views, the "gun-control" advocates make no distinction between types of firearms, and their ultimate goal is the elimination of any sort of privately owned firearm, including BB guns and flintlock muskets.
    (3) (Tom Jefferson is not my "buddy." He was already a middle aged man when I was born.) The Afghanis did a pretty fair job of halting the Russians and all their high-tech war equipment for many years, and I have first-hand experience with the "primitive" Viet Cong facing the "modern" American army.
    (4)Its been said that given the choice, the vast majority of people would choose tyranny over anarchy. (As a law abiding Muslim, walking around an airport with an UZI would certainly speed up the strip search business.) The erosion of civil liberties is a creeping disease spread by those in power who wish to stay in power, be they liberal or conservative. The end result of that is a tyrannical, dictatorial government. But I expect that wouldn't happen here without a fight - that's what the 2nd ammendment is about.
    (5) The police have guns to protect themselves from the bad guys. Has nothing to do with rates of apprehension. Even though I don't go out of my way to mix with the bad guys, unlike the police, my reasoning is the same. I think there's a double standard there.
    How about my question of having only the police and the army armed?

O'Meara

ps is this getting too complicated for a mudcat thread?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Nerd
Date: 02 May 03 - 11:47 AM

O'Meara,

you have written a better defense of gun ownership than most. However, to answer some of your points:

(1) The toilet paper thing? I have lived in one of the top 5 metropolitan areas in the US my whole life and do not recall this incident at all. I have always had access to "the white stuff" and can't imagine this story is true. When did it happen?

(2) There are many reasons why the meat argument is fallacious. among them: You can live a long healthy life with no meat whatsoever. If you feel you must have meat because of your personal preferences, you don't actually need guns to hunt. People fed themselves meat for millions of years without guns, remember. If farmed meat disappeared and all Americans went out with their guns to hunt, we would denude the country of animals and quickly be back where we started; our pathologically large appetite for meat cannot be sustained by hunting. And finally, the types of guns used for hunting are not what most gun-control advocates object to, anyway. This is one of many ways in which the world has actually CHANGED since Thomas Jefferson wrote, rendering his slaveowning ass a bit less relevant to the modern world...

(3) Your old buddy "Tom" Jefferson lived in a different era in other ways too. We live in an age where the most effective weapons cost millions and millions of dollars, and as citizens ownership of individual firearms is no longer effective in preventing dictatorships. You can have all the assault rifles and automatic pistols you want, but if the government truly became a dictatorship they would run you over with a tank and take them from your cold, dead hands just as Mr. Heston likes to say.

(4) The erosion of civil liberties under Nixon and Ashcroft is scary, of course, but I'm not sure how having an arsenal of assault weapons would give me any more such liberties. Say I'm a law-abiding Muslim being subjected to unfair strip-searches in airports. Will walking around with an Uzi help me out in some way? It is only when mere anarchy is loosed upon the world that an arsenal will be of use. I personally would rather that there be no such arsenals than that there be many, even if I could have one of them.

(5) I'm interested that you say you want weapons for the same reason the police have them, which in your view is so that they can do a statistically poor job of pursuing criminals after they have committed crimes. I must say the logic of that escapes me.... Obviously you meant for a dfferent reason than the police have them. Care to elaborate?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 01 May 03 - 09:31 PM

Raedwulf:

Even if you "weed out the emotionally unstable" etc., you are left with normal people, who, under the influence of certain stressors, can become emotionally unstable, even temporarily. If the weapon is at hand, and if it is as widely accepted as guns are in the US, then there will be tragedies, even following your "weeding out" idea.

Also, if you are a "normal," and have a gun in your house, does that mean that none of your emotionally unstable friends or family can visit?

The question isn't only ownership -- it's access.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: The O'Meara
Date: 01 May 03 - 08:58 PM

Tom Jefferson listed 3 reasons for the private citizen to keep (that is, to have on one's person or close at hand,) firearms. They were (1) to defend yourself and your loved ones (2) to hunt for food (3) to overthrow a tyrannical government. Those reasons appear obsolete if you really believe (1) the police will protect you from any crime, (2) Safeway will always provide food (3) the government of the U.S.A can never become dictatorial.
    (1) The police cannot protect the vast majority of private citizens and have no obligation or legal requirement to do so. They come around after the crime has been committed and try to find the perpetrator. Statistically, they do a poor job of even that. That's not the fault of the policeman, but the fact remains. I reserve the right to keep firearms for the same reasons the police have them, and the same type of firearms they have. (2) A few years ago, a rumor got started about a shortage of toilet paper in America. It wasn't true, but within 24 hours there was no toilet tissue to be had at any store in any metropolitan area in the U.S. Suppose there was a serious shortage of something like meat. I reserve the right, and the means, to provide food for myself and my family if necessary.(3) Read up on Richard NIxon. Then, of course, there's John Ashcroft and the new "anti-terrorist" laws. Please think about it before you answer.
    There is a vast difference between being a "subject" and being a "citizen." Do you really think only the police and the military should have guns?
    Would you be willing to post a sign in your front window right now that says "This house contains no firearms"? Why not?
    This is a discussion, not an argument. I'm really interested in your answers.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: NicoleC
Date: 01 May 03 - 07:55 PM

Raedwulf,

I know it's not an "original" amendment (although there's really no such thing), but it is an amendment that affects an original provision, which said that the states controlled voting. It also, in a way, extended the 15th amendment, which said that states could not deny voting priviledges on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The US Constitution is changed by ADDING amendments. Items are never deleted, they are simply overruled by more recent additions. In some transcriptions, they line out obsolete provisions, but technically, they are still there.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Raedwulf
Date: 01 May 03 - 07:29 PM

Nicole - Amdt 26 is not one of the originals. Looking at this page, the original Con. ran to 10 Amdts. Others have been added since. I specifically asked about amendments to the original clauses. It seems to me that the further we get from the the last alteration, the less willing Americans are to countenance any further modification....


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: NicoleC
Date: 01 May 03 - 06:37 PM

Amendment 27 was added in 1992, Raedwulf, which was the last addition. I think that last actual change of an earlier provision was in 1971, was Amendment 26 set the voting age at 18 for all states.

In 1972, the ERA passed congress but failed 3 states shy of ratification. I was reintroduced to Congress in 1982, but no progress has been made as far as I know.

Numerous changes were made to the Constitution in the 20th century. Changes are slow and difficult, but by now means is it a stagnant document.

http://memory.loc.gov/const/amend.html


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Raedwulf
Date: 01 May 03 - 06:14 PM

Golly! Various...

PDC - Yes, that's perfectly true. OTOH, if the laws were properly applied, they would likely weed out a lot of the emotionally unstable (such as Ryan & Hamilton, both of whom, AIUI, should have been prohibited from holding firearms). There's a world of difference between a crime of passion (sudden anger, sudden murder - be it with gun, kitchen knife, baseball bat, bare hands, etc), & premeditatedly going out to gun people down. Compare & contrast Dunblane & Hungerford with Wolverhampton? I think it was, where a nut ran amok in an infants school with a samurai sword. The teacher (Allison someone?) was badly injured protecting her pupils, but I don't remember that anyone died? It's much easier to kill indiscriminately with a gun, which is why they need to be controlled. It doesn't mean they need to be legislated out of civilian hands, which is an impossibility anyway.

Nerd - I may forgive you for that horrible pun(-ish)! Then again, it might be better for everyone if I just shot you... (with a bow & arrow, of course!) ;) The two fingers story has a couple of variants, but I believe it's approximately true. I'm sure your version isn't!

Guest - Yep, history IS wonderful! So's humanity - all those lessons to hand, on so many subjects, & we just never seem to learn... *sigh*

Nerd hit the nucleus of what I was driving at. Those acts were intended to ensure that there was an adequate body of men that the state could draw from at need. Neither the medieval statutes nor the second amendment, in my opinion, were intended to guarantee gun ownership to anyone who fancied one & claimed he wasn't a fruitcake! This is why I took particular care to draw the distinction between military & civil in my last post, which Nerd obviously picked up on.

It's pro-/anti- gun arguments that make me glad & relieved I'm English. Britain doesn't have a Constitution. No law here is written in stone. If a law is bad, or becomes obsolete, it can be changed or repealed. As an outsider, it's always struck me that the US Con. is not so much written in stone, as fossilized! You simply cannot suggest an alteration to any of the original clauses - it's (seemingly) a worse crime than desecrating a church or treason. Anyone know the last time one of the original amendments was modified? I know there've been a few added since the first draft, but I'm curious as to whether & when any of the first batch have been altered...

On the subject of poison (curare is S.American, I believe, kat), I wasn't suggesting that China didn't have knowledge, even extensive knowledge, of poisons, just that excrement is so much more... available... I'm also aware that Chinese medicine has been well developed for many centuries. Nevertheless, I reckon acute blood poisoning is something they'd have trouble dealing with! It's a fact that in Europe 50% of duels resulted in at least one fatality (I think I've remembered the quote correctly!), because the participants smeared the edges of their swords with shit. Not bubonic plague, gangrenous pus, or poison. Just common or garden regular-motions-per-day shit...

There are instances of victorious (i.e. killed opponent) duellists dying within a few days of winning, so I've been told. There is actually a wholly English fighting system, developed by an Elizabethan called George Silver, which has survived (thanks to the treatise he wrote, "Paradoxes of Defense") & has been revived in the modern world, based entirely on the concept of the no-score draw - the only way of being sure to survive a duel is to not be hit! It's no good running your enemy through the heart, if he kills you three days later... Nasty, but true! ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 May 03 - 04:03 AM

Interesting and nasty stuff: curare.

Well said, Nerd.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 03 - 03:43 AM

Dear Nerd. You are wrong. Best Regards. Guest


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 03 - 03:40 AM

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

Sigmund Freud in "General Introduction to Psychoanalysis"


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Nerd
Date: 01 May 03 - 03:11 AM

Petr: I think you've been had. The story that cutting off the fingers was used to prevent an Englishman from shooting, and that therefore displaying the fingers was an act of defiance, is as far as I know just an old joke. The continuation is that the act of shooting a longbow was referred to as "plucking yew," and that the English therefore customarily display these fingers while shouting "I can still pluck yew. PLUCK YEW!!!"

GUEST: The laws regarding archery practice in medieval England are irrelevant to the question of civilian ownership of military hardware in the US today for precisely the same reason that the second amendment is irrelevant: both were intended to create a civilian militia that the government could call upon to defend or attack in times of war. Both the fourteenth century English and the eighteenth century American governments needed armed men, because they did not have (or did not want to spend) the resources to arm their citizen soldiers themselves. This has changed today. Given the fact of our enormous military budgets funded by taxes, given that we have a large enough standing army and reserves to do battle for a good long time while we train new soldiers, and given that no US army unit would require a soldier to go into battle with his own weapons brought from home, these measures lose their relevance. We simply do not need people in every town to have guns on the wall in order to maintain a "well-organized militia" or mount a defense of the realm. Thus, with the exception of hunting rifles, why do we need guns? And most particularly, why do we need assault weapons? No frustrated cutting-and-pasting of treatises on the longbow will make the overall analogy any stronger.

Also, as a folklorist and oral historian, I'd like to add that it's simply not true to say "All knowledge comes from books letters and discussion not personal memories" In fact, all my knowledge comes from personal memories...though I concede that many of those memories are memories of having read books and participated in discussions. *bg* Seriously, though, even people who cannot read often have incredible and irreplaceable knowledge...

Oh, and please don't tell Raedwulf to Fuck Off, as that is simply rude. It's so much nicer to wish him a good time in his archery pursuits, thus: "Pluck yew, Raedwulf!" (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: NicoleC
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 10:30 PM

Out of curiosity, I unearthed the following tidbit. Numerous peoples far more primitive than the Chinese figured out poison and darts and arrows; it seemed the Chinese would have, too.

Baicao, literally, 'white grass' or 'white herb.' It is identified in CICA, p. 85, n. 89 as being either the common bittersweet or woody nightshade (Solanium dulcamara L.), or the creeper Ampelopsis serianaefolia, "identified by the Japanese as the sorrel vine." However, I can find no evidence that either of these plants has ever been used to make arrow poison, although the woody nightshade is, of course, poisonous.
       It seems far more likely that it refers to one of the several aconite species (also known in English as monkshood or wolfsbane) that are commonly found across Europe and Asia. They are known to have been used as arrow poisons right up until modern times amongst the Ainu in northern Japan, and the Minaro in Ladakh (Peissel, Michel, 1984: 99-100). They were also used as a poison in the region of Lake Issyk-kol in modern Kyrgyzstan (St. George, George, et al. 1974: 167, 170).
       The Chinese were quick to make use of their knowledge of arrow poison. We find in the Biography of Geng Gong in Chapter 49 of the Hou Han shu that in 75 CE:

"The Xiongnu then conquered and killed Ande, the king of the Further Tribe. Then they attacked the town of Qinpu (near Guchen). (Geng) Gong climbed onto the ramparts, and led his soldiers into battle. He coated his arrows with a poison, and spread the rumour among the Xiongnu that the Han had sacred arrows, and the wounds of those who were hit would certainly be extraordinary. Then he used powerful crossbows to shoot these arrows. The barbarians who were hit noticed that their wounds were all frothing up. They were very frightened then.
...
The baicao of the Hou Han shu must surely refer to one of the wild species of aconite which were used to prepare arrow poisons and are reported as being abundant in the mountains surrounding the Tarim Basin. The following Chinese account from the 17th century briefly describes how they were prepared:

"In making poison arrows for shooting wild beasts, the tubers of wild aconitum are boiled in water. The resulting liquid, being highly viscous and poisonous, is smeared on the sharp edges of arrowheads. These treated arrowheads are effective in the quick killing of both human beings and animals, even though the victim may shed only a trace of blood." Sung (1637), p. 267.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 10:12 PM

Taxol is used in the treatment of breast cancer, from what I remember. In certain novels, I seem to recall, arrows were tipped with curare?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 09:53 PM

Raedwulf: I am sorry I dont know what poison the Chinese used; but from all accounts it was made from the sap of a tree and was deadly.
The use of bubonic plague bacteria, and gaseous gangrene pus, it caused slow death therefore was not very effective. Chinese knowledge of herbs and medecines was far more advanced. We do know the Romans used Taxol a substance derived from the sap and leaves of the Yew tree (Longbow wood LOL)to poison arrow heads; and just recently a doctor friend of mine was saying they were using Taxol in certain cancer treatments. History is wonderful isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 09:30 PM

From Raedwulf:

"From what I've heard it wasn't ever the gun laws in either the UK or the US that have been the problem. It's the failure on the part of the responsible agencies to make sure they're properly enforced."

I do believe that when anyone is in a state of extreme emotion -- fear, panic, anger, whatever -- that no gun law is going to make a difference to what he/she does.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 09:18 PM

For long periods of time, the English people were subject to numerous laws promoting the use of the longbow. There were often laws concerning the compulsory ownership of longbows for people in certain wage categories. Under the reign of King Henry II, everyone who earned 2-5 pounds per year had to be armed with bows (Assize of Arms, 1242 CE) (Wilkinson, pp.164). It was mandatory to practice in the bow on Sundays for many English citizens. Churches were required to maintain butts (targets) so that anyone could practice in the bow. There were even rules about the distance one must shoot at the butts from. Keep in mind that these laws were not intended for professional soldiers, for there were very few in those days. (Professional soldiers were mercenaries, not members of a standing army.) These laws were intended for the average citizen, who might be called upon at some point to fight for England.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Raedwulf
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 07:41 PM

From what I've heard it wasn't ever the gun laws in either the UK or the US that have been the problem. It's the failure on the part of the responsible agencies to make sure they're properly enforced? In the UK, both Michael Ryan (Hungerford) & Thomas Hamilton (Dunblane) are prime examples...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM

Anyone remember the foreign student who spoke little English? He was invited to a Halloween party, showed up in costume at the house of an elderly couple by mistake and was shot to death because he did not understand that he was being ordered off the property. The couple thought that they were being robbed.

A tragedy for both. But maybe if the husband had not had a gun, he would have shut the door and let the police sort it out.

I am not against the ownership of guns by people who can use them responsibly. If fear, age, illness, anger, etc. are going to cloud your judgement, you have no business owning one.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Hillheader
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 05:31 PM

McGrath

I agree to an extent. Some have been known to ring twice so you think they're postmen but killing is a bit much. Perhaps we could threaten to deport them. Is St Kilda still uninhabited? Or just make them drink Watneys Starlight Bitter.....

Davebhoy


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 05:15 PM

These bastards who go round ringing doorbells are asking for it!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Hillheader
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 04:31 PM

Gnu

So long as it's not to where you are, as anyone asking for help is liable to become another statistic.

Harlow sounds good....

Davebhoy


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST,Raedwulf
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM

Nice try, Guest, but:

"...the Crossbow became the assault rifle of its day (requiring less training to use than the Longbow)..."

You were directly comparing C/bows with L/bows. Going back to a BC Chinese weapon (& yes I did know vaguely about it, though I couldn't have given you a date) doesn't wash. You were talking about medieval times, not 200BC. Unless you know better, I certainly don't know of any medieval equivalent to this weapon!

Of course the 210BC crossbow is approximately analogous to an AK47, I'll concede that, but if you really were thinking about that weapon when you made the original quote that I picked you up on, you needed to have explained yourself a LOT better in the first place!

Incidentally, any idea what the evidence for poison on the bolts is? Only I'm inclined to think that excrement was perhaps more likely to have been used, being rather more readily available, & probably as effective (over the course of a few days). Nasty, but true...

As to the Assize of Arms, again, so what? You are again quoting an entirely military law that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on a modern debate about the accessibility of arms to ordinary people (i.e. civilians). If I can find time, I might do a more detailed explanation of this point, but I did say I was going to try not to get involved in yet another argument about guns! ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: gnu
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 03:57 PM

Ebbie... I "want" the NRA to hold out for reasonable and logical gun laws. AK's in the home is not logical, but if the alternative is creating crime and criminals through illogical and poorly written laws, pass me the 60 round clip.

McGrath... that SOB who rang the doorbell will probably be out in three months robbing elderly people again because our gun laws prohibit defense of life and property by the use of firearms... perhaps we could buy him a ticket to Harlow ?

Davebhoy... perhaps we could buy you a ticket to Harlow ?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Hillheader
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 01:08 PM

At what stage do we say that someone is not fit to possess a gun? Does the manic depressive have the right to a gun? Or the Schizophrenic? And to any gun? An AK47 perhaps?. At what stage of his illness would Charlton Heston have his gun licence revoked?

And sorry Walrus, but the analogy re cars is not appropiate. Very few people die because a car is deliberately driven AT them with the sole purpose of killing them. And also (given the chance) people will run out the way of a car. Do we ban planes because they crash? Or trains because they can be derailed? Or pavements because people trip on them and could die? Or computers because one blew up and caused a fire?

I understand the freedom issue in the US but I think that "the right to bear arms" really equates to "the right to take life" and I cannot support that.

Davebhoy


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 07:08 PM

"Gnu laws"? We don't have gnu laws in Canada yet. It's an interesting thought, though...

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 06:51 PM

McGrath. The statistics you quote remind me of another quote. "there are liars, damned liars, and statisticians.
http://home.sprynet.com/~frfrog/cowards.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:42 PM

What's that story got to do with gnu laws anyway? I mean how would it have panned out better if one of those people had shot the fella ringing the doorbell?

Not to mention some other guy who might be ringing the doorbell because he was a Jehovah's Witness or a postman?

All the statistics I've seen seem to indicate that the most likely person to get shot by householders with guns are other members of their family and harmless visitors.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:35 PM

Given their way, the NRA would have AK47s and submachine guns in ANY home that wanted them- and no records kept. Is that what you want?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: gnu
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:26 PM

Just got around to reading a newspaper a few days old and saw that two young men were caught with stolen goods a few streets over from a home invasion here in Moncton, NB, Canada. Seems they couldn't break into the second victim's house, so they rang the doorbell. The cops were searching around the first victims' house, an ellderly couple, when a call came in from another elderly person about the doorbell ringing. Yeah, gun laws me arse. People, especially the elderly, aren't safe in their own homes anymore, BECAUSE of the new gun laws. I am not against gun laws, just against poorly thought out and poorly written gun laws.

Of course, I'm not referring to handguns or machine pistols or light machine guns. These have been restricted from public carry and to ownership by permit only since the thirties in Canada. And I support compulsory education and permits to own long guns. But the way these laws are written gives the criminals something they should never have... an edge over law abiding citizens. Imagine a law that punishes me more than a crook if the SOB breaks into my house and steals a gun and commits a crime with it.

If the laws were reasonable and logical there wouldn't be so many gun owners opposed to legislation. Unfortunately, the anti-gun crowd is neither reasonable or logical. I hope the NRA never gives up the fight and doesn't back down one inch... not one inch. We did here in Canada and now we have laws that create crime and treat law abiding citizens like criminals.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:10 PM

interesting article about the longbow - although Id heard that it originated in Wales. Ie. Henry V's grandfather discovered it being used in there (My source Connections - James Burke)
and it was the weapon that decimated the French nobility in Crecy and Agincourt - plus the fact that the French Knights on horseback charged through marshy ground, getting stuck and making easy targets.

the other interesting tidbit - dont know whether its true, supposedly the UK two finger salute (reverse victory) comes from longbow references - ie. captured English longbowmen would have their index and middle fingers chopped off - rendering them useless for archery.
so often they would show their bow fingers to the French to show they still have them and to refer to Crecy & Agincourt.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: The Walrus
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 06:32 AM

"...A type of crossbow used by the Chinese since at least 210 B.C. was a repeating design with a gravity-fed box magazine!..."

There was a chap in Britain who built an automatic/semi-automatic heavy cross-bow (ballista?) based on Roman writings of 1st Century AD(no drawings, so a little speculative).
As I recall, this also has a box magazing but with a rotary cylinder feed for the bolt.
The weapon worked by cranking a handle forward to pick up the string then back to tension the string and loose the bolt ('fire the weapon' didn't seem quite right). When they demonstrated the weapon on TV (albeit with much reduced tension on the arms) they were getting a rate of about 12 rounds per min and very close grouping.

Regards

Walrus


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 10:42 PM

1252 AD - 'Assize of Arms' - those men owning land worth between 40-100 shillings were required to equip themselves with a sword, dagger, bow and arrows. Those owning less than 40 shillings worth of land had to equip themselves with bow and arrows. All men between the age of 15 to 60 years old were ordered to equip themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 08:29 PM

Raedwulf, do some research on automatics will you please?

A type of crossbow used by the Chinese since at least 210 B.C. was a repeating design with a gravity-fed box magazine! The magazine was situated above the bolt track. When the lever at the rear of the crossbow was first raised and then lowered, the box moved forward, caught the string in a wooden recess and drew it to full cock, dropped a bolt into the track and released the string. These crossbows were neither powerful nor accurate, but they could launch a bolt every second or two until the magazine emptied. Poison was usually smeared on the points to increase their lethality.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:15 PM

blue clicky, maybe????


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: Raedwulf
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM

Charming lad. Still no identification, still personal abuse. Oh well. Still, I'm amused to find you shooting yourself in the foot (I don't much care what with!).

"The longbow was the machine gun of the Middle Ages..."

Exactly. Now since when has machine gun been "...being the equivalent of a personal firearm..."?

Your quote of Ed.III's Act is still grossly out of context, & not relevant to any modern discussion on gun ownership; your remark about crossbows still just as incorrect.

Moderately interesting article, though, thank you for that. I could take issue with some of it (though given that it was written before the Mary Rose was raised, this wouldn't be entirely fair on my part), but I don't think I'll waste my time arguing with *you* about it. Whoever you are.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM

And here is a link to the article - The Medieval English Longbow
by Robert E. Kaiser, M.A.


Much easier to read in the original - a link and a quote is a more satisfactory way of drawing an artivle to the notice of other people.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: GUEST,Clareling
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM

Rifles, pistols, machine guns, handy guns, dandy guns, bombs, longbows, shortbows, fatbows, skinnybows, bows-with-large-hips, kitchen knives, Bowie kives, pocket knives, boot knives, bricks, chairs, tables, falling pianos, kitchen appliances, jelly jars, large books, etc.
It dosent matter the 'instrument of death', murder can be commited with bare hands and is everyday. Guns or no guns, if tempers and situations are not handled correctly, the results can be deadly. Parents, employers, teachers, friends...paying attention to thoes around us could prevent some of this, not all, but some.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 06:18 PM

A copyrighted article belonging to the Society of Archer-Antiquaries and first published in the Journal of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries, volume 23, 1980.


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Subject: The Medieval English Longbow
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 06:09 PM

Radwulf, A friend of mine wrote this article some time ago. I read and use the internet too. All knowledge comes from books letters and discussion not personal memories. Now Fuck Off....

From the thirteenth until the sixteenth century, the national weapon of the English army was the longbow. It was this weapon which conquered Wales and Scotland, gave the English their victories in the Hundred Years War, and permitted England to replace France as the foremost military power in Medieval Europe. The longbow was the machine gun of the Middle Ages: accurate, deadly, possessed of a long-range and rapid rate of fire, the flight of its missilies was liken to a storm. Cheap and simple enough for the yeoman to own and master, it made him superior to a knight on the field of battle. Yet, important as this weapon was, most of our present day beliefs concerning it are based upon myth.

There are many statistics available on the longbow, but few agree. The term longbow implies a weapon of greater length than the 4 foot bow used on the continent. Geoffrey Trease, author of The Condottieri, maintains the longbow used by the 14th century mercenary troops of Sir John Hawkwood "was as tall as themselves or a fraction taller". This would make the bow approximately five feet long, since the average height of the medieval yeoman soldier was five feet to five feet two inches. The Royal Antiquaries Society of Great Britain maintains the weapon was "of five or six feet" in length. Major Richard G. Bartelot, Assistant Historical Secretary of the Royal Artillery Institution says "the bow was of yew, six feet long, with a three foot arrow".
Finally, Gaston Foebus, Count of Foix, wrote in 1388, that a longbow should be "of yew or boxwood, seventy inches between the points of attachment for the cord..." These quotes demonstrate that the weapon was considerably longer than its continental counterpart, but still leaves the length in question.

Another chracteristic of the English weapon was its superior strength. An early 14th century English inquiry into the murder of Simon de Skeltington records the instrument of death as an arrow shot from a five foot seven inch bow. "The wound measured three inches long by two inches wide and six inches deep". This was the powerful weapon used by Edward III and his son, the Black Prince, in the Hundred Years War.

The two current authorities both agree the weapon was much stronger than our present day bows. Count M. Mildmay Stayner, Recorder of the British Long Bow Society, estimates the bows of the Medieval period drew between 90 and 110 pounds, maximum. Mr. W.F. Paterson, Chairman of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries, believes the weapon had a supreme draw weight of only 80 to 90 pounds.

A bow of the strength described by Stayner and Paterson would project a war arrow a long distance. But here again, no one is sure how far: Stayner believes the war arrow had an effective range of 180 yards; Paterson maintains a slightly further distance of 200 yards; and Bartelot estimates a useful range of 249 yards. Captain George Burnet, Secretary to the Royal Scottish Archers, notes that the members of the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland, who still shoot, use six foot long self yew bows of 55 to 60 pounds draw weight. The range of these modern bows is 180-200 yards shooting light target shafts.

The longbow, because of its rapidity of fire, was a medieval machine gun. It has been calculated that a bowman of the Hundred Years War period, when military archery was at its zenith, could shoot 10 to 12 arrows a minute. The closest weapon in range and strength to the longbow was the crossbow. But, as the battle of Crecy (1346) showed, even the superior Genoese composite crossbow - made of wood, horn, sinew and glue - was no match for the English weapon.16

After firearms were introduced into continental warfare, Sir John Smythe, soldier of fortune, and Queen Elizabeth's ambassador to the Spanish Court of Philip II, noted that "archers are able to discharge four or five arrows apiece before the harquebusies shall be ready to discharge one bullet.

The reason for present day confusion and controversy over the longbow is the limited number of surviving artifacts. There are no longbows in existence from the Early Middle Ages. There are, however, five surviving Renaisance weapons.

All of these bows are similar. They are nearly six feet long; made of wood; shaped in order to use both the centre and sap wood; are symmetrically tapered; and appear to have a very stiff draw weight. What is more, all five weapons are self bows. This means that they are made from a single stave of wood. Horace Ford, Champion Archer of England from 1850 to 1859, and an authority on English archery, maintained:
"The self bow of a single stave is the real old English weapon - the one with which the mighty deeds that rendered this country renounced in by-gone times were performed."

The first of the five surviving bows, by tradition, dates from the Battle of Flodden (1513). Burnet verifies that the artifact hangs on the wall of Archers Hall, headquarters of Royal Scottish Archers, in Edinburgh.

About the turn of the twentieth century, Colonel Fergusson of Huntly Burn presented it to Mr. Peter Muir of the Royal Scottish Archers. Fergusson claimed the artifact from the rafters of a house near Flodden Field where it had been for generations.

The Flodden Bow is a self yew weapon, 'probably of English yew", approximately six feet long, and "rather roughly made". The estimated strength of the weapon is between 80 and 90 pounds. Burnet's decription can be deceiving. The rough appearance of the weapon does not imply it was poorly made.

Most yew, even the kind that makes the finest bows, is quite irregular in appearance.The sapwood of the stave, following the longitudinal line of the trunk, rises and falls and tilts upwards or down in places. It has 'pins' (tiny black knots) too, as a rule."

It is ironic that a weapon should survive from this battle. "Flodden is a landmark in the history of archery, as the last battle on English soil to be fought with the longbow as the principle weapon..." Modern authors maintain that the victory of Flodden was due to archery. Indeed Longman and Walrond in their book, Archery, maintain that a 1515 statute endorsing the use of, and practice with the bow was a result of the victory. These authorities are probably correct, but not for the reasons they believe. The sole contemporary account of the battle notes "that a few of thaim (the Scots) wer slaine with arrows, how be it the billes (spears with hooks on the head) did beat and hew thaim downe..." It is apparent that the law was passed because of the poor showing of the archers.

The most interesting and least known Renaissance longbow comes from the armoury of the church in the village of Mendlesham in Suffolk, England. Records show it was there in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; however, Paterson believes it may date back to the time of Henry VIII.

Unfortunately, the Mendlesham Bow is broken. It is a self bow of 53 inches length. Paterson believes: "Assuming that the mid-point of the bow is about one inch above the centre of the grip, this would suggest a bow length of about 68-69 inches - if the remnant is an upper limb - or about 71 inches if it is the lower limb. I am inclined to suggest the former as the more likely choice."

The surviving limb tip is shaped to take a horn nock for the bow string loop. That would make the total length of the bow a little over six feet tall. Measurements suggest a draw-weight of 80 pounds at 28 inches.

The Mendlesham Bow, a typical longbow, is also unique for two reasons. First, although it is shaped to use the properties of the yew centre and sap wood; the bow's "cross-section approximated more closely to a rectangle with the corners rounded, than the reputed traditional 'D'-form" found in the other four artifacts. Second, the longitudinal taper of the bow limb is not straight but whip ended. This would better distribute the stress as the bow is drawn and force it to bend in an elipse instead of an arc.

Like the two previous artifacts, the Hedgeley Moor Bow is also something of a mystery. It is reputed to have been used at the Battle of Hedgeley Moor (1464), during the War of the Roses. The weapon was presented to Alnwick Castle by John Wilkinson, whose family lived on the Castle estate from the time of the battle.
"It is 65.5 inches inches in length, 3.5 inches at its greatest girth, with greatest width of 1.5 inches. The wood is probably yew..."

There are no nocks, but the ends have been notched to take a string. "At mid-point where the handle is, there are two deep cuts which look remakably of the shape of a bodkin head (sic) would make if it were overdrawn." Draw weight is estimated at 50 pounds.

The remaining two Renaissance longbows, like the Mendlesham artifact, come from the reign of Henry VIII. Unlike the Flodden and Hedgeley Moor Bows, we are sure of the age and use of these artifacts. They were recovered in 1836 by John Deane from H.M.S. Mary Rose. The Mary Rose, flag ship of the British fleet, sank off Portsmouth while engaging an invading French squadron on Sunday, 19th July, 1545.

These two bows are on display in the Armouries in the Tower of London. Inventory records show that they are made of yew wood, "of rounded section, tapered at tips to take the nocks, now missing". The largest of the bows is 75 inches long.The smaller stave is 72.75 inches long. Both bows are 4.5 inches at "greatest girth" and weigh 1 pound, 10 ounces. They are symmetrical weapons, utilising the same 'D'-shape as the Floddern Bow.

Both weapons are unfinished looking, but as pointed out previously, this is a characteristic of yew wood. Ford, in his study of the Mary Rose bows, notes that they are self bows, made from "foreign yew" and had an estimated draw weight of 65 to 70 pounds.36

The variation in length between the Mary Rose, the Flodden, and the Mendlesham bows; as opposed to the Hedgeley Moor artifact, lies in the fact that the individual archer had his personal bow made to measure. The Mary Rose weapons were arsenal issues meant to suit the tallest men in service. Shorter men would cut their weapons down to suit their height and arm length. This point is supported by Roger Ascham's treatise on Archery, Toxophilus, published in 1545.

During the Middle Ages, the yeoman archer was illiterate, while the scholars of the day, by virtue of their noble birth, had little knowledge of archery. Ascham was both a scholar and an ardent archer. As tutor to Elizabeth I, he had considerable influence on the royal family and was favoured by Henry VIII for his writing on this subject. Commenting on the selection and adjustment of a longbow, Ascham writes: "Take your bow in to the field, shote in hym, synke hym wyth deade heauye shaftes...whe(n) you haue thus shot in hym, and perceyued good shootynge woode in hym, you must have hym agayne to a good cunnynge, and trustie woorkeman, whyche shall cut hym shorter, and pyke him and dresse hym fytter."

All five weapons are remarkably similar and may be said to be typical longbows. They are approximately six feet tall, made of the sap and centrewood of the yew tree, are rough looking, and stiff weapons pulling between 65 and 90 pounds. Given this draw weight, a maximum effective range of approximately 200 yards with a heavy war missile is not unreasonable, especially considering the performance of the present day Scottish Archers.

The making of logbows changed little from the Medieval period until the turn of the twentieth century. They still were wooden self bows utilising the centre and sapwood of the stave. The best bows continued to be made of yew wood; and all bows were made by hand thus, each was unique.

According to Ford, yew was the only wood for a self bow, and the best yew came from Spain and Italy. The foreign wood is "straigther, finer in grain, freer from pins, stiffer and denser in quality, and requires less bulk in proportion to the strength of the bow". Stayner adds that the best wood is grown in the poor soil of the mountains; this produced the desired light grained wood.39 Ascham described the best yew for bow staves as coloured:
"...lyke virgin wax or golde, having a fine longe grayne, even from the one ende of the bowe, to the other... the short grayne are for a most part very brittle."

Staves were cut only in winter, when the sap was down. Stayner notes that the yew wood trade was tied to the wine trade. To insure an adequate supply of bows, "at one time, all wine imports (from Southern France) had to have longbow staves in the cargo as well."

Why was yew such a superior wood for bow making? The natural properties of yew are much like a modern thermostat: by skillfully cutting and shaping the stave in a 'D'-section, a layer of sapwood was left along the flattened back of the bow.

"When a bow is drawn, the inside face of the arc undergoes compression while the outer surface is stretched. The heartwood of yew is able to withstand compression and its sapwood is elastic by nature, and both tend to return to their original straightness when the bow is loosed."

Bows were not made all at once. Cut down in winter, they were roughed out and left to cure for a year or two. After the bow was "seasoned", it was worked in slow stages into the finished product. Often these steps occurred at intervals of a year for three or four years.

Once the bow was made, it would provide long service with minimum maintanance. Smythe tells us that archers of the Hundred Years War used to rub a mixture of "wax, resin, and fine tallow" into the bow to protect it from "all weather of heat, frost, and wet". Ascham says that the archers also had bow cases, not of leather, but of canvas or wool to protect their bows from the elements.

Bow strings were of two materials: in the sixteenth century, strings were made of "good hempe...(but, earlier, strings were made of)...fine Flaxe or Sylk". A waterproof glue was used to preserve the Renaissance bow string and it was reinforced by a whipping of fine thread. The strings were attached to nocks made of bone or horn.

The English Medieval war arrow, like the longbow, is a controversial subject. Known as the clothyard shaft, it was efficient, cheap, capable of being mass-produced, and "made in greater numbers than any other type of arrow in history".50 But few sources agree to its length: estimates range from 27 to 36 inches.

A close examination of the sources tend to point to approximately 27 inches as the correct figure. The clothyard was not a standard yard.The term comes from the reign of Edward III, when he introduced Flemish weavers into England. The weavers brought their own system of measurement with them. Known as the "clothyard ", "clothier's yard", "ell", or "Flemish yard", it was 27 4/10 inches long. The late John E. Morris, the acknowledged authority on the military organisation and tactics of Edward I, supports this conclusion by noting that a draw length of 36 inches from a 65 pound or strong bow is biomechanically impossible.

The final and most conclusive argument for a war arrow length of a "Flemish yard" is the sole surviving Medieval war arrow. The artifact, now in the Library of Westminster Abbey, was found in one of the turrets of the Chapter House in 1878. The exact age of the arrow is unknown; but, due to the construction of the war head, it was probably made during the second half of the Hundred Years War. Dr. Howard M. Nixon, Abbey Librarian, notes the head belogns to type 16 in the London Museum Catalogue:
"This is a typical medieval war head, with small barbs to prevent the arrow from being easily withdrawn. It seems likely that the wood is either ash or birch."

This type of war head was devised to negate the protection offered by the combination mail and plate armour, which came into wide use after the Battle of Poitiers (1356). (Froissart tells us that the archers of the Black Prince shot (broadhead) "bearded" arrows). The Chapter House Arrow is 30.5 inches long. The diameter of the shaft varies from 1.07 centimeters at the war head to a maximum of 1.14 centimeters at a distance of 30.5 centimeters from head. The diameter reduces to 0.756 centimeters at the nock. The total weight is 1.5 ounces.56 This arrow is a 27 inch shaft (approximately) mounted to a 4 inch or 5 inch socketed war head.
Somebody asked me to review this because it's a non-music copy-paste article far in excess of our one-scree limit for non-music copy-pasting. It is available elsewhere on the Internet (click here), but I think I'll let it stay because it is information that is very closely related to folklore.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'From my cold, dead hands' farewell
From: The O'Meara
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 05:51 PM

Wild game, dangerous game, bad guys, good guys and each other.

O'Meara


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Mudcat time: 19 September 10:03 AM EDT

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