Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A village tale

African Village Uses Tech to Fight Off Rape Cult | Danger Room | Wired.com

There's a couple of interesting ths about this article. Many people have noted that the villagers are using home-made
firearms, an indication of how easy useful firearms are to make and how futile firearms bans are, so I won't retread that ground.
A weapon system is only as good  as its targeting, and it is the application of intelligence in the military sense that makes these home-made weapons effective against the raiders. The villagers have a scout force and a communication net that allows them to have the civilians retreat to safety and the militia to concentrate at the point of threat in a dual-purpose fm transmitter. That's the titular "tech" of the article, not the shotguns, for the author distrusts the use of weaponry by civilians "outside the control of the government," and worried that the villagers have "written off any hope of aid" from that government.
Of course, the radios the villagers are using come from private effort, not the government, as does everything else that allows the village to stay safe. They had no hope of help from the government before, so I don't see why they should care what a westerner things, our even what their own nominal government thinks. What this village needs from the government they are unlikely to get from their central government: a rapid reaction force that will respond to calls for aid with speed and precision, and not oppress the villagers in their turn. Damn few governments in history were ever capable of providing that; outside of a handful of modern nations. In years gone by, personal weaponry required a  dedication to training that no one could afford to maintain if it wasn't his sole profession to be effective, and also required a certain amount of conditioning and strength to use in combat. So some kind of professional fighting force wa a necessary. It didn't have to be full time professional, the english did well enough co-opting their subjects' free time for training. But with the invention of the cartridge-fed repeating firearm, though, a part-time, relatively unpracticed civilian militia can be effective in defensive situations.

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