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Guns, Makeshift Weapons and Groups
Two Man Questions from Sam J.

"...Guns usually come with pairs..."

I wonder why that is. Logically it would seem the lone travelers would be more likely to have guns. Maybe have a look out for the gun holder as having a gun steps things up a bit.

"...4 in 20 are armed with makeshift blunt weapons, these weapons rarely being present in groups less than five strong..."

Don't get this either. Maybe packs allow them to think they can carry them and scatter if the cops come.


Sam J, according to my collected robbery accounts over half of guns are wielded by a member of a small group. I actually had one lone actor pull a gun on me, one member of a group shoot at me, one lone actor shoot at me and one member of a pair try to pull a gun on me. So even from my personal experience that preponderance of guns being employed by the member of a pair does not make sense.

Also, the fact that so many drug dealers are killed by lone gunman would also indicate this.

The fact is, our gun perspective is skewed toward the lethal extreme. Every dead body at least gets marked on the homicide marker board. Most stickups are never reported.

I once escorted a pair of men carrying valuables to their car and, having left them to escort another pair [I was clearly unarmed and posed no lethal threat] they were approached by two men, one of whom had a handgun, both of whom had been hiding behind the bushes at the top of the rise that formed the parking lot level. One of the guys ran to me.

Here we get to the why.

Why does a gunman looking to use his weapon for menace, threat or robbery usually have an accomplice?

There are three reasons:

1. He wants a lookout, because the last thing he wants is trading bullets with cops.

2. He wants a human shield, a body that will obstruct a passing motorist’s view of his gun, as most of these encounters happen near traffic areas but off the road surface.

3. Finally, he needs to corner your ass and box you in so you don’t have the ability to run like the guy that came and fetched me while his buddy was on his knees looking up into the barrel of a gun.

Improvised Blunt Weapons

For reasons I do not know, when humans gather together in a group with the intent of doing harm to others, they tend to grab any accessible weapon, usually something makeshift, like a brick. This behavior is seen among Chimpanzees and was also noted by my Brother when he was stationed in Vincenza Italy with the 82nd Airborne in the early 1980s when the marine barracks in Lebanon got leveled by a truck bomb. They had short notice that they were going to “jump” into that hellish city! He told me that he and every guy in his stick grabbed all the “shit” from the armory that they could. He estimated he was carrying 200 pounds of ordinance and only weight 130. He laughed afterwards and said his back or legs would have snapped when he jumped. They were called back on the runway.

The most interesting aspect of this makeshift weapon behavior, Sam, is that stones and bricks are almost never used by individuals but are the most common group weapons, with bottles usually typing as stones and being used as such. There is something very old in us that wants to pick up a stone when we organize for violence.

40,000 Years from Home

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Sam J.January 15, 2017 4:57 PM UTC

An idea. Maybe wrong. If you are a lone individual against another then you're only grappling with one person and you mentally can keep track of all the appendages coming at you. Things that can grab you. If attacking a group you can't so you hold back and throw things.

Another idea. Escalation intentions. If you attack with a brick or rock then things escalate immediately. Fist combat could leave both bruised but one alive but bring out the rocks and the likelihood of one dying ramps up. So let's say you're the attacker then bringing out the rock also immediately escalates the possible response in your prey. In a group your just one of many so the situation has already escalated but you're not the only target. You can hide in the crowd and not be the only target of escalation.

Thanks for listing this. This is some super rare low level info that I can't imagine anyone on the planet has ever brought into focus. Some grad student in psychology could have himself a whopping good Doctorate thesis with this. Maybe we should start calling you Dr. LaLafond.
responds:January 15, 2017 6:57 PM UTC

Thanks for the kind words, Sam J.

The lone individual is less often armed because he is more often the target of group violence. He didn't know that his trip to the hotdog cart was going to turn into a fight for survival.

Psychologically, the most common mechanism for a member of a group being more likely than an aggressive or a defending individual to immediately go for a weapon seems to be a needful desire to be effective, to make certain the will of the group is imposed, and being armed makes you a more important part of the group. In many cases group violence is the passing of a lynch-mob sentence, the realization of punishment that has been agreed upon by the attackers. Think of the ancient practice of stoning. Members of the group will be sensitive to the overall emotional need to succeed and try and bolster that prospect.

With an individual arming it is more apt to be the result of a rational calculation, while among mob members it tends to be more emotive.