Jeff Cooper wrote:
The de-glamorizer of war is distance. There is nothing heroic about being blown up by something fired from out of sight, but excitement builds as the range closes. When you finally confront your enemy face-to-face you truly "see the elephant," and that is when the pistol comes into its own.
Cooper is well known as one of the top pistol instructors in the country and, given our so-called 'gun-culture,' probably the world. It is interesting that high praise of sidearms comes from a man who, like all Marines, considers himself a rifleman first. But given the man's experience spanning three wars (four if you count the unspoken WWIII Cooper describes), one has to consider that what he knows about seeing the elephant is more than enough to fill the volumes he has written.
Early in the book To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth
Cooper describes the rifle as the "queen of weapons." He goes on to list the rifle's advantages (range, accuracy, power) and disadvantages (requisite discipline, length of proper training, importance of marksmanship in society). He even mentions (remember this book was written in 1988) how the victorious struggle between the brave Afghans against the Communist invaders was largely because the mountain-dwelling Afghans prize marksmanship and are proud of their--undoubtedly U.S.-made--rifles.
Cooper, however, greatly dislikes the current state of combat small arms which he calls "battle carbines." Underpowered and almost always automatic, they are the children of the theory "if you can't shoot well, shoot a lot." This is pretty much the same treatment Cooper gives the machine pistol (submachine gun).
Cooper never addresses the "king of weapons," but I'm sure I'd be safe guessing that it is the sword. The sword, like the pistol, is worn rather than carried. Unlike the pistol, however, it is as much an offensive weapon as it is defensive. In terms of pre-firearm weaponry, the sword cannot match the range of the arrow or pike, but its versatility and general deadliness generally outweigh those drawbacks.
So, if I were the mayor of Colon, what weapon would I choose? While the sword has a long history as a symbol of regality and power, I think I would choose a major-caliber pistol for myself and arm my general army with a similarly-major, semi-auto rifle (think M1 Garand). Of course, my minions are
worms and might not be the brightest invertebrates in the Universe (the real one, not Fry), so maybe I'd have to give in to their stupidity, take back the real rifles, and issue them M-16s or the 31st century's equivalent. I'd also have to consider the delicate nature of structures of the brain. While hitting the kill zone with a single shot shouldn't be a problem for rifleworms, the general enlisted worm might not be so capable. This would create the risk of wayward shots damaging parts of the brain. Naturally, allowing swords into the brain area was equally stupid. Any sort of weapon could potentially damage the brain. Even LTL weapons like tasers could disrupt electrical signals, 12ga beanbag rounds could be devistating at extremely close range, and chemical agents could inflame and injure neural tissue. Ideally, I would have set up a series of secure, weapon-holding checkpoints leading to one, and only one, entrance guarded by Sicilian Mafia worms with slapjacks and blunt lead pipes.Yes this has been a DrT post that wasn't in Offtopic.