To those who have written to ask why it's not a good time for an armed uprising:
"What is combat, Christine?"
"What is combat? How does it differ from other kinds of human interaction?"
"Well, you're trying to hurt somebody."
Louis cocked an eyebrow. "You're never trying to hurt somebody under other circumstances?"
She thought it over. "Well, yeah."
"So what's the difference?"
"Well, you have to have an opponent."
He waited in silence.
"And he has to be trying to stop you."
"From doing what?"
"Whatever you're trying to do!" She was growing impatient.
"And what are the rules?"
"Um, do there have to be any?"
He shook his head. "There have to be none."
"You heard me. If it's combat, it has no rules, only objectives. That's really the defining characteristic."
He went to a wooden rack across from his punching bag and lifted a large, gently curved sword from it. She had never seen him handle the thing before, and had wondered why he had it.
"This is a medieval saber. A thousand years ago, it was one of the most potent weapons a man could carry. Moreover, possession was restricted by law. You had to be a member of the ruling class to own one legally."
He swung the sword in a complex pattern that defeated her attempt to track it.
"You can kill with one of these, if you have enough strength and skill. Of course, it's a little conspicuous, and it takes a lot more effort to use than most people would guess. Would you want to have to tote one around?"
"And why is that?" He laid the tip of the saber in his left hand and held out the sword as if offering it to her.
"Because there's better available. We have guns now."
He nodded. "Yes, we do. And for quite a wide range of combat situations, a gun is a better weapon than a sword. In fact, there are a number of cases where bare hands are better than a sword, but that's beside the point for now. If you were in a combat situation, where you had this and your opponent had a gun, what could you do about it?"
She looked hard at the old weapon. It had a certain antique beauty and simplicity, but she couldn't imagine ever wanting to wield it.
"Not a lot. Try to take the gun away from him, maybe?"
Louis snorted. "I hope you never have to do that, Chris. The odds are going to be on his side. But one thing you wouldn't do is to shout, 'Hey, that's not fair.' Right?"
She laughed. "Silly man!"
His face went dark. "I'm trying to make a very important point here, Chris. Combat means no rules. What he has is what you have to deal with, period. If you can't face his size, his skills, or his armament, you'd better be prepared to run."
"Well, you know I can do that."
He glowered. "I said prepared to run." His voice had acquired an edge she hadn't heard before. "Emotionally. You don't ever duke it out with someone who's got the edge. A lot of guys have been killed by pride and unwillingness to admit they're facing superior force. Chris, this might be the most important thing anyone will ever tell you. Do you understand?"
(From On Broken Wings)
If you think you're ready for that, you're almost certainly mistaken.