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5000% Increase in the sale of baseball bats on Amazon.co.uk (amazon.co.uk)
470 points by nwest on Aug 9, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 150 comments

These loathsome people have no respect for Britain's glorious history or traditions. Real British patriots use cricket bats on their looting spree.

I admit I laughed, but this comment belongs more on reddit than here.

As a recent Reddit convert who would like to follow the rules, why?

Because it is easier to create slapstick than meaning.

Humor may be a part of life and discourse, but in certain cases, and especially on the internet, it distracts from the real issue at hand, as most slapstick fails to convey meaning. If you can make me laugh and then think, then more power and karma to you, but most of us are unable to produce such witty insight on the fly all the time. We try. We fail, and we spam. That's why HN doesn't like slapstick jokes. If one person starts using slapstick then it creates a chain reaction that distracts from the real issue at hand.

Such slapstick doesn't create meaning. It ends up destroying it.

I hope that made the issue clear to you.

The initial criticism and long discussion any time someone cracks a joke isn't much of an improvement.

Except that it at least prevents the discussion devolving into a long chain of jokes, like you see on Reddit, and generally keeps this kind of thing to a minimum overall on HN.

There's a place for those chains of jokes, and that's mostly on Reddit (which I enjoy browsing often). But I would prefer to keep the discussion here on HN a bit more meaningful.

I think mkr-hn's point, though, is that Reddit may have joke chains, but HN has "tell-people-why-they-should-not-joke" chains. They're probably both equally time-wasting (this whole thread is a good example, and yes I'm aware of the irony of adding to it. Shit happens.)

Ah, but we also have threads with neither, or threads where the jokes have simply plonked to the bottom of the page with no discussion.

Linking one of my other replies in this subthread is better than trying to come up with a unique answer: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2865270

I don't want to speak for him, but I'll give my opinion of why:

Reddit tends to be overrun with memes and jokes, and HN has always been more about lively discussion and facts. Reddit used to be like that a couple of years ago.

HN is allergic to humor. It's not entirely unfounded, but sometimes people take it too far.

It's not allergic; jokes are just off-topic here.

I like good jokes, but when I want some, I go to bash.org or the like ('Humour' folder in my GReader has more feeds than 'Technology'); but HN is not for jokes, it's for good discussion, so let's keep it like this.

I find that HN's comment policies seem much more relaxed on the weekends.

I find HN's comment quality relaxes on the weekends too.

I find that HN's post quality relaxes on the weekends, too. ;-)

There seem to be a lot more reposts and borderline-spammy self-promotion or poorly disguised press releases.

Memes are the culprit, not genuinely humorous jokes. The pun and joke tangents on Reddit are the best thing on the Internet.

I think you might be right in that... unique humor is rare enough that it certainly doesn't threaten to overwhelm a site, and it might even represent an increase in overall conversation-intelligence.

Memes, on the other hand, are repeated endlessly. Perhaps still funny, but it's the repetition that drives people away and dumbs down threads, because it contributes literally nothing, but it does distract. It also turns the place into an echo chamber - others were very likely thinking the same thing - and group-think is dangerous.

Well, they are supposed to be immigrants or descendants of 1st generation immigrants so your comment may not apply.

Pish, the only people who love cricket more than the Brits are the people in the ex-colonies. It's huge in the Caribbean and South Asia.

I can assure you that this issue is not specific to immigrants or immigrant communities. The problem is much more general. Multiculturalism, I believe, is a good thing but there also needs to be a positive common culture. Unfortunately there isn't one to speak of. Britain is full of parallel societies and recently the main divide, that is being that is being highlighted recently, is the divide between normal citizens and those that happily and deliberately choose themselves above others. This is merely a dramatic and serious symptom of a problem that has been growing for some time.

Well if anything, immigrants, who choose to move their whole lives to Britain, should love Britain and its traditions even more than random British folks who happen to be born there.

Which is why the USA today follow the traditions of Native Americans...

Being brought up in a certain culture is a pretty powerful influence on who you are and what you like.

And people who choose to immigrate to a country may do so for a variety of reasons; I know a number of anglophones who hate living in Germany and are only here because of work.

I don't think that's true at all. I suspect the vast majority of people emigrate for economic reasons, not because they like another country's traditions.

I would expect a degree of local variation in the choice of ad-hoc melee weapons. Here in Scotland I would expect golf clubs to be more popular, perhaps shinty sticks in the Highlands.

As for myself I have a rather nasty looking ice-axe somewhere...

An ice-axe? You are aware, aren't you, that there is a difference between bludgeoning someone and brutally murdering them? Because with an ice-axe, you're going to have a hard time not engaging in the latter.

Are the rioters buying these or the people and shop owners who want to protect their property?

(UK poster here - living away from the riots though, thankfully)

There was apparently a decently large group of Turkish business owners in London last night who got together with baseball bats to protect their businesses (which apparently worked).

I'd say it's a bit of both.

After seeing Korean shopowners in action during the LA riots in 1991, I'd always been curious how this scenario would play out in a country with gun control laws.

On a possibly related note, there don't seem to have been any reports of deaths yet (apart from the original suspect shot by police that seems to have been the spark in the powderkeg).

I suspect many of these will be for home owners in these affected areas. Remember that whilst the shops are being targeted, that there are often many people cowering behind locked doors hoping that this will come to an end. This is a just a means of protection for them, should they need it. In the UK people are not allowed to own fire arms, but baseball bats are a different thing altogether.

"In the UK people are not allowed to own fire arms"

That isn't strictly true - just that the licensing schemes are very strict and licenses will only be given for certain types of guns (e.g. shotguns) for certain reasons (hunting or work).


I would guess that many, if not a majority of the rioters lack a credit card, and quite possibly a registered permanent address for deliveries. These are people on the farthest margins of society, often with very little to lose.

Do you have any evidence that would suggest that?

I found this post from last night insightful: http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-lon...

Yes, I read that earlier. What did you find insightful in it? The people involved aren't commenting on government policy. They're looting. I think some on the left are desperately trying to spin this as some sort of popular uprising but it's nothing of the sort.

Exactly, it's not (directly) political. These are poor people without jobs and opportunities, and gangsters and criminals. These guys sure aren't protesting any issues.

Therefore I'd agree with mortenjorck, the majority of the rioters probably don't have credit cards and probably aren't the kind of people who order stuff from amazon.

There are plenty of poor people in London, the vast majority of whom aren't looting shops. While I'd agree that the looters aren't likely ordering much from Amazon, I see no reason to think they lack homes or are 'on the farthest margins of society'.


If they are poor, without jobs and opportunities, I think they are, one way or another, protesting. We made the exact same mistake in France in 2005. If you prefer, these events are the manifestation of their condition which could be qualified of passive or unconscious protestation.

Yep, I agree, that's why I said it's not directly political.

There are political issues at hand, even if the rioters themselves aren't aware of them.

Rioters don't buy things, they steal them.

Everyone has to start from somewhere though, and stealing a bat from someone who's rioting doesn't seem like the best option when Amazon is perfectly willing to send one to you.

Surely rioters? I find it hard to believe a shop owner is seriously going to try and hold the line by themselves against a mob. Also, a baseball bat is a classic disguised weapon but a shopkeeper will have no justification in having one so it is probably an offensive weapon in UK law.

I've heard it said that D-cell Maglite torches are used by security guards not because they necessarily need a torch (a headtorch is generally more useful anyway), but because it can be carried and justified legally.

I find it hard to believe a shop owner is seriously going to try and hold the line by themselves against a mob

Groups of shop owners are defending themselves. See this video http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2011/aug/09/london-riots-...

I find it quite believable that a poor immigrant whos entire economic security depends on his shop is going to defend it with is life.

A rioter caught carrying a baseball bad would be in serious trouble. A bat is hard to conceal on a person. Anyone carrying one will become a target to the police, as they will know the rioter is a trouble maker.

A shopkeeper can hide it under the counter.

I've also heard this about large maglites. In fact they are often carried by being held near the globe end with the body of the torch resting on the shoulder. This allows the torch to be swung down onto a victim's collarbone breaking it and disabling that arm. (Apologies for the gruesome detail.)

They don't have to be stronger than the mob, they just just to be stronger than the next shop.

Shatter patellas (what are patellas anyways?), skulls...this can't be a real review:

"Cuts looters off at the knees, 9 Aug 2011 This bat is perfectly weighted and will suit any UK shop-owner looking to protect their property.

Thanks to the ergonomic handle, one easy swing should be enough to shatter patellas, skulls or any other bone on your targeted looter. Personally, I would recommend also investing in some fingerless gloves for extra grip."


patella = kneecap

Reminded me of trainspotting:

"Ah wonder if anybody this side of the Atlantic has ever bought a baseball bat with playing baseball in mind. Sick Boy, "Blowing It: Deid Dugs" (Chapter 4, Story 3)"

Actually, the entire situation reads eerily like the Trainspotting novel. Looks like all the Francis Begbies are out in force.

Baseballs are up 2500%. I am not sure these stats mean quite what you think they do.

If you're buying a baseball bat for the once every couple decade riots, you might as well see what it's all about.

I believe there is law that states that a baseball bat with no ball can be considered an offensive weapon.

that's why "Baden Baseballs (Pack of 3)" are up to 3000%

That's because people assume you have to buy a ball to go with the bat, to make it seem legit.

UKers, just make sure you get ash bats, not maple. A shattered bat on the ball field is embarrassing. A shattered bat on the streets is dangerous. Likely there will be no bat boy to hand you a replacement.

Surely aluminium is the way to go?

Metal bats are long lasting, but ash bats can last a long time, too, especially if you can avoid getting jammed (hitting something with the thin part of the bat just above where your hands go.) I have a child-size ash bat that's just starting to crack after being used by three generations of my family. The parent is probably referring to maple bats which are used by about half of major league baseball players. According to conventional wisdom, maple is harder and tends to shatter more easily.

Or you could try to track down a Tidal Wave softball bat. The Tidal Wave was a metal bat with a cap in the handle so you could fill it partially with water. The momentum and non-compressibility of the water made those bats crazy-powerful. (And illegal in any semi-organized game.)

Until you miss the looter and hit a door-frame, wall, rack of goods, etc.

After that, as your aluminum bat is likely rolling around on the ground, it will seem like a bad idea.

An aluminum bat to the head would greatly increase the chance that the person will be killed rather than just knocked out. I certainly disapprove of the looters and rioters, but I don't think they deserve to die.

Are you sure? I thought the nice clean knockout was a TV myth, and that any blow to the head strong enough to knock someone out is just as likely to kill them or give them serious brain damage.

Basically, don't hit someone on the head with any baseball bat unless you're willing to kill them.

IANAD, but I believe there are many factors that go into it. The exact nature of the hit and the elasticity of whatever is doing the hitting are likely rather important (I cannot imagine there is a difference here between a wooden bat and a metal bat though). I've seen numerous people get knocked out in boxing matches, but never seen one get killed (though it does happen). The presence of medical personnel can only help of course.

I am working from the assumption that aluminum bats would hit a person in much the same manner as they would hit a baseball. Aluminum bats are banned from major league baseball because the spring effect of the metal causes balls to go faster and farther. I imagine the same spring effect would cause more damage to a person hit with an aluminum bat.

But yes, I agree that whether the person is hit with a wooden or aluminum bat there is a chance of them dying.

The deformation of the aluminum bat leaves it in contact with the ball longer, and the spring action transfers more energy. A human head will deform more easily than a baseball; blunt impact injuries are a function of momentum over time, so a bat that deforms on impact would do less damage. Any baseball bat can be used to kill by hitting people in the head though.

So this also greatly decreases the risk that this person will hit back and possibly kill you. During self-defense my primary concern is my own safety - not the safety of my enemy.

Looter in action does not deserve to die?

Why not?

If looter was caught and is on trial - then few years in prison would be enough. But being killed while looting when police is overwhelmed - that's only fair.

I find your comment quite disturbing. I can get behind leaving a looter (slightly) bloody and bruised, I suppose, but the nonchalance with which you proclaim these other humans "deserve to die", and state that it's "only fair" is ... well, disturbing. That's the best word. It's disturbing.

The whole damned thing is disturbing.

If a looter sees that someone has a metal baseball bat and doesn't decided to walk away, then they are responsible for what happens to themselves. Anyone with two braincells to rub together knows that if you go up against somebody with a giant metal club, you might die. Let's be honest here, these are not sniper rifles, in order for someone to be killed by someone wielding a bat defensively they have to opt-in.

What I find more disturbing than anything else here is the prospect of a violent individual too stupid to properly analyze such a situation.

I agree. I would add that any kind of rioting opts you in to the possibility of death and dismemberment. Be it by bats, rubber bullets, trampling underneath fellow rioters. Responsibility for a wide range of consequences should lie with the rioter.

You make a good argument. If the looter still comes after you after noticing your bat then you should be really scared. If he manages to get the bat away from you he will probably use it to beat you to a pulp.

In my experience of these London kids a lot of them are smoking heroin during these types of violent events, so I would be unlikely to trust their rationality.

A shortgun would be a better choice than aluminum bat in that case.

In order to kill someone with a baseball bat, you must aim for their heads. It's possible to incapacitate someone with a baseball bat without aiming to kill them.

You also are assuming that all of these confrontations are done face-to-face, and that both parties have plenty of time to think about what they're doing first. It's already pretty clear few of these looters are analyzing anything.

If the looter is alone and there is police squad nearby - there is no need to even beat the looter - catch him and send to prison.

Unfortunately looting mob during mass riots puts store owners into totally different situation. They basically have only two options: run vs fight.

I'm not sure if I personally would choose to fight in that situation, but if business owner chooses fight option, I would support him even if he kills looters during that fight. In part because that would make my neighborhood safer.

I would have imagined that a baseball bat isn't good in a one vs group situation. As you hit one person the others grab you and wrestle the bat off you. Consequently the bat would probably be turned on you. As one parent commenter further noted: once you get riot mentality the mob/riot is entirely unpredictable. I'd imagine you would be in a perilous situation.

Considering the example: If you were a shop owner in your shop vs a mob, I'd suggest that if you had to fight tere's a good probability that you were fighting for your life anyway. You would most likely be trying to permanently disable any threat. Perhaps a blow to the knee? I don't know how anyone would react.

The thing you need to consider is this: in the UK you aren't encouraged to buy equipment designed to hurt people (for example there's legislation on knives (length) and for guns you need licenses which are very hard to get). Also the law tends to be unfavaourable if you simply kill an intruder. You really have to be using due force. Now consider you're home alone and a mob arrives at your door/flat. What do you do to protect yourself? What equipment (that you can easily justify was used in self defence or with appropriate force) should you use that might just persuade them that it's not worth the effort?

Perhaps getting the aluminium one to put them off?

I did not advocate _not_ fighting. I advocated not _killing_.

I agree. Way too many people are calling for the deaths of these looters. If that's society's answer to these events than I find myself forced to defend them.

Creating novelty accounts is a practice best left at the door here. This isn't reddit.

How do you plan to defend the looters? Just on the Internet or actually going into action and trying to reason with store owners?

The force and momentum of a solid wood bat will trump a hollow light aluminum bat any day.

The only thing you get with aluminum is a greater velocity.

Actually another factor that you have to take into account is that aluminum compresses more than wood, causing a spring effect that considerably amplifies the force. This is one reason why major league baseball does not allow metal bats. Aluminum bats drive balls harder and faster than wooden bats. I am working from the assumption that this same effect would happen if someone was hit with an aluminum bat.

Force, momentum, velocity. They all seem somewhat related. Maybe mass too?

  force = 1/2 mv^2
  momentum ~= mv
Velocity matters.

As of now, there's 7000% increase in the sales of military police telescopic tonfas.

Apparently they're out of stock of them and the link is no longer working on their site.

The original link to the item is here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Military-Police-Telescopic-Tonfa-21/...

You can search for the link in Google to check out a cached copy.

Just to balance out the nightmarish images of London, here is a video of the community rallying together to clean up the mess the day after http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz7WGzsaHQE

Hmm, no offense but that looks a bit staged (or perhaps its just near the end of the cleanup) a few people sweeping with brooms, most people milling about and watching them.

A sad thing for me is when I start to tell a young person about a riot that I experienced and they think its 'cool.' There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, 'cool' about a riot. You can read about mob dynamics, you can imagine heroic acts of protest or defense, but nobody seems to capture the pure evil that seems to permeate the air when rule of law loses its grip for a moment.

The veil of civilized behavior, and the relative safety that brings with it, is quickly dropped by a few. Those few cause pain quite disproportionally to their number.

It wasn't staged, it was happening all over London - people were out in Clapham, Peckham and Tottenham too. There were a lot of people out making a lot of difference both literally and psychologically

I was in Clapham all morning with the cleanup crowd. There was nothing to do and the police wouldn't let anyone through to the damaged areas, which were full of forensics squads, firemen and surveyors. The last thing they want is the general public trampling over the crime scenes (i.e. the damaged properties,) The council had already cleaned up most of the other debris. I went home at about 13:30.

At some point they probably let the crowd in for the photo op, but all the real work had already been done.

> rule of law loses its grip for a moment.

Really? You're a non-violent, non-rioting good person because of the law? I think you meant "civility loses its grip for a moment."

Really? You're a non-violent, non-rioting good person because of the law? I think you meant "civility loses its grip for a moment."

I'm not a non-violent non-rioting good person because of the law, and I'm prepared to give the grandparent the benefit of the doubt and assume that doesn't apply to him either. However...

Most people, I think, are fairly good, and are restrained from rioting and looting by their own consciences. But some people are just arseholes, and are only restrained from crime by the thought of punishment.

Civility doesn't have a "grip". Either you've got it in you or you haven't.

I think the 'grip' is referring to the power of social proof. People are capable of both good and evil. You take a lot of cues from what you see around you.

I think it is a bit more nuanced than that. Some people, myself included, don't take stuff that isn't ours or destroy property even when we know that there would be few if any repurcussions for doing that. Call it a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong, whatever, we just don't.

There are people who, given the opportunity to do so without consequence, engage in such activities for the 'thrills' (or the lulz I suppose if that vernacular applies to meatspace vandalism). When the Rodney King verdict was handed down in LA there were a lot of people who were very angry and lashed out. However there were also some people who could care less, but were clearly exhilirated at the opportunity to be 'bad.' There were looters in New Orleans who took some supplies to use while they evacuated, there were looters who destroyed televisons and stole knick knacks.

The bottom line is that when you shut down the legal system, effectively removing the rule of law for a time, whether by latent rage against injustice, or by disaster. There are some deeply, truly, evil people out there and they come out and they do their evil and it is not 'cool' and it is not 'fun' and it overwhelms the people who are trying to survive.

I thing gburt was just trolling here, perhaps there is some subtlety I missed in the phrasing.

I think it's the result of people wanting to do something to show that the community cares, and realising that actually the local councils had already done a good cleanup job overnight.

Nevertheless, I thought it was a heart warming gesture.

this is nice gesture but ultimativlly moronic, because it can ruin evidence.

Props to the original poster--I've never thought about looking at a situation from this perspective before, and while it's not scientific, it's an interesting and unique way to look at a situation and certainly adds a new layer of dialogue.

At least one of the items (the only explicitly martial one) appears to have been pulled, #2 as of my viewing, "Military Police Telescopic Tonfa - 21" was up 4,291% to #136, now 404s and doesn't return from search either. Doesn't seem to be the case of just being out of stock, as another one of the bats in the top 10 just shows as unavailable/out of stock.

4000% increate in the sale of Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stoves on Amazon.com


It must be significant.

No, you picked an outlier. OP pointed out a trend -- 8/10 of the top "Movers and Shakers" are bats/batons. That is significant.

With the ease with which the burner can be turned into a bomb, it's portability (like a large Molotov), and the $15 price tag, I would be really surprised if it were genuinely an outlier (in the sense of being a chance correlation with current events).

I hadn't thought of that. When I think of people buying little propane stoves, I always think of them doing it for survival. What I thought was that some people are getting their last minute emergency supplies just in case things get worse.

It's Amazon.com, not Amazon.co.uk, so no.

27,000% percent increase in flashlights in Japan. Clearly the rioters threaten our power plants.


Awful; neither funny nor relevant, and disrespectful to boot.

I'm pretty sure that's the joke.

Well people in England are burning cars. Also they're poor. Surely they must have US-based backers ?

That doesn't make sense, by the time you get the bat the riots should be over. Are the local sporting good stores all sold out?

Doesn't Amazon run a shipping hub out of London? If so they may do same day delivery.

Either way, you're hedging the cost of a bat vs the chance that riots are going to go on for multiple days, or spring up outside of your shop?

Next day delivery if ordered before a certain time (5pm I think, might be 7pm). I'd place money on the riots still being around by the time an order placed today arrived.

Presuming, that is, that delivery is running normally.

And what about future riots?

If this is shopkeepers buying baseball bats it could be because faith in the UK Police to protect businesses was severely damaged over the last few days.

Summer's not over, and it could get worse. Get a bat on standing order for the future?

Need is mother of all invention.

Pick apart a leg from your kitchen table and defend your properties.

In Germany, 1-2 day shipping is the norm. There are cheaper, slower options, but standard package service is very often next-day. I imagine it's the same in an even smaller country like England.

People are more likely to buy umbrellas online on days when it's raining.

Though it will certainly rain again, whereas hopefully we won't see that many riots over our lifetimes.

I have no way to check it, but I think that they just delayed delivery of this product on purpose because of the riots.

The 2nd in the list has: "Usually dispatched within 4 to 6 weeks"

That's no good, at least not for the implied use case!

Apparently CNN has picked up on this and has a story pointing this out as well:


Looks like the interesting discussion is happening here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/forum/cd/discussion.html/ref=cm_c...

This reminds me of the recent video floating around the web (which I now can't find) of korean americans defending their stores in the LA Riots with guns and ad-hoc militias.


The sometimes we take the idea of "law and order" as provided by government for granted.

On of the comments on the aluminum bat: "This bat is perfectly weighted and will suit any UK shop-owner looking to protect their property."

Aren't we considering Amazon goofed up their arithmetic? There are a lot of things which are selling way more as per their numbers.

Was there a beer shortage?

My theory has always been that if there was no beer, everyone would slowly realize "man, baseball is f-ing boring."

50,000% increase on a riot baton with no name but five stars? It's a broken link. I think Amazon is acting on this.

Probably a smart move, since various acts including importing and selling such equipment are probably illegal in the UK, and carrying that sort of kit in a public place would be as well (other than for police officers and the like, obviously).

Funny, but I live in Texas, and I was just pricing aluminum baseball bats on Amazon yesterday.

Note the 125000% jump in shovel sales though. That's a bit more hopeful.

I'm glad to see baseballs in that list too.

"Movers and Shakers in Sports & Leisure"

Also a 4500% increase in sales of four-man tents...? Not sure these statistics indicate anything.

That's hilarious.

Might become a Business Ethics Class classic. From my point of view, Amazon should not deliver. It is obvious the bats are intended to be used as weapons, which is illegal at least in Germany, no matter what circumstances.

Ah, so upstanding citizens should have no tools for defending themselves, loved ones, homes & businesses?

Business Ethics Class classic indeed, and with no clear-cut answer.

I'd contend that anyone ordering such products online under such circumstances is not part of the criminal element (who would instead just raid a sporting-goods store, or pick up any comparable object) ... and thus Amazon would do customers well to provide free overnight or same-day shipping.

We should sell them AK-47s and grenades. Probably higher profit margins.

I would expect Amazon to make a statement saying they wont ship them, now this has hit the press.

EDIT judging from hullo's comment above they have pulled all these products. Not sure why this comment is getting so many downvotes, it is a PR issue not a law enforcement issue, if the press are calling the company over this and it is going to be in the papers they will do this.

And the a few days later we get to read a story about a family who had their bat order canceled getting beat near to death in their own home. Brilliant.

Yes, it would make perfect sense for Amazon to cancel thousands of orders because they could be involved in some kind of ongoing riot. Great idea. /s

This isn't thousands, it's only a few hundred. Remember, the British don't play much baseball so they would normally only be selling a handful of any given bat per day.

So, we refuse to sell bats to people who want to play baseball in the middle of the summer (the item's main and intended innocent purpose) because other people want to use them for other purposes?

If you don't explicitly do that, you need to figure out a way to identify the potential nefarious users from the potential good ones. Do we allow a bat as long as you buy a mitt and a ball too? Only to people over the age of 25 because most of the looters are under 25? By postcode?

There's no way that any business should be expected to do that - it's a police action. If parliament wants to make bats illegal, or controlled items, that's one issue (resting with parliament, not Amazon and just as contentious). To refuse to sell sporting goods in case they're used for offense is just silly. Do we then refuse to sell cricket bats, or broom handles, or 2x4s, or javelins or kitchen knives if there's an upsurge in their sales?

Ultimately, the people responsible for the use of these items are the people who use them. Let's not try to increase the UK's tactics of using enterprises to carry out work to which the government doesn't want to admit.

I believe Britain already has restrictions on knife ownership.

This is sad. Honest people resorting to ordering baseball bats on a website for their defense. Imagine that that was your grandmother left with no other option.

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." --Ghandi

> I believe Britain already has restrictions on knife ownership.

I'm not sure about laws, but I've recently noticed that establishments that do sell knives and razors usually keep them behind the counter, instead of on the shelves. The idea being that you can't just pick a knife up off the shelf and make off with it.

[Knife crime is a serious issue in the UK - The Guardian even has a dedicated section to it! - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/ukcrime]

Oh, if it became popular, I have no doubt that the government would happily ban baseball bats. Here in Glasgow, it's relatively popular to use a sawn-off golf club as an impromptu spear.

However, it shouldn't be up to a private company to regulate that.

Grandma does have another option: She could leave the city.

What makes you think she has that option?

A handful of bats = one?

My best guess would be less than a dozen, based on my experiences using RankTracer. But I haven't actually looked it up.

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