By Paul Brown
Throughout most of history it has been up to small communities, even heads of households, to provide for their own defense. This was just the natural order of things. With smaller nation states or tribal groups, inferior systems of communication, little-to-no roads, and scarcity of land and other resources, conditions have almost always been ripe for organized violence between neighbors (both near and far). But over time nation states grew larger. Technology and better forms or organization led to police forces and large, national militaries that protected entire nations, allowing smaller communities and households to let their guard down. If roving bands of armed men are unlikely to come to your town to pillage (such as Vikings, or warring Greek city-states), then what’s the point of spending time, money, sweat, blood, and tears on preparing for pitched combat? Swords, spears, guns, and training were put on the backburner or dispossessed altogether by people in most regions . . .