If Amazon’s ‘Movers and Shakers’ list is to be believed the British public are tooling up. Sales of various items in the ‘Sports and Leisure’ category have soared in the last two weeks following the riots in London. A number of baseball bats have sold out, notably the sturdier aluminium variety proving worryingly more popular than it’s wooden cousin. While Tonfa’s and self-defence items appear to have been withdrawn from sale and their product pages deleted. Amongst the items sold were police style batons. Whether any of the deleted products were dispatched before Amazon realised what was happening is another matter.
The additional problem is that the statistics can’t of course tell us which side is doing the buying. As the police gain powers to use rubber bullets and water cannons, the rioters could well be lining the streets with aluminium baseball bats and Kubotan sticks. The fact that some of the items listed were readily available for sale may come as a shock to some but not sadly to anyone who’s worked in a sports store.
For a brief time I worked in a sports shop which sold many things which could (with some imagination) be used as a weapon. Some items needed less imagination than others. Amongst some fairly innocuous items was the aluminium baseball bat. I can say with some certainty that of all the bats sold not a single one was ever involved in a sporting pursuit. On discovering a lack of a local baseball team, the items were withdrawn from sale from our store, but they were of course still available to buy online and in other local sports shops.
Either baseball has reached new heights of popularity in recent days or they are sadly mistaken.
Let’s not kid ourselves that Amazon is the only place would-be vigilantes or rioters can get their hands on a weapon. It’s simply that Amazon has it sales statistics on display for the world to see. The soaring sales figures, with some increasing by over 5000%, led to debate on Amazon’s own forums. Opinion was divided with some customers calling for temporary bans on all self-defence items, others raised the (admittedly doubtful) possibility that people were shopping for innocent purposes. Either baseball has reached new heights of popularity in recent days or they are sadly mistaken.
We don’t have our Stateside friends attachment to baseball and neither do we have their right to bear arms, which in recent days has undoubtedly been a blessing. The addition of firearms to the recent events would have made the situation a great deal worse, but what of our right to defend ourselves and our property? If a gang of rioters was about to destroy a business you’ve spent your life building, a baseball bat starts to look pretty tempting if the police are too stretched to protect you and your property. Although as the rioters seem to have a taste for arson perhaps it should be sales of water cannons that need to be on the up?
With most Londoners preferring to take to the streets with a broom rather than a weapon lately it seems more likely it’s the rioters and not well meaning members of society tooling up. Crucially, we shouldn’t feel like we need to defend our homes, businesses or families. The government, police and army (if necessary) should be well-equipped enough to protect our streets from violence. Shoppers may well be trying to buy peace of mind by stocking up on weapons, but unfortunately that’s one item Amazon’s Sport and Leisure department can’t provide for us.
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