In which our intrepid hero comments on recent robberies in his home city.

It’s hardly a crimewave, but given that two robberies in Sydney in the last 24 hours have been perpetrated with swords, it’s at least noteworthy.

The first occurred in Panania , just before 8pm last night:

Anzac Day patrons at a Sydney club fought back when they were confronted by masked men wielding a machete, a knife and a hammer during an armed robbery, the club president says.

Several patrons were injured when four men wearing balaclavas entered the Picnic Point Bowling and Social Club on Lambeth Street in Panania in the city’s south-west about 7.50pm yesterday, police said. […]

“The door burst open and they were in the middle of the club screaming profanities,” [club President, Rob] McRae told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

“They were wearing balaclavas and had hammers, machetes, and they were smashing things, glasses, tables, screaming at people and saying ‘Everybody on the floor.'”

Mr McRae said he asked patrons to co-operate with the men, but several took matters into their own hands.

Three of the men were apprehended, and police are looking for the fourth. More than anything else, you have to question the intelligence of someone who robs a drinking establishment on the one day of year most likely that decorated combat veterans will be amongst the victims.

The second robbery, at around 1am this morning, took place in the city:

Staff at a four-star Sydney hotel were forced to lie on the ground during an armed hold-up by bandits wielding samurai swords overnight.

The robbery, at the Mercure Hotel on George Street, near Railway Square, took place about 1am today.

Police said two armed men, whose faces were covered by towels, threatened staff with swords and ordered them to lie on the ground.

They made demands for money and were able to get away with an undisclosed amount of cash and two wallets belonging to staff members.

Back in the day, SCA members used to joke “Who cares who wins World War III? We’ll win World War IV!”

During my late teenage years, I was a member of a non-SCA-affiliated mediaeval combat group. Although we used metal weapons (which are banned in the SCA), we felt a close kinship with our rattan-wielding cousins. I guess there was a sort of “melée pride”—we had a notion that we had a role as a kind of warrior class, protectors of our communities if worse came to worst.

Australian society has become gradually disarmed over the past couple of decades, generally in response to spree killings. The prevalence of firearms has decreased, as have violent crimes (like armed robberies) using them. The downside of this is that knife- (and occasionally, as we have seen, sword-) wielding robberies have been on the increase.

Now, I’m not advocating vigilantism with swords and maces, but it might help to start training security personnel in their use. After all, an ability to use these weapons also adds an ability to defend against them, even unarmed.