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First choose your weapon

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Spanish and English criminals used widely differing weapons in their activity. The Spanish popular images show high-class weaponry; swords, daggers, and a variety of fire-arms, from pistols to blunderbusses, suggesting or reflecting the activities and the weapons of gentlemen. The navaja (flick-knife) of the gypsy is notable for its absence from this material. Some of the images could sit alongside medieval tales of chivalry, rather than nineteenth century accounts.

The English narratives suggest a more haphazard and perhaps a more domestic approach to violence. The impression is often given that perpetrators of violence simply grabbed the nearest implement to hand. Murderers who used poison, and therefore planned their crimes, were seen as especially evil. Authors liked to describe unusual weapons and novel ways of inflicting violence, in order to create a sense of horror and danger in their readers.