Slate magazine has run an article that attempts to ask why Londoners have been buying baseball bats in large numbers rather than cricket bats in order to defend their property and threaten some bodily harm to rioters during the recent disturbances. Although we have no specific evidence on the relative worlds of hurt that can be meted out by either pieces of wood (or metal), our theory is that the baseball bat is easier to swing. The cricket bat is shaped to guide the ball or stroke it along the ground. It’s heavier and bulkier. The baseball bat is one long stick of wood, tapered into a handle that’s easier to hold and direct toward the spherical object that is the human head. Perfect as an offensive weapon, and thus perhaps more intimidating as a tool for defensive. On the other hand, as the snippet from The West Wing below suggests, a cricket bat wielded by a big man with a loud voice can be plenty intimidating.