Their weapons were not weapons of the ordinary

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Their weapons were not weapons of the ordinary peasants but...weapons of war”(Kaufman 49) Using ambush tactics and weapons of war against unprepared and unarmed peasants resulted in robbers becoming some of the most loathed outlaws in all the land. This fact is proven by the considerably higher conviction rate of robberies compared to other medieval crimes(Kaufman 48) Another group of people that often found themselves outlawed were political rebels and anyone who incited or participated in revolts or uprisings. The landed and wealthy elite have always feared those that would upset the status quo, and as such they take measures to ensure their positions are not threatened. To them the peasantry were deserving of their lots in life, to put it succinctly “the elites-urban, official, and noble-regarded the rebels as uncivilized. The terms they used to describe them were animalistic.(Kaufman 52)” These uneducated disruptors of society were not entitled to the protection of law in the view of those holding the power. As such they were placed outside of it so that they could be dealt with all due expediency and without hesitation. One final example of people that would find themselves as outlaws were nobles that sought justice but had to go outside the law to do so. These are men who felt wronged but were unable to address their grievances through the proper channels. These men would knowingly remove themselves from the protection of law so that they could right these perceived wrongs. In regards to these individuals Keen says, “The very existence of such men as outlaws was, as has been said, the result of the laws inability to bring criminals to justice, and one of the the reasons for this was that since the law was too corrupt and uncertain...(keen 204)” This particular group of outlaws are perhaps the most noble, ardent champions of a pure justice. After settling their affairs these men would rejoin society and cast off the moniker of outlaw. Outlawry has its roots in the inherit weakness of the medieval justice system. It is a way for societies to enforce law and order in a time when to do so was almost astronomically difficult. As Jones puts it, “It is a tool of a limited government, one that hangs between the self help practiced by societies lacking central authority and the professional judicial systems of modern states.” (Jones 17). To declare someone an outlaw was to basically call open season on
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