Knowing How to Use an AK-47:

British intelligence is warning the British government about the risk of an Islamist insurgency in Britain; thanks to Michael Totten [guestblogging at InstaPundit]) for the pointer, and for the cautionary words: "Seems a bit overstated to me, but then I’m not an intelligence chief."

Here's my one observation on the subject -- consider this excerpt:

As police and the security services work to prevent another cell murdering civilians, attention is focusing on the pool of migrants to this country from the Horn of Africa and central Asia. MI5 is working to an estimate that more than 10,000 young men from these regions have had at least basic training in light weapons and military explosives.

A well-connected source said there were more than 100,000 people in Britain from "completely militarised" regions, including Somalia and its neighbours in the Horn of Africa, and Afghanistan and territories bordering the country. "Every one of them knows how to use an AK-47," said the source. "About 10 per cent can strip and reassemble such a weapon blindfolded, and probably a similar proportion have some knowledge of how to use military explosives. That adds up to tens of thousands of men." . . .

I too am worried about people who would want to violently revolt against the British government -- but does the point that "[e]very one of them knows how to use an AK-47" really mean much? Using guns is not rocket science. I don't personally know how to use an AK-47, but I'm pretty sure it's not tremendously difficult. Some of our commenters doubtless know more about this, but I suspect that stripping and reassembling it isn't that hard to learn, either. I can't speak confidently about the use of military explosives, but my sense is that those too are designed to be relatively easy to use. (Fighting effectively as a disciplined, trained, and well-led military unit is a different story, but that's not really a matter of knowing how to use an AK-47.)

If there are indeed many thousands of people who want to fight the British government, who are willing to kill many civilians, and who are willing to die doing so (since very many will die), that surely is a problem. But it would be a problem even if they had never touched an AK-47 in their lives. Conversely, I'll bet that very many Americans know all about how to use an AK-47 -- but we needn't worry too much about an Islamist revolt here.