I tend to agree that a lot of things were better in the past, but people always complain that the present time is the one with less violence.
...they do? I've seen numerous references to the death toll of the World Wars surpassing all that came before by enormous margins. I'm not making a comment on the veracity of that claim, I'm saying that I've hardly seen people refer to the present as less violent. Less difficult, sure(everybody loves their microwave ovens and hot showers), but less outright violent?
Guns, at least the non laser sighted old fashioned type, require great skill and dexterity to use in battle. A soldier typically has to carry their gun around with them, which is not a light burden. I can agree they take some of the romanticism away, but not all of it. Not every fat fuck can be skilled enough with a gun in a combat situation to kill someone. You must be referring to gang banging morons who use crappy malfunctioning saturday night specials.
A gun IS a light burden - a sword will generally weigh less than three pounds, but you have to carry a couple dozen other pounds of armor in order to give yourself a decent chance against other people with swords. The whole reason guns replaced everything else is because they're more practical - before they became practical, they were little more than a tertiary weapon. Part of that practicality is in that they are easier to use. When you're equipping an army, you use the tools that are not only the most fatal, but also give the best trade-off between "fatal" and "easy." The less time you have to spend training people to use a tool, the more time they're able to actually use it, and refine their use of it.
Even with one-shotters, in a large scale battle, it's completely unpersonal. Human life is just thrown away by a little bead from 50 yards away. Guns are ultimately useless. In antiquity, it surely would have sucked to die by getting a stone lodged into your skull, but the slingers were untrained men(besides the sling they use) anyways. Like the fat fucks.
I get what you're saying. And I agree, it would be "nicer" if they didn't exist. But they do, and they're excellent at what they do. As far as things being useless... Guns are pretty useful for killing people. It seems far more useless to fantasize about an ideal world than it is to operate according to the reality of the actual one.
I have read that in pre-Classical Greece, the outcomes of war would often be decided by a single fight between two champions or leaders, one each from the opposing sides. Obviously I have no idea if that's actually true - it could easily be nothing more than romantic invention on the part of the Classical writers. However, I've also read that in most battles between hoplite phalanxes, the process was largely symbolic(at least when compared to the way battle is conducted in modern times). Few combatants would actually die, instead the losing said would accept that it had been defeated. Interestingly, this puts the purported Spartan attitude of "with your shield or on it" in an entirely new context. It also has an interesting counterpart in "combat" as it occurs outside of humanity - territorial fights between animals rarely result in actual death, and when they do it is generally accidental. Perhaps the best change that could be done to modern combat is the adoption of a form of the same battle philosophy. Of course, this would only work within the confines of a single culture, which means the entire notion of a nation-state would have to disappear first.