tooling up for the race riot

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Senior Member
In the TV series Prison Break, guards are shaking the cells down; one of the guards sees a knife in a prisoner's hand, tells him: ''so, tooling up for the race riot, are we? Hand it over.''

What does the guard mean by ''tooling up for the race riot''?
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    From the Word Reference dictionary on "tool":
    tool up, [no object] to install the machinery for a job:The manufacturers began tooling up for production.
    Are you gathering and preparing equipment/tools in order to participate in the race riot?

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Tooling (up) in this case simply means getting together armaments for use:- in this case for a riot. Tools in this case means armaments... of any sort....


    The prisoner is being ordered to hand back a tool, the knife, that could be used in a/the riot.
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