Friday, 3 January 2014

Thanks For The Legacy

There have as usual been some notable deaths in the last 12 months ..... some like Mrs Thatcher and Nelson Mandela were noteworthy enough to garner national and international comment and amongst those that created international comment were also:
  • Film Director Michael Winner
  • Singer Lou Reed, and
  • Actor Peter O’Toole

..... but others who died, may have had only local coverage or a small paragraph in the international press. Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist for example, was the last survivor of a group of German army officers, who tried unsuccessfully to kill Adolf Hitler. While Douglas Engelbart, was the the US electrical engineer who invented the computer mouse, the design of which was described in a patent filed in 1967 and granted in 1970.

However the name that caught my attention was that of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian inventor of what would become the world’s most popular assault rifle, the AK-47. Now needs must as the saying goes, and when in the middle of a death struggle between Communism and Nazism, the invention of the AK-47 "Kalashnikov" rifle was a battle winner for the beleaguered soviet armies ..... but boy did the law of unintended consequences apply later.

Kalashnikov's Legacy Lives On

The gun was the most successful of its kind in history, being used in by armies and 'freedom fighters' around the world ever since. It was said that you could bury one in to the ground, comeback 6 months later, bang the dirt out and it would fire. For the sort of savages who wield the weapon these days, this robustness and lack of maintenance requirements make it the perfect weapon, in a way that no other weapon has managed.

It may well be that this weapon has killed more people than any in history, including the sword, spear, bow and arrow and even the Nuclear bomb ... which when you think of it, is one claim to fame, or infamy given that its only been around for 70 yrs or so. But as over 75 million AK-47s, and 100 million of the total Kalashnikov-family of weapons have been made, and if they have a kill rate of only one person per two weapons, that's still 50 million killed by it world wide, with every chance of at least another few millions over the next few decades in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

That's some sort of legacy ... and ensures he won't be forgotten for a long time.


  1. There was a story on the news that Kalshnikov was a late convert to the Orthodox religion (having first gone into a church at the age of 91 and was later baptised), and that he later wrote to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church before he died, expressing fears he was 'morally responsible' and that he was suffering "spiritual pain" over the many deaths it caused and for the people it killed. He had always denied any responsibility before his conversion, saying that it was the fault of the policies of groups or other countries that acquired it.

    I guess even he was surprised at how succesful the weapon was, and how many it had probably killed .... possibly waiting for him at St Peters gate.


    1. Thanks for that .... I suspect that we all are susceptible to "Waiting for Godot" as we get older .... I may be like the French Philosopher Pascal:.

      1.If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven: thus an infinite gain.
      2.If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will be condemned to remain in hell forever: thus an infinite loss.
      3.If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded: thus a finite loss.
      4.If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but you have lived your own life: thus a finite gain.

      I suspect, that we all think along those lines at least once .... usually after watching "Its a wonderful life" LOL

    2. Pascal's wager is fundementally flawed :
      1. It assumes the Christian God and not any other of the possible gods that can be imagined, therefore ;
      2. You might do as your chosen god bids you all of your life, foregoing many things and basically wasting the only life that you'll ever have only to find out that the actual God doesn't approve and off you go to Hell or wherever.
      3. Even if the actual God turns out to be the one you've been worshipping, his gospel is so vague and hermeneutic that you may easily have been doing the wrong thing anyway - see 2.
      4. It precludes an intelligent and understanding god who may reward an atheist for rightly concluding that gods don't exist after considering the available evidence.
      5. It precludes an intelligent and understanding god who may disapprove of blind obedience to an improbable entity in the absence of any real proof.

    3. Ah well, its kinda like how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin ..... depends on what kind of Angels are doing the dancing. After all, as Pascal might have said, you have to have faith in the God you are praying too.


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