Tag Archives: guns

Kalashnikov’s Remorse

The creator of the AK-47 assault rifle seeks mercy; regrets its use

66 years later, the Avtomat Kalashikova remains the world’s most ubiquitously used weapon, estimated in contributing – even in relatively “quiet” years – to the deaths of a quarter of a million of the world’s population per annum. Developed in the Soviet Union in 1947, used by its forces in 1949, the AK-47 assault rifle will undoubtedly endure for many decades more – a solemn fact that certainly contributed to its creator seeking mercy and forgiveness for his contribution to its existence. Mikhail Kalashnikov died late last month, two days before Christmas, at the age of 94. He lived to see and feel and weigh the horrors his invention was used to inflict; he lived with the astonishing fact that Kalashnikovs make up more than one in ten of all firearms, and are the weapon of choice for armies made up of drugged, deluded and manipulated child soldiers. In 2010, the then 91 year old Kalashnikov wrote the Russia Orthodox Church to ask a question I think he regrettably knew the answer to: was the blood shed by the weapon over the more than half a century since he created it, on his hands? “My spiritual pain is unbearable,” he wrote. “I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle claimed people’s lives, then can it be that I… a Christian and an Orthodox believer, was to blame for their deaths?”

The church told him not to dwell on the matter too heavily in his twilight years. Its press secretary, Cyril Alexander Volkov, wrote in a reply to Kalashnikov that, “The Church has a very definite position: when weapons serve to protect the Fatherland, the Church supports both its creators and the soldiers who use it.” The press secretary was later quoted as saying, “He designed this rifle to defend his country, not so terrorists could use it in Saudi Arabia.”

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The church’s position is, I think, correct. It’s difficult to impart much guilt on Kalashnikov for his creation, meant for the safeguarding of his country against the better-equipped Nazi invaders, especially since he could not have foreseen the abominable future misuse of it, and feels obvious regret and remorse for that misuse. It’s noteworthy to remind ourselves that Kalashnikov is not the first – nor will he be the last – weapon inventor who has expressed regret and remorse for their contributions. The namesake of the Nobel Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel, expressed similar remorse when his creation of dynamite – meant to be used as an instrument of peace – was used to wreak untold havoc throughout the breadth of the First World War. The nuclear scientists that developed the nuclear bomb(s) dropped on Japan during the Second World War pleaded with President Truman to not use the weapon to such effect. Even Albert Einstein, who famously consulted with President Roosevelt to urge his continued research on developing the bomb, expressed remorse: “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I would have never lifted a finger.”

Still, as RT.com notes, “AK-47s have caused more deaths than artillery fire, airstrikes and rocket attacks combined.” It’s easy then to understand why the man responsible for that creation feels such pangs about the millions who have lost their lives because of something he invented. In 2007, Kalashnikov was posed a question of the state of his conscience, and confidently replied, “I sleep well. It’s the politicians, who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.” It seems obvious that Kalashnikov is in some ways morally responsible for the weapon he created, but it’s perhaps unfair of us to depart on him much blame for the horrors perpetuated by the Avtomat Kalashikova. It was a weapon created for the defence of a people; it was meant for bringing about the end of a terrible war against a terrible foe. But wars were waged long before 1947, and will be waged for the entirety of our species’ time on this planet. We are all culpable for the millions who have given way to our frightful waging of war, not just Mikhail Kalashnikov.

Photo Credit: (Above) AK-47 assault rifle courtesy of Flickr user Brian nairB; (Below) Ethiopian National Defense Force 1st Lieutenant Ayella Gissa takes aim with an AK-47 assault rifle on a simulated enemy during a practical exercise as part of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa’s train the trainer course in Hurso, Ethiopia, December 27, 2006, courtesy of wikicommons.

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The Weekly Roundup

24 | May | 2013

The Unblinking EyeThe Unblinking Eye: Taken at the October 24th, 2012 campaign event of Governor Mitt Romney at Reno, Nevada (cc photo by Darron Bergenheier)

Friday on Left and Center, Publius shared some background to the new Wikileaks documentary, discussed how California gave Obamacare some really, really good news, argued that the Republican Party can no longer honestly call itself a party of conservatism, mitigated a debate between Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald on whether or not the London beheading of a British soldier could be categorized as terrorism, and had a good laugh at a photographer’s hilarious depiction of toy storm troopers.

23 | May | 2013

Obama at the John S. Knight CenterObama at the John S. Knight Center (cc photo by Beth Rankin)

Thursday on Left and Center, Publius unearthed the government’s war on whistleblowers, considered a damning opinion by Martin Wolf on austerity, saw Mnemosyne weigh the efficacy of corporate self-regulation, relayed President Obama’s speech on the future of the war on terror, and shared a wonderful photograph of Wadi Rum – Jordan.
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When conservatism left the Republican party

The Unblinking EyeThe Unblinking Eye: Taken at the October 24th, 2012 campaign event of Governor Mitt Romney at Reno, Nevada (cc photo by Darron Bergenheier)

Jonathan Chait does a really fantastic profile of 28 year-old Bloomberg columnist Josh Barro, who he labels as the “loneliest Republican”. What’s been a startling and troubling political trend these last few years has been how the Republican party has openly and damningly retreated from pretty much every single policy ground they once stood on. Parties evolve and ideologies adapt, but that’s not necessarily what’s happened to the so-called “conservative” party. Leaving aside the “why this happened?” for another time, the truth of the matter is that if you’re a policy wonk, and hold yourself to be a conservative – assuming you’re honest with yourself – you don’t really have a political home anymore.
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The Daily Roundup

The Reverse BlessingThe Reverse Blessing (cc photo by VinothChandar)

Today on Left and Center, Publius considered the new information out of the IRS office in Cincinnati and concluded that the scandal is really just an unfortunate case of incompetence, applauded the sanity of Americans to be able to discern between real scandals and fake ones, pondered who we should arm in Syria given the complex web of rebel groups vying for control of that country, lamented Peggy Noonan’s descent into madness and ridicule for her terrible journalism regarding Benghazi and the president, shared a study which found that only 27 percent of college graduates find a job related to their major, chose for the daily quote a great message from Obama’s commencement speech at Morehouse College, chuckled at a photo of an elephant blessing a pilgrim, and awed at a video of freestyle football champion Andrew Henderson taking us on a journey through London.

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Daily Roundup

Today on Left and Center, Publius lamented the outgoing IRS commissioner being made the fall guy, defended the president amidst a swell of politicized scandals, offered thoughts as to why the 37th attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is important, chuckled at the president’s use of a Marine umbrella, shared a remarkable aerial shot of the Nā Pali Coast, kicked back to a cool Pianoworks video for the daily unwind, and finally, introduced Left and Center as the new title for our little blog here, saying goodbye once and for all to BaddiesBoogie, and our moose.

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Nearly half of all Republicans think we need an armed revolution in the near future to “protect our liberties.”

So, we know from this little doozy that millions of Americans believe that President Obama is literally the anti-Christ. We also know that we Americans love a good conspiracy theory, so I don’t know how much stock to put into this new Fairleigh Dickinson poll that found both amusingly/terrifyingly that nearly half of all Republicans and a fifth of Democrats believe that we might just need an armed revolution in the near future to “protect our liberties.”

So, there’s that. I don’t know if this is just people responding sarcastically to what was obviously meant as a fun question, or if this is a product of all the mass hysteria and war mongering coming out of the NRA and Rush Limbaugh and *enter your neo-con political commentator here*. But, I kind of wish the percentage was a little smaller.

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Daily Roundup

Today on BaddiesBoogie I pondered whether or not US schools should abandon the current grading system for a more holistic approach to education, ridiculed and lambasted the GOP’s seemingly endless war with social science and statistics, and saw Cato meditate on the important question of gun safety in regards to our children.

Elsewhere I brought you a photo of the day featuring the pristine marble caves in Chile, shared work by Nate Silver that shows that the death blow to the GOP will come courtesy of demographics, and ended with an old school sketch for our Laugh Break featuring the legends Dean Martin and F..f…foste..foster Brooks.

See you tomorrow readers, thanks for checking in!

Publius

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Just one of those crazy “accidents.”

By Cato,

Under the “Important Driving Tips” section of the California DMV Web site there’s a bit of wisdom dispensed: “Collisions are not accidents. An ‘accident’ implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone’s fault or negligence.”

Seems like once again gun owners could learn a thing or two from car owners. Especially gun owners here in America, where’s there’s been a spate of deaths last month at the hands of gun wielding children. First a six-year-old died at the hands of a four-year-old who obtained a gun from inside his home, then the wife of a sheriff’s deputy was shot in the head after another four-year-old found a loaded weapon at a family gathering.

Most recently a five-year-old shot and killed his two-year-old sister with a gun manufactured specifically for children that he’d received as a gift. Yes, you read that right:

“Cumberland County coroner Gary White . . . told the told the Lexington Herald-Leader the children’s mother was at home when the shooting occurred.

Mr White explained the gun was a gift the boy received last year and was made by Crickett, who market guns made for children.

‘It’s a Crickett. It’s a little rifle for a kid [that] the boy’s used to shoot the little girl.’

Mr White said the gun was kept in a corner, and the family did not realise a shell had been left in it.

He said the shooting will be ruled unintentional, adding: ‘Just one of those crazy accidents.’”

But no, it’s not just one of those “crazy accidents.” A child shooting someone is no accident. It, like a vehicular collision, happens because someone creates the conditions under which it can happen; they create the opportunity for a child to obtain and use a fire arm. Sometimes this happens purposefully, a well intentioned but mistaken adult hands a child a responsibility for which he or she simply isn’t ready. At other times this happens because the adults had a responsibility for which they simply weren’t ready, by which I mean to say they leave their loaded guns out in the open. In both instances you have a case of extreme negligence, and in the Cumberland County tragedy you have a combination of the two.

I routinely have arguments with my conservative friends in which they claim that what is needed is more training, and I think they’re right, people do need more training. But they should also be tested, like drivers. Why does gun ownership and operation carry with it less accountability than car ownership and operation? Perhaps it shouldn’t. Certainly accountability in the status quo isn’t rigorous enough.

Also, maybe we as a nation really do need to sit down with ourselves for minute and ask ourselves if it’s reasonable to expect our children to believe that guns aren’t toys when we constantly present them as toys. Water guns, laser tag, paint ball, and video games all create conditions in which guns are used as toys to entertain us. I don’t want those things to go away, they’re fun and countless people enjoy them regularly. But so long as we are going to use these simulations as all-ages-entertainment, perhaps Crickett shouldn’t manufacture real guns for kids

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Daily roundup – April 26

I began the day here on BaddiesBoogie with some extended thoughts regarding the future legacy of Barack Obama. The basic premise of the article, located here, is that the age old axiom is that power corrupts, and when power is exercised in secret, it corrupts further. President Obama has unfortunately proven that axiom right. People who exercise power inevitably abuse it when they can wield it in secret. They inevitably lie about what they do when they can act in the dark.

Elsewhere, I pondered the charge of using weapons of mass destruction given to the Boston Marathon jihadawannabe bomber and asked whether or not it was proper to label an AR-15 assault rifle as a weapon of mass destruction, since guns do way more damage to our society than pressure cooker bombs. Then, I shared a story – that’s probably true – out of South Carolina where a 4th grade science class has been taken over by creationist loons.

Your photo of the day featured a PSA out of Saudi Arabia that’s actually also the first ever Saudi Arabian female abuse ad to hit the public. Check in tomorrow for more goings on friends!

Publius

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Aren’t these ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ too?

Dzokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with a shit load of things that are very likely going to lead him straight to the death penatly. One of the more interesting charges is that of using a “weapon of mass destruction”. If you look up US criminal law regarding WMDs – on Wikipedia of course – it’s clear that the charge makes total sense. Especially with respect to terrorism.

…any “destructive device” defined as any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas – bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses

any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors

any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life…

So that would logically include a pressure-cooker bomb crafted by an Internet Islamic Jihadawannabe that killed 3 and injured many, many more. Not everything has to be about guns, but why oh why is a version of an AR-15, like the one used by Adam Lanza, that killed 28 human beings, not also classified as weapon of mass destruction? The difference between the amount of people killed by WMD’s and the number killed by guns is almost farcical. If a pressure cooker bomb that kills three people is responsible for “mass destruction”, why not a military weapon that can kill 28 and end in suicide? The AR-15 can be adapted to have a hundred bullets in a Beta C-Mag magazine. Stifle your laughter for a moment once you see this..err..suggestive <a href="http://“>picture.

Those huge bullet-packed balls and that rod of destruction would allow a terrorist to murder dozens more people and maim many more human beings than the amount that were killed and injured at the Marathon. But it’s not a weapon of mass destruction. No ladies and gentlemen, in fact it’s your constitutional right to own one.

Weird fucking country.

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Daily roundup – April 22

Today on BaddiesBoogie I started off with some thoughts regarding the actions of various politicos directly after the horrible tragedy in Boston, concentrating my efforts on some truly callous comments made on subjects ranging from immigration, Muslim Americans, and constitutional rights. Then, after regarding a piece by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian, I argued against his muddled distinction between presuming someone as innocent and forgoing actual knowledge of circumstances that lead to the suspect, in this case the Boston bomber, doing what he did.

Elsewhere on the blog I shared a rather interesting Washington Post Poll showing that the GOP isn’t merely regarded as out of touch by working class people and minorities, but actually mostly by the demographic they so quickly move to claim: highly educated affluent. Your “Photo of the Day” featured a remarkable aerial shot of One World Trade Center emerging from the clouds at night, and your daily “Laugh Break!” showcased a really hilarious commencement speech to Hampshire College by alternative comedian Eugene Mirman.

Ah, Monday is nearly over. See you all tomorrow!

Publius

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From throwing out the Constitution to targeting American citizens…here are the worst reactions to the Boston bombing.

As much as we’d like to believe that when a horrible national tragedy occurs, politicos would set aside the rhetoric and allow for healing, we just don’t live in that world. The sad truth is that the moment we learned of the reported Chechen heritage and Islamist background of the suspects, many prominent politicians and commentators took to the public to argue for their positions on everything from immigration reform to expanded government use of drones. Let’s take a look at some of the more callous reactions to the Boston bombing..

On immigration reform:

Not everyone on the right is behind the Rubio/GOP plan to appeal to Latino voters by pretending to care about immigration reform. Once we learned that the two suspects weren’t natural born Americans, some legislative leaders like Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued that one lesson to take away from this tragedy is that the immigration reform effort should be tailed back:

Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system. While we don’t yet know the immigration status of the people who have terrorized the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out, it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.

Firstly, as much as some of these critics would like you to believe they didn’t, both suspects came to this country legally. We may learn more information in the coming weeks regarding the supposed ‘loopholes’ the Senator references, but as of now, there’s no indication any loopholes were used. Further, reforming immigration would seemingly account for any loopholes, wouldn’t it?

At least the Senator attempts to argue from a sane point of view, unlike some of his contemporaries who decided to correlate immigrants to terrorists:

On targeting the American Muslim community

Invariably and unfortunately, the Muslim background of the two suspects was always going to become one of the more prevalent aspects to this whole thing. While we might debate about how to best combat our worsening Islamic relations, some, like Former Homeland Security chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), didn’t waste any time demanding that the Muslim community be targeted and scrutinized:

“Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” King told National Review. “we can’t be bound by political correctness. We need more police and more surveillance in the communities where the threat is coming from, whether it’s the Irish community with the Westies [an Irish-American gang in New York City], or the Italian community with the mafia, or the Muslim community with the Islamic terrorists.”

Basically, the argument is racial profiling all around. The hell with your Constitutional rights. Hey, hardworking Italian family over there, walking to Church, stop and get down on the ground, I want to ask you some questions about the Bonnano family.

On advocating forgetting that the Constitution exists

I’ll preface this part with some tweets from our star, Senator Lindsey Graham (R):

The South Carolina legislator, who is up for reelection in 2014 (here’s to hoping he loses), insisted that President Barack Obama ignore the Constitution and refuse to recognize the suspects’ rights if he is captured. Forget for a moment that the suspect is an American citizen, absolutely no links between the two brothers and international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda exist.
A fucking senator, sworn to uphold the US Constitution, insists that the government behave as though the Constitution is something we should use here and there, when it suits our purposes.

“[America] a battlefield because the terrorists think it is,” Graham said during an interview with Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. “It sure would be nice to have a drone up there.”

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There’s a good chance immigration reform is doomed now.

With this tweet, Ann Coulter has just set a new low.

Bryan J. Fisher, a conservative radio host who rails against the efforts of Senator Marco Rubio — one of the Gang of Eight Senators – tweeted the following in response to today’s news out of Boston:

This next one isn’t immigration related, but this guy is enough of a well known scum bag to earn a place here:

https://twitter.com/NateBell4AR/statuses/325238796079747072

Some critics of immigration reform are taking a more, shall we say sensible approach to their dissent. At the Washington Examiner, Conn Carroll, a Rubio critic and immigration reform skeptic, wrote that we still don’t know a good deal about the two brothers, adding that today’s planned Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the new immigration reform proposal should be delayed. “Today is not the day for an immigration hearing,” Carroll concluded.

How vociferously the right is going to be in connecting the Boston bombing suspects to the immigration debate is something that’s going to bear watching. As for the state of immigration in general, due to these events: it’s a gut punch.

The idea that immigrants are no more dangerous than natives is going to be an argument that falls on deaf ears after all of this, and it’s going to provide crazy conservatives with enough fear fueled rhetoric to ensure that a lot of the country strongly opposes it. In this country, strong appeals to emotions is one of the most effective strategies for garnering support – if you don’t believe me, argue about guns with a conservative and wait for the tyranny argument.

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Daily roundup – April 18

Today on BaddiesBoogie I kicked off the day with a developing story out of Washington that may mean a future intervention in the war torn state of Syria, then explained as best I could that the reason we don’t have a gun control bill is because we’re “represented” by a Senate that has become totally undemocratic and pernicious.

Elsewhere I featured the tragic story out of West Texas where a huge fertilizer plant explosion took the lives of several people and injured more than 160, then followed that with a lambasting critique of the New York Post, where apparently, journalistic integrity is as disregarded as responsibility.

Finally, needing a little repose from a day of negativity, I shared my favorite “Laugh Break!” so far, featuring a long improvisation by comedian Patton Oswalt, and ended with another installment of your “Photo of the Day”, this time of a beautiful cave hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey.

See you tomorrow!

Publius

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Daily roundup – April 17

Today on BaddiesBoogie I began with a cool story about the hacker group Anonymous taking over the Westboro facebook page in retaliation for the worst church in the history of the world (well…) promising to picket the funerals of those lost in the Boston Marathon bombing, then offered some thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s ridiculously high polling figures leading up to the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Elsewhere I lamented the end of the gun control debate on the hill, and provided an explanation to my readers about why the bill failed, and why Congress is so supremely fucked up. I needed a little repose, so our Photo of the Day featured some beautiful shots by German artist Florian Ritter, featuring the majestic Chinese countryside.

I ended the day with an in depth look into a new study by the NY Fed showing that the pernicious effects of our burden laden students in regards to student loans could be serious, for both the students and the future economy. The day came to a close with a “Laugh Break!” featuring hilarious comedy “Little Britain”.

More to come tomorrow!

Publius

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