I’d like to have a Kalashnikov lawnmower


For me, Mikhail Kalashnikov is one of those “You mean he was still alive?” people. I had not known he was still among us. But he was, until today, when he died at 94.

It’s ironic that he survived so long, since his invention was the cause of the premature deaths of untold thousands around the world.

Mikhail Kalashnikov/www.kremlin.ru

Mikhail Kalashnikov/www.kremlin.ru

His AK-47 (and its variants) was made to supply soldiers of the Red Army with a reliable modern rifle, but it became the weapon of choice of “national armies, terrorists, drug gangs, bank robbers, revolutionaries and jihadists,” as the WashPost put it.

Kalashnikov was a former Red Army sergeant with little technical training, who ended up leading the effort to create a rifle that met the requirements of a weapon that was cheap to produce, easy to maintain and operate, and reliable. He was wildly successful.

He produced an automatic weapon that took next to no maintenance, and would work under the most demanding conditions. There are stories of Kalashnikovs found buried in mud under rice paddies in Vietnam that still fired.

The AK enabled almost anyone to put a tremendous amount of lead (30 rounds to a magazine) on a target in a big hurry. And by anyone, I mean anyone — it’s the ideal weapon for child soldiers in Africa because it takes relatively little upper body strength to use.

And so we have the paradox of Mikhail Kalashnikov — hardly anyone in the past century has produced a product of any kind that performed as well as his rifle, and was so universally sought-after and used.

But hardly anyone has been the cause of more death.

He noted the paradox of tremendous achievement vs. tremendous harm himself:

“I’m proud of my invention, but I’m sad that it is used by terrorists,” he said on a visit to Germany, adding: “I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work – for example a lawnmower.”…

If he had, I definitely would have wanted one of those lawnmowers. It would have started immediately every time, run on very little gas, and you’d only have to clean the filters once a year. And it would have lasted a lifetime.

9 thoughts on “I’d like to have a Kalashnikov lawnmower

  1. Bryan Caskey

    Brad, I award ten points to Gryffindor for your gun post.

    The AK has a certain ugliness to it that is endearing after awhile, kind of like the Glock. One of the best quotes I heard about it was from a guy who had fled Burma for his pro-democracy beliefs. When he got to a US military unit, they asked him his thoughts on the AK-47 vs. their AR (a/k/a the M-16).:

    “AK 47 BIG muzzle flash, not as accurate….M16 littler muzzle flash, more accurate, but if you drop in the mud it’s no good anymore.. ..the AK 47 you drop in the mud you pick it up and you go on fighting”.

    Pretty much sums it up.

    As for Mr. Kalashnikov, it sounds like he could probably relate to Alfred Nobel.

  2. Juan Caruso

    Luke 2:14v (KJV)

    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

    DISCLAIMER: If this verse has offended any of you, and you honestly believe you deserve some apology,
    I urge you, in recognizition of the timing of Kalashnikov’s passing, to give peace-loving Americans your best reason for our apology during a cultural holiday celebrated by billions of people around the world.

    Before doing so, however, you may wish to the legacy of your superior auihority (by name, and by date).


      1. Bart

        I am constantly amazed at the liberal, Democrat, and progressive obsession with Fox News and how they resort to naming “Faux News” when they reply to anything resembling Juan Caruso’s remarks. If Fox News actually had the power to influence the nation the way the critics want to persuade everyone to believe, then Washington would be dominated by far right wing extremists and the nation would still be in the dark ages. Slavery would still be practiced, women would be barefoot and pregnant and couldn’t vote, everyone would be forced to attend church on Sunday, and every civil liberty known to Americans would be subject to far right wing interpretation and selective enforcement.

        I don’t watch Fox or any of the other news media, I garner my news from the internet, the local news paper and numerous other sources. Maybe I should take time to watch Fox News and see for myself who these purveyors of false and misleading information really are. If they are anything like the “unbiased” gang over at MSNBC (which I have actually watched), it should make for great fiction entertainment.

  3. JesseS

    I’m probably wrong, but I can’t help but to sum it up this way: In war Napoleon made people interchangeable, Eli Whitney made parts interchangeable, and Kalashnikov made nations interchangeable.

  4. General-Major Saiga Molot, a spokesman for the Russian army

    Comrade Kalashnikov will be buried in a pit of mud with full military honors. After a week, we will exhume his body, clean it off, and put him back to work. We expect that there shall be no issue with his functions.


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