Kalashnikov’s Death: The Two Feelings

So news yesterday was that Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the ubiquitous AK-47 had died at the age of 94.

Just as a background story on Kalashnikov, he was born in 1919 and joined the Red Army in 1938 where using his engineering skills he worked on enhancing the Russian army’s weaponry.

In 1941 after getting injured he then came up with the idea of an assault rifle. Then the “Avtomat Kalashnikova” was created and by 1947 it was almost perfect.

AK-47 Assault Rifle // Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947
The rifle that liberated the world but also left it confusedbrian.ch / Foter.com / CC BY

It was simple in the way that it could be assembled by anyone and could handle the toughest weather without being jammed. The aim wasn’t great but what’s the point of having a great gun like the US M-16 if the weather jams it right?

Soon the weapon became  a weapon of choice of guerrilla movements fighting for liberation, something that saw he weapon being enshrined in the flag of M0zambique. It allowed soldiers fighting for freedom to be able to defend themselves. For that, many African countries can thank him.

However, this was a weapon that made it cheap to kill. It easily landed into the hands of warlords who every so often used it for tyranny than anything else.

Kalashnikov often said:

I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work – for example a lawnmower.

It would appear that being associated with a principal instrument of death gave him mixed feelings. While he would have been proud of creating something of that sort as a scientist, as a human being, its purpose irked him.

And that is the two feelings we have when it comes Kalashnikov. Some of the liberties we have are because of what he enabled liberation war heroes to do. On the other hand, the death, oh death…  that is something that leaves more than a perfunctory sour taste in your mouth.

With information from Zee News