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February 29, 2008

Will I Get Miles With This Purchase?

"There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?"

The other night, I watched Future Weapons on the Discovery Channel HD. This episode featured a personal defense weapon, a Magpul Masada assault rifle, a Bushmaster MK 44 Automatic Cannon and my favorite, the Dillon Aero M134 Gatling Gun, which fires 3000 rounds a minute with, so the audience was told, unprecedented accuracy.

Watching the show, I had mixed feelings: I found myself torn between wanting the Masada assault rifle and getting the personal defense weapon. The host, an enthusiastic fellow named "Mack," made both of them seem very desirable. But I really like the Masada. First there's the name. Then there's the fact that the Masada can fire both standard NATO rounds and, with a quick and simple swap of parts, can also fire the 7.62x39 ammo (I have no idea what that really means) of the Автомат Калашникова образца 1947 года,

more commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It's the world's most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn't break, jam, or overheat. It'll shoot whether it's covered in mud or filled with sand. It's so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.

At the same time, the entire episode reminded me of Lord of War way too much. Listening to "Mack" go on about the weapons' destructive powers and capabilities was a bit too much like listening to Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) extol the virtues of his merchandise to tell potential buyers.

Speaking of potential buyers, I want the people we send into harm's way to have the best that our tax dollars can buy. (It would also help to have civilian leadership that goes to war with the army we need rather than the "one we have." But that's another story.)

But I can't but suspect that other people will plenty of money but far less honorable intentions will also get their hands on some of this stuff. I had visions of the MK 44 destroying apartment buildings in Beirut and the M134 opening fire on crowds of civilians in places like Darfur.

  So, I decided to get a bigger television, instead.

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