For the GEEK in you

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

'Small' Arms

The always interesting Tim Newman here.

It's a great point he makes, that so-called small arms like AK-47s are in fact to blame for much of the death in the world today. Watch Lord Of War, when Nicholas Cage's corrupt arms dealer lovingly caresses an AK, pontificating on its durability, ease of use and plentiful supply of ammunition in virtually any conflict zone in the modern world. It is these guns which fuel the modern conflict, these guns which find themselves in the arms of children and wartime rapists and psychopaths.

You give a man a gun, you give him a means to defend himself. You also give him a one shot solution to the slightest grievance. And while he may agonise over taking that first life, the second one doesn't hurt so much. Even less so the third. By which time, the gun has become an applicance, like a toaster. Once someone's moral compass is broken, it can't be fixed, can't be patched up with duct tape.

But of course, those lives don't matter, because they are being snuffed out in faraway Africa. While American 'smart bombs' grab all the headlines, it's not like they can be deployed by any Tom, Dick or Harry, so they can be in effect only utilized properly in nation-to-nation conflicts. They can cause untold suffering in a single instant, but they atomize their targets. Meanwhile, that Russian or chinese made AK just keeps plugging away, reliable, safe, and convenient, being passed from the hands of one dead owner to another, good as gold.

But those lives don't matter. The only ones that do are of people who look like us. And african children, minds irreparably warped, tiny fingers clinging to their hand guns and AKs, simply don't look as photogenic as those loads of adorable lebanese children lying lifeless amid the rubble. You want to pick up those lifeless bundles, caress their dusty hair and scream impotent epithets against the heartless fiends that snuffed them out.

Those Africans kids, though, now they're a bit scary, innit? Those eyes don't exactly scream give me a hug, the torn clothes make them look awfully low class. And where are their parents?! Why aren't they around to show them what they are doing is wrong, to take them home and fatten them up a bit?

Nah. That conflict's a bit old hat, innit? We sent money for all those Aid thingies, so surely they must have sorted it out now. It's not like someone would make the same mistake twice and keep selling guns to Africans, would they?


Blogger Fizza said...

The label of the '21st century' is used for probably every marketing campaign you can imagine. It's flaunted as if people who died years ago are alive and would compete with us or something. Leaving my meaningless rambling aside, I wonder what progress this world has made - really - when the value of human life keeps declining?

8:53 AM  
Blogger marwan said...

Has the value of human life really declined? In the aftermath of WWI, plague and disease killed millions of people, probably more than the war did.

The difference today is that those deaths are reported and counted, tabulated in someone's notebook somewhere. And that they're in our face everyday, staring us down, threatening to snuff out all hope and light.

9:49 AM  

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