Russia hasn't been behaving itself lately, what with annexing
up troops on the eastern border with Ukraine, arming
and aiding Ukrainian rebels, playing
a role in the downing of Malaysian Flight M17, and, today, is even
firing artillary into the Ukraine from inside the Russian border to help
the rebellion. Putin is returning to the
glory days of headlong Communist expansionism. As
the most recent release of Time Magazine put it in their article "In Russia, Crime
Can the West stop a
figure who is determined to uphold the dreary habits of czars and Soviet
leaders while projecting Russian exceptionalism and power?
So far, the U.S. and other Western powers have responded only with
condemnation and economic sanctions.
I feel that any thinking individual with a shred of love of democracy
would approve of at least that much of a response. At this very moment, Russia is invading a sovereign,
democratic nation in an act of unprovoked warfare. If we are lovers of democracy and patriotic
to the needs of our country and our allies, wouldn't it make sense to support
the U.S. sanctions?
What are those sanctions from the U.S., exactly? From an
administration last week announced a new round of sanctions against
Russia that it says are intended to discourage Russia from continuing to
support rebel groups in eastern Ukraine. Companies blacklisted by the U.S. include Russian
banks, energy firms and eight weapons manufacturers -- including Kalashnikov
Concern, a maker of what is arguably the most popular weapon in the world, the
It makes sense, doesn't it? If Russia
wishes to act against our allies and our democratic ideals, we as a nation
shouldn't support Russia economically, and we should do what we can to stop them
from arming rebels, including small arms like AK rifles.
So what does the supposedly "patriotic" gun crowd do -- the
same men who quote (selected) portions of the Constitution and (selectively) pore
over the history of the Revolution and Founding Fathers? They whole-heartedly support sanctions
against Russia and Russian gun companies, right? Right???
Their love of guns supersedes any actual patriotic feelings. Take, for instance, when the inventor of the
AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov, died. Kalashnikov
confessed that he felt "spiritual pain" for having invented the
AK-47 -- the gun that has killed untold millions of people, including Americans
in every war and conflict we have fought since Korea, and ushered in with a
rain of bullets every Communist, jihadist, and anti-American insurgency since. The
AK-47 symbolizes everything that is the antithesis
of American democracy. Did the
pro-gun crowd cheer that this villain had died?
No, they mourned instead. A
sampling of their responses:
"Damn that sucks.
Father of the most famous assault rifle. RIP Mikhail!" (source)
"I just told my
AK about it. We had a good cry together. RIP to one of the greatest weapons
designers of the 20th century." (source)
"The world has lost
a true genius and a hero today." (source)
"Guess I'll fire a
21 gun salute from my own AK-47 variant." (source)
"Rest in Peace. The
master tinkerer's invention has probably done more to shape world events than
any ideology." (source)
"It was an honor to
live in the same century with him." (source)
This, despite the fact that it isn't uncommon for the AK-47 and other
AK variants to be used in crimes here in America. At the Kid Shootings blog, for instance, you can find 15 examples
where an AK-47 was used in a crime involving children, including their deaths,
and those are by no means inclusive.
So, flash forward to today. Despite the sanctions levied against Russia
for their warlike and anti-democratic behavior, and despite the wicked history
of the AK-47 on the battlefield as well as American streets, the gun is now
selling out on American gun store shelves.
And it's not just AK-47s, but other Russian guns as well. From a
Huffington Post article:
While there’s no hard data showing an uptick in Russian
gun sales, gun sellers around the country say they’re seeing big business in
AK-47s and other Russian firearms.
Blaine Bunting, president of Maryland gun distributor
Atlantic Firearms, said Tuesday that orders for their AK-47-style rifles and
shotguns have "tripled, if not quadrupled" since Obama announced the
"We have 15 employees here, and yesterday we
started at 7:30 in the morning and didn't leave until eight at night," he
said. After selling more than 400 Russian guns in just a couple days, Bunting
said, Atlantic Firearms is sold out.
Last week in Nampa, Idaho, the gun store Armageddon
Armory bought 60 Saiga semi-automatic shotguns, which are made by Kalashnikov.
They were gone in just a few days, according to the shop’s manager, David, who
refused to give his last name, citing store policy.
"We sold out of them instantly," he said.
Right now, Saiga shotguns cost $800 to $900, David said,
estimating they would double in price within six weeks because of Obama’s
Wow. So why are they selling so
many? As one
gun dealer put it after a surge in AK-47 sales in his store, "The
simple thing is, people want what they can't have."
And there you have it. It's not about having a gun for home defense,
and it's not about hunting (assault rifles are a
poor choice for either home defense or hunting, compared to other options). It's about panic-buying an item that the
gub'ment has told them not to buy. It's
the result of a deeply anti-authoritarian view, fostered in large part by the
perpetuation of the false refrain that the government is going to take away
everyone's guns. And it's about the very-male
fascination by low-brows of making things go "boom" for
"fun." You've got to have the
highest-quality gun for that, right? Again,
Huffington Post article, quoting a gun seller:
AK-47 is one of the highest quality AKs out there," said Ben, from North
Raleigh Guns. "It's been around forever. The ammo is affordable. Plus,
it's really fun to shoot."
Patriotism goes out the window when you have a need to fuel a gun
fetish for "fun." Panic buying
doesn't bring in new gun owners, generally, but merely appeals to those who are
already amassing arsenals of these deadly weapons. These aren't the run-of-the-mill gun owners
who have one or two guns for home defense or hunting. These are the extremist, insurrectionist
types, and we should all be fearful.
Remember, too, that modern guns are made with high enough quality that
they will likely outlive those who buy them.
Where, then, will they wind up?
Mikhail Kalashnikov said on his deathbed, "My spiritual pain is
unbearable" because of the gun he invented to "protect the Motherland." I wonder if any of the gun nuts who are
buying up Mikhail's weapons will one day feel the same guilt for bringing such
dangerous weapons into their homes and for betraying the needs of our country,
just so they can feel part of some anti-government "fun" trend?