Originally Published: July 8, 2007 8:08 p.m.
In the Western classic "Shane," Alan Ladd gets a tongue-lashing from Jean Arthur for giving her son, Brandon DeWilde, a shooting lesson.
She tells Ladd she doesn't want her son to have anything to do with guns.
"A gun," he retorts, "is only as good or bad as the man using it." That point seems lost on an Associated Press reporter who interviewed Mikhail Kaloshnikov, inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle on the 60th anniversary of its introduction.
The "AK" in the rifle's designation comes from "Avtomat Kaloshnikov," and the "47" represents the year of its inception.
The reporter premised his lead paragraph on asking the 87-year-old designer if he slept well knowing how many lives the more than 100 million units of the rifle manufactured had taken all over the world.
Kaloshnikov, who received his inspiration to create the weapon while facing superior Nazi weapons as a Russian soldier in World War II, must have seen "Shane." "I sleep well," he told the reporter. "It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence."
Age has given Kaloshnikov wisdom that eludes many.
Man is an imperfect creature. Some of his number always will seek to subjugate others. Those who don't want to submit will be happy to have a John Browning or Mikhail Kaloshnikov offering them tools of protection.