With all the changes taking place in our culture, I thought I would give you my perspective of where it started. Much to my surprise, I realized that even in the 1950s (before I suspected things started to change) I was subtly being fed misinformation.
To help prove my point, let me submit for your consideration the following proposition. The AR platform — the ‘modern sporting rifle’ (MSR) or whatever you chose to call it — embodies the entire history of mankind and all of man’s energy, ingenuity, and inventiveness was focused on its creation. Furthermore, had it not been for man’s focus on developing the ‘modern battle rifle,’ none of man’s other accomplishments would have been realized. We would have remained in the Stone Age.
Everything we have, everything we have achieved, is in fact due to man’s pursuit of the ultimate weapon. The ultimate weapon — at this moment in history — is the modern battle rifle. Now that’s a really bold statement but allow me to explain.
In this article, I will provide you with some proof of that claim and present some examples of how ‘what we were taught’ was changed with the specific intent of negating the most influential achievement in our history. I will start by addressing one of the first, and possibly the most, egregious piece of anti-gun revisionist history that I’ve encountered. It attempts to erase the importance of weapons and their importance to our development.
I am sure most of you, at least those over 50, have heard the name Christopher Columbus. It was in 1492 that he set off on his epic voyage. Today, it is taught that he was a mass murderer of indigenous primitives regardless of where he encountered them. Those of my generation heard a different story. I will work from that version.
Recall if you can, what your teacher told you was the reason that Ferdinand and Isabelle invested so much of their precious venture capital on a crazy Italian guy, with a cockamamie theory that the world was round. He brashly stated, “He boldly went where no man had gone before.” You see how firearms indirectly influenced Star Trek.
Okay, that might be a stretch. Let’s get back to Chris and his bold statement. If he sailed off in the opposite direction of the Orient, he could find a shorter route to India and the Orient. Remember what our teachers told us was the reason for all these shenanigans?
Silk and spices were what we were told…. You must ask yourself, “Why on earth (round or flat) would Ferdinand and Isabelle spend so much of their precious venture capital for silk to make pajamas and Saffron to sprinkle on their Paella? The answer, of course, is that they would not have, and we were lied to. Was it because our young delicate ears needed to be hidden from the truth? Or, were they just preparing us for a future of lies, control, and manipulation (like the 1619 Project…)? Again, I digress.
The real reason Ferdinand and Isabelle financed Columbus’ hair-brained scheme was for (wait for it…) Potassium Nitrate! Also known as Saltpeter and the main ingredient of gunpowder. It was India that had the largest naturally occurring deposits of Potassium Nitrate in the world and, Spain had been at war with France and England. Potassium Nitrate was the unobtanium of their time. Whomever had an unending source was the superpower of the day.
Well, what do you know? Some might challenge me to provide proof of my preposterous claim, but I cannot. The reason I cannot is because it was never documented. Why? Because it was TOP SECRET and unlike today’s leakers, back then traitors paid with a “lop it offa me” that’s a medical term for head loss.
Now that we have that straightened out (Get it? Direct route i.e., straightened out — LOL) the search for the shorter route fostered astronomy, cartography, geography, and navigation. Who said the pursuit of weapons was not the primary motivator of knowledge, technology, science, and in fact, everything? Hang on, I’ll show you examples of how art and literature were influenced, not to mention men’s fashion if space permits. Are you starting to see why they need to diminish the significance of all things related to weapons and firearms?
If you want, I can convey the importance of India more thoroughly in the future. However, for now, try to recall how important it eventually became to England and the balance of power in Europe. The British East India Company, the Raj, and all that sort of thing. Say what? Sticky wicket old chap!
All of this was because of Potassium Nitrate. Additionally, the resources to manufacture firearms, powder, and shot continued to influence borders, foster diplomacy, negotiation, and wars which shaped the world into what we know it as today. Of course, they didn’t tell us that. Have I won you over yet?
Also consider that around 1500 the improvements occurring in metallurgy allowed for iron gun barrels to be made that were capable of firing more powerful charges. And yes, the improvements were about gun barrels not skillets. Are you starting to see how even cooking benefited from firearms though? Even Emeril got his signature BAM! from guns.
I realize that I have spent more words than necessary to get this far, but please understand that I have only touched upon a miniscule amount of the developments and the influence of those developments. In that regard, it is interesting to note one such development, that of the early matchlock, which was a weapon technology that stayed alive for a very long time.
The troops of the Ottoman Empire were using those early weapons in the mid 1400s. By 1526, they were introduced into India by the invasion of the Moghuls. In 1543, a Portuguese vessel was wrecked off Tane Ashima island in Japan and some of its crew showed the local Shogun their matchlock weapons, which the Japanese were very quick to clone and use for their own local wars.
Well into the 19th century, matchlock weapons were still being used in India, China, and Japan. There were even some records of rebels using matchlocks in East Timor in 2006. In a society that needs new cell phones every 2 years, the Matchlock technology had one helluva run.
Although it was revolutionary, the disadvantages of the “Match Lock” were many and a more reliable source of ignition was sought to overcome them. Remember, it was difficult to impossible to use in wet weather because of the problems of the powder in the pan getting damp and the ignition ember going out in heavy rains. It was also quite dangerous to have large quantities of gunpowder laying around with open flames. When large groups of soldiers were loading their weapons there was always a chance that the open flame from one person’s matchlock could set off another person’s supply of powder.
Obviously, I am not providing you with every example of how mankind benefited from the advancements the pursuit of weapons provided, but some are so noteworthy as to defy exclusion. The next example of the importance of firearms promoting state of the art technology was provided by a man that many believe displayed a brilliant mind and it wasn’t Sheldon Cooper! (That’s a reference to a TV character for those of you that don’t watch TV.)
What would be state of the art technology in 1794? Well, who remembers what rocked, or more appropriately shook the world? Before you answer, here is a hint: Get ready for more revisionary history. What did our teachers tell us that Eli Whitney was famous for? I’ll bet you think it was the Cotton Gin. Although Eli did in fact invent the Cotton Gin as a mechanical means to separate cotton fibers from their seeds which was very important to the economy of the Antebellum South.
Eli’s much more important contribution came from the company he established in 1798. It was at E. Whitney’s Improved Firearms in New Haven, Connecticut that he utilized and refined the use of interchangeable parts in the production of arms that laid the foundation of the production line and launched America as the leader of the Industrial Revolution.
All this writing has started me thinking — always a dangerous thing — and the expression, “You Son of a Gun” popped into my head. Over the years, I know that I have used it and have heard it used. However, curiously, I have not heard the expression used for some time and that piqued my curiosity. I am sure some of you are familiar with one of the most popular legends concerning the expression. That being… It has its origin in a Royal Navy directive that pregnant women aboard smaller naval vessels give birth in the space between the broadside guns to keep the gangways and crew decks clear.
By the expression you might think that military men didn’t appear to have daughters. I like to think that they had a more sensitive ear for the melodic. “You daughter of a gun,” just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? There are other explanations, but disputed etymology aside, I was wondering, what if I wanted to use that expression today? Would anyone under 40 even understand it?
They would probably find problems with it, Hmm! Maybe if I said something like, “you non gender specific projectile offspring of a birthing assault person!” Just doesn’t sound right to me. I guess I’m a sucker for alliteration and well-cadenced rhymes.