I have been reading Roberto Saviano's brilliant book, Gomorrah, about the brutal mafia clans in an around Naples, Italy, and I haven't been able to stop myself from taking down copious notes. Here's an excerpt about why the author thinks the AK-47 is the absolute icon of free enterprise and its price a measure of human rights violations:
“Nothing in the world – organic or synthetic, metal or chemical – has produced more deaths than the AK-47. It has killed more than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more than HIV, more than the bubonic plague, more than malaria, more than all the attacks by Islamic fundamentalists, more than the total of all the earthquakes that have shaken the globe... AK-47s have been used by armies in conflicts in more than fifty countries over the last thirty years... It has been the prop for every role: liberator, oppressor, soldier, terrorist, robber and the special forces who guard presidents. Kalashnikov's highly efficient weapon has evolved over the years: eighteen variants and twenty-two new models, all from the original design. It is the true symbol of free enterprise. The absolute icon..."
“To calculate the state of human rights, the analysts consider the price of an AK-47. The less it costs, the more human rights violations there are, an indication that civil rights are gangrening and the social structure is falling to pieces. In western Africa, an AK-47 can cost as little as $50. And in Yemen, it is possible to find second- or thirdhand weapons for as low as six dollars..."
“The arms question is kept in the bounds of the economy, sealed in the pancreas of silence.”