Cradle’s Story

With a lingering pain in his chest, Cradle walked down the moist sidewalk, next to the bus stop, scarcely trying to recall what his life had been like, long ago. A cigarette in his mouth, he knew he was to die, however he never quite expected that it would be like such. The streets were dark and void of anything, or anyone. It wasn’t quite the same as it was when he was alive, however, his only contentment was that in this life, death was not to come again, and that whatever he did here didn’t deteriorate his body. If he’d shot himself, he wouldn’t misplace his life, it’d be right there where he left it, in his body. At least that’s what he could expect, after attempting to poison himself futilely.

“Son of a bitch.” He said with a slight musical atonement that would relate words to actions unintended. He dropped the cigarette from his mouth as he flung the creature off his shoulder. It was a centipede, a small one, red and brown, and it left a lingering double-dotted bite mark on his neck. To think that God or whoever was the creator of this damned place would think of a less nuisance infested world. Checking his pocket, for the hard cardboard pack of his endeared vice, he found no refuge in the embers of burning tobacco.

“Motherfucker.” He said, rubbing the sore wound that would never fester into a malicious disease, recalling how his antiquated body was like, long ago. Immersed in the thought, he recalled his dying mother, ill to the bone with a barrage of incurable diseases thanks to her line of work. He recalled his father, who had died on his 19’th birthday, quite some years ago. He recalled his two sisters, who had moved on with life, slowly decaying as time passed by; as they lived their lives without him. His wife was pregnant, and such was the case during his past life. Averting his trail of thought from the dismembered memories of what once was, he returned to his current, and yet similarly distorted life.

“Asshole.” He mentioned to the creator, who was clearly nowhere near him, or so he thought. If there ever was a creator, and they’d met, he would probably have attempted a homicide. The next pack of cigarettes would be at the convenience store uphill, and it would be a ten minute walk over. Checking his watch, he noticed that he still had 15 minutes before the store closed. Undisclosed to his line of sight, there was an old man, around mid 80’s, with a long gray beard that draped over his chest, wrung tightly against the man’s suit. A large gut hung from the man’s centre, which made the man’s breathing more incandescent as it moved, shifting shadow and mass. The man had quite the formal look with a tie bulging from beneath the dark double-breasted coat he wore. It was fairly unnoticeable until:

“One want?” Said the man, startling Cradle. Cradle winced over in shock.

“Want what?” Cradle replied, tossing the empty pack towards the filthy sidewalk, encompassed with litter.

“A cigarette.” The man said, offering an open soft pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Thunder rumbled in the distance and lightning cackled its worst. The man was sitting on a dilapidated bench in the bus stop, a paper bag next to him with what surely contained a bottle of some oddly branded liquor. The cigarette pack claimed that it was detrimental to one’s health, and a physically dangerous substance. The irony of tobacco, its enemies, and its users. It never ceased to let a smile drip from Cradle’s face, and this time was no exception.

“Sure.” He said taking one from the pack. Why wait when he could satisfy his cravings now?

“Thanks. I needed one.” He added, lighting the stick.

“Sit, sonny. Listen.” The man offered. Seeing as he wasn’t going to do anything quite productive, although that didn’t perturb him, for the rest of his miserable second chance at life, he sat down. Luckily he died with just over 3 billion dollars in his hand, and it remained with him through the afterlife, if this was the afterlife.

“Alright.” He said, sitting down, next to the old man. The old man took a swig from the bottle in the paper bag, and released a self satisfying sigh that seemed to echo down the streets. Haunting in a way, although he knew that nobody was hurt here, a chill rose against his spine, the tingling sensation reminding him of his former life. Quite close, however, nothing here was ever quite the same. Everything was extensively bland, to the point of being hackneyed, but at least there was some little taste left.

“What’s a nice night like you doing on a guy like this?” The old man drunkenly asked, turning to Cradle with such familiar green eyes.

“Well, I don’t know about the night, but I’m pretty sure I was walking home when you offered me this.” He replied, holding out the cigarette.

“Heh. Well, nobody doing knows what they’re here anymore. Even I don’t… Anyway, the name’s Earl. A meeting you pleasure.”

“An equal pleasure to meet you. Are you drunk, or do you just have some grammar issues?”

“Well, since ever I blew my head from the brain, I’ve funny been talkin’ like this.”

“I see. Tough, huh?”

“Yep… That’s why hires nobody me. I’ve tried. I’m it sick of.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Well, here’s life been good pretty, actually. I donation get others from. Day it through gets help.”

“Sucks, huh?”

“Yep.”

“So, what was it you wanted to tell me?”

“Oh, nothing that. It’s lonely just lately I’ve been, and I share to something you with wanted.”

“Mhmm, and what would that be?” Cradle said, taking another puff from the cigarette.

“Well, foggy seeing as its how, or vision my blurry is, I talk to wanted you. See you, its doing difficult this, nobody because talks with to want me… I be used to a speaker public. One day, decided I enough I’ve had. Went on shot I myself and. See I how react people to me. Understand do me they, but hard it’s them for. So talking I do don’t much, nowadays.”

“I can see how that would trouble you. Misery loves company, and I guess I’m here to revel in your story, huh?” Cradle said.

“Wanted no, I just say to something someone die before I.”

“You’re gonna die? Now?”

“No.”

“Oh, okay. Well, you can’t get much dead-er than this.”

“Yep. You how bout’? Story a have me for?”

“You know, I gave up my entire life for my dream. Chased it, and I was forced to do something I guess I could say I’m proud of, even though that would classify me as somewhat troubled mentally. I took chances, did everything the books and people told me to. I sat when they said so, jumped when they told me, and still, all my dreams were flushed down the toilet. I made a company, and my partners turned on me as soon as the recession came about. I was forced to steal from them. Hell, I stole almost everything. It was good, at least, when the cops finally found me, I caused a big shootout, killing some bystanders, and a few cops as well. That’s when it turned to shit; some punk-ass SWAT sniper took me out from across the street. Worst feeling ever, being shot. Anyway, I didn’t die then. I was still alive, although my arm was nearly blown off by that son of a bitch. I realized I didn’t want an eternity in prison, so I just ended up shooting myself with my own gun, right in the heart.”

“Head at shoot least didn’t you your.”

“Yeah. Those sons of bitches. My mother was dying, my father was dead, and I was also pretty much an undead asshole, walking with a beat, not knowing what was going on with the rest of my only family, my two sisters. Heh, I guess you win some, you lose some, life’s a joke, and I’ll be damned if anyone can prove that otherwise.”

“Yep. Strike the name’s. Are you?”

“Cradle. That’s what they called me. I always cradled almost every possession I had when I was a kid and the name kinda stuck. What’s with strike?”

“Bowling.”

“Ahh… I see. Nice to know, Strike.”

“Advice piece one I’ve you for got. Again it don’t do, sure for that’s. Life’s here better, so waste don’t chances your. You’re have that money lucky to. It do good with. Worth it’s not do to again that. Trust me. Worth this its time it.”

“See, anyway, around you.” Strike added as he stood up and began walking away. Cradle checked his watch; it was 20 minutes too late for buying another pack. Fractious about the scenario, he cursed again under his breath. Strike disappeared, and Cradle noticed a stick left on the bench. Picking it up, and contemplating on whether or not the creator was actually half bad, he read a small penned inscription on the stick. It read:

‘Good luck, Cradle. Be better.’

“Yeah, right, Strike.” He whispered under his breath, lighting it up. Walking in the opposite direction now, he headed over to the other convenience store that was open 24 hours. Although it was farther, his need wasn’t quite fusty just yet. Cradling the lighter in his hands, he continued walking down the road, pondering on whether or not his gun which was back at his apartment was still loaded.

(c) Anachronic Works 2012

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THE CLASSICS AT HOME: EFFICIENCY OF THE M4/M16 AGAINST THAT OF THE AK-47 IN THE PHILIPPINE SETTING (PART 2)

War is Normal:

Another question that many people ask when it comes to this topic is “Why do we have to have wars?” or “Why do wars even exist?” maybe even “What is the purpose of war?” Many people have questioned the value of war, and why it exists within the human system. The answer to that is simple; “WAR IS NORMAL.” As a great philosopher Heraclitus once said;
“War is the father of all,”

War has been around since the dawn of time and it is in human nature to be in constant conflict, be it with his surroundings, with others similar to him, or even himself. It has shaped the thought and ideas of many thinkers, dating back to Aristotle, Kant, Darwin, Marx, and all the way to Freud based on “A Terrible Love of War” by James Hillman (2004).

All throughout history, what have been recorded, other than the times of war? There may be some cases wherein history focused on the “better” things in life, such as music, arts, literature, events, achievements, and etc but, where do history books focus on? Where do the history professors focus on, when it comes to learning about one’s country, and its origins? Majority of them point directly towards warfare, and human conflict. Here are some examples of these history books and other references in our literature that war is very normal; Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ (A Revered Classical Play), Sun Tsu’s ‘The Art of War’ (A Novel), William Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ (A Poem), and Miguel Hernandez’ ‘Viento Del Pueblo’ (A Poem). As a species that needs knowledge, and has a very iron-hard clasp on the need to find a reason why things work, humans have learned via trial and error. Normally, this process leads to conflict among results or even among the process of achieving the results, often times the idea of what the results may be. After all, “To err is but human.” Take the U.S.A. for example; they have joined in almost every major conflict the world has been in; i.e. World War 1, World War 2, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, The Gulf War, and The Iraq War. Aside from armament being one of their main products (As you can see, warfare is very normal, so much in fact, that it has become a business), warfare is no big surprise to anyone who has observed history books intently and ultimately seen the pattern.

Flash backward to the Vietnam War, this, being the closest major conflict reference that involved terrain, similar to that of the Philippines. This was the “only war America lost” and it was lost at the hands of untrained North Vietnamese guerrilla ‘soldiers’ armed with AK-47s. America at that time already had the technological advantage with their Napalm bombs, the Helicopter, the M16, M79 grenade launchers, and .60 calibre portable machine guns (Hogg [1984] & Myatt [1987]). Although the knowledge of the terrain played a big factor, the American technologies were supposed to be capable of overcoming this, especially since they also had the help of the South Vietnamese. However, America had still lost that war, though statistically, they had gained since the South Vietnamese were armed with M16’s, and who else was there to supply that weapon to them, but the Americans.

Flash forward to modern times. Majority of the world uses the M4 and several other forces use variants of the weapon, and its family. Majority of the world has at least a city with roads and the Philippines is quickly filling up with cities. If there were a war, it would likely be staged within the cities. Ranges of up to 300 metres would be lowered. The idea is to mimic the Russians back during World War 2, seeing as how ranges would be close; the immediate accuracy would be a little less important than the firepower. As Clint Smith says in his review (Guns Magazine July 2004);
“… [D]ealing with these behind-cover-bad-guys often calls for a gun with a bit more punch than the .223 provides.”

Here he mentions the M4, a .223 calibre carbine and the limitations of its capabilities. Since, in these modern times, majority of the wars are either held in city outskirts and cities themselves, when the target is behind cover, or is hiding behind a certain structure, the .223 cartridge would not be enough to eliminate it. Therefore, if we were to use a firearm of a higher calibre, though functions in similar ways with the M4, having automatic fire, and being shorter than the average rifle, it would be better. Such is the functionality of the AK-47. Although the M14 uses a similarly sized cartridge, the rate of fire would be the limitations. Being only semi-automatic, the M14 would not prove to be an ideal weapon in close range combat. It would be of better use at distance shooting. Sub-machine guns on the other hand use pistol cartridges, which are even weaker than that of the .223 of the M4 carbine. The only alternative would be to use a larger calibre, such as the LWRC PSD, which uses a 6.8mm cartridge, and has the exact same functionality as that of the M4. Aside from that, the LWRC PSD also retains the shape of the M4 granting the user a common feel for the gun, since the current standard issues for a lot of countries is still the M4. Though the prices may be steep, the firearm is likely to be worth the packing punch in the common modern combat scenarios (Based on Discovery Channel’s Future Weapons). Although this (PSD) is a possible firearm that may be used, not many rifles, including this one, can compete with the overall low priced, great efficiency of the AK-47.

* This was a paper I made for school. Please be kind.
** This work spans 25 pages, and could be published as a book, so please again, don’t plagiarize.
*** Enjoy!

THE CLASSICS AT HOME: EFFICIENCY OF THE M4/M16 AGAINST THAT OF THE AK-47 IN THE PHILIPPINE SETTING (PART 1)

Thesis Statement: The current standard issue firearm of the Philippines, the M4, should be replaced by a more suitable firearm, such as the AK-47 because of its capabilities when it comes to use and the country’s terrain.

The Naming of Parts:

The foremost question of this topic is basically; “What is a gun?” Many so called ‘experts’ claim that the firearm is simply an evolved form of a crossbow. Granted that it is a weapon that has a similar way of use and a similar way of eliminating the opponent or striking a certain target, the mechanics of how a firearm works is completely different. With the crossbow, the simple kinetic energy released by the ‘bow’ part of the weapon, which includes the string, and the bow itself, is the force that projects the propellant, which, in this case is an arrow. The arrow then glides a certain distance at a certain speed, depending on the length of the bow and the force with which is pulled, which directly affects the outcome. In the case of the crossbow, the force with which the bow is pulled is at a constant distance, therefore eliminating the variable of the pull of the force, leaving the length of the bow as the main variable that influences the arrows distance and speed. The bow, also, however remains constant as it doesn’t change in its standard length. With the firearm, the way the machine works is very different. The firearm, as defined by Ian Hogg (1984) in his book ‘Guns and How They Work’ is as follows;

“A gun consists basically of a tube closed at one end, inside which an explosion takes place in order to eject a missile. The tube is called the barrel; the down the middle of the barrel is the bore, the closed end the breech end, and the open end the muzzle. The missile discharged by the gun is broadly called a projectile, though in small arms-which are weapons whose bore is less than 15mm in diameter, the projectile is usually called the bullet. The bullet is ejected from the gun by the explosion of a propelling charge, which may be of gunpowder or smokeless powder, and the complete combination of all the requisites to fire one charge from the gun-bullet, propelling charge and means of ignition-are collectively referred to as a cartridge or round. If the cartridge is inserted into the gun from the muzzle end, then the gun is a muzzle loader, while if it is possible to open the breech in some way and insert the cartridge from that and, then the gun is a breech-loader.”

A firearm is, in simple terms, basically a half-closed tube wherein the combustion of gunpowder (placed inside the tube at the closed end) provides an explosion, whose force propels a projectile (placed in through the open end tube after placing the gunpowder) towards a specific target.

The next question usually asked would be “Where did the idea of the firearm or the firearm itself come from?” There is no specific answer as to where or even when the firearm, or as known by most people, ‘gun’ originated. Common people who have an idea about firearms would say that it was crated somewhere around the 1700’s, or if not the 1600’s. This of course, is a fallacy since multiple records have dated the concept and the very first firearms roughly around the fourteenth century. An article by Walter de Millimete called “De Officiis Regnum” for young King Edward III, sent in 1325, referred to an image of a firearm and its description. The image was labelled as a pot-de-fer, which translates into “iron pot” from French, and “pot” or “vase” in Italian. Simple enough, it functions as a firearm does, with the gunpowder placed inside at the closed end, followed by the projectile. Although the description was not entirely the part focused on, this is claimed to be a universally accepted source. This, (particularly the image) proves the existence of such devices of weaponry within the medieval period, thus making the claims of its birth in the 1700’s a false one. However, de Millimete was not credited for the invention of the gun.

The invention of the firearm, though, would not be possible without first coming across the invention of gunpowder. Claims have read that the invention of gunpowder originated somewhere in China or in the Middle East. The invention of gunpowder, also known as “The Devil’s Invention”, however, could be dated back to the early times, although its specific creators could not be determined. Same goes for the firearm and its inventor. Though, sources from the early thirteenth century, specifically Roger Bacon in his work Opus Teritus (also known as Opus Teritum) (Frankfort [1603]), suggest that gunpowder had originated somewhere during his time. A specific quotation from the work was translated into English and is read as follows:

“From the flaming and flashing of certain ingenious mixtures and the terror inspired by their nose, wonderful consequences ensue which no one can guard against or endure. As a simple example may be mentioned the noise and flame generated by the powder, known in divers places, composed of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur. When a quantity of this powder, no bigger than a man’s finger, be wrapped up in a piece of parchment and ignited, it explodes with a blinding flash and a stunning noise…”

There is almost no doubt that the description is that of gunpowder. Along with this, Bacon also mentioned a formula, encoded in the form of an anagram, and when translated and read straight reads;

“But of saltpetre take 7 parts, 5 of young hazel twig and 5 of sulphur, and so thou wilt call up thunder and destruction if thou know the art.”

Using Bacon’s formula, the early composition of gunpowder was relatively inefficient. Gunpowder nowadays uses a different formula, compared to that stated above. The product of which is now known as “Serpentine” instead of the average term gunpowder. Using this table, we may be able to see the difference.

Bacon’s Formula (Serpentine): 41.2% Saltpetre
29.4% Charcoal
29.4% Sulphur

Today’s Formula (Gunpowder): 75% Saltpetre
15% Charcoal
10% Sulphur

With this new formula, the projectiles have been able to reach their full potential. In modern times, ammunition is no longer made by hand, but rather manufactured by machines, making the distribution of each ingredient more precise.

The modern day bullet compresses the gunpowder along with the projectile for a more efficient way of loading the firearm, a more efficient way of distributing the produce in large amounts, an efficient way of stabilizing the consistency of each bullet, and an efficient way of using the firearm. With the modern day style of bullet, came the first breech-loaders. Although the idea of placing the projectile along with the gunpowder to achieve very beneficial results was pretty old, the first few successful breech-loader firearms that used this style of ammunition came in the nineteenth century. Similar to the evolution of the firearm and gunpowder, this mechanism style has evolved through time and is now currently used, though in a more complex versions, by almost practically any firearm.

Such is the mechanism of both the M4 and the AK-47.

Eugene Stoner, the designer of the AR10 (Which is now modified and called the M16/M4), designed the rifle to be a light-weight alternative to the standard 7.62x5mm calibre rifles that were issued to the military. An example of such a weapon is the M14 (Modern version known as the M21) rifle; a semi-automatic rifle using a 7.62mm cartridge that was issued and is still in use by some military today (i.e. Philippines & U.S.A.). The M14 had a wooden frame and stock which made it relatively heavy, and it grew even heavier as the metal parts were installed. The firearm’s weight, with a full magazine (20 rounds) was 11.0 pounds. It was a rotating bolt, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, shoulder fired weapon.

The AR10 on the other hand, was a radical, new design during its time. It used plastics and aircraft aluminium for its frame which made it more than a pound lighter than the M14, and it was basically designed to be a “sturdier” and “maintenance free” weapon, while keeping the same standard calibre. The plastic parts did not splinter unlike the wood and neither did it warp. It was not favoured during its first few releases because there was too much carbon build up in the barrel which led to corrosion, and the use of “ball” gunpowder which the gun couldn’t really take. These technical difficulties came around during the early years of the Vietnam War. The known solution at the time was heavy maintenance and constant cleaning. This problem was solved, though, with the right gun powder, using chrome plated chambers to protect it and using the right lubricants, though the constant maintenance cleaning remained required. The magazines and receivers were made out of aluminium which was relatively weak. So, to compensate for this they gave it a hard coat anodizing which made the frame noticeably more durable. The AR10 was designed to be user friendly, thus there exists a safety switch, wherein the trigger could not be pulled accidentally. The magazine release and the cocking handle are also easily found and used.

With this, the military liked the overall aspects of the gun. They wanted a new version of this in fully automatic and in a lighter calibre which would make it easier to handle by the armed forces. They wanted this because they found out that most kills during previews wars were in close range; somewhere within 300 meters. They also found out in their research that the side that fired more rounds usually won the battle, thus their request for a fully automatic feature. Since the calibre of the gun would now be smaller, the average soldier could carry more ammunition than before.

While the SKS and the AK-47 were made in the 7.62 mm calibre, the AR15 was designed in the 5.66 mm calibre (Aka. the “.223 Remington”) as per the request of the military. The US air force took it in as their standard assault rifle and in the later years so did the other branches of the US military. It was later on dubbed as the M16, but to this day, not all AR15s are considered M16s. This was now the standard service rifle that replaced the M1 Carbine and M1 Garand of World War 2, and the M14 (M21).

Around the world, today, the AR15 design is being used and employed by many other nations, some made by Colt, FN, H&K, Bushmaster, and etc. Colt kept the trademarked AR15 name, originally given to it by ArmaLite, when they began selling the semi-automatic version of the rifle to local law enforcement and civilians. AR15 stands for the “Ar” in ArmaLite (model) 15. Many companies use a slight variation on the term on their actual rifles to set them apart yet keep the general idea. Examples of these are Bushmaster as the XM15, Rock River Arms as the LAR-15, Stag as the Stag-15, H&K as the H&K416/ another is the XM8 (which has a slightly different structure similar to that of their G36 Series), Fabrique Nationale as the FN SCAR (also having a slightly different structure), and etc, but they are still usually referred to as AR15’s by the general public. Although the vast majority of the AR15 tend to be chambered in 5.56 mm NATO, many other (Customized) versions of the AR15 are capable of using different calibres, such as: .22 in LR, 9mm, .204 in Ruger, 5.45×39 mm, .223 in Remington, 6.5 in. Grendel, 6.8 mm SPC, 7.62×39 mm, .450 in (Commonly known as the “Forty-Five”) Bushmaster, .458 in (AKA, the “Forty-Five”) SOCOM, .50 in Beowulf, .50 in BMG, and the original 7.62×59 mm.

The design of the AK-47 however, during its time, was quickly embraced, since it was simply a modified version of the German MP44 sub-machine gun, used during World War 2. Authors Hogg (1984) & Myatt (1987) claim that the Russians have been more efficient with the use of automatic weapons, especially since majority of the army were simply untrained for combat.

“The Russians understood the value of sheer volume of fire, particularly if it could be produced from simple weapons by not very highly trained troops, and in World War 2 they had armed whole battalions with sub- machine guns. These however suffered from serious limitations in range, but the Russians quickly saw that this disadvantage could be offset by the use of an assault rifle instead.”

Says Myatt (1987). Thus was the birth of the AK-47. Firearm designer Lieutenant General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (Russian: Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников, Mihail Timofeevič Kalašnikov) (born November 10, 1919) designed the AK-47 as he was lying in a hospital, due to bullet injury after the battle of Bryansk. He then submitted his design as an entry to a gun designing contest. The firearms were to take the 7.62×39 mm cartridge that was just manufactured, and was claimed to not jam, even under different weather systems and terrain. The “Mikhtim” became Mikhail’s winning entry and was later modified to the AK-47 in 1947. (AK-47 is the acronym for Mikhail’s “Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947 Model”) Two years later, the firearm had become the Soviet Union’s standard issue firearm. Also user friendly, the AK-47 has a selector switch that allows the user to place the firearm on safe, this also is cleverly positioned to serve as a dust cover at the same time. The AK-47 has a generally high rate of fire, which allowed the Russians to use the technique they needed without the need for much training for the soldiers.

The AK-47 today is said to be the most widely known firearm all over the world. Used in majority of the communist countries, the AK-47 has become a major symbol for communism worldwide.

* This was a paper I made for school. Please be kind.
** This work spans 25 pages, and could be published as a book, so please again, don’t plagiarize.
*** Enjoy!

(c) Anachronic Works 2011