It seems like through out History, man has always tried to out do his opponents. You could call each attempt to do so a small “Arms Race”, even though we think of them in terms of Nations trying to out gun each other with Nuclear Weapons or other things that the common Joe can’t afford.
If you think about it, the first arms race probably started when some one picked up a rock and bounced it off the noggin of his buddy that must have annoyed him enough that he thought it necessary to emphasize a point. His buddy, wiping the trickle of blood off of his skull, thought to one up him and simply picked up a bigger rock. Thus started the first arms race…where it seems that bigger is always better and faster stuff hurts more than slow stuff thrown at you.
Guys being guys, it may have even started with the kids with Little Johnny throwing a rock in the creek and making a splash. It was a good splash and a delight to see. Next thing you know, Cousin Jim throws in a bigger rock and produces a bigger splash. Not to be outdone, Brother Bill grabs even a bigger rock and trys to empty the whole creek with it, splashing Little Johnny who started the whole thing. Johnny, being the competitive type that hates to lose at anything, looks around, find an old log laying around, drags it to the creek, flips it on end and drops it in there, splashing all three of them and even the dog asleep on the bank that just wanted to take a nap.
We tend to think of the Arms Race as a recent thing but really it is not.
Here are a couple of pictures of guns that go back a pretty good ways. These are two examples of more has got to be better and in the case of things that shoot at you, when someone wants you dead, it might even be the difference of you standing over your opponent looking down into his coffin at the visitation, or him standing over you looking at you for the last time.
Here’s a picture of a gun known as “The Mona Lisa”. Best as I can tell, it’s a 20 shot black powder percussion pistol. Since we know that more is better, it had to be better than the 6 shot guns that most common folks owned at the time.
That must be why Mona Lisa has that funky little smile in her portrait. She probably had this thing in her lap when she was sitting there posing for her picture.
Well, someone must have seen the 20 shot, and thought ” I could do better than that” and they set out to build something better in the shop behind their house, where they often went when the Missus was barking some type of order at them.
Here is a picture of that gun…
That would be 8 cylinders of 6 shots each, for a total of 48 shots. While it may appear to be hard to conceal, back in the day when everyone got around on horseback, it was common to strap a holster with your favorite gun on the saddle. This may have even served as one of the first “riot” guns, when you needed something to disperse unruly mobs, or maybe even the KKK when they showed up in your yard burning a cross.
I can imagine the conversation that came from such guns. I’ve even had them myself with various friends. They go something like this..
“Yo Dude….check this out!”
“It’s a 20 shot .44 caliber pistol. The latest state of the art gun, cuttin edge of technology”
Me… “Hmmmm…not bad, not bad at all.”
Him…”What do you mean “not bad”? Thats the baddest pistol ever made”
Me…”Well, its OK for yesterday’s technology.”
Him…”Yesterdays technology? Are you CRAZY”?
So now I’ve set the hook, my buddy with the cool gun is thinking “what the heck”? Knowing me and some of the antics I pull occasionally has him totally off guard and he is all of a sudden unsure of himself. He unconsciously strokes his little goatee while he gives me the quizzical dog look. He’s thinking of a snappy comeback, but he doesnt want to be one upped again, so he is putting much thought into his next reply.
At last, he blurts out… “Well I suppose you have something better”?
At last, the response I have been waiting for… I’ve got him, I’ve taken the shot from full court at the last second and scored. It’s all good and once again, I have won todays arms race.
Me…” as a matter of fact, I do have something that you may be interested in. Would you like to see it”? Of course, me being the gentleman that I am, it is only proper to ask.
Knowing full well that he would like to see what is so much better than this gun, and also knowing that if he doesnt see it,he will never get a good night of sleep again, because that’s the way gun nuts are and that is why some people think they are crazy, because rather than get a good nights sleep, they ponder on such things and stay tired all the time, keeping the glassy-eyed look with the unkempt hair which really does resemble some people who stay at the loony farm.
Him…”of course I want to see it. Show me what could possibly be better than my 20 shot superwhamodyne pistol”.
So, I carefully lift the flap off of my holster and I whip out my 48 shot handgun. Being the great friend that I am, I hand it to him, knowing that he will examine every detail of it.Also, me being a stickler for safety, I remind him that it is loaded and to watch where you point that thing.
I see the wonder in his eyes as he fondles it. “Of course it’s loaded” he says. ” What good would it be if it weren’t”?
Like old buddies will do, we discuss every aspect of the handgun and even talk about the advantages and disadvantages of such, because that’s what friends do.
It is understood between both of us, without even saying, that I won this arms race.
I have to wonder, though, how many times this same scenario has been done, is being done now and will be done? It would seem that these little arms races will never cease as long as us Humans walk the Earth…and maybe even beyond.
Two Hundred and eleven years from now, the conversation repeats itself on board the Star Ship Enterprise, about 300 light years away.
Ensign 1…”Dude…check this out..it the one of the latest versions of the hand-held laser pistol! I can disintegrate a rock with this thing!”Its a 20 Nano watt version built by Motorolla.
Ensign 2… “Man, that thing aint dick high. I’ve got the more powerful version that only gets issued to Klingons that are in Security. I won it in a poker game and its the 40 Nano watt version..your stuff aint even in the same league”.
And thus it continues…