Why Mikhail Kalashnikov Regrets Inventing The AK-47

As a species, humans stand out for our ability to predict future outcomes of present actions. It's one of the evolutionary traits that has helped us thrive. But sometimes we get so caught up chasing one desired goal that we flagrantly ignore the negative possible outcomes of our actions, even when in hindsight they should have been glaringly obvious. For example, weapons and warfare expert Kamran Loghman regretted inventing pepper spray after he saw police spray nonviolent protestors with it during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations of 2011. And, of course, J. Robert Oppenheimer regretted having led the effort to create the world's first atomic bomb after seeing what his invention did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weapons appear to be a product that get humans really excited, and Loghman and Oppenheimer are by no means the only weapons inventors to have felt remorse for the killing tools they brought into existence. Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, also felt a deep sense of compunction after seeing what had been done with his creation.

Mikhail Kalashnikov was worried about what the AK-47 would do to his soul

By the end of his life, Kalashnikov was scared he would face divine judgement due to all the killing carried out the world over in his name (literally: AK-47 stands for "Kalashnikov's Automatic," and1947, the year he created it). According to NPR, he penned a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2012, the year before his death, in which he expressed worry over where his eternal soul would end up when he died.

"My spiritual pain is unbearable," he wrote. "I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle claimed peoples lives, then can it be that I... a Christian and an Orthodox believer, was to blame for their deaths?"

It would have definitely been a hard sell to claim otherwise at the pearly gates, considering the guy put his name on his extremely and obviously deadly device. Kalashnikov continued: "The longer I live, the more this question drills itself into my brain and the more I wonder why the Lord allowed man to have the devilish desires of envy, greed and aggression."

We humans do indeed suffer those "devilish desires," but we also enjoy intellectual faculties that tell us that guns are obviously made for killing. Seems like an obvious outcome of such an invention. There's no word on what those in the afterlife thought, but many here on Earth surely do consider Kalashnikov to blame for the countless deaths by AK-47.