DYING MAN'S GUILT

Kalashnikov Felt Blame for Deaths

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the famed designer of the AK-47 who died last month at 94, reportedly wrote a letter to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church before he died saying his "spiritual pain is unbearable" and wondering whether he "was to blame for their deaths?" The AK-47 has sold an estimated 100 million rifles, largely due to its simplicity and reliability, and has had a role in countless bloody conflicts. Perhaps even more shocking however was the church's response, saying that, "The Church has a very definite position: when weapons serve to protect the Fatherland, the Church supports both its creators and the soldiers who use it." For decades, Kalashnikov refused to accept any responsibility for the carnage wrought by his weapon.