Military Surplus

What’s Mine is Mine

Land mines are horrific devices. The term comes from tunnels (“mines”) dug under an opposing army into which sappers would lay charges. The tunnel would collapse, trapping the enemy soldiers in a big hole, then hot oil or other devious solutions of death would be poured in. The Chinese created triggered black powder land mines as early as the 13th century AD, and they found widespread use in Europe and Asia from the Middle Ages all the way up to today. In modern military tactics, land mines are used to either deny tactically advantageous land to an opposing force, or as a means of channeling an invading army into an area that gives the invadees an adavantage.

The problem is, not all the mines are exploded. In some places, such as Afghanistan or Cambodia, governments and revolutionaries would lay mines almost indiscriminately. The mines are indiscriminate, too, in who they kill, and they last much longer than the conflict in which they were laid. Today, land mines are to blame for around 20,000 deaths a year, according to the UN.

Hit the jump for a video of a man named Aki Ra, who is clearing mines in his home country of Cambodia with nothing more than a few tools and balls of tungsten carbide.
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