Mines Essay, Research Paper
Anti-Personnel landmines have been used in many wars even though the users and makers know how horrible they are, and what they do to people that are innocent, and more so, know what they do to children. Unlike the eye of a soldier, a landmine cannot differentiate between a civilian and a soldier. Landmines have destroyed the lives of many people who had nothing to do with the reason that they were planted.
An anti-personnel landmine does not stop killing people once the war or conflict that they were made for has ended. As a matter of fact, they can kill more than fifty years after they have been planted, and they do. In the 1980s, there was a study conducted. That study let us know that there were people killed or crippled every year in Poland from land mines planted in the 1940s, during World War II. This study also revealed to us another gruesome fact. Eighty percent of the people that were killed or crippled were children. These children were not even alive at the time the landmines were planted, and some had never even heard of the war in which they were planted. This is still happening in Poland today. However, there were more landmines planted per square mile in the Vietnam Conflict than there were in World War II.
Why is it so hard to remove these deadly mechanisms? First of all, any person attempting to remove a landmine is in great danger already. If they do not see a mine they can easily be blown up. If they do see the mine they can easily be blown up by not taking the proper procedure in removing it. This fact makes the cost of removing landmines incredibly expensive. To be exact they cost up to US$1000 each. The cost to make and plant a land mine, however, can be as little as US$3 per mine.
Contrary to popular opinion, most land mines do not kill just one person. Mines like the mine used most during the Vietnam Conflict, the “Claymore” mine, can kill tens of people at once. These indiscriminate murderers were introduced to the world in the year 1960, by none other than the United States. The Claymore mine is set off when someone trips a wire, or steps on a trigger. The mine then shoots more than 700 steel balls in the direction set by the people that planted the mine. This class of mine can kill up to 50 meters, and mutilate up to 100 meters. Though the Claymore mine can kill, that is not the main intention of it. Once a person is shot, depending on where of course, it is most likely that person will not come back to battle, therefore there is not a need to kill, but only wound. Also, it takes much more time, effort and money to hospitalize a person, instead of just letting him/her die. This happening will take the enemy down in many areas, (money, time, et cetera ) instead of only losing a person. With x-rays, and other medical technology, however, it was taking little time to take out the steel bullets from the bodies. This mine was modernized by having a plastic that is invisible to x-rays and other modern equipment, used for the maiming balls.
Speaking of other kinds of landmines used in warfare, one of the worst is the “Butterfly” mine. The mine was named by it’s butterfly like appearance, and when looked at by a child, or even an adult, seems to be a toy. This mine however, is nothing like a toy. The “wings” are used to allow the mine to “float” down from high distances without exploding on contact with the ground. The mine is commonly dropped, usually on an open field or valley like area, from a helicopter. Though the Butterfly mine rarely kills, it can easily blow off the foot, or leg of a grown man. These mines are the mines that hurt children most often. “One of the “wings” of the mine contains liquid explosives. When pressure is applied, the explosive is forced into contact with the fuse and the mine detonates.” Many people have stepped on mines like these, and most are civilians. A 17 year old male civilian who stepped on a butterfly mine quoted “I didn’t know what a landmine was. On the way home from a friend’s birthday party, we came upon a broken bridge. Near the bridge were some tubes. My friends went through the tubes and I went over the bridge, then I was blown up.”
The last type of mine that I will be covering, though it is far from the last of the mines there are, is the “bounding” mine. This mine is not made to maim but to kill. It leaps into the air when triggered, where it then explodes into more than 1,000 metal, bullet like pieces. Since it leaps into the air it explodes into the person who triggered it’s face. The bounding mine is lethal to a distance a little more than 25 meters.
All together there are more than 340 types of anti-personnel land mines have been created. Approximately US$200 million worth of money is spent on making landmines per year. So who are the wicked countries creating these and selling them. The main countries that export them are China, Russia, Italy, and once again, none other than the United States.
However, the world does not have only mines. Mine scattering systems that scatter tens, to even hundreds of landmines from air to ground, or from ground to ground, automatically. In a single year alone, the United States of America with the aid from no other countries, has spent over US$250 million on making and exporting landmine scattering systems. Is this what we want our taxes spent on? Killing machines.
So what can we as children do to prevent these disgusting contraptions from being made and sold in the United States. You can contact your representatives and your senators to support certain bills. Tell senators to support S. 896 and Representatives to support H.R. 2459. You can also call the White House Hotline and tell them what you think.