In response to my recent post, everyone focused on combat uses of explosives. While that is an important use, it is relatively uncommon. Just as firearms are used for recreation, hunting and other non-defensive uses far, far more often than for self-defense or war, so are explosives are more often used for construction, field clearing and other peaceful purposes. Yey, just as it may be hard for a gunless people to imagine a peaceful gun culture, it is hard for us — long denied access to most explosives and means of controlling them — to imagine their positive uses.
Those uses are all around me as I drive on most Tennessee roads: the vertical hashes in the rock faces on both sides of many roadways are where gelignite or something similar was placed into pre-drilled holes and exploded to remove obstructions to travel. ANFO is still popular for removing tree stumps and boulders from fields. Detcord is used for falling trees quickly and safely by those who have access to it.
Explosives of various kinds are heat engines. They convert rapid exothermic reactions into kinetic or brisant action. Safe ways of working with them have been worked out ages ago, and yet we have multiple generations of people world-wide who have no access to these useful tool and often no idea of their utility. Because all these would-be common peaceful uses are denied, explosives get the stigma of the association with terrorism and war, same as guns do in disarmed societies. With good people denied these tools, only bad actors get the publicity and the problem becomes self-reinforcing.