Human civilization is about fire. Creating fire is what separates us from the animals; extinguishing it without urinating on it, according to Sigmund Freud, marked the starting point for the most fundamental societies. It is also, at its core, a force of destruction — and, therefore, a weapon of war.

Anyway.

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Less than six months after he announced plans to release a civilian flamethrower on the commercial market, Elon Musk has actually delivered: At least 1,000 happy campers picked up their very own Boring Company flamethrowers on June 9th at the parking lot of Musk's SpaceX headquarters outside Los Angeles.

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Ever since billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled his slick new commercial flamethrower for the low, low price of $500, Americans have been scrambling to stake their claim to the incendiary gadget. By Feb. 1, Musk’s Boring Company announced it had sold a whopping 20,000 flamethrowers. "When the zombie apocalypse happens, you'll be glad you bought a flamethrower," Musk joked on Twitter. "Works against hordes of the undead or your money back!"

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Photo: The Boring Company

Billionaire brainiac Elon Musk has a pretty grim view of the future. If climate change doesn’t destroy human civilization, artificial intelligence will. That’s why he’s on a mission to get people off this planet and up into outer space as fast as possible.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. David Bessey

No weapon wielded by combat troops during the global conflicts of the 20th century so viscerally embodied the brutality of total war than the flamethrower. Though an infrequent guest in military arsenals dating back to the ancient Greeks, the first modern-man immolation cannon appeared in hands of German soldiers as the Flammenwerferapparaten during World War I. German troops debuted the weapon in 1915 during a clash with Allied forces near Malancourt, France, during the Battle of Verdun, during which British military leaders reportedly labeled the flamethrower “an inhuman projection of the German scientific mind” — a sinister, sadistic tool of wanton destruction.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alex A. Quiles

To Hershel “Woody" Williams, the Medal of Honor he wears around his neck does not belong to him. It's not because he isn't worthy of it, he undoubtedly is. For Williams, the medal belongs to the men who never made it home.

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