Gatling himself thought his gun would make war more humane. In fact, he once said “It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine – a gun – which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished. “ In short, Gatling believed that the Gatling Gun would save lives.
The long-term impact of this, however, was increased bloodshed on the battlefield. For example, in World War I, millions of injuries and deaths were connected to machine gun fire. In one battle alone, the Battle of the Somme, there were 60,000 deaths on the first day of battle, mainly because of machine guns. What is sadly ironic is that similar to Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, Gatling invented something with one goal in mind, only to find that, over time, the opposite