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Mass shooting: an abstraction and an icon

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — the Aurora cinema shooting — a forensic view, and one through Mantegna’s eyes ]

Two ways to be chilled once again by the 2012 slaughter in the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

The forensic view comes courtesy of the Colorado DA‘s office:

aurora century 16 movie theater

Mantegna‘s image of St Sebastianone of three he painted — affords us a reminder of human suffering.


The film that was showing at the Aurora Century 16 that midnight was The Dark Knight Rises.

Not opposite — oblique, maybe orthogonal

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — Chattanooga — when a gun free zone is no longer gun free, aka words are not the deeds they describe ]

Two sides of the same Chattanooga coin?



We mostly understand that Juan Cole and Megyn Kelly represent opposite sides in the broad strokes liberal vs conservative divide, but on this occasion their two views are not necessarily opposed so much as oblique, maybe even orthogonal.

Cole’s point is about his desire to keep guns out of the hands of criminals / fanatics / terrorists, while Kelly is talking about her desire to allow trained military personnel to carry arms on duty.

But how easily we elide the nuance into simple opposition.

Veri-Fire announcement

Friday, March 20th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — the future of handgun safety? ]

Blog-friend James Skylar Gerrond announced today: “Veri-Fire will launch Guardian, our biometric trigger guard for handguns on 13 April.”

What is it?

Guardian is the revolutionary solution in responsibly securing your handgun against unauthorized or accidental use while maintaining unprecedented readiness.

I can barely imagine wanting a handgun — I’m one of those — but if I had one, I’d want it fitted with the Veri-fire Guardian.


Veri-fire locked:




and unlocked:



I wrote a while back about AE Van Vogt‘s science fiction work, The Weapon Shops of Isher, which introduced the concept of “guns that could only be used in defense and only for their owners” — and the Armatix iP1 pistol / watch combo. Sadly, that piece is one of those we lost in the hack last year. This time, the science fiction ref — provided by Brett Fujioka — is from Psycho-Pass.

Heavy breathing on the line: Uniform disbelief

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

[dots connected by Lynn C. Rees]



What did Lucius Aemilius Paullus know and when did he know it?

Once upon a time

During my first year’s encampment General Scott visited West Point, and reviewed the cadets. With his commanding figure, his quite colossal size and showy uniform, I thought him the finest specimen of manhood my eyes had ever beheld, and the most to be envied.

General Winfield Scott

I could never resemble him in appearance, but I believe I did have a presentiment for a moment that some day I should occupy his place on review—although I had no intention then of remaining in the army. My experience in a horse-trade ten years before, and the ridicule it caused me, were too fresh in my mind for me to communicate this presentiment to even my most intimate chum.


There was a Mr. Ralston living within a few miles of the village, who owned a colt which I very much wanted. My father had offered twenty dollars for it, but Ralston wanted twenty-five. I was so anxious to have the colt, that after the owner left, I begged to be allowed to take him at the price demanded. My father yielded, but said twenty dollars was all the horse was worth, and told me to offer that price; if it was not accepted I was to offer twenty-two and a half, and if that would not get him, to give the twenty-five.

I at once mounted a horse and went for the colt. When I got to Mr. Ralston’s house, I said to him: “Papa says I may offer you twenty dollars for the colt, but if you won’t take that, I am to offer twenty-two and a half, and if you won’t take that, to give you twenty-five.” 

It would not require a Connecticut man to guess the price finally agreed upon…

I could not have been over eight years old at the time. This transaction caused me great heart-burning. The story got out among the boys of the village, and it was a long time before I heard the last of it.

It was a setup.

Fireworks: guns as dual-purpose devices?

Friday, March 15th, 2013

[ by Charles Cameron — the merest trifle — concerning things that go flash and bang, with potentially lethal consequences ]

It’s exuberance, exhilaration, it’s celebration, it’s party time. It’s dangerous and stupid like the man says, and it’s unfortunate when your neighbors just happen to bear the brunt of it. It’s also pretty much human nature, in some places it’s how you celebrate your daughter’s wedding…

For your contemplative consideration:


here’s the video to which the tweet in the upper panel above refers:


The quote in the lower panel comes from a New York Times Magazine article today, Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?

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