Amongst other things, I’m reading The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture by Pamela Haag, that I stumbled across in the Queen Anne branch of the Seattle Public Library. (A quick cheers for the humble public library.)
I wrote this quote down, not because it’s particularly relevant to what I’m researching, but owing to what I do, and really, who I am, it was very ‘sticky’.
P7: “Here, on the cusp of its demise, gunsmithing entered a golden age of craftsmanship. Gunmaking was similar to the high-end crafts of silversmithing and goldsmithing, clock-making and pewter works.”
That cusp was brought about by the opening of US government small arms manufacturers at Harpers Ferry and Springfield Armory (not to be confused with the much later Springfield Armory, Inc.), in the late 1700’s, which soon brought with it machine production/mass production of weapons for the US military. And as with most of the industrial revolution, mass production of small arms and ammunition spelled the end for the individual gunsmith. It’s interesting, especially in a series exploring the horrific outcomes of gun use, to think of guns before mass production and commoditization. When guns were hand made (and not always that well) for individuals, and parts were not interchangeable, making repairs as idiosyncratic as the weapons themselves.
Which, strangely, reminds me of this Beretta ad from a few years back that looks like a short film (actually, that’s how it was marketed.) I remember thinking at the time that they were really pushing hard on the craft angle to create desire for this object. I found, and still find, parts of it quite discomfiting, because of its blatant appeal to my craft/artistic sensibilities – it’s seductively produced, and the weapon is being made with great craft ability, and seemingly, great care. That said, seeing it again now only just outside of the time period in which it was produced, there are several parts that would be laugh-inducing – if not for the actual object being so carefully stage-managed through it’s “production”.
/ / / Back to the purpose of this post, and for the gun-spotters, incidents 38 – 42 netted no new guns being entered into my drawing archive today.
Tyler Matthew Balais (25) was shot with a hand gun by girlfriend Kassandra Lorrenne Imbert (22) around 12:40am on the 1st.
The pair had been drinking at a local downtown bar New Year’s Eve when they got into a fight. At one point Balais had locked Imbert out of their home at 617 High St. She later got in and was taking down Christmas decorations when he went upstairs and pulled out a pistol, threatening to kill himself, according to testimony. He and Imbert wrestled with the gun and it went off, shooting him in the head.
The bullet was found lodged in the ceiling, according to Imbert’s defense attorney, Mark Costello.
It was not the first time Balais had threatened suicide. In almost the same circumstances, he had been fighting with a former girlfriend and they had wrestled over the same gun. It went off, but no one was injured, Costello said.
In September Imbert eventually pled no contest to negligently causing his death and received a sentence of five years probation. As to reports, it was a handgun – and we’re up default Pistol 1.
Christian Rosales (21), was shot when leaving a New Years party with friends around 2am. From KSBW8:
A man approached them asking for change for a $20. When the group said they didn’t have change, the man aimed a gun and replied, “Well that’s too bad homies cause you gotta give me everything you got,” Torres said his brother recalled. “He was pointing the gun at everyone.”
Rosales attempted to overpower the gunman to protect his friends, Torres said.
Rosales was shot once in the stomach, and died at the scene. The gunman fled.
“His courage saved my brother. He’s a hero,” Torres said.
Salinas police Cmdr. Stan Cooper said no suspects have been identified in the killing, and no arrests were made. Cooper said some witnesses have come forward.
Alonzo Cortez (22) was hit by celebratory fire at about 12:15am on New Years Day. He was taken off life support at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital on Monday at 5:11pm. Officers investigating at the scene noted many people firing as well as fireworks going off well into the morning. Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Chris Robinson said “We have no idea where it came from or what caliber.” This is our second accidental death after celebratory fire.
We’re back to Default Pistol one.
There is really little known about the next double murder, other than that father and son were shot within minutes of one another outside their dwelling, and that neighbours didn’t react as quickly to the gunfire as they might have because they were used to hearing gunshots on New Years. Lavar Edwards, 39 and Dejuan Davis, 21 were shot at about 4am, soon after which Edwards was seen running back towards his home, bleeding profusely. Both died from their wounds. DP 2
Another one from the Archive with precious little detail. The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from Anacoco made around 7pm on New Years Day. They discovered Calvin Stubbs, aged 30, and Norma Ross, aged 48, both dead, who witnesses told them were shot by Derrick Ross (36), Norma’s nephew. Derrick was later found dead near the property, from what the Coroner’s Office determined was a self-inflicted gun shot wound. DP1