A day late, but better late than… a double serving of gun deaths next Monday.
Please excuse me my tardiness, Alexa ate my homework… OK, now I’m lying on top of being late – as if I’d trust a robot to do my data mining. I was actually enjoying some sun in LA over the weekend with Turbo, to celebrate a few anniversaries – one of which I mentioned last week – and catching up with Kaoru Rogers, fellow jeweller and (serial) immigrant.
But now it’s back down the data mine.
Aaron Patrick Presley (the 37 year old is also reported as being called Patrick Presley,) was killed just before 5am in a tavern in Milwaukee. Tiron J. Grant (31) allegedly shot Presley after Presley confronted him when he said hello and grabbed the hand of a woman in the bar, who turned out to be Presley’s fiancée. I could find no further details about progress in the case against Grant beyond charges and the preliminary hearing date – January 13th 2017. The only mention of the weapon was that a revolver, and the suspect’s clothes, were hidden by the suspect in alleyway garbage bins near the tavern.
I’ve drawn one revolver so far, the Ruger Single Six .22 from incident #15, as a .22 caliber was specified in the reporting that I unearthed. I had a hunch that there was a more common revolver, so after a quick dig, I give you the Smith & Wesson Model 10. Why this weapon? Well, on Wikipedia’s list of most produced firearms it sits at the top of revolvers with 6 million units sold. This makes it the biggest selling revolver ever (at least on that list), though given that it’s been in continuous production since 1899, the Model 10 has had over 100 years to climb to that spot – which on that chart makes for a slow build rather than a meteoric rise (but then confirming sales data for 100 years is somewhat of a tall order). By comparison, the already featured Glock 17 is listed just below the Model 10 with a low estimate of production of 6 million and a high of 10 million. It has only been in production since 1982, so that in itself is an indication of the rapid increase in the global gun population.
It’s also interesting to note that it is “previously known as the Smith & Wesson .38 Hand Ejector Model of 1899, the Smith & Wesson Military & Police or the Smith & Wesson Victory Model.” Thanks Wikipedia.
I’ve already drawn a weapon that is known as the Smith & Wesson Military & Police, which you might recall is a pistol. It’s nice to know that Smith & Wesson like to keep their branding current while getting to add a certain old-school, or perhaps I should say, time honoured, vibe, thanks to some cleverly manufactured “continuity.”
There’s a non-hilarious anecdote to open the proceedings, before we get back to the horror at hand.
When I wrote about Sir Bob Geldof a few weeks back, I forgot to insert my infinitesimal anecdote. My family were celebrating the 21st birthday of the youngest of my siblings a few years back at an ever-popular riverside restaurant in my home town of Perth…
Quick aside: about a week or so back, on finding out that I came from the western-most Australian capital city, my Lyft driver said, “Most isolated city in the world!” It’s the achingly familiar catch-cry of residents and visitors alike, to which I’m not sure that I actually hold because there are plenty of other contenders, like Auckland, or Honolulu, or others that you can google. BTW, Lyft-er had been to my home town, and proceeded to tell me about happy times spent at The Court Hotel and Connections. As my fellow Perthlings can attest, they knew how to have a good time!
…Anyway, sitting outdoors at fancy restaurant surrounded by large family-of-origin and their spouses, and who walks in to also sit on the balcony, but the aforementioned knighted gentleman! “WTF is he doing in Perth?” was on the lips of the collected Cameron party. Til someone remembered that it was St Patrick’s Day. In our defense, we were all focused on other celebrations – the birthday dinner had been slightly delayed to coincide with Turbo and I coming to town in time for the impending nuptials of a couple also seated at that table. March is a big month for me and my people 😉
St Patrick’s Day is also the anniversary of my move to the US, which happened in 2012. Yup, six years this Saturday. A little while back I realised that I’ve practiced here longer than I have – in either of my careers – within Australia. Explains a few things..
Well, that was an unusually gentle introduction. Now the guns.
We start this week in Cobb County, Georgia, where a Canton resident, Chad Erik Roberts (35) was killed by two officers of the Woodstock Police Department, Matt Davis and William Vincent. Roberts had first contact with the police at 10:09pm on the 31st of December, when he was stopped in a parking lot next to a gas station. From the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News:
“The driver of the vehicle initially spoke to the officer but then fled in his vehicle, striking the officer,” Rich said. “Officers with the Canton Police Department pursued the vehicle into the Woodstock area.”
Woodstock Police and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office deputies joined in on the chase and a tire deflation device was used to disable Roberts’ vehicle, which came to a stop in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 near the Wade Green Road exit, investigators said.
“The driver exited the vehicle and presented a gun during contact with law enforcement,” Rich said. “Two officers with the Woodstock Police Department fired their weapons during the incident. The driver sustained gunshot wounds and died as a result of his injuries.”
Later in the same article, it states that, “The Canton officer who was hit by the man’s car was transported to a local hospital, treated and released, Canton Police Chief Mark Mitchell said.” while the two officers who shot Roberts were put on administrative leave pending an investigation.
With initial contact between the police and Rogers around 10pm – where he apparently ran over the foot of an officer as he departed – my thought was to double-check that this shooting was not misfiled as a January 1 event. But it turns out that at 2am, around four hours later, the shooting took place on the blocked-off interstate highway, once the victim/”driver exited the vehicle and presented a gun during contact with law enforcement.” (From the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.) If you think it sounds odd, you’re not alone, and it being an officer-involved crime has given it a bit of extra attention.
I was unable to find out anything about the guns of any of the people involved. The Woodstock Police Department falls in Cherokee County, GA, and after much research I found out that they carry the Glock 23. It’s not the best reference, but the neighbouring Cobb County PD publish in their policy documents that they use a Glock 22, so this choice has a bit of weight behind it. Georgia’s law enforcement seem to have a lot of Glocks in their register, and they probably belong to a huge swathe of the rest of the population due to Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” laws, (Al Jazeera) as well as a couple of cities who have managed to make owning guns mandatory. (I am not linking to that data.) The 23 is meant to have the same dimensions as the Glock 19, excepting weight, to account for the slightly bigger round you can fire in the 23. And the 19 is a slightly scaled-down version of the 17, which is the first officer-fired gun that I drew in this series.
So here’s my second Glock, but the first drawing of a Glock 23. There’s two, one each for Davis and Vincent, the officers who fired on Rogers.
Lewis was on a bicycle and had a prolonged – 11 minute – encounter during which he fired his weapon (the officers did not feel threatened at this point so continued with other negotiation methods) and refused to speak with the officers. Only when he pointed the weapon at the officers from a distance of about 10 feet, did three of them open fire at Lewis. Officers Joshua Brown, Daniel Carlson and Brandon Gonzales have been placed on leave pending an investigation.
By contrast with the first incident this week, the guns that officers in the Springfield Police Department carry were easy to find in their Standard Operating Guidelines. The Department Issued Handgun is a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun. There are a lot of Glocks that take a 9mm cartridge, so I’m going to go with the one I used for the Chicago PD earlier, the Glock 17. Three of them, because of the three police who fired at Lewis.
Missed our initial afternoon tea? Well you’re in luck, it’s Tea II – Electric Boogaloo
You might remember the invitation to Plate Glass, the enamel exhibition I recently curated, from a few weeks back. Well this is an invitation to the closing party. Yes, Sally at Fancy and I enjoyed our first Afternoon Tea so much that we’re doing it again!
Join us for closing shenanigans at Fancy;
1914 2nd Avenue, Seattle
any time between 2-5pm on Saturday the 10th of March. We’ll share some more apple crumble slice and another pot of tea 😉
Investigating the guns that killed on January 1st, 2017
Asha Davis, a mother and student nurse already working in a medical center, was killed around 8:30pm on January 1st in her home in Baton Rouge. A witness reported hearing about 15 shots in the apartment complex in which she lived. Thailand Brooks (29, the same age as his victim,) was arrested on February 21st, 2017, and charged with 2nd degree murder. It was reported as a domestic dispute. No weapon details. DP1.
Twenty-five year old Jamaal Taylor walked into a Taco Bell in Oak Park, Sacramento around 11:30am, suffering from gunshot wounds. He later died in hospital. It is reported that the incident would have happened in a vacant lot on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, and that Taylor walked two blocks to the store where he collapsed. There is no information known about the killer or the motive, and my searches have not brought up any additional movement on the case. His brother called Taylor “a laid-back dude. He had a good personality.” and in the same article in the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento police have a reward for witnesses, including anonymous tips. DP2.
My eyebrows are telling me I’m still baffled about this one. Really. W.T.F?
Kareem Hagan, 22, and Marquis Marquez, 17, have the sorrowful honour of being killed in the same incident. They both died after a large street fight escalated to the use of firearms. Hagan, earlier found “not competent for prosecution because of intellectual disability and autism,” regarding a 2015 burglary, died at the scene, while Marquez died later from his injuries. The same publication, News 4 Jax, reported on Jan 1st, 2018 – one year later – that the crime is still unsolved. I would guess that the reported “at least two dozen” (see 1st article linked) men congregated in the street would result in at least two weapons being fired, so I’m nominating DP1 & 2, one for each.
Shanna Mason, was our third victim in Buffalo, NY, when she was gunned down outside a home there. She died instantly after being shot in the head and shoulder around 10:15am, by Nadiyah Z. Whitaker, who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 19 years with 5 years post supervision, in December.
It was called “conduct charged by passion” by Tom Eoannou, Whitaker’s defense attorney, owing to a love triangle, with one of the two women getting a marriage license a day before the shooting. The crime was captured on security cameras, but the defense managed to have the charges changed from second-degree murder to first-degree manslaughter, which carries a lighter sentence, by being found by three mental health experts to have suffered extreme emotional distress on the morning of the shooting.
There was a lot of media attention (more articles about the case in my searches – in part because the killer was found and the court cases resolved,) on this case, and yet I found no mention of the actual weapon, aside from the fact that Whitaker possessed it unlawfully. DP 1
I’m not going, but about 18 of my closest steel and titanium and enamel and silver and gold friends _are_!
This is one of my works that will feature in the exhibition In Touch, curated by Anja Eichler and Katja Toporski, taking place in the week we like to call Munich Jewellery Week (we’re #61 on their map) beginning this Wednesday in beautiful Munich.
Our list of artists is really impressive: Anja Eichler, Catarina Hällzon, Lore Langendries, Moniek Schrijer, Anneleen Swillen, Katja Toporski, Mallory Weston, and of course me, Melissa Cameron.
The show is on at – »Verein für Originalradierung« Ludwigstrasse 7, 80539 Munich
Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 5 – 9pm
Opening hours: Thu – Sat 10am – 7pm, Sun 10am – 2pm.
Please go along and say “G’day!” to Katja and Anja for me, and congratulate them on pulling this whole wonderful thing together. They’ve done an amazing job at artist-wrestling and installing. [Insert rapturous applause from Seattle.] And if you are in Munich – and I know who some of you are already – stay warm, and have a whale of a time!
Starting today at gun #21 in my quest to find out all the guns that killed on Jan 1, 2017
It occurred to me earlier this morning that writing this post is why currently I don’t like Mondays. At the thought, I started singing the eponymous-ly titled The Boomtown Rats song in my head. And then the vague memory pushed its way in, that the song is about something…
Just to clarify why Geldof (or Sir Bob, if you will,) wrote the song, I brushed up on my history. It is about shooting spree in San Diego committed by Brenda Ann Spencer, in 1979, at an elementary school, which resulted in the death of two adults (the principal and a custodian both trying to protect the kids) and injured eight children and a police officer. Spencer gave her reason to a reporter: “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” (That second link, a Snopes article, is the source for the identities of the dead, and is an interesting read.)
With that sprinkling of feet-dragging now behind me, it’s time to get to the issue at hand.
Juan Manuel Belmarez (35) was killed in Edcouch, Tx at around 5pm. He was killed whilst in a white SUV, which was pictured afterward peppered with multiple bullet holes in the windscreen. As his father recounts it in an article appealing for witnesses four months after the event, he must have faced an ambush to have been shot from two directions, with the vehicle hit 39 times. The Texas Rangers are investigating, but there is no information about the assailants, or the guns used in the crime. With that many shorts fired hand guns seem a less likely culprit, but with nothing else to go on that’s what I’ll use.
Gun crime #21 is a rarity, and gets both default pistols.
Another drug deal gone bad. According to the Tampa Bay Times, teenager Jayquon Johnson (17) was killed by the hand gun of 16 year old Cody Quinn, in Quinn’s mother’s garage, in Valrico, Florida. It is alleged that Johnson pulled a gun on Quinn in an attempt to steal the drugs he was buying from Quinn, after which Quinn pulled a weapon from his waistband and fired on Johnson, who later died in hospital. On hearing the shots in her garage, Heidi Quinn ran outside and took both guns away from the boys, and started to bury them, before changing her mind and replacing them and calling the cops.
In April it was revealed that Cody would not face murder charges as his self-defense argument could not be refuted by investigators, but as he was selling marijuana, and a safe containing same as well as oxycodone pills was found inside the house, both mother and son are facing other charges, hers relating to evidence tampering and his to unlawful gun possession and other drug charges. As Heidi Quinn’s first trial resulted in a deadlocked jury, a mistrial was called. She was due to be tried again in December. No news on her sons trial.
Default Pistol 1, again.
Romoan J. Mitchell, a 40-year-old Henrico County man, was reported missing in late 2016 before he was found fatally shot New Year’s Day 2017 in Richmond.
He was found around 10:30am on the 1st by an officer around the 3400 block on Belt Boulevard. The Medical Examiner determined the death was by gunshot wound. He was found in a wooded area and the type of bullet and speculation on the gun that fired it were not mentioned. DP2, again.
Deandre Berry (27) was found shot around 9:40pm on Jan 1st. He was taken to hospital where he died. There is no suspect and no gun known, though “a man was seen fleeing the scene wearing a light colored hooded sweatshirt” according to WLWT5 news website. When searching for more details I found a crowdfunding page set up by family to pay for his funeral. DP1
I just learned that there is a publicly accessible page (Wiki) documenting homicides in New Orleans in 2017, made by the NolaMessenger.com. What a great piece of community reporting/tech. This was in my search for details on Tarik Smith, alleged killer of forty year old Joseph Smith, in Mid-Town, New Orleans around 2:20pm on New Years Day. The shooter was identified when he turned himself into police, accompanied by his attorney, on January 12 of the same year. It was not known if they were related at the time of reporting. He was charged with second degree murder. It was reported that 8 or 9 shots were fired, and Joseph Smith died at the scene. No gun details. DP2
Five more gun killings recorded, with 6 more unknown guns. And we have reached gun crime 25, and the end of page 1 on the Gun Violence Archive site.
Going to Munich Jewellery Week? Schmuck? Well go see In Touch!
Munich Jewellery Week (Current Obsession, Klimt02) is almost upon us, and if you’re like me, you’ll live the action vicariously through Instagram and Twitter. But if you’re going, then have I got a show for you…!
»Verein für Originalradierung« , Ludwigstrasse 7, 80539 Munich
Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 5 – 9pm
Opening hours: Thu – Sat 10am – 7pm, Sun 10am – 2pm
(I remember this venue from last year for the courtyard that buffers it from the street, and finally getting a close-up of Carina Shoshtary‘s works.)
They already have images of most of our works up on the In Touch Facebook page if you’re keen on a sneak peek of what will be in the show. I have sent a bunch of brand new pieces never before exhibited (one, my new favourite, I finished last week), as well as a few that have had only one or two outings before, which includes an award-winning series that was recently displayed in Japan.
And if you find yourself in Munich, with your phone in hand, think of the starving eyes not in Germany, craving new images that showcase the full diversity of exhibitions and beautiful bejeweled outfits that are happening.
Why am I still ranting about guns? Explanation finally comes 16 episodes in.
**HERE LIVES THE MOTHER OF ALL TRIGGER WARNINGS**
There’s been a lot of news about guns in the last week. Last Tuesday I filed this article away for inclusion in today’s regular post; the Guardian reported that Remington was filing for bankruptcy, due at least in part to what they had termed “‘The Trump slump.'” A friendly administration for the gun lobby, and gun owners, has spelled radically decreased sales for gun manufacturers. But then on Wednesday, in a turn-around that would give you whiplash were you researching anything other than gun violence in the US, there was a mass shooting at a school in Florida on Valentine’s day. The cycle begins again.
My Monday – Gun Day series began on the 9th of October, 2017, a week and a day after the largest mass shooting involving a single perpetrator in US history had taken place in Las Vegas (all the modifiers are to remind us that there have been larger massacres in US history, usually racially motivated like that at Wounded Knee, or the Colfax Massacre, which was perpetrated by white Southern Democrats against about 150 black men.)
Since then, across 16 posts (including this one) made on Mondays (US Pacific time), I’ve been sharing my research about guns, and more specifically, the guns used in the 63 incidents in which people were killed on January 1st, 2017. But why? Well, firstly, some backstory that might help to explain.
I began the Monday – Gun Day series with an introduction to my work Gun from 2013/14. To design the work I replicated the AR-15 knock-off (made by Remington) used in the Sandy Hook mass shooting of 2012, into which I incorporated facts and figures I had researched about that days killings, which was, at that time, the second most deadly mass shooting perpetrated by a single person ever in the United States. I was making a series of pieces that used the tools of war to make a statement about humanity’s continuing poor relationship with itself, which I entitled The Escalation Series. My use of this gun, with all of its associations, pointed out an additional fact; the other tools of war I made pieces about were designed for, and were chiefly only accessible to, organised armies. This weapon, designed for and known as as the M-16 in the US armed forces, was and still is far too easily accessible to regular citizens of this country.
I thought after The Escalation series, in which I made jewellery pieces that depicted the following weapons of war:
cartridges with Minié ball bullets
Lapua Magnum shells (sniper rifle shells) from Combat Paper
as well as 3 versions of HEAT, a work (pictured below) that shows the molten metal spatter and penetration of a HEAT missile through armoured tank steel, that my association with weapons was done for a while. My focus had made a gentle pivot which saw me making mosaics out of enamelled laser cut steel, with which I could write by turns gentle, piercing and witty messages in binary.
Then two things happened. I had been recently juried into the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize, for which I am to make a work out of found materials, and on the 1st of October I decided to do a stock-take of all the found objects I have lying about in my study, the same day that the current most deadly mass shooting perpetrated in modern times (this seems to be accepted as anything since 1950,) by a single shooter, happened.
Having memorialised a single-person shooting before, I did not want to go down that route again. I’ve read a lot of stories about Sandy Hook, and will continue to do so the rest of my days (it’s reportage on unjustified killings of defenseless white children in a 1st world nation, and thanks to our social/political/class climate, we will find it in the media for the foreseeable future,) and it’s a lot. And I don’t want to have to repeat myself.
I have other things that horrify me just as much as 59 deaths by one person in a day. 59 deaths on any day is a pretty shit day by most of the world’s standards, and I wanted a way to make that point. So I picked a day, New Year’s Day 2017, and got to work.
We know the weapons of the mass shootings because they get so much publicity. (The Guardian already has 3 pages of articles about last week’s shooting.) [I’m getting cynical, which I usually try to banish from my writings, but it’s almost as if the amount of publicity is inverse to the amount of action that will be taken against the problem, despite the fact that I learned in another Guardian article linked to the Trump Slump article that, “Only 22 to 31% of Americans adults say they personally own a gun.” And what they call “gun super-ownership” is actually concentrated to 3% of the population.] Anyway, digressions aside. We know so little about the other gun deaths that happen in this country because everyone is so inured by the frequency of the killings that everyday gun violence doesn’t make it to the national news. But the weapons used by the mass murderer are studied ad nauseam, so of course we learn about the guns, the shells, the alternate weapons, the victims, the scene, the police department response, the slow and painful moving on.
But what about all the the other shootings? Which guns are responsible there?
Hopefully in just a few years time the gun lobby will face a shakedown that will be compared to that experienced by the tobacco lobby, and their unconscionable actions will be pored over in as much details as the lives of those involved in the Sandy Hook massacre. For right now, I’ve learned that there are great resources for finding out who was killed, when, and where, and more loosely, how. What’s becoming clear is that there is no focus put on the gun responsible, nor its manufacturer. In any other arena, should over 30,000 people get killed by any single type of object in a year, we, the public, would cry out for all the statistics on the make, model, age and condition of the thing responsible.
Thus my research project; for each person listed as killed on the Gun Violence Archive on the 1st of January, 2017, I am finding out what make and model of gun killed them, (or my best estimation thereof,) to draw a picture of what that gun looked like.
And when I have a picture of those weapons, I’m going to make a wearable piece of jewellery that incorporates every f*cking one of them.
Monday – Gun Day. The weaponse alternate between the default pistols identified earlier in the series.
Heads up, there are five unnamed weapons today.
The next two shootings listed on the Gun Violence Archive, of Alvin McDowell (25) and Zavier Wimes (22), happened with a proximity that had the investigative team questioning if they were related. Wimes was shot and killed around 1am on the first block of Byrd Way in Buffalo, New York, while McDowell was shot in his vehicle at 6:30am at 15 McNeeley Way – Byrd and McNeeley are essential the same street that runs about 6 blocks (by my calculations) between Hickory Street and Jefferson Ave. Close to downtown Buffalo, the name switches from Byrd to McNeeley about half way down the street. It is reported that the killers would have been known to their victims, and while I have found no further details of the first shooting, it it reported that Alvin “Duke” McDowell was shot while lying sleeping in his car. His mother has put out a plea for anyone with further information to contact police.
Also reported alongside these murders was a woman shot and killed around 10:30am, but that crime comes further along the Gun Archive listing. I’m going to keep to their order.
We’re up to default Pistol 2, and then 1, again.
A 46-year-old man, Jason Ellis, was killed in Del City, Oklahoma at 12:25am by Kevin Henry (37) who, after a police standoff at the home outside of which the body of Ellis was found, reportedly killed himself. A third man, Christoper Russell (27), was later arrested for luring the victim to to the home. No details on the weapons were reported, so Default Pistol 2.
From the Baltimore Sun:
Police also identified James Williams, 33, as the man killed in the 1000 block of North Mount Street, the same block as the Western District Police Station, about 5:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
An officer heard gunshots and saw a man with a gun fleeing the area, police said. Williams was located inside of a car, and died at a local hospital.
Cham Green lists this as the second and final shooting for Jan 1 in Baltimore, and also adds that the victim did non have a violent criminal history. (Previous mention of Green’s 2017 list of homicides in Baltimore.) No details of the gun to be found. DP1, again.
Danny Barron, 18, was shot and killed in the parking lot of movie theatre in Copperfield, a neighbourhood of Houston, TX. One of the accused, 17 year old Faith Deleon, accounts the story as Barron and unnamed friend were conducting a drug deal (marijuana) when Deleon’s 16 year old friend (details are being withheld as he is a minor) pulled out a gun and shot Barron twice, and the friends once. Barron’s friend made it into the cinema to report the crime and survived their wounds.
Deleon has been charged with capital murder, as of March 10th, 2017, as has her 16 year old friend, who is also connected with a prior aggravated assault case. Again, no word on the weapon. DP2.