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Posts Tagged ‘firearms

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time”*…

 

Beast within

“Stranded on the Island of Circe” by Paul Reid

 

What was the driving force that made us human, akin to but separate from other apes and our evolutionary cousins such as the Neanderthals? In The Goodness Paradox, the anthropologist Richard Wrangham approvingly quotes Frederick the Great in pointing to “the wild beast” within each man: our nature, he argues, is rooted in an animal violence that morphed over time to become uniquely human. When male human ancestors began to plot together to execute aggressive men in their communities, indeed to carry out such killings through what Wrangham calls “coalitionary proactive aggression”, they were launched towards full humanity…

At some point after the evolutionary split from the non-human ape lineage – probably around 300,000 years ago, Wrangham thinks – our male ancestors began to do what the chimpanzees could not: plot together to execute aggressive males in their own social groups. How do we know this? Because we see evidence of “the domestication syndrome” under way in our ancestors at this time, indicating that they were becoming less in thrall to reactive aggression…

During human evolution, of course, no other more dominant species controlled the process: instead, we domesticated ourselves by eliminating the most aggressive males in our social groups. Our bodies did signal what was happening. Around 315,000 years ago, for example, “the first glimmerings of the smaller face and reduced brow ridge [compared to earlier human ancestors] that signal the evolution of Homo sapiens” began to show up. Sex differences in the skeleton soon began to diminish. Our species was set apart from all other human-like ones, including the Neanderthals, who did not self-domesticate…

How the human species domesticated itself: “Wild beast within.”

* Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

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As we take it easy. we might recall that it was on this date in 1836 that Samuel Colt and a group of financial backers chartered that Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New Jersey, a company formed to produce what became the first commercially-successful revolvers.  The revolver was pioneered by other inventors; Colt’s great contribution was the use of interchangeable parts.  He envisioned that all the parts of every Colt gun would be be interchangeable and made by machine, to be assembled later by hand– that’s to say, his goal, later realized, was an assembly line.

220px-Samuel_Colt_engraving_by_John_Chester_Buttre,_c1855 source

 

“Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you’ll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding”*…

 

 

A new study reveals more than a quarter-million people died from firearm-related injuries in 2016, with half of those deaths occurring in only six countries in the Americas: Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatemala.

A part of the Global Burden of Disease, the study assesses firearm-related mortality between 1990 and 2016 for 195 countries and territories by age and by sex. It is the most extensive study ever conducted on global firearm-related deaths. Deaths from conflict and terrorism, executions, and law enforcement shootings were not included in the total estimates.

“This study confirms what many have been claiming for years – that gun violence is one of the greatest public health crises of our time,” said Dr. Mohsen Naghavi, a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and first author of the study. “There are no simple antidotes to address this health problem. The tragedy of each firearm-related death will continue until reasonable and reasoned leaders come together to address the issue.”…

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports: “Six countries in the Americas account for half of all firearm deaths.”  The full report, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is summarized here.

* Stephen King

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As we search for those “reasonable and reasoned leaders,” we might send quiet birthday greetings to Hiram Percy Maxim; he was born on this date in 1869.  An inventor, he created the “Maxim silencer.”  In that accomplishment he was in keeping with family tradition:  His uncle, Hudson Maxim, created smokeless gun powder and both the explosive maximite and the delayed-action detonating fuse (which enabled torpedoes); and his father, Hiram Stevens Maxim, invented the Maxim machine gun,

250px-Hiram_Percy_Maxim source

 

 

Written by LW

September 2, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”*…

 

Dirty Harry is the 1971 crime film that introduced the character of “Dirty Harry” Callahan to movie audiences. Clint Eastwood stars as SFPD Inspector Callahan, who is assigned to head up the investigation to catch a serial killer who calls himself “Scorpio” and who threatens to kill a citizen of the city each day until his ransom demands are met. Dirty Harry was the first in the film franchise and introduced the now iconic .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29.

More on Harry’s hardware– and guns in hundreds of other films– at IMFDb, The Internet Movie Firearm Database.

* Mae West

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As we take cover, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was released.  Written by Wiliam Goldman, directed by George Roy Hill, and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the titular outlaws, the film was a commercial and a critical success: it was the top-grossing film of the year (with a box-office of over $100 million) and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, of which it won four.

The film prominently featured the Colt Single Action Army, the Winchester Model 1873, the Winchester Model 1895, and the Winchester Model 1894.

 

 

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