ATF Reportedly Used Rogue Tactics In A Half-Dozen Cities

Federal ATF agents in cities across the country reportedly used rogue tactics to go after guns on the street — allegedly exploiting the mentally ill, buying up weapons for way more than they’re worth and letting minors smoke pot and drink.

The details were included in an expose by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which reported earlier this year on an embarrassing set of blunders made by the Milwaukee arm of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The operation in Milwaukee apparently was not a one-off, as officials claimed.

Instead, it was part of a pattern of questionable decisions that were employed by six ATF operations, including Milwaukee, nationwide, according to the Journal Sentinel.

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Justice Department Shields Holder From Prosecution After Contempt Vote

The Justice Department moved Friday to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from prosecution after the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.

The contempt vote technically opened the door for the House to call on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the case before a grand jury. But because U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen works for Holder and because President Obama has already asserted executive privilege over the documents in question, some expected Holder’s Justice Department to balk.

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Houses of Weaponry


“One can kill a man as easily with a dwelling as with an axe!” Artist Baptiste DeBombourg takes literal this famous damnation of Heinrich Zille, only updating the killing device from a singular ax to an arsenal of automated guns. Entitled ‘Tradition of Excellence’, Debombourg’s hand-rendered drawings treat each of the guns as a solid mass, from which are carved a series of architectural rooms and spaces.

A series of dormitories are aligned along the interior shaft of a Famas-F1, while a narrow corridor follows the curve of its hand guard that lead to a large room of unspecified program. Tiered seating fill up the auditorium that resides in the magazine of a Kalachnikov AK-47, a grand staircase hugs the walls of a Colt M1911, baths run down the central arm of an Uzi. The greatest spatial complexity can be found within the M134D Minigun, whose bilateral symmetry is realized in plan as a Baroque collage of mirrored rooms, sculptural staircases, and angled walls.


The Big Bang

"The Big Bang" series © 2012 Deborah Bay

From Dirty Harry to Andy Warhol, guns continue to fascinate. From Guns N’ Roses to guns and butter, they’re potent metaphors in today’s pop culture. And what’s a gun without a bullet? Taking a cue from the cultural zeitgeist, I began thinking about “The Big Bang” after seeing a sales display of bullet-proof plexiglas that had projectiles embedded in it. The plexiglas captured the fragmentation of the bullets and provided a visual record of the energy released on impact. As I began to explore this concept further, I also was intrigued by the psychological tension created between the jewel-like beauty and the inherent destructiveness of the fragmented projectiles. Many of the images resemble exploding galaxies, and visions of intergalactic bling sublimate the horror of bullets meeting muscle and bone. In fact, Susan Sontag described the camera as “a sublimation of the gun” — load, aim and shoot. My interest in the project grew out of the pervasiveness of guns as cultural symbols and America’s long-held affection for guns as part of the country’s heritage. This seems particularly relevant in Texas where it’s estimated that there are 51 million firearms — two guns for every man, woman and child in the state. Professionals in law enforcement at the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College fired the shots into the plexiglas used in the series. The photographic images were made in the studio — well after the gunshots were fired.