Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent
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A docu-style investigation of our fascination with the gun, from the perspective of the hip-hop generation.
The 2003 shooting death of Toronto community-centre worker Kempton Howard put the spotlight on hip hop’s fixation with guns. Media and police soon blamed rap music and its tales of gang life on bullet-ridden US streets for the rising use of firearms in Canadian crime. Were these songs artful accounts of a terrible truth, or a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Rodrigo Bascunan and Christian Pearce have interviewed many of the major players in the hip-hop world. As publishers of an award-winning magazine of urban culture, they’d watched rap music become a scapegoat for society’s much older and widely spread fascination with guns. What follows is their international adventure to deconstruct modern gun culture in all its manifestations. Bascunan and Pearce seek out hip-hop artists, illegal gun runners, firearms aficionados and manufacturers, museum curators, academics, politicians, video-game creators, activists, victims of gun violence and the family and friends left behind.
Somewhere between Fast Food Nation, No Logo and a Michael Moore documentary, featuring sly sidebar material and original artwork, Enter the Babylon System is part outrageous journalistic pursuit and part passionate cri de coeur for sanity in the face of a society’s obsession.
From the Hardcover edition.
glanced towards the heavens before settling his gaze on Buns. “I’ve been in an accidental shooting,” the Dude said. “I got into it with somebody. Me and my homeboy was anteing up, getting our stuff together, and he was loading a .22 up and it went off and ricocheted and hit me right here in the heart. I got stitches right there. They tried to get it out but it was too close to a nerve in my heart so it’s still in there. I go through the airport [and] the metal detector in the airport goes
barrel 150 metres long and a one-metre bore, “Big Babylon,” as Bull labelled the plan for his giant gat, would be able to launch both satellites and nukes. Although he successfully fired a forty-metre prototype named “Baby Babylon,” Bull was shot five times and killed outside his Belgium apartment in March 1990. READY TO DIEMACO An hour and a half from Toronto’s near-daily shootings, the twin city of Kitchener-Waterloo rests in one of those quaint regions in which the stores, houses and
June 2005 issue of Guns & Ammo. “If a special United Nations conference on small arms,” said Dr. Peroni, “recommends against civilian ownership of semiautomatic firearms, for example, that helps gun-control advocates in your country to argue that the U.S. is out of step with the rest of the world when it comes to regulating civilian ownership of semiautomatic arms. You may defeat such proposals in your country, but isn’t it better if they are never approved in the first place, anywhere in the
How many gangbangers were out the very next day aiming their handguns sideways?” We caught up with Boyz ’n the Hood’s most enduring star. “The movie was more of a mirror to what really happens to kids in South Central Los Angeles,” Ice Cube said. “But movies are part of the culture,” Rodrigo responded. “So there’s feedback going on.” “For sure, they’re very influential, but everybody that sees that movie don’t put a gun in their hand sideways,” Cube maintained. “It’s a compounded thing. It’s
stage of the game without completing the requirements of a rifleman. The game tracks detailed statistics of proficiency in marksmanship and awards titles corresponding to a player’s skill. Players who subsequently enlist can reveal their online personas to help the army best place them. The game’s resounding online success prompted the U.S. Army to create a console version for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Tony Van is the executive producer of America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier, which was developed by