Let’s shed a tear for Belinda Padilla. Belinda is unhappy, perhaps even frightened. Belinda’s unhappiness is understandable; her fear, not undeserved. Who’s Belinda Padilla? Why is she unhappy? Why, perhaps, is she frightened? Read on.
Belinda works for a German arms Company, Armatix, GmbH. Its product: “smart guns.” A visitor to the Armatix website sees an “x-ray” shot of a space age “ray” gun set against a purple and black backdrop. The Company’s slogan is: “21st Century Gun Safety.” The NY Times ran an April 28th story on Belinda Padilla and Armatix GmbH, “‘Smart’ Firearm Draws Wrath of Gun Lobby.” www.nytimes.com/2014/04/28/politics/smart-firearm-draws-wrath-of-gun-lobby.
The Times refers to Padilla as a “fast-talking, hard-charging Beverly Hills businesswoman who leads the Company’s fledging American division.” Padilla looks like a movie star. She is brash and beautiful: a femme fatale. Padilla’s association with Armatix and its “smart gun” doesn’t appear accidental. The Company hopes the public will draw the appropriate connection between Padilla and its “smart gun:” space age gun is racy and sexy! Nothing new there. Automobile and motorcycle manufacturers have juxtaposed good-looking women and machines for years. Image is everything, but an image may hide a multitude of sins. So it is with the Armatix “smart guns.” The “smart gun” isn’t really a gun at all. Guns are mechanical devices. The “smart gun” is a personal computer posing as a gun. Both smart phones and smart guns are subject to infiltration, hacking, tracking, and control from remote locations. Likely, antigun zealots hope Americans will latch onto the damn thing and, in time, replace their gun collections, with “smart guns.” Not surprisingly, the Obama administration promotes the new technology. But many Americans don’t, namely, and particularly, those who support the Second Amendment and — for that matter — those who support the Fourth Amendment as well. The public has contacted Padilla directly and has told her in no uncertain terms what they think of Armatix; what they think of the smart gun; and, what they think of her. The responses are not encouraging for Armatix, for Bedilla, or for the smart gun. The American public gave all three the cold shoulder and for good reason. The NY Times doesn’t understand why. It blames the NRA. But, blaming the NRA is nothing more than a convenient crutch.
The NY Times says “guns with owner-recognition technology remain shut out of the market today.” The NY Times blames the “gun lobby” – code for the NRA. But, proponents of the Bill of Rights don’t need to take a cue from the NRA. The “smart gun” is a deathtrap for the unwary. It’s another electronic tracking device, like the smart phone. Not surprisingly, guns with owner-recognition technology, like the Armatix smart gun, remain shut out of the market, as the NY Times article notes. And Belinda? She is persona non grata in the firearms community. It’s not the steep price – $1,800.00 – that disturbs and angers the buying public. It’s the technology itself.
Consider: since the Snowden leaks, Americans know – and don’t have to guess – the Federal Government is mind-mapping Americans. A Government report commissioned by the Obama Administration admitted the need for “broader legal protection for email and other digital content.” See, the May 2nd Wall Street Journal article, “New Data Protections Are Needed, Report Says.” “The report says Americans now inhabit a world of ‘near ubiquitous’ data collection,’ as they live their lives on-line, and the cost of storing those digital trails shrinks drastically. They post on social networks, transmit their locations from their smartphones, place sensors in the home and trackers on their bodies.” wsj.com/news/new data protections.
The Armatix smart gun, unlike an ordinary mechanical firearm, is an electronic device and can readily suffer malfunction. Sure, reliability is an issue. But that’s a technical matter, although important. But, the “smart gun” raises troubling privacy questions. Recall our earlier remark: it’s less a weapon and more a personal computer. Given revelations concerning NSA snooping we have a few questions for Armatix. One, can the gun register location? Two, can it track total rounds fired? And, most importantly, can the Government shut the thing down remotely? The Armatix smart gun is a personal computer, posing as a gun with a built-in “bug” in it. So, who would want it? Will the Federal Government foist such devices on us? Will such devices be the only “firearms” law-abiding Americans can buy?
Be careful of new-fangled devices. The Armatix smart gun and others like it are the proverbial “solution in search of a problem.” The NY Times cites manufacturers as saying they’re beneficial. “These new technologies could prevent suicides, accidental shootings and the deaths of police officers whose guns are wrested away in a struggle.” But wait a second. How would these technologies prevent suicides and accidents if the lawful owner uses the firearm? Isn’t the owner supposed to be able to use the weapon? If so, Are the manufacturers suggesting someone can turn the device off remotely? And, imagine the wonderment and fear of one who attempts to defend his or her life with the “smart gun” during a moment of crisis — but the Government turned the damn thing off and didn’t bother to notify the owner that the thing wasn’t operational. And, concerning the last assertion, let’s ask a police officer his greater concern: someone wresting a weapon from him or a malfunctioning gun? Then, too, if a police officer can’t control his own weapon, what does that say of the officer’s abilities? His superiors would probably want to have a little chat with him.
The manufacturers assertions in support of their “smart” devices are unbelievably lame. If the examples the NY Times cites are the best the manufacturers can muster, the manufacturers don’t merit being in business.
Some things aren’t always what they seem. Beneath the façade of a comely woman may lurk a Gorgon; and inside a supposed technological marvel may dwell a Trojan horse.Copyright © 2014 Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) and Roger J Katz (Towne Criour) All Rights Reserved.