“Weapon of Protest” is an augmented Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Light gun so that when triggered, instead of shooting a screen or game, the NES gun sends an email to the National Rifle Association (NRA) protesting current gun laws in the United States. The project takes the shape of a Nintendo Zapper that was used in the 1980s video game system that served as a precursor to today’s modern or more violent / graphic FPS (First Person Shooter) game titles such as Overwatch, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Destiny, Counter-Strike, and others. The project also critically examines the conservative position and argument that there is a correlation between video game violence and mass shootings / shooters. This analogy was created as a false justification for failed education and mental health support facilities across the US that are unable to heal and help troubled individuals. While focusing on an action of protest, the project runs contrary to the dialogue started by the Gun Lobby and the NRA in order to prove that video games can have a positive effect on changing the gun culture in the US.
“Weapon of Protest”, by Robert Glashüttner, ORF, Austria, August 17, 2019
“Weapon of Protest” connects the 1980s Nintendo Zapper to the Internet through an electronics interface that triggers code to send an email when the trigger is pulled. The email is sent to to the main contact point for the National Rifle Association with the Subject heading: “Change The Gun Laws!”, and the message, “This email is intended to protest the NRA’s inaction on advocating for requiring increased background checks, banning assault weapons, and funding research into why gun violence occurs and how to stop it before it kills more innocent lives.”
Map of gun violence incidents in the US in 2019 (source – gunviolencearchive.org)
Gun violence in the United States is reaching a new critical mass and has become an epidemic of over arching proportions. In 2019 alone there have been over 34,000 instances of gun violence with 9,048 of those ending in death. This amount of blodshed is an epidemic that must be stopped. Since mass shootings such as those that happened at McDonalds San Ysidro (1984), El Paso (2019), Columbine High School (1999), Sandy Hook (2012), Las Vegas (2017), and more, gun violence on a mass scale is becoming commonplace in the US.
The 2nd amendment to the US Constitution was written in 1791 allowing citizens to “keep and bear arms” but was created after the revolutionary war, a war that relied on the general public to act as soldiers and fight in some cases for the very first time in their lives. Seeing that the US population at the time defeated the British with as little training as they had, made this amendment seem reasonable since there was no guarantee that the British would not be back to fight for North American land in the future. When this law was written however, high magazine / large capacity weapons that lead to mass injury and multiple deaths had not yet been invented. The 2nd amendment was put into law during an era of slow firing musket weapons and low capacity handguns of which were enough for a single person’s defense. Times have changed. With advancements in technology the law is both outdated and inconsistent with the type of society and weaponry that we now encounter in the 21st century.
Stickers and Buttons
I printed some stickers and buttons for the project. If you would like some, please email me your mailing address – send it to jonah at coin-operated.com