"Massacre of Innocents"

By Andrew Johnson



Cortland NY > Pittsburgh PA

Massacre of the Innocents, 2015, HD video still;

Johnson’s video Massacre of the Innocents presents the backsides of firing range targets; the viewers are the implied marks. Toys for children who are no more circulate in slow motion, sometimes aligning with the bull’s eyes, suggesting who and what is endangered – cops and criminals, adults and children alike.

According to the FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns kill more preschool-age children(about 80 a year) than police officers (about 50), despite the existence of old and new technologies that could reduce those numbers. One can no longer buy the childproof Smith & Wesson handguns manufactured in the 1880s. New smart guns that can be fired only by authorized users (using fingerprint recognition) could prevent accidental or criminal use, but the NRA resists them, claiming they are unreliable and may become mandatory. Gun rights lobbies consistently oppose gun safety proposals, such as California

Senate Bill 199. Seeking to visibly distinguish pellet, toy and airguns from real guns, a diluted version of the bill passed, requiring only two short colored adhesive stripes. Federal law requires only that replica guns have an orange mark on the tips of their barrels; children remove or paint over them easily. Colorful or not, most states have no age limits for purchase of airguns that share the risks inherent to carrying real guns. A 2009 University of Pennsylvania epidemiological study found that those with firearms were about 4.5 times more likely to be shot than those who did not carry. Successful defensive gun use is rare, despite the persistent and prevalent notion that guns protect.