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Want to know just HOW gullible elected officials can be? Story from the local paper, and Richmond VA City Council.
Hoax angers city officials
Bogus flier promotes night sights as accessories for Glock handguns
By Will Jones, Times-Dispatch Staff Writer, 18 June 2001
For a few hours, Birdman Weapons Systems and the HoMeBoY Nyte-Sytes were prime targets in Richmond.
"They're advocating destruction on our streets, and they're targeting our people," Councilman G. Manoli Loupassi said. "That's about as bad as it gets."
Police Capt. Walter Allmon expressed similar outrage. He said a flier promoting the HoMeBoY is disturbing because it's designed to appeal to young black men, who often are the victims of gun violence in Richmond and elsewhere.
Allmon, who leads Richmond's detective division, brought the flier to the city's Public Safety Committee about three weeks ago and said it had been distributed that weekend at a gun show in Henrico County.
The flier, actually a printout from a Web site, urges would-be buyers to "be the first in the hood to have the HoMeBoY brand Night Sights installed on your New-Model Glock!"
It says orders are being accepted and shows pictures of a Glock handgun outfitted to allow sideways shooting "as seen in today's hit movies."
The infamous "Glock 'n' Gut" gun which got every*one excited for awhile… until it was realized that it was a "fantasy pistol", and not a factory offering. They could've sold a ton of'em to the GlockTalk faithful."Allows firing from car windows, over fences, bar counters, or simply while chasing someone through the hood!"
Birdman Weapons Systems promotes itself as providing "Unfriendly Products for an Unfriendly World." The flier gives specifications for the HoMeBoY, including its weight and size, as well as the Glock models on which it can be used.
Before realizing the HoMeBoY apparently isn't an actual product, Loupassi, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, was outraged.
"I believe that is indefensible, and I'm part of the pro-gun lobby," he told a reporter.
A few hours later, Loupassi gave copies of the flier to City Council members and said the state attorney general's office and the federal prosecutor's office should be asked to investigate.
"In my opinion, it does not get any worse than this," said Loupassi, a lawyer and former city prosecutor.
By the next day, Loupassi had discovered the HoMeBoY isn't real, and the Web site, Birdman.org, isn't a link to a weapons company. He expressed relief and considered the matter dropped. "It's a freedom-of-expression issue."
But he added, "I don't see the humor in it, because I've seen so many people die because of guns."
Birdman.org is registered to an address in Covington, Kentucky, according to the Web site networksolutions.com. The Times-Dispatch contacted Birdman by E-mail and got a coy response. The person refused to be identified except as Birdman. The Times-Dispatch also contacted by phone a woman who described herself as Birdman's mother.
Birdman's Web site includes a lengthy commentary on modern society and says it offers the best and most powerful weaponry concepts. "To gaze upon these images is to gaze upon your inner soul and the cold, "brutal war waged within. Look, study, 'think' . . . and then ask yourself, 'Do I really fear this?'
Allmon said he learned the HoMeBoY wasn't real soon after returning from last month's Public Safety Committee meeting. He said the rights to free speech and to bear arms are to be respected, but, he added, Birdman's Web site raises serious concerns even if its products are only concepts.
He noted other night sights are available, and Birdman suggests they be used for shooting people, particularly young black males. "This gun show was held within a mile of predominantly African-American communities," he said.
Paul F. Jannuzzo, vice president and general counsel for Glock Inc. in Smyrna, Ga., said the company has been aware of the HoMeBoY. He said he sent a letter to Birdman a while back, asking that the company's name no longer be used.
"This is the first we've heard of anyone taking this seriously," he said. "I can't believe a police officer would look at that and not know it wasn't real. They've been watching too many movies."
A Glock could not be outfitted and work as the Web site suggests, he said.
"Except to look like Antonio Banderas, why would you? Who holds their gun like that?"
Bill Dunham, agent in charge of the Richmond office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said his agency has been familiar with the Birdman site for some time. He said it's believed to be a satire, in part because it doesn't give prices or any opportunity to buy weapons.
He said some of the weapons described could not be made legally. He also found the site's high number of "hits" - more than 100,000 in the past year - a bit disturbing.
"It puts ideas in people's heads," Dunham said. "We don't need any more creative weapons than there are."
What we have here is... failure- to communicate.