The perpetrators of three separate mass shootings in Killeen, Texas, chose the Herstal 9 mm for their massacre. This military-issue weapon is commonly available in Killeen, an Army town deep in the heart of Texas, where men and military-grade weapons are everyday elements in the local landscape and culture. This piece is part of a narrative collection of works exploring the landscape of Killeen and life in this land of masculinity, and the ways it expresses itself here.

Melanie Martinez is a BFA student at Texas State University in San Marcos but she lives in Austin, and grew up in the Army town of Killeen. Her early life led her through many worlds from journalism to horticulture, then music and historic preservation and now interior design and painting. Combined with an interest in society and American Studies leads her to examine the ways we live in the world today. Her style evokes the attractive illustrative-yet-disturbing style of Rene Magritte but the subject matter places her in the world of contemporary social realist painters.


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