Shooting up

E-commerce presents a host of benefits to businesses and customers alike. For one brave but foolhardy entrepreneur it led to nothing but an early demise. Dave Wilson explains.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” (Second Amendment to the US Constitution.).

When Billy ‘Two Hats’ Johnson decided to take advantage of a low cost vision control system and couple it to the Internet, the results were disastrous. So disastrous, in fact, that Billy won’t be with us for Christmas this year.

Before the terrible accident happened, Billy owned a small ranch in the Midwest. A keen hunter of local animals, Billy had opened the ranch up to people of a similar mindset, who – for a considerable fee – would come to stay for days at a time to hunt and kill the four legged critters that pottered about innocently on Billy’s land.

Then, last Christmas in fact, while Billy was enjoying some liquid refreshment in Dempsey’s Dog House Lounge, he met a wise man from the East who told him how the use of the Internet had revolutionised his business. Billy was transfixed as the stranger described the ease with which orders came in over the ether and how goods were processed and shipped from his factory each day to customers all across the globe.

After a couple of beers, Billy got to wondering how he could possibly put the new technology to use. And it wasn’t long before he came up with an answer.

Clearly, folks liked coming to Billy’s ranch to kill things. But there were many folks in Europe and the Far East that simply couldn’t afford the air fare to get to there. Albeit the fact that, like his existing customer base, they’d really enjoy the thrill of killing something if they had the chance.

So the solution was staring Billy in the face, wasn’t it? All he’d have to do was to rig up one of his rifles with a camera, link it to a motion control system and then hook the whole shooting match up to the Internet. That way, new ‘customers’ worldwide could log on to the Web and pay to hunt and kill Billy’s animals from the safety and comfort of their living rooms.

For a while there, things went OK. Billy was raking it in as animal lovers worldwide logged in for the kill.

That was, until the animal activists got wind of the whole thing, of course. They didn’t appreciate the cunningly innovative nature of Billy’s scheme at all. In fact, they were up in arms about it. But to no avail. Even when they forced Billy to appear in court, the judge ruled that it was Billy’s right to do whatever he liked on his property.

But there’s always someone that spoils it for everyone, isn’t there? And the particular someone that spoiled it for Billy was an animal activist with vengeance on his mind. Thoroughly enraged by the cruelty of Billy’s Internet hunting plans, he fled to a remote location in the former Soviet Union where he purchased a computer and logged on to Billy’s site.

After his credit card transaction had been cleared by the secure server, he was delighted to find that he was looking right down the barrel of the remotely controlled rifle, controlling its movements delicately using his keypad. And he did that for as long as it took until Billy himself stumbled into his field of view.