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back to article Cannon runs amok, kills nine fleshies

South Africa authorities are investigating how nine soldiers were killed and 15 injured during a training exercise when an anti-aircraft gun went haywire. An artillery officer who reportedly risked her life was unable to curtail the fatal firing spree involving a 35mm Oerlikon cannon at the army's Lohatla training base in …

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Alien

Run for the hills

As predicited, they are begginig to overthrow their human masters.

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Dead Vulture

iRobot seeks uHuman

I, Robot, seeking Humans. Destroy. Next. btw, I have several future cousins called T1, T2, and T3.

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Anonymous Coward

Another classic SADF own goal

It's quite a speciality - even in the Apartheid/liberation struggle era the assorted self-inflicted casualties were higher than those resulting from enemy action.

(in fact road deaths of soldiers on leave were usually the biggest category of personnel losses).

The classic SADF own goal was the incident in which the Navy's supply ship collided with and sank one of their two frigates.

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Anonymous Coward

Crime?

I'd file this under 'Enterprise Security'.

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Silver badge

Call Arnie

Skynet! it begins!!

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Dead Vulture

What, no RotM?

Come on Reg, a huge killbot just broke free of its restraints and mowed down its fleshy overlords. This, along with the misguided suicide deathdrone, deserves further investigation.

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Tom Sharpe predicted the future!

At last! Oerlikon invents four barrel elephant gun Tom Sharpe described in "Riotous Assembly".

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Inconsistent story

The majority of the reports I've seen suggest a quick burst (15/20) which at 1100 rounds/minute between the barrels would have been over before anyone could have reacted, so unlikely that anyone could have been in a position to even do anything during the incident, whether or not this put their life at risk.

The other version suggests two full (or near full) 250 round magazines were run dry, which would have been a ~30 second incident (not 0.8) in which case it's quite likely someone would have tried to do something.

It sounds like the original automation upgrade was a bit of a bodge, which would account for how bad the incident became (e.g. no proper stops to restrict the field of fire).

But I suspect the initial cause wasn't so much a software issue as a cockup in the repair/rebuild sequence after the previous stoppage, causing a misfire, with a second cockup causing a partial jam in the action so the trigger mech became stuck and the weapon ran until it was dry.

Bad outcome for those involved. But hopefully lessons will be learnt so no-one else gets the same outcome.

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Typical

Looks like the Microsoft brain interface was deployed sooner than we thought.

Homicidal thoughts, anyone?

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Black Helicopters

Maybe I'm just over simplifying...

But, mayve they should have RTFM? Or are they victims of PFM (pure fuggin magic)?

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Black Helicopters

Who cares?

I live in South Africa and am ashamed of our army. I don't understand why we actually need one anyway. America is the only country that ever invades anybody nowadays and we have no oil and too many dark people for America to be interested.

We have 50 people murdered in South Africa everyday and our government repeatedly insists that there isn't a problem. They even have expos in London to encourage people to come back!

In todays news headlines there are 4 stories involving murder (and another of attempted murder), 1 of rape, 1 of police bribery, 1 of parliamentary corruption, and 1 story about our president saying something about the RWC (as if he has nothing better to do). That is 8 of 10 headlines on todays rss feed. And today isn't even a particularly bad day - the minister of health hasn't been in the news yet.

So who cares if 9 soldiers get killed because they can't listen to instructions?

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Joke

Phew!

When I saw the headline, my first thought was.

Bugger. I'm not buying one of those printers again.

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Dead Vulture

shit happens

now to find someone [else] to blame

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Alien

Classics of SF

Nice reference to Berserkers in the subtitle, there.

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Dead Vulture

Re: Tom Sharpe predicted the future!

Did it hit a vulture, though? One just gets a mental image of Els with those four Saracen guns...

Powered by "Old Rhino Skin" brandy.

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Happy

Not the robots to blame?

I think I have spotted the one factor the PC crowd have blithely overlooked - these were women troops!

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Flame

1/8 of a second?

Not enough time for the hero to make a dash for the gun, but it may be that she was the first to get up from where she had dropped *after* it happened, and that she actually ran *toward* the gun, hoping to stop it from going off again, while everyone else ran to better cover.

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Unhappy

Not funny?

Sorry to be a wet blanket here, but it seems a lot of commentators (we won't name names here, will we Andy, Matt?) seem to have forgotten that PEOPLE DIED HERE, FFS!

Now, most Register ROTM stories are light-hearted pieces, so maybe that has lulled readers into treating everything ROTM-related as a joke. But this is NOT a standard ROTM piece! At least nine dead, and more may well have joined them by now, as 3 or 4 other soldiers were in a critical condition at hospital.

Or don't South Africans matter?

(And Moderators: Genuine thanks for not publishing my previous submission, which I admit was WAYYY over the top.)

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@Stuart Van Onselen

Maybe all those who commented are from South Africa?

So there was loss of life, errr yes, it's one of those things South Africans very quickly get used to. It happens every day in that country and normally on a much larger scale. (see Andy's comment).

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Joke

Very Funny

"Or don't South Africans matter?"

No, they only exist on the intarwebs.

Sure, some people died, but people die everyday and some of them will inevitably die in a humorous situation. It's not like we're pointing and laughing at their orphaned children in the street.

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Anonymous Coward

Uh Huh.

Is this part of the AIDS suppression program?

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Funny?

I guess I just don't see the humour in being blown to pieces by a huge bullet/small artillery shell.

Yes, death can be grimly funny.

Darwin Awards? Damn funny.

Slips on banana peel and falls down into sewer? Cliché, but still kinda funny.

Large machine deals death because of malfunction? Don't really "get" "teh funneh" in that one.

Must be just me.

BTW I _am_ a South African. And I guess several of the more cynical contributions here are by my countrymen. I wanted to beat the snot out of Andy last night for his brutally dismissive and totally compassion-less post. I guess I wouldn't have made a fuss at all if he hadn't pushed me over the edge.

Anyway, it is NOT a good thing to get blasé about death, whether it be 50 individual murders or a single accident that kills 9. It's that dismissive attitude that causes the violence in my country. Car-jackers and burglars kill their victims for no reason other than that they don't give a flying fuck about any life except their own.

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Thumb Down

Re: Funny? @ Stuart Van Onselen

Frankly Stuart, Andy is quite correct in his assessment. He may sound terribly cynical, but yes, South Africa does not feature highly on the world's agenda, and considering the SADF's terrible safety record, it's not particularly surprising to see such a comment.

It is the ignorance and indifference of the South African government that causes violence. So why should the rest of the population be anything but resigned about that brutal fact of life? When people like Lucky Dube, who are cultural icons for countless people in the townships, are shot after a carjacking, you KNOW life is cheap.

Stop living in your idealised world where things will always come right. We ALL know that our beloved country is up the creek without a paddle (hello, ESKOM failures causing massive pollution to the tune of 60+ million litres of sewage, hello, ESKOM failure at Koeberg, hello, Dr Beetroot, need I go on...)!

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Anonymous Coward

Star Trek Connection

The first thing I thought of when I read this was a "Star Trek Enterprise" episode. The one where some people desperately need technology and want fusion power above most everything else. Capt Archer ultimately refuses with a line to the effect that "if we did give it to them they'd probably blow up half a continent. They can't even conceive how dangerous this stuff is".

I often feel that way about Africa (AND the Middle East) when the US (AND FRANCE, AND RUSSIA) provide weapons systems to peoples / governments who rightly should still be throwing rocks at each other. One has to wonder why this doesn't happen 10 times a day. Maybe it does???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Star Trek Connection

Of course, we give weapons to other countries to prevent the same situation as Austrians fighting Hitler's tanks on horseback.

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Ed

We *give* weapons to other countries?

I always thought we gave them the weapons because they paid so nicely.

I guess I was confused - apparently, these are gift exchanges, and the amount of money they give just happens to be about what the catalog indicates the price of the items we give them would be?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funny?

"Anyway, it is NOT a good thing to get blasé about death, whether it be 50 individual murders or a single accident that kills 9. It's that dismissive attitude that causes the violence in my country."

Yeah, that'll be it. Nothing to do with the levels of poverty, unemployment, and corruption and a generation of social upheaval - just a lack of hugs.

Since you're still having trouble with this, let's lay it out simply:

Group of people are paid to deal death.

Said group set up machine designed to automate death-dealing and make group more efficient.

Machine promptly deals death in the direction of aforementioned group thus severely curtailing their death-dealing efficiency.

You couldn't ask for a better example of irony.

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Ah, fuck it.

I had typed up a 550 word rebuttal to the crap the various ACs have been spewing, but I might as well boil it down to the essentials, and then leave, because no-one wants to read pages and pages of my drivel, anyway.

AC @ 12:10 GMT: Whining like that is sooo 1993. Do you still have stocks of candels and baked beans?

AC @ 12:20 GMT: That is the most racist comment I have seen outside of Mein Kampf!

AC @ 15:26 GMT: OK, I get the irony now. But your "lack of hugs" sarcasm is directed at what you _thought_ I said, not what I actually intended.

And to the lot of you: Grow a pair! You're too chicken to even use your screen names!

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, fuck it.

"But your "lack of hugs" sarcasm is directed at what you _thought_ I said, not what I actually intended."

No, it was directed at what you *actually* typed. What you intended is irrelevant in a text based medium conversing with people who do not know you and cannot gues at your intentions.

The "grow a pair" argument is also retarded. What difference does it make what name is by my post? If you take issue with something I've said, then address the content of that post. Don't try and make this into some failing on my part if my anonymity makes it more difficult to throw ad hominem attacks around and instead forces you to rebut the actual points made in people's posts.

As it happens, I have a feeling that my screen name here is actually my real name so that's why I don't use it.

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Joke

Why...

...do I do this to myself? Why do I engage in pointless flame wars that serve no purpose but to increase my blood pressure and decrease my life expectancy?

I had a counter-argument for AC @ 10:34, but now it's too late - I have already lost any and all arguments!

In a foolish, noob-like mis-step, I invoked Godwin at 21:03. Therefore, as required by the Absolute Laws of Internet Discussion, I am bound to concede any and all points, and to offer my grovelling apologies to all concerned.

So here goes:

- The deaths of these people /is/ funny.

- SA does /not/ actually need an army.

- AC @ 12:10 is /not/ whiny.

- AC @ 12:20 is /not/ a racist.

- I /did/ make a naive fluffy-bunny statement about the causes of crime.

- Andy is /not/ a sociopath

- I /did/ use ad-hominems instead of proper arguments

- I /am/ a berk for making digs at the ACs.

Actually, I believe that last point. My apologies, AC @ 10:34. I should mind my manners on-line just as much as I do IRL.

And I am bowing out of this flame-fest (which I am responsible for). As flame-wars go, it was quite gentle, but I am quite inflammable, and should avoid even small fires.

Does anyone know the correct type of extinguisher for internet flames? Water, foam, powder or CO2?

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Unhappy

Re: Why... @Stuart Van Onselen

Strange isn't it when your own whining backfires, eh? Considering that I've lived in Africa for much of my life, I think AC@12:10 was quite accurate in his assessment.

Nothing irks me more when someone from Africa says "nooo, nothing's wrong, honest" when everyone else in the vicinity KNOWS it's anything but. We all love Africa, but eventually you have to draw the line at how much of the hooch you want to drink to escape the cruel reality.

That said, certain first-world countries have the same problem, so it's not like South Africa is all alone in that. It's just that we expect South Africa to make more of itself than what it is right now. Just remember what Zimbabwe once was, and what it is now.

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Parallel Universe

There is a parallel reality in which I am a wide-eyed optimist convinced that there is nothing wrong with Africa in general and South Africa in specific. And in this reality, parallel-me is arguing this point ferociously. And others are rebutting parallel-me's points just as vociferously.

Funny thing is, these rebuttals are slipping through to /this/ reality, so we see comments that refute points THAT I NEVER BLOODY-WELL MADE!*

Where in this entire, long-winded, ever-more-tiresome discussion did I say that all is well with South Africa? Nowhere, that's where.

So FFS, learn to read and stop disagreeing with something I never said.

All I asked for was a bit of balance. But it seems some people can only see things in black and white. (cf. Bush, George W.) So unless I state categorically that Africa is doomed beyond all salvation, then I am implying that "nooo, nothing's wrong, honest". Does anyone else see what's wrong, here?

Now, if you want to debate me on the things I /actually/ /said/, go for it.

* Please El Reg, give us italics and bold, pretty please. Using all-caps for simple emphasis is rude(r than I meant to be). I'd have preferred to use plain old bold there.

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Happy

Re: Parallel Universe

Wow. Quite the strop...

:-)

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Coat

I can't believe nobody remembered the immortal words...

Please put down your weapon. You have fifteen seconds to comply.

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