The battle between man and machine had raged for several months before Lucas Hinch decided that enough was enough. In an alleyway of Colorado Springs, a little before sunset, Mr Hinch shot his Dell XPS 410 personal computer eight times with a 9mm pistol.
“Man Kills His Computer,” said a report by the Colorado Springs police department, published between notices of a 15-year-old girl injured while jaywalking and a follow-up on a “suspicious male taking a shower in a public restroom”.
On Monday, shortly before 7pm, “officers responded to shots fired” in an alleyway in the western suburbs of the city. “Investigation revealed a resident was fed up with fighting his computer for the last several months,” the report said.
The department later published a photograph of the body of the computer, which had been struck eight times in its vital organs, execution style, by a merciless gunman.
Although there is no law to protect personal computers against acts of violence, it is illegal to discharge a firearm except in the defence of life or property. A blue screen that appears despite numerous efforts to reboot the system is not considered sufficient justification for gunfire.
Mr Hinch co-operated fully with the police and later acknowledged, proudly, that he was the man who fired the shots. He told the Los Angeles Times: “I reached critical mass.”
That was when he decided to settle the matter outside. Although he appears to have acted in the heat of the moment, Mr Hinch, 37, described the killing as “premeditated, oh, definitely. I made sure there wasn’t anything behind it and nothing to ricochet.”
Then he drew his pistol. It was a 9mm Hi-Point. The standard clip holds eight bullets, so the Dell had to ask itself the question, did it feel lucky? The question would pose problems for any computer, let alone one that had been unplugged and placed in an alleyway.
Mr Hinch, recalling the moment, felt “it was glorious. Angels sung on high.”
He has been charged with discharging a firearm within city limits. As for his computer, according to the Smoking Gun website, it is survived by a keyboard and a screen.