opinion

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Comments on Comic: Insanity

Guns don't kill people. Bullets do

Republicans from Mogadishu to Kabul celebrated today when Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill permitting Arizonans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
have your say   

9 comments on this story

1
63 comments
Apr 17, 2010, 10:43 am
-0 +0

Yeah, this whole everybody being armed thing worked so well in the Balkans.

2
270 comments
Apr 18, 2010, 3:10 pm
-0 +0

I wonder what percentage of gunshot wounds are accidentally self-inflicted, and what additional percentage are accidentally inflicted on friends and relatives ...

I wonder also how many people get shot because they think owning a gun and having been to a range a few times qualifies them to draw down on a professional criminal rather than running away, hiding and/or calling the police.

3
63 comments
Apr 18, 2010, 4:12 pm
-0 +0

I tried to make that point to a local, fairly liberal, radio talk show host in Baltimore years ago. He came home one evening and some homeless person was holding a knife to his wife’s throat on his front porch. He managed to talk the guy into dropping the knife, and that homeless person then ran away. But on his show this talk show host said he “wished [he] had a gun.” I called and said I could understand how helpless and angry he must have felt, but pulling a gun might have made the situation worse. He did not agree. Few people are trained to the point they could shoot someone without injuring the person they are trying to save. You may recall how the media made a big hero out of the female cop who they thought shot the Fort Hood killer? Turned out it was really a different cop who shot him. Not to say she wasn’t brave and or wasn’t doing her duty, but there’s this temptation to not let the facts get in the way of a good story. Does the name Jessica Lynch ring a bell?

4
270 comments
Apr 18, 2010, 4:20 pm
-0 +0

We can blame Charles Bronson and all his cinematic descendants. As you say, few people are trained to the point they could shoot someone who is holding a knife or gun on someone else, and an even smaller number would try.

But Hollywood makes people believe a headshot with a handgun is a realistic possibility, and Hollywood makes people believe anyone can be a hero.

In the real world, it all ends in tears.

5
63 comments
Apr 18, 2010, 4:32 pm
-0 +0

Don’t forget Clint “Make my Day” Eastwood. Though I think he’s actually a liberal, or became one. Bronson and Michael Winner, who directed most those “Death Wish” films, just stumbled onto a money making formula. Can’t blame them for mining it. If I’m not mistaken, plenty of studies have indicated there’s not really any connection between watching such films and going out and shooting someone. That is, unless the person was already inclined toward that behavior. So many things can set people off these days. Maybe we should put Xanax in the water supply and be done with it. Hmmm. How about lacing the punch at the next Tea Party confab with that drug? Pretty soon they’d be sayin’, “Raise my taxes, I couldn’t care less.”

6
270 comments
Apr 18, 2010, 4:45 pm
-0 +0

I don’t blame them at all. Only idiots think Hollywood is real.

I lived for a long time in Hong Kong, where some years ago there was a spate of gold shop robberies perpetrated by mainland Chinese who crossed the border specifically for that purpose. After one, a police shootout in a subway station resulted in something like 100 shots fired (could have been many more, but I’ve forgotten the details), nearly all by police, with only one casualty. Yes, you guessed it, a pregnant woman (she survived, as did her baby).

Eastwood I love. And during this latter part of his career he’s done quite a bit of realism. “Unforgiven”, the two Iwo Jima movies, “Gran Torino” ... great stuff.

Let ‘em all kill one another. Just make sure there aren’t any ricochets.

7
63 comments
Apr 18, 2010, 9:57 pm
-0 +0

100 shots, wow. Seriously, it’s amazing more people were not hurt. In Baltimore, where I grew up, though in a pretty tame suburb, people often expressed the sentiment you did in your last sentence. And it is usually one drug dealer killing another over territorial rights. The shame is some innocents, including kids, get caught in the crossfire. And the kids, while they can be hardened criminals themselves at nine or ten, really didn’t a choice in where they were born. In most inner city areas, one hears true stories of someone getting hit by stray bullet while sitting in their living room watching TV.
And, yes, Eastwood has attempted to show the real consequences of violence in his more recent films. But not everyone watching those movies gets it. I remember reading reports of some people laughing during the scene in Spielberg’s film of “Schindler’s List,” when the Ralph Fiennes character executes the young Jewish woman who points out that the foundation for some building is defective. I guess I just don’t move in circles where I encounter such crude, morally defective people that often.

8
63 comments
Apr 19, 2010, 7:17 am
-0 +0

I feel like I need to address your statement:

“I don’t blame them at all. Only idiots think Hollywood is real.”

If you are using “Hollywood” to mean mainstream, commercial, or exploitation independent films (like the original Blair Witch Project, or numerous low/no budget horror films), I generally agree. But just like the best short stories and novels, the best of indie or even major studio films are a heightened and hyper version of reality, that can be metaphorically “real,” or representative of some part of the truth of our condition and existence. The literal truth may be found only in he minutia of our day to day lives. But drama from the Greek playwrights forward, or from even earlier tribal storytellers, has sought to illuminate and reveal basic truths through fiction. And this illumination does not only take place though glum depictions of reality. Comedy can be equally an expression of the human condition. I think the lighter film of Igmar Bergman prove this. OK, he’s not Hollywood, so I’ll say Robert Altman, even though he’s dead too. Altman’s best films often worked on that dual level of being comic, but also very serious.

9
270 comments
Apr 19, 2010, 1:34 pm
-0 +0

“The literal truth may be found only in he minutia of our day to day lives.”

That was the point I’m trying to make. Commercial aviation is not “Snakes on a Plane” (which thankfully I never saw, nor was I tempted to), but those idiot pilots for Northwest overshooting Detroit or wherever it was because they were (or weren’t) discussion pension plans and holidays.

And Vietnam was “Full Metal Jacket”, not “Apocalypse Now”.

And “The Hurt Locker” is a lot more real than most military personnel care to admit, in its portrayal of fear and insanity and boredom bred of a crazy situation.

That’s all I’m saying. Hollywood (i.e. all film, but especially Hollywood) compresses reality (or unreality) to the point it’s all unreal.

— 30 —

{/exp:weblog:entries}

Best in Internet Exploder