Right to Bear Arms

May 27, 2014

A silly visual pun, but is it any more silly than the tortured “originalist” intepretations of the US Constitution by the likes of Justice Scalia when it comes to the right to “bear arms?”  Joe Nocera points out today in his column, that new scholarship makes clear, if it ever was not clear, that The Framers meant for citizens to have the right to form armed militias – they didn’t have, and didn’t want a standing army in those days. Now, we have quite an army; an entire military-industrial complex.  The one that the army guy, Eisenhower, warned us about.

Is Scalia listening? It really has nothing to do with hunters, homicidal maniacs, criminals, and other gun lovers, that many today feel should be regulated.

The justice likes to claim that he bases his opinions only on what The Framers said, or what they “meant,” but of course, he decides what they meant.  And his originalism is remarkably flexible, always hewing to the latest right-wing conservative line.

Now, none of this is too surprising, but what did bring me up a bit short was Nocera’s comment that this position by the Republican establishment is relatively recent, c. 1980.  It coincides with the Reagonzo Revolution, the ascendance within the Republican party of the angry, somewhat bigoted men, white men.  Thanks again, Ronnie.

Problem of Theory and Practice

September 17, 2013

In the news today:

An argument over the teachings of the philosopher Immanuel Kant between two men standing in line for beer at an outdoor festival in southern Russia ended when one man shot the other in the head with gun loaded with rubber bullets, the state RIA news agency reported on Monday, citing the police. Though the wound was not critical, the attacker faces up to a decade in prison if convicted on assault charges.

BTW, the images of the bandit are from the final sequence (or the first, in some releases) of The Great Train Robbery (1904), a seminal work in the history of film.  It’s pretty darn good, and you can watch it on Youtube.

American Freedom

December 15, 2012

Not the model the Sandy Hook shooter used, but hey, are we going to outlaw such a cute innovation?

My home, my castle.

October 24, 2012

In Montana, a 40-year old man was intoxicated, and angry about the affair going on between his wife and his neighbor.  He walked over to the neighbor’s house:  the neighbor knew he was coming.  He had time to go inside and retrieve his gun.  Then he shot the man three times.  No charges will be filed because of the state law allowing a person to use lethal force against anyone on your property who you feel might be threatening you.  The angry man was unarmed.

So, a man is dead, four kids have no father, because a guy was afraid of getting punched in the nose, and didn’t want to suffer the humiliation of just staying inside behind a locked door. 

As one commenter on the story said of our screwed-up thinking about the value of life, “The life of an eight week old fetus is sacred, but the life of a 40-year old father is not worth protecting.”

Another one bites the dust…

October 5, 2012

This woman’s son was shot by police when they pulled him over  after he allegedly cut them off on a NYC highway.  Everyone in the car, including an off-duty police officer, was unarmed.  The NYPD has offered no explanation for why the officer fired the fatal bullet.

This sort of thing seems to happen a lot in NYC, and the victims are usually black or Hispanic.

The two police trucks forced Mr. Polanco to stop after one truck went in front of the Honda while the second truck maneuvered behind. After the car stopped, along a median of the busy highway, two officers approached the car, a sergeant at the driver’s side and the detective at the passenger’s side where the windows were open, the police said.

Ms. Deferrari later told the police that she had heard the officers order those inside the car to show their hands. In an interview, she said that Mr. Polanco had no time to comply and that, in that instant, the detective, Hassan Hamdy, 39, fired the shot. Ms. Deferrari said she believed the shooting was the result of a case of police road rage.

No weapons were found inside Mr. Polanco’s car, the police said.

Complete newspaper article here.  Does shooting someone like this count as police ‘brutality’ I wonder..?

Who scares you more?

March 22, 2012

A kid walks through a neighborhood with some candy, and a guy with a gun reports him in a 911 call.  Then he follows the kid, despite being advised not to by the 911 staff.  Then he shoots the kid to death.  Sounds like murder to me, maybe first degree.  That is, premeditated.  How far in advance do you have to plan it for it to be more than manslaughter?

No charges have been brought since the great state of Florida condones such behavior as justifiable  self-defense.  After all, Zimmerman felt threatened.  Umm…so do I.

The good old days!

May 5, 2010

Loved this show as a kid.  Certainly, this is one of the most memorable sequences in popular TV.

The gun is good…

April 20, 2009


… The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life, and poisons the earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death, and purifies the earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth and kill!

So sayeth the god, Zardoz, in the film of the same name.  I had been wanting to see this film for some time to find out just what the heck it was about – I saw a clip of it once with a floating head soaring above a pastoral landscape to the sound of the second movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.  Having seen it now, or the part I could sit through, I ask, “How could the man who made this great movie [Point Blank], make this lump of mush?”

It’s an amalgam of Brave New World, The Time Machine, and a host of other sci-fi movies and novels, wrapped up in an archly British satirical wrapper, but it fails miserably.  It plays on feminism, reverses machismo (i.e., the John Wayne version of Gun=good, Penis=good), toys with ideas of mind control, the enervating consequences of leisure, etc. etc.  If it were paced a lot faster, and if it didn’t take itself so seriously, it could have been rollickingly good.

The opening action piece is the best:  a gigantic floating head lands in the middle of nowhere and is worshipped by brutal horsemen who seem to live for violence and murder.  The head gives its speech about penis-evil and guns.  Sean Connery is one of the brutal ones, an elite one allowed to breed, and he hitches a ride in the head to see who’s in control.  It’s not unlike the Wizard of Oz, from which the god takes his name.

Why do the brutal exterminators run around in red loin cloths while the ones they kill all seemed to be dressed in worn out suits, as if they are refugees from office work?  Funny, sometimes environmentalists talk  like the Head – people as pollution.

Somewhere along the way, Sean Connery wears a wedding dress.  I’ll have to go watch more of it to find out why.


Point Blank

January 8, 2009

Walking, walking, walking…his name is Walker.  His wife won’t know what hit her.   I fondly recall this pedestrian passageway from the Los Angeles airport. Another weird view in a mirror.

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Driving around sun-drenched LA.  Beauty waits for the Beast.  Another view in a glass.

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The scenes from the movie trailer I remember seeing in 1967.  Bam, bam, bam…who knew he was shooting at an empty bed?  His target flew the coop long ago.  He really messed up her bed, and not with rough sex.  Is Walker shooting with blanks, as they say?

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The obligatory after-passionate-sex scene when the couple usually takes langrous drags on cigarettes.  No smoke here, no fire.  Walker dangles his empty gun limply between his legs.

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They sucumb to reverie…how they met.  “You were drunk,” she says.  She wore white.  And who are those thugs shadowing them all the while.  They sure “met cute.”

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Yeah, but things didn’t turn out so great.  Life’s no picnic in southern California suburbia…

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Wife’s dead, a suicide with pills.  Now he gets with her sister.  Nice scenery in Santa Monica.  Will she help him, he asks as he uses the scope to sight the penthouse where his prey is living?  Is it an accident that they are the same color?  A woman and a telescope, just a means to an end…getting that $93,000 he’s owed. 

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They set up Walker to be shot by a sniper, but he’s too smart for them.  The bad guys get killed.  The wonderful L.A. River is the setting.  Thanks to the US Army Corps of Engineers for this splendid WPA Deco style set doubling as a public works flood control project.

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Waiting in the hillside villa for the big guy, Chris wonders, “Does this guy feel anything?”

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While he waits, a little TV.  Part of the weird and sardonic social satire this movie contains.

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Chris collapses after pummeling him, and leaves.  But not before she sets the kitchen buzzing with multiple appliances running riot just to annoy him.  The effect is of a poltergeist loose among consumer heaven.