An episode of Law and Order got me thinking (again) about something I’ve thought about off and on for a while. The subject is “Under what circumstances might I commit murder — or kill someone — for any reason?”
We all say stuff. “I’m going to kill you,” doesn’t mean you are actually planning a murder. You are blowing off steam, saying “I’m so angry, I’ve run out of words to express it.” Garry pointed out that television and movies would be pretty dull if everyone behaved sensibly.
We yell at each other. Sometimes there’s a slammed door and I occasionally rattle the pots and pans, but we don’t throw things. Don’t break things. Don’t kick the dogs or get in the car and drive like crazy people. We don’t binge drink or comfort ourselves with drugs.
We get angry with each other, though. We think about breaking a window. Throwing a piece of crockery. Then reconsider. Having that picture window replaced would cost a bundle. Never mind.
Under no circumstances do you hurt your pets.
In short, we are rational. We are never so angry we can’t see the consequences of our behavior.
I think most people have a hard-wired inhibition against killing people. If we didn’t, the world would be a much worse place than it already is. You have to train soldiers to kill. Young men won’t (normally) kill other young men unless you break down their inhibitions against killing. That’s what boot camp is about, right? Right. You knew that.
Garry said something perceptive, smart, reminding me of one of many reasons we’re together. He said “That’s why it’s good we have things like Facebook. People can go there to rant, rage, carry on. No knives, guns, bats. No corpses. Angry people vent. No one really gets hurt. Like the guys on the sports radio stations who call in screaming about the Red Sox. They’re just letting off steam. It’s just as well there are safe places for them to do it.” (Note: That explains Facebook. Nothing explains Twitter.)
Maybe it’s because Garry has seen so much violence and the results of violence. It was part of his job. Not the part he liked, but something he had to accept to be a reporter. I couldn’t have done it.
As to my original question, what would it take to make me kill another person? I don’t know.
Would I kill to protect my life style or for money — even a great deal of money? No.
Would I kill to protect someone? I’d want to, but could I? I’m not sure I could kill to protect myself. Many people can’t and lose their own lives because they hesitate. Television, fiction, and mythology notwithstanding, most people’s instinct is to not kill.
Inconvenient, but it may be the saving grace of the human race.
Kill Your Darlings – In this multi-day writing and editing challenge, we’re putting your red pen to the test. Each day, 10% of your post gets the axe.
POSTSCRIPT This was written a few days ago. I’ve been editing it since. Beginning at just under 750 words, it’s now 560. I’m not sure how that works out by percentage of cutting per day, but it’s in the ballpark. I do this with all my posts, except the daily prompt. Everything else sits as a draft for at least 3 days, often more.
I think the worst culprit are mobile devices — phones etc. They have eliminated communication. Sad, but I have lost the battle and continuing to fight seems pointless.
Originally posted on Sunday Night Blog:
Pulling the trigger on violence
“Hey pal, what’s up?”
“Hey! I got trouble with my damn kids.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?”
“Last night they wuz shootin at cops and hoes all night.”
“I heard you. That’s terrible.”
“You’re tellin me. I tried to call them little pests to dinner but they would pay me no mind. I spent a lot of cash at KFC, but it’s all good.”
“Good, what do you mean good?”
“I mean I can eat that chicken again today.”
“But the kids…what happened to the kids?”
“Hell if I know. They were at it all night.”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it, but you must have terrible trouble with the police.”
“No, I don’t have no trouble. It’s those kids, they got the trouble, but I guess they’ll get the hang of it soon.”
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Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro. Jaimie Alexander and lots of other people, this is absolutely the best movie ever made by a former governor of California. Or any former governor.
I’m not a very intellectual movie reviewer. That’s just as well, since there is nothing intellectual about this movie.
It’s pretty good. Lots of shooting. Blood spurting. Vicious bad guys. It has the grace to not take itself too seriously, with enough humorous moments and entirely predictable but nonetheless funny lines to make it easy to watch.
“I’m The Sheriff!” growls Arnold and by golly, he is, though Garry and I simultaneously pointed out that he used to be The Governor.
There are a lot of car chases … or maybe not really chases. More accurately, it is exceptionally good stunt driving. They actually did some stunts I’ve never seen before and I really thought I’d seen them all.
Plot? Oh, right. Plot. Okay. Think “High Noon” with a strong whiff of “Terminator.” Or any western movie where the sheriff stands up to some incredibly evil guys and whups their collective asses with the help of his faithful deputies and one old lady with a shot-gun. You’ll be glad to know that Arnold Schwarzenegger, senior citizen, ex-governor gets shot, stabbed and beat up, but walks away proudly in the end. Not into the sunset, but into the local diner. Irv’s Diner. Killing people and catching malevolent drug lords gives him an appetite. I’m just sorry I forgot to buy popcorn. It’s a beautiful, deeply touching, moment.
If you need a violence fix, this is a pretty good choice. It’s well made. Moves right along. Some great artillery and the aforementioned stunt driving.
It’s available on Amazon — free for Prime members. Probably on Netflix too. I haven’t checked but usually if it’s on one, you’ll find it on the other.
Despite news stories that would suggest the opposite, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy are fond of pointing out that the city has endured less shootings than in recent years. If that is truly the case, then the shootings in past years was under reported by local media. You can believe that they are all over it now. Local news in most big cities follow the mantra, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and shootings have become the lead stories all too often in the Windy City and around America. Chicago has become the topic of national newscasts and unfortunate late night talk show jokes.
Mayor Emanuel and his predecessor, long time mayor Rich Daley, have worked hard to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals. They worked to restrict gun sales, limit concealed carry and ban guns at certain locations. In light of gun violence, it seems logical that city leaders would lead the charge to get guns out of the hands of the type of people who would shoot up a city park. Unfortunately their efforts have met the fight to let criminals have their guns. “Who would be against the efforts of our elected officials to make the city streets safer?” you may ask. Is it just the gangs? Are the gangs using their drug profits to oppose the city in court? Is it the Mafia and their high-priced attorneys? Is it some Tea Party extremist? No, it is none of those although the last might be close. It is the National Rifle Association that is working hard to let criminals have guns and keep violence on main street America. They have money. They have lawyers and they like taking Chicago to court.
Yes, one of the roadblocks to taking guns away from criminals is the NRA. They will now point to recent shootings as proof that we can not have gun control. They will again try to force feed us the argument that gun control will mean that only criminals will have guns and we will all be at their mercy, as if we are not now. The NRA will use their usual scare tactics to defend their extreme position that actually allows criminals to get more and more guns. They will then attempt to sell us on the idea that all of those guns in the hands of criminals means we can not have gun control laws. Somehow they seem to think that arming the bad guys is proof that the good guys should not have to face any sort of restrictions on buying guns. If you think this philosophy is a bit twisted, you are right (or perhaps I meant left).
The “slippery slope” argument is at the top of the NRA’s philosophy about gun control laws. They seem to think that if there are any restrictions to buying guns, soon there will be more and more restrictions to follow and eventually all the good guys will have to give up their guns to the federal, state and local governments. It does not matter that this argument make no sense and the Second Amendment will protect them. They continue to fight the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago through misleading pronouncements and court challenges. Consider the common sense ideas of the state and city along with the extremist, Wild West position of the NRA.
Attempts at restricting private sale or transfer of guns to criminals have been challenged. Reporting lost or stolen guns has been challenged. Restricting concealed carry in certain public places has been challenged. The NRA has won a battle against the State of Illinois in Moore v. Madigan. That would be Lisa Madigan, Attorney General for the State of Illinois. They claimed that the State efforts to enforce its laws left people “defenseless” outside their own homes. They also backed McDonald v. Chicago in a fight against Chicago hand guns laws. Their direct fight in NRA v. Chicago was later consolidated with the McDonald case. While the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the Chicago law, the fight went to the Supreme Court where the much of the Chicago ordinance was struck down, leaving the city to attempt a less restrictive ban in 2010.
The State of Illinois was forced in July to adopt a concealed weapons laws, which angered city officials. The law forced changes on the City of Chicago. City officials, however, refuse to roll over to the wishes of the NRA. They are now attempting to ban guns in bars and restaurants that sell alcohol. They feel guns and booze don’t mix. They expect the NRA to back the Dodge City mentality and challenge them in court. Apparently, there should be no checking of hand guns at the door, but Marshal Dillon is not around to toss the bad guys in jail like an episode of Gunsmoke so this may not go well. Perhaps all disputes will be settled by a duel in the street rather than shooting up Chicago saloons.
If Al Capone were still alive he would be proud of the efforts of the NRA to let Capone and Frank Nitti keep guns on the streets of Chicago. As for Eliot Ness, the NRA would keep him and the Untouchables busy in court with challenges over any attempts to enforce the law, even common sense laws.
Despite all the palaver that the availability of guns does not affect crime levels, this is so obviously ridiculous and self-serving by gun enthusiasts that it really isn’t worth arguing. I think everyone who hunts, competes in shooting sports and has some kind of genuine reason to own a weapon should be allowed to do so. I also think that all guns should be better regulated, insured, and kept track of. Here is an opinion from Richard Paschall, SUNDAY NIGHT BLOG. Well worth reading.
- Obama Blames the NRA for Gun Violence (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- NRA – Gun’s Don’t Kill People, Movies & Video Games Do. Say what now? (epicagames.com)
- NRA’s LaPierre blames poor security for Navy Yard shooting (cbsnews.com)
- NRA mantra of “Enforce Existing Gun Laws” comes back to bite them in the ass. (sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com)
Pixel Hall Press, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Members’ Titles
314 pages, Publication Date: May 6, 2013
It would be hard enough growing up any different kind of kid in a small rural community. Growing up the only Jew in a poverty-stricken mountain town would be significantly harder. So what would it be like growing up a brown-skinned Jewish girl — the only Jew, the only person of color and the only foreigner — in an inbred narrow-minded fundamentalist Christian town with a strong skinhead militia contingent and longstanding prejudices against anyone who is at all different?
Add it together and it goes far beyond difficult and moves into the realm of nearly impossible.
Judith Ormand spent her early life in Paris, France, the daughter of a Black man and a converted-to-Judaism white mother. After her mother dies of causes never clearly explained, she ends up being raised by her Moravian German grandparents in a small insular Pennsylvania mountain village.
Her growing up years were punctuated by racial attacks, by violence, hatred and fear. Her only protector? Joe Anderson, a handsome blond football player, son of a drunken father and a skinhead, drug-dealer brother. When Joe — her beloved best friend — turns against her, her world is shattered. She vows, encouraged by her grandmother, to never under any circumstances return to Black Bear, Pennsylvania.
But Gramma and Grampa are gone and despite any promises she made, Judith — Jo — must return and face the nightmare of her growing up years and uncover the truth about the people she loved and lost.
The book is a compelling psychological drama and Judith Ormand is a fascinating character, a perfect target for bigoted small town residents. I found the story gripping and honest …. until it approached the end.
All of a sudden, the book went into overdrive, as if the author had reached her page limit and now had to quickly tie up all the loose ends and somehow give this sad story a happy ending. I didn’t believe the ending. I didn’t find it emotionally honest and didn’t think it made sense based on everything that had gone before. After such a very promising start, it was a big disappointment.
For all that, the book is worth the read. The misery of a child who is so very different trying to find happiness in a frightening and hostile environment is heart-wrenching. I wish the author had stayed the course and written the ending with the same integrity she gave to the story’s beginning and middle.
Jo Joe is available as a hardcover from Amazon. It will be available in paperback and on Kindle in June 2013.