I'm an old hippie.
I'm also a gun owner and sport shooter.
I grew up in in the country where people had guns and hunted.
I was a hippie in the 1960s when police repression caused a lot of people to talk about getting guns and fighting back.
Yet the supposedly violent 1960s were incredibly safe and peaceful if one didn't live in the South where the racists were murdering civil rights workers left and right.
Even the huge riots that left the cities burning resulted in far more property damage than loss of lives.
The media called us flower children and the rabid right wing chicken hawks called us cowards.
Then in 1970 a movie called Dirty Harry came out.
Cinemaistis saw it and compared it to Kurosawa's samurai films. Little did we know it was the first film in a genre of right wing propaganda films aimed at frightening the American people in to accepting more and more authoritarian police. Police whose hand were tied by judges and civil libertarians.
Then came all the action films that made ever more extreme guns sexy.
A few Years back I was purchasing the civilian version of the AK47. No flash suppressor, hunting rifle type stock. I wanted one because it was dirt cheap to shoot. The seller said, "But it doesn't have a bayonet lug."
I answered with, "That's okay. I'm not planning to run down the lane at the range and stab the target." I could of added that a piece of paper or metal knock down target wasn't likely to come running down the range to require me to go hand to hand with it.
Mostly I just want to go to the range and get in the zen groove of making as small a single hole in the target with a magazine of ammo as I can at a measured distance. My big thrill is putting all the round from a 17 round magazine in a circle of 2 inches at 21 feet.
I never bothered to get a concealed carry permit because I don't particularly want to carry a gun around with me. Although if the world ever goes to shit to the point where that becomes necessary I figure a permit will be the least of my concerns.
As a hippie gun owner I am appalled by the racism of so many gun owners. I view the NRA as the biggest threat in the country to my rights as a gun owner and sport shooter.
Their spokespeople come off as insane. Ted Nuggent representing responsible gun ownership. This freak boasted about fucking 14 year old little girls back in the 1970s.
Worse yet is the action movie commando mentality.
To many people act like they are the heroes in fucking video games defending the world from Zombies. BTW Zombie is their latest code word for African American and other people of color along with the folks they call, "libtards."
As a progressive I'm not going to blame the inanimate object. It is too glib, too easy and too police state to do that. Look at the criminalization of drugs. The drugs aren't responsible for the crime, the criminalization is.
The right wing used to beat up on lefties and liberals for placing the blame for crime committed by the underclasses upon society that perpetuated the underclasses.
The lefties and liberals were right.
We are not going to be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube on guns. Too many people own them and too many people like owning them. Besides, here in the US there is a history of that ownership and it is considered a right.
When we blame the gun for all this we are blaming an inanimate object.
Someone has to pull the trigger.
Someone has to have a different mindset from the person who goes and shoots targets, or hunts or even has a gun at home for self defense.
When corporations pour billions of dollars into advertising products, often times spending more on advertising a product than on making it they must believe that their repetitious messages work.
That thousands upon thousands of repetitions of a message will get inside at least a few heads and cause those people to follow the message being delivered.
We've had over forty years of the glamorizing of murder fed to us.
I watch British mysteries on the PBS Station here. Murders one and all, often with realistic physical fights in them but without the graphic violence.
When I watch some of the gun show sponsored by the NRA and gun manufacturers I hear about how such and such gun was shown in various movies.
So many of these movies and television show teach how to kill without remorse. One of the things I remember from some of the early Bruce Lee films was that he showed remorse when he killed someone.
Now we have had forty years of violence as the solution, the dehumanizing of anyone but the dubious hero, shoved into us. More killing than takes place in a war zone, the creation of the idea of America being a free fire war zone.
Now we wonder why when someone goes out and acts out a role in one of those action films.
With the ramping up of action movie violence the guns have gotten ever more extreme with grenade launchers, lights, laser sight and so much crap hanging off them they look like a walking gun accessory show.
The cop movies and cowboy movies of my childhood with the six shooters that never seemed to need reloading weren't all that realistic, but I doubt Alan Ladd, Gary Cooper or even John Wayne would recognize the guns used today.
Or for that matter endorse the level of violence in today's movies.
Consider the people who turned down the role of Dirty Harry.
Details about the film were first released in film industry trade papers in April, September and November 1970 with Frank Sinatra attached as Harry Callahan and Irvin Kershner listed as director and producer with Arthur Jacobson acting as associate producer.Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, and Burt Lancaster were also offered the role. Mitchum dismissed this totemic role as "a piece of junk." In Dick Lochte‘s article, "Just One More Hangover: A Vodka-Soaked Afternoon with Robert Mitchum", he writes: Mitchum always got "those prices" in those days. "Somebody says, 'We really want you to do this script.' And I say, 'I'd need an awful lot of money in front to do that one.' And that never seems to be a problem. The less I like the script, the higher my price. And they pay. They may pay in yen, but they pay. Not that I'm a complete whore, understand. There are movies I won't do for any amount. I turned down Patton and I turned down Dirty Harry. Movies that piss on the world. If I've got $5 in my pocket, I don't need to make money that fucking way, daddy."
Sinatra actually accepted the role, however he had broken his wrist during the filming of The Manchurian Candidate eight years previously, and during contract negotiations, he found the large handgun too unwieldy. Additionally, his father had recently died, and Sinatra decided he wanted to do some lighter material. In a 16 November 1970 Warner Bros. press release, it was announced that Sinatra would no longer be involved in the project. When Sinatra dropped out, so did Kershner.
After Sinatra left the project, the producers started to consider younger actors for the role. Burt Lancaster turned down the lead role because he strongly disagreed with the violent, right-wing morals of the story. He believed the role and plot contradicted his belief in a collective responsibility for criminal and social justice and the protection of individual rights.Marlon Brando was considered for the role, but was never formally approached. Both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman turned down the role. McQueen refused to make another “cop movie” after Bullitt (1968). He would also turn down the lead in The French Connection the same year, giving the same reason. Believing the character was too "right-wing" for him, Newman suggested that the film would be a good vehicle for Eastwood.
The screenplay was initially brought to Clint’s attention around 1969 by Jennings Lang and while still in post-production for his directorial debut film Play Misty for Me, Warner Bros offered him the part. By 17 December 1970, in a Warner Brothers studio press release it was announced that Clint Eastwood would star in as well as produce the film through his Malpaso Company.
Maybe we should also question the role of video games in desensitizing people to the act of murder.
When I practice at the range I am training deep muscle memory. The targets are most often head and upper body silhouettes. No human features yet I am aware that what I am in fact doing is training to automatically place a lethal shot in the heart region of a person. Just like when I practiced Tae Kwon Do and repeated certain combinations of kicks and punches I was aware I was training to kill an attacker.
Take a step back to left clicking a mouse and blowing the brains out of a Nazi while playing Call of Duty. It's only bits and byte without even the feed back of the noise and recoil of a gun or the knuckle pain of punching a heavy bag or target.
Even less reason to think about the consequences.
We have soldiers coming back from the Middle Eastern war zones and committing suicide because of the reality of what they saw.
Now we have the Zimmermans of the world acting like the lone avenger and this creep dressing up like the murderous amoral, Joker.
I think the joke is on us and the sort of society we created in order to bring about an imaginary right wing libertarian utopia.
The tough guy, rogue warrior turned domestic terrorist.