May 9, 2011

“Go ahead – shoot me!”

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:15 pm

The assertion that statistically the most common quote attributed to people who had been murdered via shooting was “Go ahead – shoot me!” made this columnist wonder how the number scientists had come up with that conclusion. Then we leaped to the assumption that they must have asked people being accused of doing the deed; “What did the victim say?”

The recent news stories about a Wikileaks revelation that al Qaeda have warned Americas that if Osama got whacked, rubbed out, or off-ed, their preferred form of retaliation would be in the form of a nuclear device.

In all the commotion in recent history over terrorism, we’ve lost count of the exact number of actual terrorist attacks aimed against the United States. Some of the more paranoid members of the lunatic conspiracy theory community have alleged that the Oklahoma City bombing had stealth links to foreign terrorists. A different branch (dividians?) of loons thinks that TWA flight 800 was struck by a surface to air missile.

Should the events of September 11, 2001 be counted as one coordinated attack or several separate attacks?

Some of the fellows wearing “9-11 was an inside job” T-shirts don’t think that the attacks on the World Trade Center should be counted as the work of terrorists.

Whatever the exact number is; it’s obvious that America’s leaders either don’t think that a nuclear response to the hit on bin Laden is possible, or, if it is, it won’t matter in the overall assessment by future historians studying George W. Bush’s “Forever War.”

America will, alone if necessary, stride forward [like Marshal Will Kane (Garry Cooper) in the movie “High Noon”] to face the bad guys with stoical determination.

In literary circles, there is an urban legend that Owen Wister (not Whistler like the guy who painted his mother) offered $100 (a considerable amount of money at that time) for any fact checker who could provide a contemporary newspaper account of a movie style “drawdown” example of gunplay. No one ever collect the money.

The shootout at the OK corral was more like a horse era drive by shooting than anything staged and choreographed by George Stevens and his cinematographer.

In “The Man who shot Liberty Valance,” a mild mannered lawyer is perceived to be a hero who shot a bad guy in self defense and parlays that into a lifetime series of political triumphs. The man who actually did shoot Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) remains anonymous. Since some pundits have asserted that the Osama hit will provide President Obama with a surge in popularity that will propel him to a second term, there might be an opportunity to add some contemporary political commentary to a nostalgic column reassessing that almost forgotten John Ford classic film.

Could a clever writer produce a column about the shootout at the bin Laden compound corral and make it sound like a parody of Ernst Hemingway’s short story titled “The Killers”?

In the 1940 film “The Bank Dick,” W. C. Fields, under the scriptwriting pseudonym of Mahatma Kane Jeeves, included a bit that permitted the comedian to spoof the concept of using a gun under his coat for a fast-draw emergency situation.

Didn’t famed film critic (and one time Berkeley CA resident?) Pauline Kael succinctly express Hollywood’s love affair with gunplay in a collection of her movie reviews titled: “Kiss, kiss, bang, bang”?

The opening sequence in “Lord of War” (an underappreciated classic) portrayed the life of a single bullet.

Wasn’t “the single bullet theory” invented by Arlen Specter?

Which brings us to: “Back and to the left!”

What ever happened to the plans to film the story of Giuseppei Zangara and his fast tracked appointment with death?

Isn’t using a President for target practice a sure fire (pun?) way to vault to fame and a prominent place in the Contemporary American Culture Hall of Fame? Just ask Leon Czolgosz and/or Charles Julius Guiteau.

American cultural imperialism is based on the films from Hollywood and isn’t gunplay an integral part of that form of entertainment? Wasn’t one of the first films about a train robbery?

Didn’t movie script writers mine the field of murder with a gun to great advantage?

Where would Hollywood be today if they didn’t tell the stories of the gunslingers and their victims? Who doesn’t know about Harry K. Thaw, Sacco and Vanzetti, Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Charlie Starkweather, and Gavrilo Princip, the man whose bullets cause several million deaths? Didn’t someone once say that Guns are as American as apple pie?

Since, for their own protection, the identities of the Seals who did the shooting in the bin Laden compound must remain secret, that means that the story will be in the public domain and not sold as part of a “life story” deal for anyone of the men who were there. What Hollywood producer doesn’t love material (ripe for fictionalization) that doesn’t require the use of a large “rights” payment? How many film versions of the bin Laden caper will be made? Will it be five or six? In all the excitement, even the Hollywood Reporter might loose track of the exact number. Which version will catch the public’s fancy? Now, potential producers have to ask themselves one more question. “Do I feel lucky?”

Did any of the accounts of the termination of bin Laden’s command (with extreme prejudice) report what his last words were? Did he say “Top of the world, ma!” or did he say “The Horror! The Horror!”

How many liberal Californians decorated their hippie pads with the poster that showed California Governor (and former actor) Ronald Reagan in a cowboy costume with a drawn six-shooter and the dialogue balloon that read: “Thanks for the votes, suckers!”?

Some folks wonder why the Conservative Christians in the Teabag Party embrace guns.

Teabaggers are not given proper credit for promoting the sentiment of: “Shoot if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag.”

Mao Tse-tung has said: “Every Communist must grasp the truth: ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Amen!

The disk jockey has lost count of all the good “shoot-em-up” songs and so he’ll play these classic American songs:
“Theme from ‘High Noon’” by Frankie Lane
“Stagger Lee”
“Frankie and Johnny”
Gene Pitney’s “(The Man who shot) Liberty Valance?”
“Bang Bang” by Cher
“The Long Black Veil” by Johnny Cash
The Johnny Cash song with the “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” line
What was the name of that Johnny Cash song about a gun fighter with dementia who wanders into modern day automobile traffic thinking he is going to face an outlaw and former member of Quantrill’s Raiders?
The theme from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
Loren Green’s song “Ringo”
“I Hate Mondays”
“Guns, guns, guns” by the Guess Who (that’s the band’s name and not a challenge) and, of course, a bunch of Ennio Morricone film scores.

We have to go to the shooting range and hone our self-defense skills.

Have a “never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way” type week.

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