We need to talk about guns: Why I stopped watching the news

Yesterday a reporter was shot. Live on Camera.

The studio host reacting to live events: aka her colleague getting shot live on air

The studio host reacting to live events: aka her colleague getting shot live on air

The internet was exploding with screen grabs, articles, posts from people, THE VIDEO. The video of the asshole who shot that Reporter Alison Parker and her Cameraman, Adam Ward.
And then! before he was caught, the shooter posted the Video of him attacking those poor people from his go-pro on Twitter….

What do you say? What is there to say when someone is shot and murdered, live on Television? Or in a mass school shooting? Or in a bank for money, or because of drugs… or what EVER?! What do you say when there are these pain inflicting, life ending objects called guns and people use them to kill/intimidate/make a point/grab a moment of media attention out in the world, and every day there seems to be another report of such and such violence and fear and death?

At the end of last year, like most Australians abroad and at home, I was glued to the Television and Radio because an insane person took hostages at a Cafe in Sydney, my former home town. I was shocked and horrified, as we all were as a nation… only to discover that my (pregnant) cousin Julie was one of those 18 hostages.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 15:  People run with there hands up from the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place during a hostage standoff on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  Police stormed the Sydney cafe as a gunman has been holding hostages.  (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Julie Taylor runs  from the Lindt Cafe, Martin Place during a hostage standoff on December 15, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Police stormed the Sydney cafe as a gunman has been holding hostages. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

I cannot describe how your feeling of fear and sadness and general “that is horrible”- ness, suddenly slides into panic. The TV, the news, it becomes your only lifeline to unfolding events as you try to understand:

Why is this happening?

Why is it that every time I read the news there is always, somewhere, someone, who bought a gun and used it on somebody else.

And why are we surprised?

I’m not pointing the finger at America, but it does seem to be the country who advocates the most for their right to own a gun, to have a gun in their car or out in public.

And every time someone is murdered, in a church or school or on live TV, those NRA fuckers put out some fantastical one liner like: “Gun’s don’t kill people, people kill people.” Or they use a mass shooting as an example like: “well see now… if we had more guns, none of this would have happened.”

LIGHTBULB: Lets all get guns to protect ourselves against those people who already have guns. And then maybe we should think about getting mini-guns for our guns, because what if those other peoples guns try to attack our guns. HOW ARE OUR GUNS GOING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM OTHER GUNS?! Are you a Patriot?! DON’T YOU WANT TO BE SAFE?!

It’s gotten to the point where I just can’t watch the news anymore. I’ll read the headline, I’ll be informed. But I can’t watch another reporter talk to local eye witnesses, or muse on why this has happened. I can’t hear that everybody in the community is devastated and asking themselves… why, WHY?

We know the reason. Every time it’s the same.

Guns.

I don’t care about why the shooter did it.

So many statements, so many people feeling heard at the end of a Gun.

I care about the people, and the families torn apart (like Katrina Dawson, my cousins friend and former bridesmaid who died on the scene in that cafe in Sydney and left behind 3 small children), the communities who are still rocked, the people who now live in fear.

How did the reporters feel yesterday, reporting on the reporter who was shot?

I can’t bear to watch the segments, the speculation, the talking heads. I just can’t.

As a former reporter my goosebumps rose, as a fellow human being, my heart hurt.

It feels like a waiting game, where will the next psycho with a gun go off?

And what are we going to do about it?

Cool guys don’t look at explosions

This weekend in Ontario was a long one (thank you commonwealth) and because I am lazy and the weather is nice, I decided to have a movie marathon inside, rather than venture out into the sunshine.

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I’ve had a bit of a hunger for Action Movies since Saturday night’s visual expolgasm in the form of Mad Max Fury Road. Talk about edge of your seat action. That is the first movie I have seen since Avatar (which I saw 3 times in the cinema, fuck off haters – that shit was excellent) where I have walked out and thought, I need to see that on the big screen again…like right now.

But I’m poor and cheap tuesday is around the corner, so instead I turned to the library of movies available to me. I threw some popcorn on the stove (because I’m vintage like that) and settled down to the following movies (none of which I had seen before):

Die Hard with a Vengeance
Reservoir Dogs
Terminator 2

I like to pretend that there is only one guy out there who makes those movie bullet exploding packs (which google tells me are called Squibs – which is incidentally also the name of non-magical people born into wizarding families according to JK Rowlings Harry Potter….)

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And the guy who makes the squibs is like, “okay, how many bad guys you got getting shot?” and the Director goes… I dunno maybe… like 50? And so the Squibs guy is like “uhuh. And how many good guys you got getting shot?” And the Director scratches his head and then flicks through the script to see if there is a well-meaning black guy somewhere in there that gets shot in the line of duty and he goes: um… maybe like 3…4 tops?”

So the Squibs expert goes into his stock room and pulls out 3000 of the fake bullet suckers and goes “ok, these are for the bad guys” and then he pulls out 3 more and he goes “and these are for the good guys”.

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What I’m alluding to with my horrifically written dialogue above is that in all three of the movies I saw today and to some extent Mad Max on Saturday, the ratio of bad guy bullets and the amount of bullets our hero’s take, seem to be like 1000:1. I get that it’s an action movie, it is a bit of suspended disbelief, but honest to Betsy! I’ve never shot a gun in my life and I’m pretttttty sure I could have killed Bruce or Sarah Connors at some point with all the chances I had.

Another thing that really got to me today was how easily things exploded. Okay not Reservoir dogs which is a lot of talking in a warehouse, but Die Hard and Terminator Two?! I swear to god Bruce or Arnie so much as looked at a thing and it exploded. How much did they spend on pyrotechnics on those films? A bucket load I bet. Mad Max also had a lot of gratuitous fire and explosions, I suppose that is to be expected in a 2.5 hour long car chase through the desert. An utterly ridiculous and yet popular part of Mad Max was the guitarist propped by cables on the front of a vehicle in his red onesie, shredding a guitar that randomly spouted fire. There I was thinking: you’re telling me gasoline is extremely valuable in this apocalyptic world and that guy gets to shoot fire out of his guitar?! Okay… I guess… I mean… I’m no warlord so…

And the final thing that struck me, and it is something that the makers of Austin Powers joked about in The Spy who Loved me, why, oh whyohwhyohwhyohwhy must they always tell each other how they are going to kill each other. Why does John McClane tell the Germans when he’s coming up the tunnel behind them? Why would you do that knucklehead? Now they’re going to run, you dumb idiot?! Why does Vic Vega talk to the captured policeman. I didn’t know what was going to happen… But I knew somebody was going to stop him. Such ARROGANCE enjoying the moment, talking it out… just do it already!

I love action movies, don’t get me wrong. Maybe my brain was scrambled by watching too many in a row. They sort of started to feel formulaic, like you knew the explosions were going to happen, someone was going to end up looking bloody and beaten, and a character you liked a lot was going to fall into some dire situations.

But the part where I suddenly thought…okay well thats enough of that genre for a while, was The Terminator…being lowered into a pit of boiling… metal I guess? Giving the thumbs up as his final gesture…. Are you serious right now?

Bye bye – just kill me even though I admit I feel pain, and I got here from the future, but Nah, don’t send me back. It’s cool. Just melt me up. And the kids crying, and the mum looks distraught…. I just… hmmm.

Time for some Family Guy