Movie News

Moriarty's Rumblings From The Labs #9

Published at: Aug. 15, 1999, 3:35 p.m. CST

Alright folks... This should make for an interesting talk back. Seems the dear ol professor got up in arms about the way the media has been CONTINUING to cover Columbine... Not that I blame him. Personally... I'm just gonna get out of the way and let Moriarty get to it. I'm sleepy.

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

It's been hours since the last henchman went to bed, but I'm still awake, sitting in the main media room of The Moriarty Labs, watching the news channels blather on as the second day of the new school year dawns at Columbine High School, and to be quite honest, I'm amazed no one's dead yet.

No, no, really. Think about it. Those students have had the whole summer to themselves. Think about what they've been up to in that time. Videogames... lots of them. CDs, concerts... and, yes, movies. Tons of movies. I know because I've gotten e-mail from some of them. The movies they've seen... some of them have even been rated R. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. AMERICAN PIE. SOUTH PARK, for God's sake, with that language and that violence! Can you imagine? And some of them may have even finally caught up with THE MATRIX and seen that by now, and we all know what that leads to. I'm sure that right now, some poor disenfranchised youth is in his garage, working on a batch of genetically altered sharks just in case they fail a test and have to flip out.

Oh, excuse me... am I making you angry? Have I offended you?

GOOD.

There's something that's really been under my skin the last couple of weeks, and I wasn't able to pinpoint it until the coverage started ramping up on Columbine's opening day. We've been unfortunate enough to have had several workplace shootings in the last few weeks as well as the Van Nuys shooting with Buford Furrow last week, and there's been the typical flurry of coverage around each one. Now the media's feeding off Littleton's desire to heal and move forward, and it made me remember the tone of the coverage right after the April 20 incident. If you remember my piece on a particularly heinous 60 MINUTES story, there was a deeply frenzied attempt to point fingers at certain movies and games at that point, something captured beautifully (and coincidentally) in Matt and Trey's wonderful SOUTH PARK: B, L, & U.

So where's that same chorus of finger-pointers now? We have a rash of shootings across the country, and I haven't heard one peep, not one word about what movies the shooters watched or what videogames they played or what music they listened to. Furrow's a Neo-Nazi, but that's not universal to all the shooters. There's no common component to any of them. Instead of desperately casting about for some reason, some external thing that made them do it, we seem content to accept that they couldn't handle the stress of the world, that they were broken men who lashed out in an effort to find any voice possible.

Why, then, the hypocrisy? Why should we dismiss the idea that Kleibold and Harris were anything more than hate-filled boys with no outlet for their rage? Why should they be any less responsible for their actions? Why should they be allowed an excuse as convenient as the entertainment they consumed when the adults are held to different standards?

I think it's a basic lack of respect for children as actual people. I think it is astonishingly wrong of us to believe that there's no pressure associated with childhood. I think it is willful blindness, and it's dangerous. We have officially beat to death the idea that the media is somehow on the hook for these tragedies. We must accept the idea that children, even the broken ones, are responsible in the same way that the rest of us are. The only way someone can grown into that responsibility and learn to handle it is if they are trusted to make mistakes, trusted to learn from them. We must respect our children and know that the things that make us angry can make them angry, too. The things that give us stress can give them stress. And just as an adult can snap and become a menace, so can a child.

I am truly moved by the reports of the hundreds of parents at Littleton who turned out on Monday to form a human shield that blocked the 2,000 students from the view of the media. Since the media couldn't show the basic human decency to give these still-healing students room on this very important day, these parents took the responsibility on themselves. That's a beautiful thing, and it should serve as a signal to the rest of us. Our interest is understandable, but our intrusion is unforgiveable. This community is recovering, and it's a process they can't do as long as the camera keeps butting in.

I think the reason the media can't move on, and the reason so many people are still fascinated by the incident, is that it's an unresolved issue for us. We were fed so much crap about whose fault it was at the time of the shootings that we never got a clean sense of closure. There's still unresolved lawsuits stemming from this shooting and an earlier one that promise to drag the whole "the movies did it" argument back into the limelight, confusing things even further. Let's all have the respect for young people, even the broken ones, to treat them better than that.

Who am I to write of media responsibility? I mean, I recently heard a publicist describe Harry and I as "pirates and rabble-rousers." I'll tell you who I am to write of media responsibility... I'm someone who's doing his best to define it for himself every day. Sometimes I think I get it right, and sometimes I think I get it wrong. It's never a giant thing in either direction, though. It's normally just a matter of degrees, and I try to take whatever lesson I can from each decision, each outcome. For example, I think I would handle my review of the LORD OF THE RINGS script differently if I wrote it today than I did two weeks ago. I vehemently defend our right at AICN to review material as it progresses from one stage of development to the next. I think it teaches people about the way great films really happen -- fight after fight, each one a step forward or back in that drive to make something special. I think I would have probably revealed a few less details if I were writing the review again, leaving out certain things, hinting at more than I confirmed.

The reason for this is the roughly 1900 e-mail messages I've been sent from people DEMANDING the script, DEMANDING clarification of certain points, DEMANDING details about every minute story element. Every answer I offered in my review only inspired dozens and dozens of questions. The other reason is the sad, sad saga of Peter Jackson's coulda-been classic KING KONG. As many of you may be aware, Peter was developing an update of the film at the same time that Sony was developing their poisonous GODZILLA remake. Universal, the studio for the project, ended up blinking, afraid of the lizard and the post-ID4 heat of Emmerich & Devlin. They refused to greenlight it despite the fact that Jackson shot one scene out of his pocket (and it's a great one, too, a magic movie moment we may have all been denied forever now), and despite the fact that they had a great screenplay. That screenplay was somehow leaked to the public at large on a massive scale, to the point where Jackson himself found a copy of the script on sale in a London bookstore.

I know that Jackson has maintained an interest in the project, hoping to eventually revive the film, but that hope may have taken a major blow this week with the announcement of THE LEGEND OF KING KONG, a coproduction of BBC Films, CBS, and TNT. The picture's supposed to star Lawrence Fishburne, Rachel Weisz, and Sam Neill, and it's going to be shot on location in New Zealand. Now, I'm not going to accuse the makers of this film of theft... at least, not yet. I am, however, going to serve notice that the KONG script that's floating around contains a hell of a lot of inspired work by Jackson... original work... and it will be easy for those of us who love Jackson's script to pick out anything that was his and not in the Cooper film. It makes me sick that I'm not going to see Skull Island as imagined by Jackson and Fran Walsh. It makes me sick that I'm not going on this particular adventure, no matter how grand his current project is. I am sorry that Jackson, a man whose love for the original KONG is evident to anyone who has ever spoken to him about the subject for even a moment, is not going to get to realize this particular dream. After all, that's what movies are -- shared dreams, and this is one we've been denied.

One of my particular dreams seems to be unfolding even as we speak, and I'd dance and sing in the streets except for the fact that it would look like poor sportsmanship. I have heard several times over the past few weeks that Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld's embarrassingly public lovefest is finally drawing to a close, and Barry is close to leaving POWER & GRACE, the Muhhammad Ali biopic. Having finally located and read the original draft of the picture, allow me to say good riddance, Barry, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Now it's time to get the right director in, someone who's willing to sit down and read all the drafts of the picture in an effort to find the best one. I can't imagine that Gregory Howard's script has been bettered by the subsequent work done on it. It's already everything the film should be -- smart, moving, deeply political, concerned about race but never exploiting it, and genuinely suspenseful even for an Ali fanatic like myself. I was involved in each fight described, invested in Ali's emotional state approaching the fight, aware of the stakes for him at each particular step in his awesome career. This struck me the way Robert Towne's handling of the races in WITHOUT LIMITS struck me, as a wonderful distillation of the very essence of competition, a true understanding of what makes someone push themselves to be exceptional at anything.

If I could throw my vote in for who would step in and make the film, I would nominate someone unexpected, the enormously gifted Steven Soderbergh. He manages to find the genuine human center of the material he directs, whether it's a genre exercise like OUT OF SIGHT or a period family drama like KING OF THE HILL. If he were to bring his keen, provocative visual sense to bear on this early draft, the result would be breathtaking, a true monument to one of my heroes. I've also had the case made to me -- and persuasively, I might add -- that Coppola could do a great job with the story, capturing the epic sweep of the story. If he was properly inspired by Ali's life, I concur that he could be a great choice. Who would you readers nominate for the job if given a chance? Remember... Columbia will see these TALK BACKs, so articulate your reasons and give us some serious choices.

I'm dying to see Dabs Greer in the footage just shot for THE GREEN MILE. He's the actor who finally was chosen to play the older Paul Edgecomb in the scenes that bookend the film, and this marks his 100th movie. With that film finally wrapping its production and moving into post, anticipation is running high. I'd like to take issue with the description of the trailer from our ComiCon observer elsewhere on today's page. It's not being sold as a feel-good film, but a picture about miracles in low places, which is exactly the story written by King. The script is as faithful in tone as SHAWSHANK was, and is in many ways an improvement over that film... no small task. The use of CGI is appropriate, since King described the physical manifestations of Coffey's powers. Remember that cloud of "black flies"? I'm hoping to see the film soon myself, since it's one of the big few left for me this year. I know from my time spent on the set that the actors are, across the board, phenomenal, and that the film is dark, somber, imbued with real sadness. I also predict that the hot topic of conversation concerning the MPAA next will be their reaction to KNB's magnificent work on the electrocution scenes. If they have the courage and the intelligence to pass the film without cuts, I will be surprised, delighted, and I will apologize publicly to Valenti for calling him a chicken-headed moral witchhunter.

But not until and unless.

I've noticed a couple of ads lately, one good, one awful, and I thought I'd share a few quick thoughts. Artisan should be held up as a shining example of a good marketing team blessed with a killer line-up this year. They have started piggybacking 30-second TV spots for BLAIR WITCH PROJECT with 30-second spots for their next release STIR OF ECHOES, and it's an effective one-two punch. I'm hoping it pays off in a strong opening and run for Koepp's picture. I haven't seen it, but I loved the script, and it struck me as a wonderful double bill with THE SIXTH SENSE. If you love Shyamalan's film, I suspect you'll be equally fond of ECHOES.

On the other hand, the only way to be enthusiastic about JAKOB THE LIAR would seem to be lobotomy, pure and simple. What a vile, evil, loathsome little preview. What's going on with Robin Williams these days? I love him as an actor... I've been on board since the days of POPEYE (a woefully underrated little bit of weirdness) and GARP (proof that I can enjoy a John Irving adaptation that isn't entirely faithful). In my early review of GOOD WILL HUNTING on this page, I made the confident prediction that Robin would finally win his Oscar, and I was delighted to be proved correct. When he is good, he is very, very good. Lately, though, it's as if he has applied for sainthood, and all he can do is push us, batter us with emotion, doing everything short of jumping up on the audience like an excited puppy and humping them. He's a big wet hug of an actor when he's in this mode, and it's wearing thin. PATCH ADAMS is not a horrendous film, but it's a film that didn't move me or make me feel anything in any way. It was all so calculated, so dull, so predictable, that it left me cold all the way around. This past weekend, I happened to be around a cable box that somehow managed to get all the pay-per-view channels all the time, meaning the same six films played in endless rotation. One of the films was PATCH, and in the little "making-of" featurette shown between airtimes, Tom Shadyac kept talking about how Robin does as a hobby what Patch does for a living. He talked of how Robin's visits to hospitals actually cause statistical differences in recovery rates. All of this is well and good, but the best charity is invisible. I feel assaulted by Robin's humanity at this point, and the JAKOB THE LIAR trailer only promises more of the same. Like Harrison Ford, Williams is in danger of becoming the most obnoxious cartoon version of himself if he doesn't start picking projects that challenge him, that force him to play something different. What about that Callahan biopic, Robin? DON'T WORRY, HE WON'T GET FAR ON FOOT could be edgy, provocative, and allow a more blistering, scabrous side of your humor to shine through. At this point, anything would be better than what we're getting.

The Dalai Lama's appearance in the US this weekend led me to pull out my DVD copy of Martin Scorcese's brilliant KUNDUN and take another look at it, something I'd advise everyone to do. Well, with their own copies, of course, 'cause I don't need 400,000 fingerprints on mine, but you get the point. The film is one of this decade's true accomplishments, one of the finest pieces of pure cinema since Kubrick's 2001, a tone poem about peace and violence, religion and God and learning and resistance. It's a film I find breathtaking beautiful and emotionally profound, but I don't lay awake nights wondering about its box-office failure the way I do with IRON GIANT. It's a film experience one must be open to, and the rewards are massive for anyone willing to search them out.

Have you seen that AMAZING new commercial now playing for the Sega Dreamcast gaming platform? Normally I wouldn't bring something like this up, but it's a truly remarkable little piece of genre filmmaking, closer to live-action anime than even THE MATRIX. The world of the commercial is AKIRA/BLADE RUNNER, and it's beautiful, as is the lead actress, a GHOST IN THE SHELL/AEON FLUX acrobat with a gun who runs up the sides of buildings and survives 100 story falls onto police cars. I would love to know who directed the commercial and who the FX house for it was. I believe that great filmmaking can be 30 seconds or three hours, and this is proof of that theory, in my opinion.

To all those who attacked me after my last RUMBLINGS, saying that I couldn't lump Albert Brooks' THE MUSE into the dog days of August and September, I'm assuming you didn't read my original review of the film, which I saw in finished form. I love Brooks. I hate this film. Skip it, and you might be able to retain you respect for the man untarnished. You have been warned.

Finally this week, I'd like to discuss the story that ran on Wednesday, August 11, in THE NEW YORK OBSERVER. Written by Jim Rutenberg and Peter Bogdanovich, it's provocative stuff, and the story was immediately picked up by everyone else. Small wonder, as the details of the new SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE contracts were leaked, causing much embarrassment to Lorne Michaels and NBC.

At first glance, it's easy to get worked up about the contracts as described. Supposedly, any new cast members starting this season must sign a document that could tie them to the network for up to 12 years. The contracts just went out last month, as Michaels got the auditions for new cast members underway, and the response from agents and managers was terrible, with many advising clients not to sign. I personally spoke with two managers today about the situation, and both of them bemoaned all sorts of potentially lost revenue for their clients, even though they haven't actually appeared on the show yet and no one knows what the reaction to them will be. After all, not everyone turns into Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, or Bill Murray. There's a lot of Tony Rosatas and Tim Kazurinskys in the history of SNL, too.

The thing that's really freaking people out is the idea that NBC can remove a cast member from SNL after two years and put them in an NBC sitcom. Because of the maximum terms of each part of the deal (six years on SNL, 6 years on the sitcom), that's viewed as a potential for 12 years under contract to one employer.

The contract also gives SNL Films first option on the performers, tying them to three movies for salaries that progress from $75,000 to $300,000, rates which can also be paid to keep an actor from doing a film for another studio.

In the end, though, I think the outrage over the details of the contract amount to thinly-disguised greed on the parts of the managers and agents, and represent a recognition on the part of Michaels and NBC about something I've been saying for years. There is no television show in history that has had such a profound impact on films. None. Nothing even comes close. If you look at all the writers, all the performers on the show, all the talent that's flowed through there since 1974, there's no arguing that fact. Michaels and NBC are just trying to protect their investment. After 25 years of producing a television institution and cultivating a talent pool only to see it poached by everyone else in town, they've finally wised up. Were their terms strict? Yes, and that's something that's already blown up in their face with this article and the buzz around town as a result. Are they justified? Perhaps.

One quote from the OBSERVER article (which you can read at http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage5.htm) that I thought deserved discussing in particular is as follows:

"Now you can tell them, ‘Sorry, you can’t do the
Farrelly brothers’ $10 million movie," said one
manager. "‘You have to do the SNL fart movie for
$75,000!’"

That's insulting and condescending on the part of the manager, and one look at the development slate that Michaels is attached to could clear up that misconception. I mean, true... the man produced A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY and BLACK SHEEP, but he also produced the delightful new SUPERSTAR, the surreal and overlooked KIDS IN THE HALL: BRAIN CANDY, and he co-wrote one of my favorite '80s comedies, THREE AMIGOS! The future looks like a diverse one for Michaels with films like a David Mamet biopic of Meyer Lansky, a dark comedy by Ron Bass and Al Franken called DISGRUNTLED FORMER EMPLOYEE, the Walter Yetkinoff story, and a Tom Stoppard scripted adaptation of the spy thriller ENIGMA on the way.

There's one film in particular, though, that sounds like reason enough to encourage Michaels in his film efforts. James L. Brooks is evidently attached to cowrite and direct an adaptation of Alan Zweibel's deeply affecting BUNNY, BUNNY, the story of Zweibel's friendship with Gilda Radner. I'm a Brooks fan, and I loved the book. Having read the wonderful script Zweibel wrote for the new Rob Reiner film THE STORY OF US, I have utmost confidence that he can turn his book into a script that will devastate audiences with both laughter and tears.

These are not just "stupid SNL fart movies," and to be honest, I couldn't find any of those promised in any of Michaels' upcoming endeavors. I think these deals are rough models for what will eventually be the standard SNL contracts, and I think that's fine. The show is a springboard for talent, and it gives a platform to new performers time and time again. The wheat will always outshine the chaff, with the show's old gender issues finally seemingly resolved these days, and managers and agents should understand just how special a showcase this show is. The cast has always been informally called the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players for a reason. They come to SNL raw, full of energy, willing to try anything. By the time the best ones leave, they have learned how to channel their talents, how to best present their comic gifts. Believe me... the next Eddie Murphy isn't going to get "trapped" at NBC. A breakout star will always be a breakout star. That's what the term means.

Anyway, I have to go rouse my faithful bodyguard and butler "Junka" Phillips so that he can drive me to the airport so I can pick up a very special guest. There's various nefariousness in the works these next few days, and maybe I'll even be able to share some of it with you all next time. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

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  • Aug. 17, 1999, 3:32 a.m. CST

    good colum as always

    by Fairlane

    Moriarty You Rock

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 3:51 a.m. CST

    Who should direct Ali?

    by Nordling

    Steven Soderbergh, interesting...Coppola, possible...but in my mind the best director for this project is...John Woo. John Woo?!?!?!? Think about it. He is one of the best action directors who can actually concentrate on characterization, and think of the fight scenes - almost mythic. John Woo knows a thing or two about perceived identity vs. real identity (see Face/Off, The Killer, and Hard-Boiled). I'm sure I'll get flak for this, but I'm sticking to my guns on this one.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4:01 a.m. CST

    But who should *play* Ali?

    by Bryan

    I think probably everyone agrees that it would be impossible for anyone ever to think of Will Smith as Muhammed Ali, even for a moment. So who should play him? I can't think of anyone who could capture his physical prowess, his presence, or his verbal wit. That's a problem. * * * * * As for SNL, is there any chance they'll get a whole new batch of writers any time soon? I wouldn't mind watching the show again some day, when it becomes safe.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4:15 a.m. CST

    Who should play Ali? Hmmm...

    by Nordling

    I always thought Will Smith was a done deal with this part. Not saying he should play it, just saying I thought he had already signed on the line which is dotted. I cannot think of any actor who could pull this off, in my mind. Muhammad Ali is larger than life - one of those times in history where a person ceases to be just a person and becomes Living Icon. Is boxing biopics the rage now or what? With Ving Rhames playing Sonny Liston and Denzel Washington in The Hurricane...Damn, I don't know who could play Ali at this point. An unknown acor would probably be the way to go, because no name actors come to mind at all. Seriously, the only person that has the personality to play him isn't an actor at all...Charles Barkley.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4:22 a.m. CST

    First choice for the role of Ali

    by Call Me Roy

    Leonardo Di Caprio, obviously.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4:43 a.m. CST

    the best reason to return to AICN

    by Fishman Jack

    Sure theres the occasional flash of interest, but the Rumblings is the only real reason to return here. Once again a wonderfully written piece, and damn straight aboot that Columbine thing. As for that Dreamcast commercial, sounds fucking Xcellent, does anybody know where i can go to download it.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4:50 a.m. CST

    The cold equation, and the American mind.

    by Monkeyfish

    Here's the painful fact about all these mass shootings, etc. They've always been around, (Austin is a good example of a non-recent one), just not with their current stacatto repetition. Why so common lately? Say we assign a certain probability that each baby born will become mass homicidal, for whatever reason. So, we have a constant probability coefficient, times population that experiences exponential growth, means exponential growth in shootings. Simple as that. There are of course other factors, but that's the root. So how can we use that little equation to take control of our current reality? We have to realize that laws and policies that were created many years ago become obsolete just as technology does. Factors change, we have to change to. That being said, I feel like I have to attempt to explain, to myself and the like minded, guns and their continuing use and misuse. I think one of the most American reasons that we don't just face reality and ban guns is that our culture makes painful attempts not to be cynical. And admitting that crazy people without firepower is better than crazy people with is cynical, in that if -everyone- were balanced, sane and tolerant, then everyone could walk around with a machinegun and never fear anyone else with identical armament. So banning guns would run contrary to something floating around in the sea of our cultural unconcious, that everyone can be responsible, upstanding and above all, in control of their own destinies. The elder countries of the world have seen enough war, death and treachery to have this bit of flotsam removed from their own subconscious seas. I don't know what this means... perhaps we'll simply grow out of it. Perhaps that can at least explain some of the apparent insanity of America to outsiders. Or not.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4:51 a.m. CST

    Peter Jackson...

    by Tids

    I have been a huge fan of Mr Jackson since the start. (You see we suffer HEAVY censorship in the UK, but for some reason the BBFC got the joke with "Bad Taste" & "Brain Dead") And being a big horror fan the OTT grue was what attracted me to his work. But once you got past the crimson I realised that here was a director that could dassle with his camera work. For this reason I have high hopes for LOTR, but can we slow that down a bit, 2 years of hype is enough to make me sick. But the thought of Jackson in control of a KONG movie would have literally made my nipples explode with delight. All I can say is thanks Dean & Roland!!!

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Iron Giant prediction...

    by Teko

    Sure, it only made $4 million last weekend. Last weekend's Iron Giant theatres were filled with parents and toddlers who'd seen "Tarzan" three times already and needed something different. As one of my co-workers said, "Maybe I'll take my kids to that Iron Giant thing. It looks kinda cheezy but it'll keep 'em quiet for a few hours." Those same parents will tell their friends about what a wonderful film they just saw...their skeptical friends will see it with _their_ kids...word will spread. It'll pick up. I'm naive enough to believe that quality will reward itself.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 5:09 a.m. CST

    GUN CONTROL

    by Anakin Rocks

    In the wake of many tragic shootings recently, I think people should spend their energy looking at GUN CONTROL. DISEMPOWER THE NRA. Make guns HARD TO OBTAIN. Look at the LEGISLATION that provides easy access. This will not solve every problem in the world, but it seems like a good place to start. Feeling strongly, JOHN

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 5:22 a.m. CST

    My two cents for the Ali role...

    by philamental

    How about Cuba Gooding Jr? Yeah, he's untested as a dramatic lead, (Jerry Maguire was only supporting), but he'd certainly have the charisma, and he surely wouldn't be too far off the physique(unlike Will 'stick insect' Smith!) He even was a boxer in Gladiator (1992), although he probably sucked, I can't remember how he was. I'm sure he'd leap at the opportunity as he is always moaning at the lack of decent roles for black actors in films today. (that's cause Will Smith takes them all!!) I know most won't agree with me, and that's cool, but does anybody think I have a point?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 5:51 a.m. CST

    You say you want a revolution, well, you know...

    by Nordling

    Guns will be with us forever. Let me repeat that. GUNS WILL BE WITH US FOREVER. You can't escape that fact. Something to think about...the fact that the Second Amendment, as worded, does not SPECIFICALLY say that we all have the right to the latest killing hardware, only in regards to keeping a militia handy in case those pesky goverment and royal types want to take over. We have the right to bear arms in the same way that we have the right to stop tyranny. Therefore, the use of a gun other than the way the Constitution intended, i.e. to protect the rights and citizenry of this country, should be considered TREASON, and punished accordingly. When I say protect the citizenry, this does not exclude hunting for food, as in an indirect way, you are protecting your life. When a gun is used in murder that is not in self-defense, you go against the very fabric of that person's rights, and should be tried accordingly. You know what they do to people who commit treason? Historically, it wasn't pleasant. The death penalty comes into play here. (An entire other debate, which I'm not going to get into here - let's just say that in most cases of murder I'm for it.) That said, the First Amendment is unassailable. I will read what I want, see what I want, and say what I want, as long as I don't break any laws doing so. (Like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there isn't one.) Also, in the end, although some people might not like it, the First Amendment is MORE IMPORTANT than the Second Amendment. Why else would it be first? The Second Amendment may protects us from tyranny, but the First Amendment allows us to point tyranny out. You can't really have one without the other, but if I had to, I'd choose words over weapons anytime.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Ali

    by MM

    Nordling's right. Only Sir Chuck could has the personality for Ali. Does anybody really wanna see Cuba cry?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:18 a.m. CST

    Moriarty you old windbag

    by Warrior

    Do try to keep the column to a few hundred thousand words, would you? Or start up your own site. And cut out the political shit. Just write about movies or TV or whatever and leave the social commentary to people who are qualified, for fuck's sake!

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Guns and common sense...

    by Kingasaurus

    Quoting, "In the wake of many tragic shootings recently, I think people should spend their energy looking at GUN CONTROL. DISEMPOWER THE NRA. Make guns HARD TO OBTAIN. Look at the LEGISLATION that provides easy access. This will not solve every problem in the world, but it seems like a good place to start. Feeling strongly, JOHN"..................................I've "spent my energy" looking at gun control, and I think it's idiotic. You mean make guns "hard to obtain" in the same way illegal drugs are "hard to obtain"? Is that what you mean? Heroin and Coke are completely illegal for everybody to have, yet even prison inmates who are locked up 24 hours a day can still get access to them. How many gun laws were broken by the Columbine shooters? Twenty? You think one or two more laws will make a difference? I know it's just common sense folks, but the only people who obey gun laws are LAW-ABIDING citizens. Criminals don't give a rat's ass about laws. That's why more "gun laws" won't do ANYTHING except help to disarm the law-abiding MORE. Even if you ban every gun from the face of this country, the crazies who have a death wish and go on murder-suicide rampages are STILL going to get the guns. They're ready to die. They don't care about the law. It's just common sense. People are pissed off about Columbine and other tragedies, and they want something done. A piece of advice: do something that might actually help the situation, instead of a "feel-good" measure (more gun laws) that won't do anything but hurt the rights of the law-abiding. Feeling strongly, KING.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Cuba

    by Fawst

    Er... CGJ HAS been a dramatic lead. Are we all forgetting Boyz n' the Hood? (or however the hell you spell it) And yah, he DID cry. "RICKY!!!@#!@#!@#" And damned if he wasn't good.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:48 a.m. CST

    To Kingasaurus

    by Nordling

    Look, I agree with you - as I said, guns are here forever. But what, exactly, would help the situation? Enforcing existing gun laws? We all know that's a joke. Changing the film industry, the Internet, what we hear and read? If you think that's a possibility, fuck you, that's not acceptable. I don't know anymore as much as the next guy. But something's gotta happen.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:55 a.m. CST

    More on Gun Control

    by Anakin Rocks

    Kingasaurus, I think you make some very good points in your post. I agree that MANY gun laws are broken & that having the laws on the books does not in itself do much to help the problem. What I think is that the gun companies KNOW that their product is sold illegally & I think we need to look at whether or not offensive weapons (guns DESIGNED to kill) should be available to ANYONE in the general public. If we know how many fall into the wrong hands, then maybe they shouldn't be sold. I am very aware that this is a radical position & I don't expect everyone to agree. As I said, Kingasaurus's post was well thought out & I have pondered many of the issues you raised. I think that the more this debate can be moved into the public forum (where divergent viewpoints can be expressed and respected), the more we will all benefit. Discussion, even disagreement often leads to profound learning & I hope we can all look at this issue and ways of minimizing the dangers out there. I don't think these tragedies are due to any one factor or that any one solution will ever be enough. I do hope that we all keep trying. Sorry to go on & on, I can get kind of sappy. I guess it is the "Mr. Rogers" part of me that teaching first grade brings out. - John

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:02 a.m. CST

    Robin Williams

    by Crimson Dynamo

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who is tired of the types of roles Robin Williams chooses. He is a great actor/comedian, but he keeps picking these feel-good, nice guy roles and I am about fed up with it. There used to be a time when I looked forward to a new Robin Williams movie. Robin needs to do a 180 and play a villain ASAP. Damn, he would be so good playing a psychotic killer of some sort (he could have been an excellent Joker)! And on a stranger note, I would like to see another Popeye movie (I know, I know). I just felt that Popeye was one of those movies that could have learned from the mistakes of the original and produced a kickass sequel (like the first Star Trek movie). Just imagine Popeye vs. the Sea Hag, and a CGI jeep and goons, all in a Terry Gilliam/Baron Munchausen-type fantasy film. Plus Williams is a little older and he could play Popeye a lot crustier. Anyhoo, that's my 2 cents.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:03 a.m. CST

    SNL

    by fonebone

    Although I admire your contrarian stance on the SNL contracts, I'm not sure I agree with it. SNL plucks comedians who have been honing their acts for years and gives them a national stage. The good ones benefit from the publicity, and the mediocre ones gradually disappear. I doubt SNL itself really "hones" their abilities, unless it does so by putting these talents in close proximity to each other. The fact is, these contracts will frighten the really gifted and stifle the opportunities of those who are good enough to "break out," as you put it. If SNL just demanded a percentage of all works done while at SNL or within a year or two of leaving the show, that would be far more reasonable. By the way, what were you thinking about the Three Amigos -- did we see the same film?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Moriarty: Dreamcast commercial info

    by Phaded

    John Moore directed PDI did the animation <a href=http://www.sega.com/corporate/press_releases/99aug/press_tv.html>Click here for the full story</a>

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:15 a.m. CST

    I agree

    by Kingasaurus

    Good points, Anakin. Dialogue helps. I guess my view on the subject is that very little can actually be done through legislation. Freedom is a tough thing to live with, and the price we pay for it sometimes is crazy people who initiate tragedies. People's knee-jerk reaction to something bad happening is usually clamoring to make laws to prevent it the next time, which is not always a good thing. Actually, trying to enforce the existing gun laws couldn't hurt. I don't know how successful it would be, but it is preferable to making more laws which don't do anything positive. For example, criminal breaks unenforced gun law "X" in committing a crime. Politicians, whores to sound bites and public opinion, should be saying, "let's enforce gun law X!" Instead they propose new gun law "Y" which will be just as ineffective against the criminal as gun law "X" was. But it makes the politician look like he's doing something in the papers, so he doesn't care about the actual consequences of the new law he's proposing. What would actually help somewhat is making the penalties for committing crimes with guns substantially more severe than committing the same crime without one. That impacts the criminal without inconveniencing the law-abiding gun owner. Simple possession of a gun by an adult shouldn't be a crime. It's the commission of an actual crime WITH a gun on which we should be coming down hard. In reality, though, I'll be DAMNED, as a law-abiding citizen, if I allow government thugs to take away my guns, my magazines, movies and CD's because some psychotic decided he wanted to shoot up a school.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:27 a.m. CST

    Will Smith is Cassius Clay!

    by samscars

    Will has the talent and the personality to pull this off. He is perfect as the young Clay/Ali, and as far as the old Ali goes.. nothing that a little makeup and movie magic can't fix.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:29 a.m. CST

    why is this website starting to suck more everyday?

    by Dextarin

    Last time I checked, this site was called AINT IT COOL NEWS. Now, I'm starting to see a bunch of editorials from people who think their opinions about the world actually count. My recommendation: start a section called AINT IT COOL EDITORIALS and put all this crap in there. OR Change the whole site's name to AINT IT COOL OPINIONS. What Moriarty is saying is not NEWS! I like to visit this site a lot, and I seem to be insulted when I wait for a few precious moments for the page to load only to find editorials, and maybe a little bit of news. I feel lied to by the name of this site when it claims to talk about news, and then I see this opinionated editorial crap! I wonder if anybody else feels this way. Please, there is a review section. There is a Coaxial News section. Make a editorial section, and put this crap there!

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:30 a.m. CST

    APOCALYPSE

    by Moriarty

    That's the title of the Sega Dreamcast ad I wrote about in today's column. There's a great article about it at www.sega.com, and thanks to the guy in the Talk Backs up above this post, I went over, read the piece, and found you can download it from their site. Or if you want, you can wait for the 90-second version during the MTV Music Video Awards on 9.9.99. The commercial really is extraordinary, and should net someone a Clio. "Moriarty" out.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:57 a.m. CST

    I agree with Dextarin

    by Big Daddy G

    Dextarin's post brought up the point of the ever increasing editorial content of AICN. I totally agree with you Dextarin! The only reason I come to this site (and I'm sure I'm not the only one!), is to find the latest buzz going on in movieland. Granted, you can only post cool stuff when there's good stuff to put up there, but I found myself turning to the talkback section after only reading a quarter of Moriarty's rant. My point is that these days it seems I have to trawl though a lot of rubbish on AICN before I find anything remotely interesting... Where's that Dark Horizons url...

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:59 a.m. CST

    news, guns, buns

    by Z

    i like Moriarty's columns, they're cool to read. to the poster a couple of notches above: you want "just the facts ma'am" news? there are LOTS of other sites out there. go to www.cinescape.com for example. the reason i dig this site is because of the wonderful (well sometimes) forum for discussion and ideas. as to ali, i personally can't see will smith as Muhammed Ali. but, he may prove me wrong. I personally think the main character from the movie "Clockers" is a really good actor and might make a good ali (though I can't remember his name). i would love to see martin scorcese direct the flick, but I know that's just a pipe dream. how about the cat that directed the 6th sense? shamalayan or whatever. he seems like he's got a really good visual sense as well as dealing well with emotional fare. as to guns, we, as americans, are just plain nuts. i guarantee that if we had MP's roaming the streets with machine guns, there'd be a lot less shootings, but personally i think it's a *pretty bad* idea. so maybe we ought to think about enforcing the current laws AND restricting access to certain kinds of guns (yeah yeah criminals will always be able to get guns, but most people are NOT shot by illegally obtained guns, check yer facts).

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Who should direct the Ali pic? Hmmm...Spike Lee. And stuff abo

    by spike lee

    I would love to see Spike get his hands on the Ali pic, because his dream of doing the Jackie Robinson film seems to be nothing but a dream. I love Spike Lee (Duh), but Summer of Sam was his worst film. As for the Dreamcast, Sega has done everything they were supposed to do to get people interested in the machine. Sony is not going quietly by releasing Final Fantasy 8 on the same day of the Dreamcast launch. Personally, I am going to hold out till more games are released, can anybody say Phantasy Star 5.....lets hope Sega can.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:08 a.m. CST

    USA sucks

    by JJ McClure

    "Simple possession of a gun by an adult shouldn't be a crime." - Yes it should. What do you need guns for anyway?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:24 a.m. CST

    King Kong

    by primemover

    I dont see how Peter Jackson honours the memory of King Kong by remaking it. There is no reason to remake it. You'll never find another Robert Armstrong. If Jackson wanted to do a "Making of King Kong"--with Merian Cooper and Edgar Wallace standing under the Empire State Building and imagining the sight of an enormous gorilla(cgi rendered) smashing down airplanes--that I could accept. Leave Kong alone. You couldnt get away with the violence that the original showed anyway. No more natives being stepped on, stock brokers being chewed. Remake bad movies like Jurassic Park....leave the big guy alone. Oh yeah--no common factor in the shootings? How about guns? :)

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:28 a.m. CST

    klapklapklap

    by Iwrite

    Moriarity is one of the greatest op/ed writers I have ever found. His work is truly inspiring. Way to go, man!

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Peter Jackson

    by mr_noodle

    I'm very much excited that Peter Jackson is working on LOTR instead of King Kong. While I feel bad that it seems his work has been ripped-off, I don't think that there are a whole lot of directions that a movie like King Kong (one that's been re-done and re-worked many time) can be taken in. I'm sure that after LOTR, he'll be a big name in the biz, but I hope that he goes in more original directions than a re-working of King Kong, no matter how cool it may look. http://www.almostcool.org

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:56 a.m. CST

    On involuntary servitude...

    by CoachBob

    Moriarity, after all of the conversation in the past weeks about "studio shills", it is surprising to hear anyone connected with this website supporting "big brother", even if it isLorne "Cheerleaders? That will make a GREAT movie!" Michaels. Interesting note on personal contracts, though. As a recent graduate of a reputable law school, (OK, Seton Hall), I was under the impression that such personal service contracts could not exceed seven years in CA, and even less in NY. What does this mean? Well, our future NRFPT Players may be able to stop the contract after the first year of the "Fart show", or whatever Lorne ordains. That's probably why each contract is six years- an attempt to circumvent. Sorry for the legal crap, but it struck me as a bit, well, oppressive...BTW, the actor in "Clockers" was Mekki Phifer (as the young 'Clocker'), unless you ment the great Delroy Lindo (as the older drug lord). Either way, I'd give Big Willie Style a fighting chance to play Cassius. That is, unless he delivers the immortal line "I just want to go up there and whip Sonny Liston's ass!" to the delight of the younger generation. Coach Bob

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Oh, and on Columbine...

    by CoachBob

    Sorry, one more opinion. I also worked for the senate on gun control. Even though I worked on the "guns for nobody" side, and not for the "guns for everybody" side, I have come to my own conclusion that both sides are blindly wrongheaded in attacking the problem. Columbine, IMHO, was a case of two scared (and scarred) kids who developed into evil evil people. Would the tragedy have been averted if they couldn't get guns legally? Probably not. Would it have been stopped in its tracks, if the teachers had had free access to guns and shot them as they stood? (Yes, that's a solution from the NRA). Maybe, but there would have been a tragedy nonetheless. Gun control or proliferation is as important and as futile as drug control. Solution? I dont know. (And I was the one to come up with a solution, which included personalization of home guns and stricter control of gun shows). All I know is that Doom, Leo, and NBK were not the actual reasons, no more than the alcohol itself is the cause of drunk driving accidents. People are stupid, illogical, and occasionally evil. Sorry, this is a movie discussion, but I respect Moriarity's rumblings and wanted to add my own. Coach Bob

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:10 a.m. CST

    You "need" some sense...

    by Kingasaurus

    Quoted --"Simple possession of a gun by an adult shouldn't be a crime." - Yes it should. What do you need guns for anyway? --..........................Listen, Mr. McClure. Or should I call you Adolf? Maybe I want a gun for hunting purposes. Maybe I want one for self-defense. Maybe I'm a collector. Or maybe It's none of your damn business why I want one. It's not a question of "need". Do you "need" to look at pornography or unpleasant publications put out by fringe groups? Do you "need" to listen to neo-Nazis with free-speech rights? It has nothing to do with "need". It has to do with what is protected by the Constitution and the rights of private citizens unfettered by the government. If I am a law-abiding adult citizen, simple ownership of a firearm should NEVER, EVER be a crime. Only if I commit a criminal act using that weapon should the government get involved. How would you feel if police officers came into your house, and confiscated some books and magazines, and claimed they were taking them because you don't "need" them? Would that be OK with you? I have a right to own a gun, and unless I commit a crime with that gun it's none of your goddamn business why I might want to own one. Period.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Tim Meadows as Ali

    by PORKY

    Can someone tell me why this unfunny, no-talent "actor" still appears on SNL. Did I answer my own retorical question with the "unfunny" and "no-talent" parts? This guy makes Chris Kattan look like Lawrence Olivier. I don't mean to be hostile, but c'mon, really, why is this guy still around.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Ali

    by Verbal kent

    Personally I would give the role to Laurence Fishburne. I think he is physically right for the role and a great actor, for me Will Smith doing Ali would just seem wrong, I HATE will smith's films, I used to like them but I've grown weary of him doing or being 'Will' in the films, and that problem stretches to Robin Williams, where he's either doing manic comedic figures or a passive intelectual. Challenges are what makes acting fun and it makes me sick to see Will Smith not doing anything other than 'Will'. I am usually pretty good with chaacters names and it took me a long time to remember Will's names in his films. Could anyone tell me what his name was in Idependence day cause that's the one I didn't get. Fourtunaltley Guns ren't that much of problem in England but the Media in general is, if anything some ethics have to be adopted by the reportedly important news groups around the world.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:30 a.m. CST

    am I the only one who thinks this guy is an idiot?

    by BigBudget

    This guy doesnot know anything about film.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Yes you are.

    by TheKellySisters

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Columbine, Iron Giant, SNL, and dribble

    by Encelladus

    1) First of all, Moriarty rocks, though I fail to understand why his henchmen are allowed to sleep while the boss is still working... do they get ice cream parties, too, for being good, Professor? 2) The violence at Columbine has been milked enough... doesn't football season start soon? 3) "The Iron Giant" failed because of poor tie-in advertising. A trailer, a few posters, and that was it. Even the multiplexes sold it short by putting it in the small theaters, and that PG rating sure didn't help. 4) SNL... they CAN always go somewhere else. 5) The bad guys always have guns, as do law enforcement and the military. In many countries, EVERYONE can be called up to be part of the military, and everyone maintains a gun and a responsibility... then again, in those countries, everyone has to serve a few years in the military, male and female. Now THERE'S a neat idea for America's youth! Any takers?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Guns and The Iron Giant

    by Clomey Josaraph

    Upon reading Morairty's column and feeling the need to procrastinate for just a few more minutes on my own writing, I wanted to throw my two cents in the mix. The whole of Columbine is what we can now refer to as a post-modern tragedy. As a tragedy, it is horrific, disarming, and shocking in what has occured. As a post-modern event, it has, like the O.J. trial and the whole Lewinsky affair, been mutated both before and after the actual event itself by the media and their influence on us. What we must understand is that the media is to blame and not to blame for our reaction to these deaths. On one side, the media allows us a closer access to the personalities involved, giving us a more touching, more compassionate understanding of the events. On the other hand, by getting so close, the media strips away what ever privacy these people might have held, just so that we might understand them better. Is it better that we, as the public, know exactly what's going on in the heads of these kids as they go back to school or is it better to just let them return to life? They're dealing with the trauma on the own and I'm sure they need no help from us. I wish that more people would see the Iron Giant. I am as valiant a supporter of this movie as possible but it is really hard to convince anyone with the campaign they have going. The big messages inlaid in TIG (Guns kill and you don't have to be what everyone thinks you should be)would have served Kliebold and Harris well. These two confused boys, tormented to the point of insanity, and the others like them across America need more outstanding stories like TIG to see and model after. Whether we like it or not, the movies we see do effect what we are and what we do. Now, more than ever, popular culture must make sure to offer models that span the whole spectum of lifestyles, try to offer not only violence but alternatives to violence. Now I like the action pics as much as the next guy and am currently writing a screenplay for a twisting murder mystery involving three young men. Perhaps I am as much to blame as anybody else. But I believe in a balence to our film, and I believe that everyone should see TIG just to bring them back a little to the good side of human (and robotic) nature. Wishing you all the best, Herr Doktor, Sir Clomey Josaraph

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Would YOU accept anyone limiting your choices for 12 YEARS!

    by My2cents

    Moriarty, you've GOT to be kidding! I have the utmost respect for your opinions, but have you LOST YOUR MIND!?! Have you completely forgotten about an actor's RIGHT to develop his or her career freely? There are not many professions out there that put up with the limitations of such contractual agreements. There is protecting your investment and then there is slave labor. You defend the caliber of Michaels' POTENTIAL films as just reason to maintain contractual bondage, stating that an actor giving the option of doing a Farrelly Bros. pic and a SNL pic has no right to choose the Farrelly pic due to fear of the SNL pic quality. That is NOT the only issue. Sure, an SNL pic MAY be of decent or let's even give you "great" caliber. #1 - An actor should ALWAYS have the right to choose which EVER pic s/he feels is the BETTER pic...not which one they are bound to do. What if they were offered to the comparison of "The Godfather" or "The Three Amigos"? Personally, I'd take the "The Godfather" It is a simple FREEDOM OF CHOICE #2 - An actor ALWAYS should have the right to develop their career in the way they feel best suited to. An actor that is bound to SNL pics that can't do, perhaps, a more dramatic role, is being forced into typecasting. #3 - SNL is a live program that does offer a new actor exposure and opportunity, but it does NOT reflect an actor's abilities to work in a taped/filmed situation. You state that these are all "Not-ready-for-prime-time" players and imply that they should be lucky for what they get...assuming that they probably won't get the "Godfather" offers. We've all seen how sad it can be when one of our favorite actors (like a Robert De Niro) hosts SNL and stares deadpan reading their lines off of a que-card. And we all know that it is NOT a reflection on their true talent as film actors(This is not to say that DeNiro, in particular, has done this). If the new SNL actors are never given the freedom to choose and explore their opportunities we will never know where their talents may lie. #4 - Some actors thrive on the theatre aspect of live SNL and feel perfectly comfortable being typecast into those roles. Some can never translate live theatre work into decent taped tv or film work. Those actors will, by the nature of the business, stick with their greatest success at SNL, so Michaels has nothing to fear. #5 - SNL is by nature a revolving cast. Michaels NEVER has to fear that his talent pool will grow dry. He may have empty nest syndrome when one of his babies grows up and moves out, but he has NO right to force them to stay.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Prof. M's Rants

    by BIX

    I am not a cyber geek, but a middle-aged artistic baby boomer and I support Professor M's rants wholeheartedly. His description of the LOTR scrips were mesmerizing and well done. People out there trailblazing the frontier always have their critics, professor. As I've always said "Joke 'em if they can't take a F*ck!"

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 11:38 a.m. CST

    don't ban guns, ban bullets...

    by Powerslave

    But pistol-whippings would probably be way up, wouldn't they? You just can't win. So America has a nutcase shooting rampage every other week. If that's the price to be paid for the right to bear arms, then so be it. Isn't it odd that the two most recent shooters' taste in movies, music and computer games was never front page news? Talk about age discrimination. We demand equal opportunity exploitation for all homicidal maniac shootings, regardless of age! Changing topics (after all, this is supposedly a movie site), Moriarty, do you really think that studio suits care who a bunch of fanboy geeks think should direct the Ali movie? Or who should play Ali? Here's a radical casting suggestion: Bruce Campbell! Come on, admit it: he sort of looks like Ali. But then again, he probably will be too busy with all those other projects the fanboys have him lined up for. And another thing: what do you have against Barry Sonnenfeld? Can't stand to see someone a little more successful than you?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, noon CST

    Let's not kid ourselves.

    by Monkeyfish

    If guns (and more importantly, ammunition) were made completely illegal in the US, in about fifteen or so years no one could get a working gun with enough bullets to kill more than one or two people at a time. No new guns would be manufactured domestically, and any illegal guns smuggled in or producted in clandestine operations would not be of the quality of currently circulating firearms. Since making ammunition is a very difficult process (It requires machining, mass chemistry and very careful safety precautions) smuggled ammunition would be of the lowest quality, and a criminal's gun could not be expected to stand up to repeated firings without jamming, simply falling apart in one's hands, or perhaps even blasting the bolt assembly into the criminal's eye on a misfire. So don't compare gun proliferation to drug proliferation. Drugs only require the barest investment, the same as growing a back yard garden or some pathetically simple bathtub chemistry. Guns require too high an investment in know-how, equipment, capital and quality control for any underground production to be profitable or widespread.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 12:01 p.m. CST

    A personal firearms manifesto

    by Alessan

    Now hear me out: I love guns. I've fired assault rifles, submachineguns, 7.62 mm machineguns, 0.5 inch guns, mortars and more.I love the feel of guns, the look of guns, the smell of guns. However, after 4 months of basic training and 2 months of infantry training (yes - I live in one of those countries that draft almost all of their men and women, and proud of it), I feel as though I'm qualified to use them. If someone gave me a firearm with which I have had no experience - such as a pistol or a shotgun - I would ask for complete instruction in use, safety procedures and methods of maintenence. I'd be happy to take a written exam and wait a month for background checks. Why? Because I know that guns, like 18-wheel semitrailers and CAT-scans, are complex, dangerous pieces of equiptment, not to be used by untrained professionals. They are subtle, treacherous devices, and I wouldn't entrust one to the hands of someone who has no idea how to use it, and more importantly, when not to use it. Now, people have noted that additional legislation and enforcement of current legislation would do little to control illegaly held firearms. I don't have any statistics with me, but I believe that over half of gun-related deaths in the U.S., intended or accidental, are caused by legal weapons. These tragedies are unnecessary, and can be avoided. Additionally, most illegal firearms are obtained by theft from legitamate owners, and limiting ownership (and perhaps toning down the gun industry) will nip the problem at the bud. Because this epidemic must be stopped. A previous poster claimed that Americans had the same right to own a gun as they had to drive a car. I agree with him completely, but I would like to note that driving a vehicle requires a written test, a field test, and a waiting period. The government keeps close tabs on drivers, dmanding licience checks and periodic checkups. If the same procedure could be used with firearms, then I'd be happy, and I believe you would too.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Waa

    by Rubel

    Interesting column, Moriarty. I'm glad someone is finally pointing out the stupidity of the news media in the handling of this whole thing. Personally, I don't think the non-stop coverage of this event for the past half-year has been ridiculous. I mean it's just what we need, right, to give these shooters more exposure, make them famous. Remember that great 80's movie Heathers, where the high schooler's commit suicide (sort of), and it becomes so hyped that everyone starts doing it. I see the same thing happening here. And one more thing, why does everyone keep comparing guns being banned to cars, books, etc. They just flat out aren't the same things, stop using that argument.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 12:41 p.m. CST

    oops

    by Rubel

    By the way, Alessan, I didn't mean by my last remarks your comparison of guns and cars, that makes a lot of sense to me. I meant the argument where people say "car accidents kill people too, so why don't we ban cars." That doesn't make sense to me.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 12:54 p.m. CST

    dreamcast ad

    by smitty

    Good eye, Moriarty. The Sega commercial is stunning. For those who care, it's at www.sega.com and is well worth a look.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Stupidest Post Ever?

    by Matt0518

    <b>Anakin Rocks wrote</b>, <i>"What I think is that the gun companies KNOW that their product is sold illegally & I think we need to look at whether or not offensive weapons (guns DESIGNED to kill) should be available to ANYONE in the general public."</I> GUNS DESIGNED TO KILL???? I guess as opposed to those guns that are not designed to kill.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Re: Robin Williams

    by Col. Mandrake

    Wasn't Robin Williams recently spotted filming (and starring in the title role) of Columbus' "The Bi-Centennial Man"??? This is my favorite Asimov story of all time and I'm anxious to see it's interpretation--I don't think Robin will disappoint.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 1:30 p.m. CST

    ...

    by Wino Forever

    After GODZILLA, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, and the debacle that was KING KONG LIVES, I think we could all use a rest from remakes of great big monster movies. It's been like 12 years since we last saw Kong on-screen and I think I'll need 12 more before I'm ready to take him seriously again. Will smith would be fine as Ali, though I have no clue as to who should direct. Can't say I'm sorry about Will's falling out with Sonnenfeld. I was sick of hearing them verbally suck each other's dicks. Robin Williams: should take up coke again. Kundun: boring. SNL: stale. Check out MR. SHOW instead.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 1:35 p.m. CST

    You're kind of proving my point.

    by JJ McClure

    Kingasaurus, first off, let's not get crazy, OK? Pro-firearms people always pull out the reasons why it's perfectly acceptable for people to own guns, sidestepping what really is the main point - guns are built purely for one purpose, to kill. Hunting?! Where do you live, man? This is 1999. You don't need a gun to buy a hot-dog. Self-defense?! Against what, an escaped circus bear? Or someone else with a gun. America has this weird romanticized vision of people's freedom to own firearms like it's their god-given right. Well that's one big national mistake. Ban guns. You'll still have the same amount of poor, mixed-up school kids, but what are they gonna do when they go crazy? Throw some chairs around the classroom and snap a pencil. Then they get help, things go back to normal and no one dies. Do you realise how many peoples lives must be torn apart by what happened at Columbine, not just those that were killed? And that they have to go on living with that forever. It must be literally hundreds... Are you that selfish that you won't give up your right to own guns in the hope that it won't happen again? Well, in fact, I know the answer to that...You'll think of some reason why keeping guns legal is important, and is "part of the Constitution" and I don't expect you to ever change your opinion. Even though you know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. You'll never change.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 1:52 p.m. CST

    S P I K E !!!!

    by utz_world

    no question. that's who should direct the Ali bio. it makes sense (watch When We Were Kings to see what i mean). he'd put a hell of a spin on that. and they both have one thing in common...they both talk lots of ca-ca...and back it up too. one more thing, Moriarty mentioned how wonderful South Park was. that's sick and twisted. and i'm happy it only made 50 million. serves them right. maybe this will teach Matt and Trey...and eventually Moriarty too...that when you screw around with the Almighty (the Mole and Satan being a friggin hero! Hell no!), He always gets the last laugh. nuff said!

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Ali director - Whitaker

    by medlnkids

    Why haven't I seen Forest Whitaker's name bandied about yet?

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the rumblings

    by No-Op

    I love a well written, thoughtful column. No matter if I agree on all counts, Moriarty, I salute your cogent and above all, sentient musings. If they make other people think their own thoughts, they are golden. Keep at it.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 2:06 p.m. CST

    HAVE THE BIOPIC DONE BY NORMAN JEWISON OR MILOS FORMAN OR BARR

    by DAS BOOB

    That's my two bits.Scorcese is another obvious choice, but I wonder if he'd still use Smith...probably Deniro, that guy can play anything!!Keep this movie away from lippy filmakers like Spike Lee or Oliver Stone, Ali's life was interesting enough without some over-the-top political or race angle. Barry Levinson would be my first choice though, I can only imagine the flick being some-what of an ensemble, and Barry can hit the ball out of the fucking park when he's got the right script. Please disregard "SPHERE", because if you don't my argument quickly degenerates.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 2:30 p.m. CST

    What if it was worse?

    by ottenew

    I just thought that I would add a little message in response to JJ. You are correct that if guns were banned, students wouldn't be able to go and shoot others. (Unless they did obtained the guns illegally.) However, they could do something worse. They could just drive a car up to the building, get out, walk away, and blow up the building, a la Oklahoma City. Then almost everyone at Columbine would have died. And if I remember correctly, the two guys in Columbine did have quite a few explosives. Strange as it might sound, the fact that they used their guns and didn't just level the school may have actually saved lives. Bottom line, people will always find ways to kill large amounts of innocent people, whether by guns or bombs or rocks.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 2:34 p.m. CST

    ATTN: Milos Forman

    by Jorge Von Zidek

    Milos Forman would be great to direct POWER AND GRACE. He has had success with films that deal with controversial subjects (CUCKOOS NEST, AMADEUS, PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, etc.), which is what Ali certainly is/was. PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT was a spectacular film that, if it weren't for bitch-on-a-rampage Gloria Steinem, would've garnered at least a Best Picture nomination. (Memo to Ms. Steinem: The film was about Freedom of Speech, not a glorification of a pornographer. Maybe if you pulled your head out of your old, fat ass and watch it you might realize that.) Plus, he showed us that Courtney Love CAN act (although 200 CIGARETTES almost made me change my mind). If Milos is busy, how about Alan Parker. His ANGELAS ASHES will get Emily Watson an Oscar and his biopics (THE WALL, EVITA) have been pretty damn good, even if you don't like musicals. Finally, one casting suggestion: Ving Rhames as Don King. I know he's already played the role, but it was the part he was born to play, a la Ben Kingsley as Ghandi. And you don't have to make him into a big role. 1-2 scenes would be plenty.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Darabont Darabont Darabont

    by drwatson

    Although I'm loathed to agree with the man who killed my best friend, I have to agree that Soderbergh would do a great job. However, the best man for the job is definitely Frank Darabont. Watch Shawshank and tell me I'm wrong. I've never seen a movie flow so seamlessly. If he's booked or uninterested, my other options would be Shekar Kapur or Spike Lee, because people often forget how political Ali's life was, either of these guys would quickly remind them. To play Ali? I like Gooding but... well maybe, I'd have to wait and see. If Will Smith was cast (despite being a huge fight fan, and someone deeply interested in the history of the sport) I would not go see the movie. He's is just the wrong person for the role. Ultimately the best way to go would be with an unknown. And it would be an awful crime if Ving Rhames was not cast to play Don King. mtc

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Guns n' Losers

    by Darth Nole

    First of all, McCLure, if you write a post with the witty title of "USA Sucks" then you're pretty much giving up all chance of being taken seriously. (is this the "Always open with an insult" school of debate?) Second, we have a little thing in the US called the second amendment. While one can (and should) argue the merits of registration, assault weapon bans, and the like, banning all guns is BLATANTLY unconstitutional, and personally I think that's fine. It's a little bit of insurance against the next nut who wants to rip out one of the pieces of the Bill of Rights. Like the first amendment. You say to Kingasaurus: "You'll think of some reason why keeping guns legal is important, and is "part of the Constitution" and I don't expect you to ever change your opinion. Even though you know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. You'll never change." Pardon me, but your opinion is not what sets the standard of what is right and wrong. Disagreeing with you is not a crime and his opinion is just as valid as yours (and in MY opinion, *more* valid, given your little "USA Sucks" bit above). Here't the deal. Ban guns, and all you will acomplish is to make sure that the only ones who have them are the ones who shouldn't. There are, by some estimates, over 200,000,000 guns in this country. Do you think passing a law will magically make them vanish? Do you think that other countries won't start shipping them in? We can't even stop 10% of the drugs coming in, and that's after spending billions of dollars. So people who obey laws will give up their guns. And people who don't won't (that's why they're called *criminals*). Enough ranting. That's Moriarty's job, and a damn fine job he does of it, too.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 3:36 p.m. CST

    The Green Mile

    by W. Leach

    THE GREEN MILE, without a doubt, is my all-time favorite Stephen King novel. It is a beautifully written piece filled with memorable characters (especially the supporting ones), and a truly heartbreaking, tragic finale (two, if you count what happens AFTER the climax). I read Frank Darabont's script a few months ago, and was surprised at how he was able to capture the 6-part series. I hope the movie uses the title cards THE TWO DEAD GIRLS, THE MOUSE ON THE MILE, etc. to divide each portion. After MAN ON THE MOON, THE GREEN MILE is the movie I want to see most this year.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Guns and the facts

    by Vilos Cohaagen

    I get a laugh out of reading the bullshit that is passed off as "fact" on the issue of guns here. Here's some real facts courtesy of the ATF and the Justice Department. 80% of guns used in crimes are obtained illegally, thus illegal. There are 270 million guns in the US. There are 14,000 homicides a year. Guns are not easy to get. There were easier to get thirty years ago. You could order a rifle or handgun through the mail, buy a machine gun and no age limit on buying a gun. Now you must be 21 to buy a handgun, 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun, go through a FBI background check, go through a waiting period to get it depending on your state of residence and so on. The weapons used in Columbine were illegally obtained, the guy in LA had illegal weapons and in both cases the cops fucked up and failed to stop the guys before when they had the chance. As far as the person who said that the 1st amendment is more important than the 2nd. Bullshit. How you going to enforce the 1st or stop oppresion if you don't have the means? You can bang away at this issue all you want, but the statistics and facts work against gun control.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 4 p.m. CST

    Point taken

    by JJ McClure

    Mental note: Never ever enter into a debate about gun control with an American. See you later, boys and girls!

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 5:36 p.m. CST

    JJ Fong

    by Vilos Cohaagen

    And Australias crime rate has gone up over 100% since they banned the guns too and their murder rate hasn't dropped. I know this as I have a good friend in Australia who works for the Federal Police and he and others say that the gun ban was the worst thing for crime in the country. Japan has a higher suicide rate than the US, almost twice it, and no guns. Mexico has a higher murder rate than the US, no guns and the same population. Canada has a higher criminal misuse of firearms than the US. Gun control doesn't work and most countries you anti's point to, have a much lower population and demographics. Most of the Europeans who whine about it are idiots as they have spent their entire history doing what their governments tell them. Sheep. The only rights they have are the ones that the government gives them and take away at any time and that's why they rely on the US to save their asses everytime something goes wrong.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:13 p.m. CST

    KUNDUN, Ali, Ted & Alice

    by mrbeaks

    I happen to think that KUNDUN is one of Scorsese's greatest achievements. It maintains a meditative tone throughout, and contains some of the most striking images I've ever seen committed to film. It's a shame that Marty has gone from such a towering work to the very disappointing BRINGING OUT THE DEAD. That movie's failure makes me anticipate GANGS OF NEW YORK all the more. For the Ali biopic, I'd like to suggest Carl Franklin. He's displayed a sure hand with actors in all of his films, and would bring an unsentimental eye to the material. As for the casting this century's most recognizable athlete, I think an unknown would be the best choice (if there's one out there up to the task. If not, my default choice is Nipsey Russell.)

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 6:56 p.m. CST

    JJ Fong and his lies

    by Vilos Cohaagen

    Yea and matches cause arson and flies cause shit. Lets see, Australia bans guns and the crime rate goes up 100-400% above what it was before the ban. Explosives are banned in England as well as guns but the IRA doesn't care. 99% of guns are not designed to kill. Tell that to all the competitive shooters in the world, including those in Austalia. The fact is that they smuggle drugs, people and other things in this country and they can and do now with guns. If you ban guns you punish law abiding citizens who use them over 1 million times a year in defense, create a black market for them and help the criminals who now know their victims are disarmed. the way to cut crime is to enforce the 20,000 laws on the books now vigorously. No plea bargains.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Gun Control in Australia

    by jbreen

    Here are a few points about gun control: Britain has strict gun laws, yet no law will guarantee that all gun violence will end. Britain, with a population of some 60 million, has around 70 gun deaths a year. Australia, with 18 million, has 520 gun-related deaths. The argument that Dunblanes can still happen with tough gun laws, is basically an argument that says "if you can't prevent ALL gun violence, don't try to prevent ANY of it". In Australia recent data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the australian Institute of Criminology showed that 46% of firearms incidents involved a weapon that is now prohibited or restricted as a result of the initiatives following the Port Arthur tragedy of 1996. These incidents account for 55% of the victims of firearm homicide. Also: Firearms are used in slightly more than 20% of Australian homicide incidents. This may seem a small amount, perhaps, but I agree with other commentators that suggest firearms provide more anitseptic and safer means of killing: they pose a greater danger to standers and facilitate drive-by killings. Knives are used for many purposes other than violence. I can't remember the last time I emptied a rifle into a nice, tender surloin steak in order to eat it! Banning knives would carry with it immense inconvenience and would obviously be totally impractical, given the ease with which sharp objects can be used as de facto knives. A person running amok with a knife will stab and kill a smaller number of people than someone running amok with a gun. When was the last time you saw a report of a drive-by knifing? Stab wounds also have a far lower fatality rate than gunshot wounds. Shooters know this well, or they'd be content to go deerstalking or duck shooting armed only with knives. Another major factor of gun control is suicide prevention. In 1990 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 18,885 Americans took their own lives with firearms, and an estimated 13,030 of those deaths involved handguns. Unlike pills, gas, or razor blades--which are of limited effectiveness--guns are rarely forgiving. For example, self-inflicted cutting wounds account for 15 percent of all suicide attempts but only 1 percent of all successful suicides. Poisons and drugs account for 70 percent of suicide attempts but less than 12 percent of all suicides. Conversely, nonfatal, self-inflicted gunshot wounds are rare--yet three-fifths of all U.S. suicides involve firearms. Suicide is often impulsive, and suicide by a easy to hand gun is a very effective means on succeeding. Many who condone the ownership of guns in Australia are from rural areas. Curiously a forthcoming study by Carcach using ABS data on causes of death from 1989-96 found that remote rural areas had the highest risk or firearm related homicides. Also the most common and popular firearm - the .22 rifle, has been shown to be the most commonly used item in murders and suicides in this country. Until recently a third of all homicides each year involved a firearm. In the last three years this proportion has declined one-fifth. Over in the U.S. in 1990 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 18,885 Americans took their own lives with firearms, and an estimated 13,030 of those deaths involved handguns. Unlike pills, gas, or razor blades--which are of limited effectiveness--guns are rarely forgiving. For example, self-inflicted cutting wounds account for 15 percent of all suicide attempts but only 1 percent of all successful suicides. Poisons and drugs account for 70 percent of suicide attempts but less than 12 percent of all suicides. Conversely, nonfatal, self-inflicted gunshot wounds are rare--yet three-fifths of all U.S. suicides involve firearms All in all, in that year, American guns claimed an estimated 37,000 lives. Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that gun murders that year reached an all-time high of 15,377; a record 12,489 involved handguns. Guns make it easy to kill impersonally, and with assurance and ease. Most would be killers - in Port Arthur like massacres or in murder-suicides - choose the finality of a gun because other weapons are either too personalised and unsure in their results - like knives - or tricky to use, such as bombs. Last, but not least, I don't believe that people need guns for self-defence. To quote another's argument: 'This is the argument that the community should be armed to the teeth -- that like some 25 US states today, citizens should have the right to carry concealed weapons for self defence. The trouble with this argument -- quite obviously -- is that it also allows ease of access to people with violent dispositions. For every 100 people who might be carrying a gun for self defence, one may be carrying a gun with malicious intent and such a policy would make this far easier. Violent incidents that might otherwise be confined to brawling, striking or stabbing, will end more often in death. If we allowed people to carry mace spray for self defence, how would we prevent people from also buying it in order to temporarily blind their intended victims? Armed people in the Port Arthur cafe may well have stopped the killer. But how many other killings in the community would an armed citizens policy promote? The United States -- with the western world's worst record of firearm violence provides a useful model.'

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:09 p.m. CST

    The Year Of Boxing Dangerously

    by Oedipa Maas

    Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding are great actors, but let's face it - Ali was the prettiest boxer ever and LF and CG will never land on the cover of People's 50 Most Talented Publicists, oops, I mean, Most Beautiful People. Whoever plays him has to be pretty. I'd go with the male supermodel Tyson who has both the face and the body. If he can't act, then I'd go with ER's Eric LaSalle (even though he has dot eyes like L'il Orphan Annie). Only as a last resort go with the Fresh Prince. Will Smith has one expression in everything he does - he always looks like something smells and he doesn't know what it is. (Check out his movies and you'll see I'm right.) As for the director, I'd love to see Peter Weir do his mystical magic on this epic story. (I'd hate politics to taint the story of this man who was a global hero BEFORE the age of cable and 24 hour news, so let's leave dorectors with an axe to grind - Spike, Oliver etc. - out of this.) Ali deserves a director who can evoke the magic, the mystery and spiritual journey while making the character(s) 3 dimensionally human. That's Peter Weir. (Can you tell that The Year Of Living Dangerously is one of my favorite movies of all time?) And as for all this blather about guns and violence, the old adages always prove true. To whit, "live by the sword, die by the sword." If you have guns in your household, somebody in your family is going to meet a violent end. That is the sad truth about guns.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Life the Universe and Everything

    by alpha

    My god our crime rate has ocketed 100 -400 % since the gun law reform. Looks out window at bright sunshine without any sign of nationwide chaos. Vilos what have u been smoking. Your figures are way off base. Crime figures are roughly the same some are up (Car Theft notably) some are down. Guns dont = crime but they do make it easier to kill someone. No-one can argue with that. Gun control appears to be a forlorn hope in your country as you have a gun culture but trust me we dont have that and overall we are pretty happy with our current laws thank u very much. Iron Giant looked good shame it bombed. SNL has helped a lot of peoples careers but the contracts look a little too restrictive by anyones standards. As for Ali....does anyone really care....I am so over boxing flicks.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:42 p.m. CST

    More stats

    by Vilos Cohaagen

    Japan with no guns has twice the suicides that the US has. Many countries have higher rates. Also even anti gunners in this and other country hate to admit it, but they do, that over 200,000 times a year people defend themselves with firearms. Less than 1% of all guns are used in crimes or homicides. The media and liberals in this country are playing games and being deceptive. the murder rate has been dropping, not rising. As far as other weapons being used look at the nutball in Atlanta. He beat his wife and two kids heads in with a claw hammer. His first wife and mother in law got it with a machete. Killers will find a way. Ask OJ. The fact is that guns were more available 30 years ago, deadlier weapons than we have today or the same. Why do we have this in just the last few years? It's not the tool folks.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:20 p.m. CST

    vilos, you're just not that bright, are you?

    by tommy five-tone

    re. the correlation between japan's high suicide rate and its lack of readily available guns: so if the japanese population had easy access to firearms, this suicide rate would decrease? maybe they'd start taking that stress out on each other rather than inflict it on themselves, huh? tell me why you so desperately want to hold on to your gun, and i'll tell you why i wanna keep my hands on my porn, my violent movies or anything else.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 9:57 p.m. CST

    A Response - Does The Media Effect Us?

    by Goodgulf

    I've written or started to write this post several times. I don't want to come sounding like a know-it-all, cuz I sure don't. But it seems to me that as usual there are two sides to every story (sorry for the cliche, but I'm not out to win The Best Essay award). When we talk about films and games and music we can't really deny that they have no effect on us can we? Why listen to a sad song if it doesn't make us feel a bit sad? Why shed a tear when Bambi's mother is shot? Why get all hyped up when you're running low on ammo and life points in an action game? So on some level there is an effect. Does one game or an album or a film or two makes us want to murder? No, it doesn't seem so. Why? Because the issue is more complex than that. WE are more complex than that. We communicate with one another hoping to effect each others actions. We go to church or synogogue or mosque, temple or Kingdom Hall, whatever you call your place of worship, if any, why? To disregard what is said there? No. To be effected by it. Scary films scare us. Isn't that an effect? I realize that it's a far jump from being scared by a hooror film and commiting a murder. But what is the cumulative effect over years on the society as a whole? The violence of yesteryear on film was mild by todays standards. One film will show a shocking scene and the next tries to top it. How can we blindly say the media has no efect and then go to the supermarket and buy Tide and Clorox bleach? No effect by the media? Why do we call all brands of gelatin dessert JELLO (a brand name)? Why do we call all facial tissue Kleenex? Got any Clorox? My ex-wife used to ask to stop to get a Coke, but really wanted an orange soda. Coke was just a generic term to her. Nope, The media doesn't effect us. Now buying a name brand isn't murder either. I just wanted to point out that there is a lot to think about. The media DOES effect us in ways not well understood. Advertisers spend a lot of money not only trying to find effective ads, but to try and understand how the human mind works and how best to promote a product. Of course even if the media effects a person enough to go out and kill, that's still no excuse, anymore than being drunk is an excuse for murder. We are still held accountable for our actions. But if the media, and I mean ALL the media, news, radio, film, internet, TV and so on and soforth, does effect us, I expect that things won't get any better. Instead of appealing to our higher nature, many forms of entertainment appeal to our baser selves. Everything is geared toward self-gratification - NOW. Don't wait. Don't develop patience and character. Get it NOW! Do it NOW! Lose weight NOW! And while your dieting, stop by MacDonald's for a triple Quarter Pounder with bacon. We're all being bombarded with this crap every day and wonder why society is messed up. But that's just my opinion. No research to back it up. No doctoral thesis with references and a bibliography. It's just how I see it. And I see "experts" on TV talk shows saying we need to get involved in our teenagers lives. Know what hey're up to, or else we're bad parents. I wanted ask one of those panelists if they had sex before marriage, and if so if their parents approved? If they answered their parents didn't know about it (and how many of us ran home to tell mom we just got laid?), then I would ask, does that make your parents bad parents? They should have KNOWN. Well, I was a teenager once. And I KNOW from experience how sneaky and devious teenagers can be. If they don't want mom and dad to know what their up to, they won't. I knew right from wrong at an early age. I didn't do anything bad enough to go to jail or anything, but I certainly knew when I was doing something my parents wouldn't condone, from jumping on the freight train and taking a ride, to jumping off the roof with an umbrella - well, actually I did think that was going to work. So much for good sense. And then of course there was my "first time" with Mary Lou. And then there was the next time and many times until Mary Lou said she thought she was pregnant and a whole mason jar of Viagra wouldn't have gotten me up. And then she said she was just late, and she wasn't pregnant, and did I learn to use a raincoat? Nope. I was a teenager, and I was stupid. But she never did get pregnant (by me at least). So teenagers aren't perfect. But most of them don't commit heinous crimes. But some do. If we only knew why, and when.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Dear Rabble-Rouser

    by TheMiqque

    There was a large dose of racism and bigotry in my childhood. Sure, some wrote it off to "that's the way it was then" or summat; but I don't buy it. Standing out as an epiphany was the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I had been out with friends, and had not heard any news - besides, the news was almost as quick coming out in print as it was on the few broadcast channels. So it was that I found out about this murder by a banner headline. What I said was "He was a rabble-rouser." That set off some sort of explosion in my soul. I quickly came to realize that it was ME who was "rabble", and that I WAS indeed, roused. Roused to tears. Roused by pain and hurt and anger. And, in talking with my friend, very quickly underwent a sea-change in my world view. It was then I began rejecting prejudices in all forms. It is a battle that continues to this very day. Childhood lessons are nigh on impossible to un-learn. So the vile Furrow who shot children just down the street from me was a victim. Rejected by the mental health and judicial systems, brain badly wired and poisoned by hate and evil; this is what he did. Keep on rabble-rousing, Moriarty! It is in going soft that is the true danger. All that is necessary for evil to thrive is for good people to do nothing.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 12:59 a.m. CST

    The roots of all evil?

    by jbreen

    Moriarty rightly comments that we should allow children to make mistakes in the hope that they learn from them. That children can get as angry as any adult. But he misses the point that anger may have a focal point in culture and that our culture is a particularly profit and media driven one. Sure I realise that any analysis of any decade will see that it is pretty shot through with violence, war, rape, racism, mob violence and pillaging, whether it's Byzantium 897 AD or the Deep South 1952. But there has been a shift in recent times. The difference now is that murder and violence have been taken from the arena of war or organised crime and in to areas where it becomes shocking - a middle American or British white school in a quiet town, an office block, a main street or a peaceful tourist destination. The difference is that the protaganists are usually singular and pursuing their own agenda. Why? What factors in recent history have motivated this change? Of course there are many

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Shoot 'Em Up!

    by Alex De Large

    Alright, I've had it up to here with this 2nd Amendment garbage. The 2nd Amendment was put in place for the right to bear arms for the purpose of ORGANIZED MILITIAS. As far as I can tell, Vilos, it's been a while since the red-coats have been trying to invade. OK, so our founding fathers said we all had the right to own guns, so now Mr. Cohaagen, that seems to be perfectly alright. May I ask you one question? How many human beings do you currently own? Granted, it may not be in the constitution, but it was, in fact, condoned by the fathers of our country! Funny you should bring up suicide rates of all things. So China has a higher suicide rate, therefore guns are A-OK! Excellent logic, assface! If I may call you assface. Have you ever lived in China? I thought not. Cultures are not all the same, and the fact that someone's suicide rate is higher has NO RELEVANCE on the issue of gun control in America. NONE. We've got a waiting period, and people use them in self defense all the time! Well bloody hell, sign me up!! So to all the rednecks: get the hell out of the woods, stop shooting dear, or targets, or whatever the hell it is you shoot, put the guns down, and go see the iron giant. =) Oh, one last question, what kind of guns do you think they had when they wrote your precious 2nd Amendment? What's that you say? Muskets? Alright then, Muskets for everyone! Try shooting up a school cafeteria with a Musket, or taking out a crowd of people from a car window, or hunting a dear for christsakes. Bloody Savages.-Alex

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Shoot 'Em Up!

    by Alex De Large

    Alright, I've had it up to here with this 2nd Amendment garbage. The 2nd Amendment was put in place for the right to bear arms for the purpose of ORGANIZED MILITIAS. As far as I can tell, Vilos, it's been a while since the red-coats have been trying to invade. OK, so our founding fathers said we all had the right to own guns, so now Mr. Cohaagen, that seems to be perfectly alright. May I ask you one question? How many human beings do you currently own? Granted, it may not be in the constitution, but it was, in fact, condoned by the fathers of our country! Funny you should bring up suicide rates of all things. So China has a higher suicide rate, therefore guns are A-OK! Excellent logic, assface! If I may call you assface. Have you ever lived in China? I thought not. Cultures are not all the same, and the fact that someone's suicide rate is higher has NO RELEVANCE on the issue of gun control in America. NONE. We've got a waiting period, and people use them in self defense all the time! Well bloody hell, sign me up!! So to all the rednecks: get the hell out of the woods, stop shooting dear, or targets, or whatever the hell it is you shoot, put the guns down, and go see THE IRON GIANT. =) Oh, one last question, what kind of guns do you think they had when they wrote your precious 2nd Amendment? What's that you say? Muskets? Alright then, Muskets for everyone! Try shooting up a school cafeteria with a Musket, or taking out a crowd of people from a car window, or hunting a dear for christsakes. Bloody Savages. OH! And Moriarty...Thank you for the fantastic article. Not like it would be anything less!-Alex

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 1:48 a.m. CST

    My Apologies For The Double Post

    by Alex De Large

    I had a few things to add...Here's to the Aussies!!-Alex

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 5:04 a.m. CST

    Answers for Alex

    by NRA_2nd_Amend

    "May I ask you one question? How many human beings do you currently own? Granted, it may not be in the constitution, but it was, in fact, condoned by the fathers of our country!" -> Alex De Large. Answer: A subject of such debate, even at the time that it was left out of the consitution, because the founders knew they couldn't get a lot of states to adopt it, with anti-slavery content. I agree with you on one point, what does the suicide rate have to do with the price of tea in china, however.."Oh, one last question, what kind of guns do you think they had when they wrote your precious 2nd Amendment?" They had the most modern weapons known to man. Capable of taking on, and defeating one of the most powerful armies in the world(Britain). Without that advanced firepower, this column would not exist. The constitution could not have been drafted, and there would be no freedom of speech. " Try shooting up a school cafeteria with a Musket... or ... hunting a dear for christsakes." -> My Father in law does, he also partakes in rifle, and bow hunting season. In fact, all of the meat he eats, he hunts. Why? because he is a "bloodthirsty savage"? No, because he is providing for his family on a limited income. $20 a year for all the meat he gets, more than worth it. As for "put the guns down, and go see THE IRON GIANT." Watching a single movie is not going to change what the media has done over the years. If that were true, clockwork orange would have wiped out all of britain, and Bambi would have put an end to hunting

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 6:04 a.m. CST

    (Heavy Sigh)

    by Anton_Sirius

    All this theorizing is nice, but it isn't terribly realistic. You could say that the stats support either side, but then you'd be a moron whose blinders are cutting off the circulation to your brain. Vilos' stats, for instance, were very instructive: "Canada has a higher rate of illegal gun use" or whatever. Um, there are 270 million guns in the U.S. Of course the percetage is going to be smaller, you idiot! How many guns are rusting away in attics, not being used in crimes? Jesus, I'd be willing to bet that the sheer volume of guns drags the U.S. average of 'illegal gun use' below just about every other country on the planet! Dumb-ass. And rather than looking at simple suicide rates in countries (which has all sorts of non-gun cultural causes) why not look at the percentage of SUCCESSFUL suicides? This 'efficiency rating' would go a long way towards determining whether guns do have an impact on suicide rates. In fact, Vilos, all your stats were just a big smokescreen, as is the 'self-defense' arguement, the 'Constitution is God' arguement and just about every other NRA chestnut. There is only one stat that matters: that goddamned 270 million. Some way has to be found to reduce the number of guns in circulation before ANY measures are effective. If you banned all firearms outright, right now, there would still be plenty to go around for decades to come. Here's a solution: build a big wall around the U.S. so their idiocy can't affect the rest of the world. Why should anyone else in the world concern themselves any longer about what happens in the U.S. anyway? It was a grand experiment when it started, but it is pretty obvious now that the experiment has failed. They are a money- and death-obsessed culture, and as much as it pains me to turn a blind eye to the suffering of my fellow man, I just can't see a solution that could help them. Why is a bunch of kids returning to school more important than thousands of deaths by earthquake? Answer: Because the children were American and the earthquake victims were smelly Turks. It's sad and pathetic and I want no part of it anymore.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Oh, By The Way

    by Anton_Sirius

    Anyone know of a job opening in Hollywood? I have this great idea for a script...

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 6:54 a.m. CST

    In the grand words of the Iron Giant...

    by samscars

    I am not a gun.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 7:09 a.m. CST

    JJ Fong and Alex Delarge

    by Vilos Cohaagen

    First JJ, who needs cigarettes, who needs alcohol? Both kill more than firearms and are both designed to fuck People up. Need is not a necessity. That's where you foreigners are fucked in the head. We have something in this country called freedom. If you are a law abiding citizen and are not harming yourself or others than more power to you. The fact still is that the number of murders, while too high, is miniscule in relation to the number of firearms in circulation. If we go by your standard then we should restrict automobiles. You could ban and confiscate every gun in this country and the only ones taken would be those of the law abiding. The criminals would never be affected and crime would rise. That's whats happening in your Australia right now and the facts prove it. Alex-I didn't bring up suicide, someone else did as a reason to ban them. I pointed out that it doesn't matter as other countries have a worse problem without them. Sorry if it ruins your argument. Interesting that you mention China. Gun control works well there. 50 million+ killed by the government. No freedom of press, no freedom of all. Russia, Hitlers Germany and others all prove what happens when the government has control and the civilians have no means of protection.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 7:29 a.m. CST

    On things

    by Zeb

    First,regarding Columbine,I agree with Moriarty almost entirely,and I'd add that at that high school in particular,there seems to be an air of elitism that gives some kids undue arrogance and others outsiders' rage. On SNL: This could be a huge mistake for Lorne Michaels.Say what you will about how wonderful SNL has been over the years,and how good a guy Michaels is. In today's showbiz the performers don't care.Unfortunately,they're not as tradition-minded as Moriarty,and they WILL refuse to agree to a 12-year deal for the sake of Lorne's good intentions.And even if they agree to such a deal,they'll get bigheaded after a few years and want out. Either way,it appears that after 25 years,SNL may be ended by contract disputes,if not after this year,then in the next few years.SNL deserves to go out on top,but people,and especially their agents,are greedy.There's no getting around it.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 7:41 a.m. CST

    etc, etc, etc

    by half pint

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 7:57 a.m. CST

    etc, etc, etc

    by half pint

    let's try this again. . . I have to agree with Moriarty regarding Columbine. I think the whole of Littleton would have a better chance of putting that whole tragedy behind them if the news media would let it alone for a while. Please, no more stories on Columbine until the one year anniversary, and then only if it's a slow news day. It was an awful tragedy, shocking, and everything else one could say about it. But it's over and it's time to stop picking at the scab so it can really heal. On gun control. I understand the sentiment in wanting to outlaw guns. Personally, I don't own a gun and have no desire to, but that doesn't mean that I want my brothers and dad to get rid of their guns. In America, we are such a freedom-loving nation that I don't think guns, a basic protection of our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are going to go away. As has been stated, if guns are illegal, the only people with guns will be criminals. People in Australia, England, etc. will say that they have very little gun crime because they have such strict gun control laws. Granted. But in US, I think we would have had to have started a long time ago to get to the point they're at now. In the US, we are fiercely protective of our freedoms and that's why we wrote them into our Constitution. To take guns away from all Americans would be to change the Constitution and I don't see the NRA or conservatives like me allowing that to happen anytime soon. Another point is that you can't legislate morality, and I'll leave that for the reader to apply to the situation. On Power and Grace, Cuba Gooding, Jr., is the only name I've seen that might be able to pull it off.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 9:48 a.m. CST

    JJFong is so wrong

    by vultureman

    when JJ said-- You see, guns are made for killing, and thats what they do, on purpose, by accident, whatever. -- He lied (whether on purpose on not is the question). A Firearm is designed to expel a projectile at a high rate of velocity in a targeted manner. FACTS: -Over 95% of episodes where firearms are pointed at people, the firearm is not discharged. (Well duh, guns only kill people according to JJ and his BrothersInLyings, he just ignores about the nonlethal usage of firearms in confrontation situations.) -More animals are killed with pistols each year in the USA than people. (ck the national hunting associations) -More shots are fired at various targets each day that are fired at people in the whole year in the US. -When suicides are mentioned , the reason is that about half of the reported "FBI firearms homicides" are actually suicides. Drugs are an easier way to die, but a firearms suicide makes a bigger impression on the survivors. -And of those 7500 remaining homicides that are murders, you will find that most of them are criminals killing other criminals. Wow I bet those criminals really respect the 22K+ gun laws when they are doing thir drug deals,robberies, etc. - And lets not forget those 200K+(some estimates 1 mil) usages of a firearm to protect oneself or family. Over half of those said that serious injury/death would have occurred if they had not been able to defend themselves. - The Crime rate (excluding firearms) in the US is higher that all those other countries mentioned with rates of low firearms deaths. So there is no one for comparison since no other country is as MultiRacial and MultiEthinic as the USA except for maybe the Russian Alliance. And you can see what happened there after they left the people express themselves. Therel Moore Austin Texas and BTW JJFong, A Palestinian in TelAviv killed 12 with his 2 knives, sorry I can't find a 14 in the records.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Gun Control

    by tdibble1

    I hear a lot of vitriol on both sides, and a healthy dose of naivete along with it. ----- Gun Control Advocates: * Yes, when you "control" something by making an unenforce(d/able) law, you just cause another problem. Gun control laws which can not be enforced should be removed, and any new laws should be determined based on how enforceable they are. * The second ammendment doesn't say half of what the NRA wants it to say (leave the NRA their muskets; everything else is not directly protected by the 2nd ammendment). However, one of the "great, unstated freedoms" of the Constitution is the freedom for any man to protect himself and his possessions. There needs to be a line drawn somewhere (I really don't need to get into a nuclear arms race with my next door neighbor!), but that line is somewhere this side of "only your teeth and fingernails" as weapons. Common sense is required, and hyperbole on either side gets us nowhere. ----- Gun Lovers/NRA: * Sorry, the "gun control takes away guns used for legal purposes" argument is pure BS, and I really hope you know that. Having a minimal "waiting period" before getting a gun isn't in and of itself a "good thing", but having the background checks that that "waiting period" enables is. This takes away the "easy route" for a criminal to get a gun. Anyone who wants a gun in a non-emergency situation won't be fazed by it in the least. If you think you need a gun in an "emergency situation" then something else is wrong; the police should be handling such a situation, not you. In other words, if you have the time to walk down to the mall to pick up a gun to react to some threat, you should have the time to pick up the phone and call the proper authorities. Cry all you want about unresponsive police forces, but *that* is the problem, not a three-day waiting period. AND, of course, if the checks can be done sooner (if the Fed Gov't ever gets off it's butt and makes its records electronic, allowing automated background checks), they should, and the gun should be available to the purchaser the minute the checks are done. If you make it *harder* (note, *nothing* is ever "impossible"!) for a criminal to get a gun, fewer criminals will obtain guns. That's a simple law of nature. ----- Final point: * The goal I hope we all share is that criminals should have fewer guns, and "ordinary folks" should be able to defend themselves from any reasonable threat (define "reasonable"?). What is a criminal? Well, the only way we have of predicting who will be a threat to society in the future is by examining the behaviors of each individual in the past. Thus, those who have criminal records are, for want of a better system, criminals. With that, background checks are the only way I see of edging towards our goal, and until technology advances to the state of personalized devices (ie, guns which can only be fired by the "owner", etc) even background checks can not be anywhere close to perfect.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Fascinated

    by Alessan

    I have become fascinated with a perception arising from this rather tempestuous talkback: mainly, that many Americans are pleased with the prospect of killing other Americans. I mean, people have been defending their right - nay, their privilege - to kill their fellow countrymen. My God! Have you no national pride? No sense of common identity? This is your own side you want to slaughter! Ok, so you say you want to defend yourself against your own government (a twisted state of paranoia, I may add) - how are you going to do that, pray tell? You want to take on M-1 Abrahms with 12-gage shotguns? Shoot down Apaches with Glocks? It's not gonna happen. Now, the last thing I want is that the U.S. become a dictatorship. But you can go too far the other way, too. You guys have inneffectual law enforcement, a crumbling judicial system, corruption in all levels of government and gangs of bandits roaming your cities and forests. This is the result of freedom without responsability. If you want a better, safer life, then don't compound on the disintegration of your proud nation; fix your society, make it a better place to live.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 2:10 p.m. CST

    A Brief Change Of Subject

    by Alex De Large

    I know that all the arguing in the world will not change anyone's opinions, so with that being said, I'd like to touch on Moriarity's original point. The fact that the media, and many normal citizens are able to point the blame to the internet, Marinly Manson, and NBK when somebody my age finds things too dificult to deal with, and then turn around months later when somebody twice my age goes nuts and to simply say it was because of his hate background. To me this is just absurd. I was standing outside of a Regal Cinemas a week or so ago waiting for some friends of mine when I overheard some kids arguing with the ticket-booth girl about being carded to go see American Pie. "Since when have you been doing this?" one of the teens asked...and then the girl in the booth answered, I swear to God she said this..."Since the Columbine shooting." If the owner of The Regal chain is by any chance reading this, I hope you sleep better at night asshole. I hope now that you can die with a healthy conscience for saving the lives of America's children. Well fuck you. You are the perfect example of the people that Moriarty is talking about. Take a stand for our side instead of selling out to the national blame game. Shame on you for being such a coward. So, to jump on the lastest AICN talk-back bandwagon...BOYCOTT REGAL CINEMAS! Oh, and to Viddles, sorry about the suicide thing, I thought you brought that up. Although I still say that you should find better arguments than, "You said who needs guns?? Well who needs cars, or soap, or anything else besides air, food, and water for that matter?" It just reflects badly on you and makes you look like quite the fool. But hey, who 'needs' logic?-Alex

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Guns Among Us

    by Goodgulf

    It seems odd that we're so hot to take guns away from individuals and yet we trust the government (no matter what country you live in) to have whatever they want, from pistols to atomic bombs. If I were to argue merely from statistics about who killed more people, the government or individuals with guns, guess who would have the higher number? If you really want to save lives take weapons away from governments.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Sigh...It's Been An Extremely Long Day

    by Alex De Large

    Sorry about the name mix up Vilos...Viddles? What the hell was I thinking? Personally I think WHEN WE WERE KINGS is enough Ali for me...I really don't trust anybody else to do it right. One last thing on guns...why don't we just do the opposite of gun control...just give guns to everyone. Have them issued when you turn, say, 8 years old. Just think of the Utopia that would be! Wow, the 'self-defense' statistics that you gun nuts bring up would be staggering! On the other hand, I'd probably get shot, so scratch that idea. Well, I'm off to the Cinema (not Regal, thank you very much), happy posting to all!-Alex

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Gun Control Reply

    by Sundance

    Dearest John, Give up on the exploitation of Columbine, Pearl, etc. for political firepower. You seem to all conveniently forget that the two sick bastards that shot up the school only got their guns because they broke the law (19 laws to be exact.) The guns were already 100% impossible for the two bastards to obtain lawfully, so they broke the law, like so many do. Want a solution? Here's a novel idea (lightbulb) ENFORCE THE FUCKING LAW! Of the over five thousand kids who brought firearms to school last year (a felony) guess how many were actually prosecuted. ---Six Of the "250,000+" felons stopped by the Brady Bill from purchasing weapons (a felony), how many did the federal government prosecute this past year? --- Nine Perhaps if we sent a message and gave the maximum sentence to the folks who break the law by: illegally attempting to purchase firearms, illegally purchasing firearms for others, illegally distributing firearms, illegally bring firearms on firearm restricted grounds, and, believe it or not illegally using firearms, we would have more felons in jail (I know that dehumanizing idea frightens you)rather that on the streets and in the schools. Perhaps if we would enforce the more than 20,000!!! active gun control laws we would have slightly less gun crime. After all, more than half of all firearm crime is repeat. As for the deterents you mentioned to make guns more difficult to obtain, here are a few examples of your aforementioned laws in action. --- In 1976 Washington, D.C. enacted a virtual ban on handguns. By 1991, D.C.'s homicide rate had tripled, while the U.S. rate rose a comparatively small 12% (288% less than beloved D.C.) --- New York, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles, all have among the strictest gun control in the America. Believe it or not, they account for only 5% of our nation's population, yet they account for 15% of our nation's murders. --- In 1975, South Carolina limited handgun sales to individuals to one per month. Within 15 years, South Carolina's violent crime rate doubled. --- In the forties, fifties, and sixties, guns of the same type and style which were used in the Columbine killings, were readily and easily available, almost completely free of restrictions. Kids did not walk into school and kill each other, now did they? --- From 1960 to 1980 the number of prison inmates per 1,000 violent crimes dropped from 738 to 227, and the crime rate tripled. Each year more than 265,000 felons convicted in state courts are not sent to prison. Only 23% of convicts are actually in prison. 76% are on parole or probation, or free on the streets. --- Imprisoned criminals serve only one third of their sentences, on average: 7.7 years for murder, 3.3 years for robbery, and 4.6 years for rape. That is a travesty. --- Less than 0.2% of all firearms in the U.S. are used criminally. So, please John, from now on back your arguments up with FACTS rather than silly sentimentality. Take care, Sundance

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 10:30 p.m. CST

    guns and ammunition

    by jbreen

    The cause and effects arguments here in some of these posts seem kinda tenuous. For instance:'In 1975, South Carolina limited handgun sales to individuals to one per month. Within 15 years, South Carolina's violent crime rate doubled.' Where is the mention of firearm homicide, and other firearm related crimes, though? Were these violent crimes hand-to-hane assaults, knives, miscellaneous weapons? In 15 years the rate doubled? I would suggest that, in that time, the population probably tripled. Or are you giving a ratio figure here? Also: 'In the forties, fifties, and sixties, guns of the same type and style which were used in the Columbine killings, were readily and easily available, almost completely free of restrictions. Kids did not walk into school and kill each other, now did they?'. See my earlier post - there has been a shift in some values that has resulted in some of the horrific massacres we see. Whether these values are media driven or not, the fact is that guns, more than any other weapons, allow for de-personalised, fast, effective killing and this form of killing is now a part of our culture, whether in a drive-by or in a schoolyard. As has been repeatedly stated here, most weapons used in homicides are implements with other, practical and harmless purposes - knives, crowbars, hammers, poison, baseball bats etc. Guns, however, were not invented for sporting functions or for pleasure. They were invented as a weapon, a tool for killing. I mentioned suicide earlier and am reminded of the detoxification of gas over this century and the resultant drop of suicide by gas inhalation. If you could remove the lethal function of something then you clearly remove the possibility of it being used lethally. In some cases this just isn't going to be all that possible - a soft, round, foam knife is of no use whatsoever. You can't remove the function of guns without making them worthless, and you can't remove their lethal nature. (Unless everyone just carried cap and paint guns!) The only choice you are left with is their removal and their removal also removes the effects of their usage. And that usage is, specifically, death - no sentimentality there, bucko. And, if they can't be removed, as tdibble (hi there - I think we've spoken before!) said: 'If you make it *harder* (note, *nothing* is ever "impossible"!) for a criminal to get a gun, fewer criminals will obtain guns. That's a simple law of nature.' Arguing the rather nebulous argument that, after the removal of handguns there was an increase in violent crime over a large period of time, only shows an ability to create irrational links - it's like saying '15 years after women stopped wearing hoopskirts there was a railroad bridge built in Newark'. There is no direct correlation or reason to think the first occurrence necessarily resulted in the second. I prefer a sentimental argument to one that twists and distorts facts.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Local gun bans...

    by Monkeyfish

    There is a difference between localized gun bans and national gun bans, and a difference between gun control and complete bans. A national ban on firearm sale and production would lower gun use to nil within 20 years, since no new guns would be produced to replace lost, damaged or seized guns. Not to mention the lack of ammunition production, which would probably render a loaded gun more valuable on the black market than most things you could steal with one. Mass underground production of firearms would be very difficult, for reasons I have stated previously. Also, a large number of internationally circulating guns are American manufactured, or manufactured in other countries for the American market, so many other countries would lose access to a great many guns (and bullets, an important item to keep in mind). Base no further arguments on the idea that a gun ban would not reduce gun crime. (I am an American, if it matters)

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Columbine and Furrow

    by TheMiqque

    Very interesting and passionate feedback so far! Thank you all for thinking (even if I don't agree with you). Your thoughts have stirred up some of mine. I own guns. Thus far, the only thing shot with them is paper (as in targets) and it would be just fine if that never changes. But we DO have an armed militia, here called the police force, and they are doing one lousy job. Recently, besides the case of Ms. Miller in Riverside County, in the Fairfax district we recently had a gun-happy cop blow away a homeless lady. He said he felt his "life was in danger", and, while she indeed had the hideous weapon of a bent screwdriver, the dozen-plus witnesses have all stated on camera that she was 50-60 feet away from the officer, walking AWAY from him. As a rule, all LAPD officers tend to rely far too much on their firearms. I think it's piss-poor training. (And why, during the huge shoot-out in North Hollywood at the bank of America robbery a few years ago, did not of these brilliant souls figure out to shoot the criminals in the feet? They may have been wearing Kevlar, but they were not wearing armored boots.) As to Furrow and the two Columbine psychopaths; besides being driven insane by being rejected from any healthy human interaction, all were failed by the mental health non-system. I have seen this system go from unfair decades-long institutionalization in the 50's to the (Sadly) most rational period of the late 70's-early 80's. During that time, beds were available in private and public hospitals, and there were courts dedicated to protecting patient's rights. Div. 95 of the LA courts still does so, but they are quite small and overworked, and focus on the polar ends (72-hour holds and conservatorship renewals). From the Reagan model in California the catchmen system for mental health has been eroding. Even the improved drugs to treat depression and other disorders (which reduce or eliminate the need for hospitalization in many instances) has inadvertantly fed the closure of the mental health system. Add to that fact that the opposite of suicidality - homicidality (which in Freudian terms is the same thing) is not treated. It is feared and turfed to the justice system. The symptoms of depression, suicidality, hatred, bigotry, and even genocide all have the same neurochemical roots and are eminently treated with a combination of medicine, psychotherapy, and societal support. If any of that trio is missing our society produces, and will continue to produce, armed murderers. (BTW- We need to abolish HMO's. They kill people, and take money from the health care system and put it in the pockets of bureaucrats.) I grieve for the families and victims. I'm sorry that the two boys and Furrow lost their internal battles and acted on their rage. But, thank you, I will keep my guns and continue the fight to install in the American educational system the tools to deal in a rational and calm manner with the issues of mental and physical health. Thanks for listening!

  • Aug. 25, 2006, 12:36 p.m. CST

    One great conjecture fest.

    by Wolfpack