December 01, 2008

DEATH WISH

Nothing to do but cut and run, huh? What else? What about the old American social custom of self-defense? If the police don't defend us, maybe we ought to do it ourselves.
We're not pioneers anymore, Dad.
What are we, Jack?
What do you mean?
I mean, if we're not pioneers, what have we become? What do you call people who, when they're faced with a condition of fear, do nothing about it, they just run and hide?
Civilized?
No.

I watched Death Wish tonight. This scene reminded me of something I read yesterday about Mumbai:

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."

If being civilized means that we let barbarians destroy everything we hold sacred, then count me out.

The last time I wrote about vigilantism, Amritas left this comment:

Is there a correlation between vigilante fantasy entertainment and an increasingly criminal-coddling society? (The rise of the Death Wish movies after the 60s might indicate that the answer is yes.) I don't think there was anything 'cool' about frontier justice 'back in the day'; it was a harsh fact of life. But nowadays such justice has turned into escapism and the reality is that people want to deny responsibility.

How much easier things would be if a Batman would come along and take care of the War on Terror for us. If someone else could take care of the barbarians at the gates. If someone else could go and fight the dragons.

If we could sit and watch from the sidelines while someone else polices the world.

But thank heavens there are some people in this world who are not sidelines people. From the imdb page on Death Wish:

After finishing The Stone Killer (1973), Charles Bronson and Michael Winner wanted to make another film together, and were discussing further projects. "What do we do next?" asked Bronson. "The best script I've got is 'Death Wish'. It's about a man whose wife and daughter are mugged and he goes out and shoots muggers," said Winner. "I'd like to do that," Bronson said. "The film?" asked Winner. Bronson replied, "No . . . shoot muggers."

Posted by: Sarah at 03:30 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 421 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Call me shallow, silly, and uncouth, but I admit to being terribly disappointed that the "world police" link didn't take me to a video clip from Team America, preferably one in which part of France explodes. However, there were lots of good thoughts here (with links to more), so I will get over it. Sig

Posted by: Sig at December 01, 2008 06:47 PM (ikRCN)

2 "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." but more importantly, "an armed society is a polite society." Would an attack like this be possible in the United States? In every large metro area, handguns are almost universally outlawed. Even as a holder of a CCW permit in PA, I cannot Carry in Philadelphia. So the answer, could it happen here, is "Hell, I'm surprised it hasn't... yet."

Posted by: Chuck Z at December 01, 2008 07:07 PM (q4psF)

3 The title makes me wonder if the West has a death wish. Certainly not all of it does. Sarah and her readers are on the side of life. But I'm not so sure about a lot of others ... Chuck Z, I'm surprised Mumbai-type attacks haven't happened here either. Even if Philadelphians and other big city dwellers were armed, our doors are still wide open. And I wonder if guns really deter jihadis who are willing to die. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for civilians shooting jihadis. I think guns do deter cowardly criminals. And I'm not afraid of CCW permit holders. As Toren wrote, ... statistics from the Department of Justice and the FBI show that concealed carry permit holders nationwide are almost 50% less likely to kill someone. Sarah wrote: If being civilized means that we let barbarians destroy everything we hold sacred, then count me out. This reminds me of something I just read yesterday: Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil? - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged Why do leftists defend reactionary jihadis who oppose feminism and gay rights - who should be "evil" in their eyes? Is it because they believe in the "anti-morality" that Rand described? Thanks to Sarah for quoting me. The hunger for vigilante fantasies persists, judging from the recent Punisher: War Zone movie ads on TV. The Punisher was a minor comic book character in 1973 who became a Marvel superstar a decade later, in the age of Bernhard Goetz: a modernized, gun-toting, maskless Batman. It occurred to me tonight that many Batman fans are probably - and ironically pro-gun control and left-wing. They dream of a vigilante but they prefer the State in real life. Professional comics writer James Hudnall pointed out that "a lot of people in comics" are leftists. In my experience, that includes a lot of creators as well as fans. Will they miss Bruce Wayne after he "dies"? (Pointless "killings" followed by predictable resurrections are commonplace in modern antiheroic American comic books.)

Posted by: Amritas at December 01, 2008 09:19 PM (zc9j7)

4 And, of course, the guns that are being railed against in the gun control lobby as causing crime and mayhem are generally illegally gotten to start with. So, like, further laws are going to affect them, right? Sheesh. And it's not just guns, either. If a criminal breaks into your house and your dog bites the ever-lovin' crap out of them. Even damages them severely for their illegal foray into your house... You lose your dog. They will put your dog to sleep for protecting your house against a criminal. I have to check into the rules everywhere we go because Ike is banned and subject to special penalties for being "vicious." But the penalties are truly ridiculous for all dogs. And that is for them defending their home. Somewhere along the way, society got the idea that life is supposed to be "safe" when life has never been "safe". So those who follow the rules get victimized by those who would never follow the rules to begin with.

Posted by: airforcewife at December 02, 2008 04:30 AM (Fb2PC)

5 What WOULD we do? We have guns in our house, most are locked tightly in a safe, but the air pellet gun to scare the squirrels and wild hogs that come through are at hand. Would they scare an intruder? I don't know. Would we have time to get the 22, again I don't know. As for vigilantes, is does seem necessary sometimes, but there is a fine line between vigilantism and anarchy. It is a definable line, but thin. I do not feel as unsafe as I did last week. We went to Mexico for the holiday weekend. My son and his wife are cavers, they go there all the time. They go in through a safe little town, stay on the back roads mainly and stay in small, extremely friendly towns and villages. We saw NO violence, no unfriendly gangs of teenage boys, or otherwise indications of any anger directed towards us or anyone else. We did visit the larger city of Saltillo, it is very crowded and we went through some parts that looked very different, but everyone was friendly. And then I come home and read of massacres in Tiajuana. If you stay away from the druglord parts of the border it seems safe. One reason I feel safer is we missed what surely must have been the round the clock coverage of Mumbai, it was on the Mexican news but we watched that only briefly. And if makes me wonder if round the clock coverage doesn't feed violence.

Posted by: Ruth H at December 02, 2008 04:56 AM (4eLhB)

6 airforcewife, And, of course, the guns that are being railed against in the gun control lobby as causing crime and mayhem are generally illegally gotten to start with. So, like, further laws are going to affect them, right? I don't think that's the real purpose of gun control laws. Our society is concerned with appearances. Get (not "earn") that A, even if you have to cheat. Promote peace through disarming the law-abiding. The only consequence that "matters" is looking like a saint ... but by whose standard? Other consequences don't matter to the anointed who live in gated communities. They claim to be egalitarian but they think "lesser" people who can't afford their sheltered existence "deserve" what happens to them. Dogs die for defending their homes? Madness! I thought I've heard about something similar in the UK, but I couldn't quickly Google any examples. So those who follow the rules get victimized by those who would never follow the rules to begin with. That sadly sums up our situation.

Posted by: kevin at December 02, 2008 07:50 AM (+nV09)

7 Mu.nu hates me. Amritas' comment reminded me of another vigilante-style film that came out recently, and one that I particularly liked: Iron Man. Kevin is right about the purpose of gun control laws. It's all about politicians seeming to be doing something about gun violence, even if the proposed ban would likely increase the chance of law-abiding citizens to be injured or killed due to their inability to protect themselves from those who carry guns illegally. Seattle had an incident this last spring where a gun discharged in its ankle holster during a scuffle at a music festival. The owner had a permit, but should not have (previous history of mental instability and drug addiction), and now the mayor is using the incident, as well as a couple of more recent gang shootings, to try and pass a gun "rule" about banning all guns (even with a CC permit) on city property. The proposed rule has been declared illegal because it would preempt state law regarding gun regulation, but the mayor is trying to push it through anyway. The hearing is being held this month. Oddly enough, it's the LA Times that has the best and most thorough story, rather than any of the local papers.

Posted by: Leofwende at December 02, 2008 09:05 AM (jAos7)

8 Amritas -- This is the same philosophy that made Obama say that he supported raising the capital gains tax despite the evidence that shows that the government will take in less revenue because it's an issue of "fairness." It's about looking like he's being fair, at to detriment of everyone.

Posted by: Sarah at December 02, 2008 09:32 AM (TWet1)

9 RuthH, I don't think 24 hour news coverage feeds violence, it just makes us feel less safe. And the less safe we feel, the more we demand that "Someone must do something!" And usually that something is more laws that criminals won't follow anyway but that keep law abiding citizens from protecting themselves. There is a thin line between vigilantism and anarchy, sure. But why is protecting yourself vigilantism? Vigilantism is pro-active. Protecting yourself is defensive. I've had tough looking guys cross the street when I'm out walking my dog (you know, the dog that Sarah's Charlie physically maimed during a visit?) because he LOOKS mean. And I do know for a fact that he can be mean. But he won't attack unless someone is threatening me or our home. That is not vigilantism, that is defense.

Posted by: airforcewife at December 02, 2008 11:15 AM (Fb2PC)

10 Leofwende, mu.nu hates me too. Join the club. It seems kevin has gone sane for once. Thanks for the Seattle anecdote. One benefit of the Internet is the ability to learn about what's going on beyond the local and national level through the MSM filter. the mayor is trying to push it through anyway What a moral man, putting principle before the law. The criminals who will remain armed will be so grateful. airforcewife, Thanks for explaining how media hysteria fuels the expansion of state power. It doesn't help that misfortune is profitable. I confess, I ignored TV news for years until 9/11 had me glued for a week. This principle also applies on a less epic scale. A single murder can be dragged out seemingly ad infinitum while other more important news is ignored. Is such coverage really a public service, or is it sensationalism? Is relentless negativity driving the public away from the MSM, or is the rise of the Internet more relevant than televised content? Vigilantism is pro-active. Protecting yourself is defensive. I.e., reactive. I won't confuse your dog with a lynch mob. you know, the dog that Sarah's Charlie physically maimed during a visit? Now you've got me scared of Charlie!

Posted by: Amritas at December 02, 2008 03:31 PM (zc9j7)

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