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The snipers empathy

Today is a different day, today is not some case where I am a Don Quichote wannabe, I am not fighting a windmill and I am not hunting for Credit Agricole and certain upcoming 2024 events (for those who were able to comprehend the links between three earlier articles), not to mention an unconfirmed rumour that a small group will end up with the better part of €467 million. Today is different, this is a point where I might be wrong from the very beginning, and I am OK with that.

This is about an article in the Guardian last Wednesday (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/aug/07/ads-human-stalking-satire-the-hunt-pulled-us-mass-shootings). I saw the trailer and to be honest, I never made any link to the El Paso and Dayton killings, I also understand that in this turbulent times the studio needs to rethink its approach to a movie that took most of the previous 2019 to make. It was also the moment that I learned that is was based on the 2012 original Jagten with Mads Mikkelsen (Death Stranding, Dr Strange, Rogue One), which is actually a little issue as this was done before with the remake of Nightwatch (Nick Nolte), the makers wanted an English movie without having to rely on subtitles and missed to boat to the larger degree, the issue is not the makers, the director was for both Nattevagten and Nightwatch Ole Bornedal, so I am at a loss how the movie was worse, the actors were good, I felt that the original had a much better atmosphere. So now I do worry for the Hunt, yet in all this the hunt has a strong cast (Betty Gilpin, Hillary Swank, Emma Roberts), and it might work, the idea that hunters overestimate a woman is not without premise giving an edge to the movie, the idea that ‘they’ve been chosen to be hunted in a game devised by a group of rich elite liberals‘ is also strong, the idea that clueless rich people cannot look beyond the veil of a spreadsheet is readily accepted by the audience, yet that is not what this is about.

This is about the event where a filmmaker is now getting his hands tied behind his back because of an event in real life and the polarisation of the people around it. I believe that there is strong character in the cast and crew to look at other ways to adjust creating awareness. Creating awareness is an important part of any movie and spreading creativity has a plus and a consequence. I get it, you do not want to set the open stage of ‘entertainment’ where the people are all upset over events, yet the premise remains.

Does it really?

When we consider the quote “According to the Hollywood Reporter, cable network ESPN dropped an ad for the movie that was to air last weekend while studio Universal reassesses its plans for the film, which is due for release on 27 September in the US. The same publication says “a source” at ESPN said that no spots for the film would appear on the network “in the coming weeks”” and we see the ‘27th September‘ as the start date, why would there be any advertisement on TV before September 1st? There are other venues! for example IMDB as well as YouTube has been seen as a trailer central for movie lovers, there no restraints are needed, those in grief (and we get that) would not be in a state of mind to seek out new trailers, watch movies that are coming, in addition, the Digital world is global and even as the makers need to pussyfoot around their American audience for now, but that restraint is a lot less needed internationally. When we consider that the larger productions are now in a stage where the US is often merely 25%-35% of the total global revenue, focussing on the non-US side would become increasingly more important. There is also an issue with the quote: “The Hollywood Reporter quotes a Universal executive saying that the studio was responding to the politically “fluid situation” amid a wave of protest in the US against gun violence and white supremacism and that it was discussing plans to change direction over the film’s promotion “if people think we’re being exploitative rather than opinionated”” Here we need to realise that the original is 6 years old, in addition, filming was completed months ago, showing the clear stage that this is about a movie and not about exploitation, that next to the fact that when some people are calling the issue a ‘politically fluid situation‘, we need to realise that the politicians are part of the problem here; this was been proven close to half a dozen times over. When we give rise to: “Employees in different departments were questioning the wisdom of making such a movie in these times“, we need to ask additional questions. Was there wisdom in creating ‘the Deer hunter‘, ‘Apocalypse Now‘, or ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile‘? Where do we draw the line? Now we see the Hunt, which is a story, not a reality and somehow people are unable to distinguish real from fiction, we can call that a much larger failing on all of us. And if this was a small (not so) subtle push to propagate the dislike of firearms, does that have a quorum in a work of art (as the maker would call it)?

I will accept that some people do not want to get near this movie for all the personal convictions they might have and that is fine, yet how should we go about fiction because it is uncomfortable? Is art not set to the stage to make it larger? Is pushing a person outside of their comfort zone not an important aspect? If we so object, how come that the protest was not louder when in the movie Final Girl was trained by Wes Bentley to take matters in her own hands? Was it because an Axe gave the coup de grace and not a Benelli M4 Super 90? Seems weird, in the end the person would still be dead. It reminded me of an old conversation, “We are not murderers, we are killers“, all whilst we know that the person we’d be gunning for ends up being equally dead either way we label it.

For me the Hunt will be interesting, the switch away from Mads Mikkelsen and towards a female lead. In addition, Emma Roberts has proven herself to be a bad ass witch (Madison Montgomery), can she repeat it in the Hunt and end up being as bad ass as her daddy was in the roles like Alex Grady, James Munroe, Tomas Leon and several others, to see the ‘bad ass’ stamp pass on to the next generation is just a fun part. Emma Roberts has distinguished herself a few times over, watching Nancy Drew go Madison Montgomery on us is merely icing on the entertainment cake. It also shows that the makers did a good job, which is essential for any movie lover.

Yes, if there is a focal point to the hunt for me, then it is the stage of fun, it always has been that; art and fun need to go hand in hand; it is also the reason why Lars von Trier movies take so much effort for me. I found his ‘the House that Jack built‘ a little meeker that I expected. I remember seeing ‘Dancer in the Dark‘ I was deeply depressed for well over a week, so when I see art, I prefer to feel joy and entertainment. The Hunt is in the end still entertainment, nothing more to it. Is it a hunting story where we get to enjoy the change as the hunter becomes the hunted. It is as stupid as it gets, like jumping into a snake pit and playing with your food, it never ends well. For a true hunter, the idea that someone thinking that he is a hunter and getting eaten by the lion he wanted to kill is just great joy. A true hunter kills for food, not for joy, a true hunter is not there to get the Lion, he wants to get the real deal, the animal that gets him fed, not the pelt (which is merely a bonus at times).

So when I am looking at the story of “a group of globalist elites gathers for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport” I see the need that this goes Topsy Turvy on the hunters and it remains entertainment. It does not take away the issue that there is a real event in the US and because of that the anti-gun feelings are exploding, I get that, I truly do and I also accept that the film makers are not there to upset feelings, they show the empathy that politicians never show when they exploit events for their own personal limelight. Yet the film makers could take it to better staging (I have not seen the hunt at present and beyond the little captions know, as well as the trailer) I know very little about the movie at present. Yet the stage that we see today also calls for other parts.

Whilst politicians are trying to exploit a movie, the recollection of the New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/22/us/politics/trump-atf-nra.html) where the NRA is accused of “It has aggressively lobbied against nominated directors and pushed Congress to enact restrictions on how the bureau spends money to curtail its ability to regulate firearms and track gun crimes. One funding provision, for example, forbids the A.T.F. from using electronic databases to trace guns to owners. Instead, the agency relies on a warehouse full of paper records“, if that accusation is proven, then we have a much larger setting where the governing members of the NRA might be guilty of corporate manslaughter. If we accept: “an organisation will be guilty of the offence of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death“, will the absence of electronic records set a stage where it caused a person’s death? Consider the Columbine High School massacre, perhaps the best known shooting (1999), it happened in a time where databases and data analyses has already evolved to a much larger degree, consider that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been in the database system, is there enough evidence that this alone might have triggered clearer actions in time? In addition, if the NY Times is to be believed and the issue of: “For decades, the N.R.A. has used its sway in Washington to preserve the A.T.F. in its limited capacity” could be proven, does that increase the chance of conviction of corporate manslaughter on the NRA and the governing members? It is an important question because the evidence that the failing of the ATF is funding and either all politicians unite to grow the ATF or they should be muzzled and forbidden to make any political statement at any shooting, should that increase the chance of actually solving matters?

Perhaps larger visibility to the hunt becomes essential, when we see ‘entertainment’ and the premise of real danger we might take more notice. The notice of sociopathic millionaires and billionaires hunting people for sport is not realistic, but the dangerous premise where weapons are handed out and remains available completely unchecked is an actual danger. I myself have a fondness for guns (specifically long range rifles), yet I never owned one because in the Netherlands there are no proper rifle ranges, and I lived in the city. In Sweden there were options, but I was in the city and did not see the need to get one and so on. I believe in responsible choices and so far there has not been an option to enjoy my passion for years, so I have to limit myself to other fun events and there are plenty.

I believe that the largest passion of guns in the US comes from partial hunting and from passing on the skills and knowledge from generation to generation; there is plenty of evidence that farmers and families are about safety and about proper handling of weapons, so having these people in a database should not be an issue or a worry, it is when a group caters to a 1% group with other needs, that is when we need to worry and that is seemingly happening now.

When we call the entire senate to attention and demand an answer on the limitations of the ATF, will we get a clear answer? The last permanent director of the ATF was Todd Jones (August 31, 2011 – March 31, 2015), whilst President Obama was in office until 2018, so the failing in the White House is much larger than we see. This is important because if the people are not taking this serious, why should a movie maker show constraint on a movie that is not based on real life?

I wonder how the person with links to Universal responds in case a person like Oliver Stone decides to wake up and does a deep dig into the ATF and the political ramifications it has faced for over 10 years, in an age where terrorism is a larger danger, how can you limit the one organisation that could assist the FBI to the largest extent? I wonder how the NRA will scream and cry like little bitches when a movie like that makes it to the world screen. In the end I do agree with the NRA on one thing, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people“, and there is also the hidden wisdom, should we stop a database that connects a gun to a person? It is a larger issue and we accept that, yet the solution was simple and has been for over a decade, the fact that the media and the real politicians who fight for a better nation are not there to protect and grow the ATF also are the shown politicians that are optionally part of the problem. That evidence is shown as the 5th director of the ATF was Bradley A. Buckles (December 20, 1999 – January 2004), and Carl Joseph Truscott as the 6th director from 2004 to 2006.
So in a stage of terrorism and mass shootings, there has been a proper ATF director in play for a period of 10 years out of the last 20 years, why is that not daily news? The fact that the ATF started on 1st July 1972, and so far there have only been 7 permanent directors, with decent governance in the years up to 2004, does that not strike you as strange too, especially after all the 9/11 events?

I believe that those opposing and complaining about the Hunt have a much larger problem, but it seems that calling the white House and the ATF, as well as the FBI to attention on this is not what limelight seekers do, they merely want the stage for the message of selling themselves, not presenting the presentation on how to keep Americans safe, is that not a nice consideration to have?

A sniper does not show empathy to instantly kill its target, there is no benefit to prolong your targets life, it merely needs to e killed and one bullet does just that, kill a person, kill a cause or kill an idea. It is a Hollywood stage where the target has to suffer, or be able to plead, or be able to alert others through screaming.

As I see it, apart from the joy that a movie like the Hunt brings (with a soda and pop-corn mind you), it could optionally show just how stupid people are by not demanding a permanent ATF director and a better ATF budget from their elected official every single day. When people do that every day and make sure that their life (read: their re-election) depends on it, we will see an actual improvement to limiting and in the long term stopping mass shootings. Perhaps a movie like the Hunt is good on other levels, it might make people wonder on how the system is kept in place by political exploiters and that too is important to shove into the limelight (the less diplomatic, the better).

There is no short term solution, there never was and anyone telling you that is lying to you, yet none of it is reality until actual decisions are handed out and for now, they are not.

 

 

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Capone Syndrome

There is a larger concern in the US today (yesterday too). I have always lived by the premise that guns do not kill people, people kill people. I still live by that believe today, even as people all over the planet cry that guns are the problem. In the UK we see: “There were 726 homicides in the year ending March 2018, 20 more (3% increase) than in the previous year“, which is fine, you can a person with a knife as terminally concrete as a gun can, you merely have to move up close and personal to do so.

Yet that does not explain the American numbers and I accept that. When we consider ‘17,284 reported cases of murder or non-negligent manslaughter in the United States‘ we see that there is a much larger problem in play. Yet there is also the stage that the numbers have declined by 30% since 1991 (24,700 murders at that point). Yet that would be the facts if we take the word of Statista; it is the New York Times who gives us “There were 39,773 gun deaths in 2017, up by more than 1,000 from the year before. Nearly two-thirds were suicides“, which is an entirely different dish to serve. The article (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/us/gun-deaths.html) becomes debatable when we see the information they do give us with ‘Nearly two-thirds were suicides‘, so there is an issue, and even as we want to blame guns, these people would have equally gone for pills and optionally tapping the vein with a sharp knife.

So when we see: “In 2017, about 60 percent of gun deaths were suicides, while about 37 percent were homicides, according to an analysis of the C.D.C.” we need to take a larger look at the issue. When we see the numbers, which I accept is disproportionate to most other nations, we need to see that the US has a much larger issue and firearms are not the cause, the economy is. We see part of that reported by the World Economic Forum (at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/the-global-suicide-rate-is-growing-what-can-we-do/). Here we see: “Overall mortality, particularly in the middle years, is increasing as a result of the so-called “deaths of despair” due to suicide, alcohol, opioids, and liver disease. Although 94% of American adults believe mental health is equally as important as physical health, most do not know how to identify changes in mental health that signal serious risk, nor what to do in response“, I believe that this is part of the answer, but not the larger impact. Some have taken this path and it can be directly linked to isolation and the lack of quality of life. Yet it will not stop with the US, there is every indication that these waves will hit the Commonwealth (UK and Australia) as well, In Australia we saw in 2018 ‘Australia’s suicide rate is now at 12.6 deaths per 100,000 people‘, whilst it was reported to be 5.7 in 2016 down from 6.6 in 2007, to see that the numbers have well over doubled in 10 years is a large issue and the limelight on this has been switched off.

The reduced quality of life is a larger issue in the US is that the people that are living in poverty is 13.5% (43 million), which is astounding as the unemployment rate is set to 3.7%, so we have a stage where people with a job are still below the poverty line and they are not alone, the UK is pushing into a similar stage. As the BBC reported almost 3 weeks ago “Between 1994 and 2017, the proportion of people in working households in relative poverty rose from 13% to 18%, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – eight million people in 2017” (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42223497) we see a shift and the governments are not pushing to improve that setting, more important Australia is pushing in that same direction, yet they make matters worse by remaining in denial of social housing and age discrimination.

This now moves back to the beginning, We see the Capone Syndrome, Alphonse Gabriel Capone was boss of the Chicago Outfit and cause for the deaths of a large uncounted amount of people. In addition to that we must give voice that he donated large amounts of cash and was the force behind the charity that served up three hot meals a day to thousands of the unemployed—no questions asked. In all this he was never convicted of charities, not for murders and not for ‘criminal’ activities, the FBI got him on Tax evasion. Here we see the Syndrome, we blame guns, but other issues are the driving force that is causing all this. Whether the latest two are through mental health or economy driven reasons remain to be seen. However, as long as the people keep on screaming gun laws in a nation where hundreds of millions of guns are in open circulation there is a larger option that will not be tended to.

One of these problems is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It lacks leadership and at least 3 presidents are cause if this. With a budget of $1.274 billion, with a little over 5000 staff, the ATF has a massive problem. The larger failure known as Project Gunrunner (2010), as well as the dismissal of ATF special agent Vince Cefalu in 2011 with 24 years of experience is showing to be a much larger issue than the media is giving you. The top brass are an Acting Director, and Acting Deputy Director, no official named and permanent elected (read: placed) director and deputy director have been set for the longest time, so there is a large absence of long term plans and that lack has been an issue for a much longer time. In all this the oversight of second hand firearms has been lacking like almost forever. Even as gun laws are adjusted, second hand merchandise will freely move and as such there will be no improved situation.

If these people who are crying and shouting ‘Gun Control‘ actually wanted any of that, then the ATF would get the needed budget of $3.8 billion, they are trying to get done what they can with a 30% budget, in addition, to properly overhaul second hand firearms an additional 1500 agents would be needed. Yet the power players are not willing to touch this economy. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that their group paid $6.82 billion in taxes (including property, income and sales taxes), the government does not want to touch it.

We need to accept an understand that this problem is a lot larger and the fact that everyone is looking at a busy crossroad and they are actually only looking and focusing on that one traffic sign called ‘amendment 2’, how is that ever going to fix anything? You can add a maximum speed of 15 bullets per minute to that crossroads, yet when we consider that the roads themselves are part of the problem, an actual large part, whatever you claim to fix, will not fix anything at all, not until you fix the road, the current signs will have a negligible impact.

Now when we look at the El Paso event at Walmart, we see the accused Patrick Crusius and the fact that he killed 20 people and wounded more than that. We see the mention of some ‘manifesto’ implies a larger issue. It could be a hate crime, yet we still need to learn what set him off. The fact that the person was taken into custody (with little to no force according to the Guardian) implies that this person seeks the limelight, which could give a larger rise to a mental health issue, but time needs to tell us that. In Dayton, Ohio we have another setting. Here a man killed his sister and 8 others. Here the shooter did not survive, something clearly set him off, yet what is unknown at present. Here the Washington Post gives us: “The guns had been legally purchased, police said, and there was nothing in Connor Betts adult criminal background that would have raised concerns“, we could argue that gun control might have been some impact, the issue with millions of guns on the open second hand market, there would have been little to slow this person down. So as we learn that ‘Connor Betts never seemed interested in extreme ideologies, nor did he seem racist‘, we see one optional extremist with racism tendencies and one not, and when we realise that we need to consider that the issue is a lot larger and we need to properly address this issue. Yet screaming ‘gun control laws’ all whilst the ATF is not able to do a proper job now implies that the US is currently heading towards a much larger issue soon enough.

By the way, the fact that the ATF issues have been known for the longest time and the last time it was addressed was on May 19th by David Thornton in an article and not after that, optionally even less before that, does that not warrant questions on several levels?

I reckon that the ATF is not a sexy enough topic for the media, but cadavers certainly are. So when we fix that part, we might begin to fix the mass shooting issues at some point in the future and do not forget that the absence of a permanent director has been an issue since before the Obama Administration, he too never addressed it, which after the Newtown shooting should warrant a question or two as well.

This is not about the NRA, this is not about the NSSF and this is not about guns, this is about policy and how to properly go about it, as I personally see it, until there is a clear mandate and a clear path that includes the ATF, we are unlikely see clear resolutions for years to come.

 

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