A DEPARTURE

I’m going to depart from my Roman Polanski posts to address something I feel needs to be looked at:

The above trailer is to the film OUT OF THE BLUE starring LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR TREK star, Karl Urban as a police officer in a small town on New Zealand’s South Island where a gunman by the name of David Malcolm Gray, an unemployed man with mental disorders, went on a shooting spree that left 13 dead and three injured and a community asking why it was allowed to happen.

The full details of what exactly happened that day on 13 November 1990 can be found here at Wikipedia: [ ARAMOANA MASSACRE ]. It would be a far better read than me trying to fall all over myself trying to give you a blow-by-blow description of what happened and who was involved. So go have a read, then hit your back button and come on back to read my post….That is if you want to. Suffice to say, after I watched the film directed by New Zealander Robert Sarkies, I was left with the feeling of total shock. Why shock?

I really do not understand the feeling from anyone that they need to own a gun or have one in their possession, let alone allowing someone who is mentally disordered like Gray to own not only one, but many and many that by all right no private citizen should be able to possess. The type of gun Gray used was tantamount to a Russian AK-47, the kind used by the Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. This type of weapon can be adjusted to be either a semi-automatic or automatic. Which only means one thing: It is a capable of killing and killing many. In Gray’s case, he was a collector, someone who had a fascination for guns and knew how to use them, also stockpiling amunition. I ask this: Why does anyone need to stockpile guns or amunition? If you’re not law enforcement or someone in the Armed Forces, why are you allowed to own a gun?

Living in Canada as I do, I’m struck by all that my government has done to make sure these types of weapons do not fall into the hands of someone able to carry out a mass shooting as was done at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in 1989 where 14 women were killed by a man angry that men’s jobs were being taken by women. Again like Gray, Marc Lupine carried out his mission with absolute efficency as he walked from class to class shooting indescriminately. This episode forced the Canadian Government to re-examine the issue of gun control in Canada and who actually should have the right own them. There is a gun registry where one must sign onto in order to own a simple handgun, but the one thing that is clear is that no one has the right to own an automatic or semi-automatic weapon here in Canada. However, in other so-called advanced countries like the gun happy United States of America, it’s not so simple to force a gun registry due to certain aspects of America’s Constitution allowing such ownership under their Second Amendment.

With events such as Waco and the Branch Davidians, Columbine and the D.C. Sniper behind them, the nation that prides itself on its ability to shoot from the hip then ask questions later, still allows gun shows to continue where men like Gray and Lupine are allowed to go and peruse to their heart’s content and buy whatever strikes their fancy. Ever since the shooting of Ronald Reagan and the injuring of Reagan’s press secretary James Brady, the question of gun ownership has been a hot button issue. Sarah Brady, wife of Brady, has tried since the 1981 shooting of her husband and the former president to get Congress to make some kind of law about guns and gun ownership when John Hinckley Jr. was allowed to buy a gun and use it injuring two others in the process of shooting Reagan and Brady. Hinckley like Lupine and Gray, suffered from a mental disorder. He’d tried several times to get in touch with actress Jodie Foster to no avail. With not being able to do so, he decided to ‘do the big thing’ so she’d notice him. Much in the same way Mark David Chapman did with his obsession with John Lennon, Hinckley took it upon himself to make a statement. So why are these types of people allowed to even buy a gun, let alone own one? Sarah Brady has tried to enact some kind of identity check in order to make sure these types of offenders do not have access to the kind of weapons one would consider only used for wartime or by law enforcement.

The NRA in the United States would have us believe that it is a person’s right to own a gun. In another time it would have been, when the nearest law enforcement was the next valley over or there wasn’t another person within acres of your land and the possibility of bandits were an issue. But this is not the Old West or DEADWOOD. This isn’t Al Swearengen having to defend his business against those like George Hearst who’d dare to come in and take it over. This is 2010 where the nearest neighbour is in the apartment or the house next door. We’re stacked too close together to have to have weapons to protect us and with law enforcement a telephone call away. And certainly not the weapons favourited by the likes of Gray and Dylan Kleibold and Eric Harris. Within weeks of the Columbine shooting, the NRA held a convention in Colorado where then NRA leader and actor Charleton Heston entoned, “Not from my cold, dead hands,” like he was re-enacting some scene from one of his movies. This isn’t PLANET OF THE APES or SOLENT GREEN, this is America in the 1990s where we don’t need to be ‘locked and loaded’ as Sarah Palin would say.

One should be asking why the NRA and other such gun lobbiests need to continue to tout the Second Amendment in such times as these. The simple answer should be that no one should have to own a gun. The more complicated issue is deep set in the fabric of the society that continues to allow these kinds of guns to be sold in gun shows and other venues where there are no checks to find out if the potential owner has a prison record, or a record of mental issues. These types of venues don’t care. They only care for the ability to own, but not be responsible. Kleibold and Harris weren’t even old enough to be able to obtain the weapons they had including bomb making materials, so they asked someone to get the guns for them. The issue here is who should be responsible? Kleibold and Harris’ parents should have been held accountable for what their sons did, and they were sued by family members of the victims killed. The NRA would have us believe they care for responsible gun ownership, but they do nothing to make sure their venues are closed to such things as a mentally disordered person who might be able to buy a gun and use it for just such a killing spree, because let’s face it, the only thing one can do with one of these kinds of weapons is to use them for killing many.

So we go back to David Malcolm Gray, a loner with a mental disorder and the ability to own guns he should not legally been allowed to own. New Zealand enacted gun control measures as a result of Gray’s killing spree. I say, the horse already escaped, why close the barn door now. Why does it take these kinds of incidents to get the ball rolling to restrict these kinds of weapons? Why not keep these kinds of weapons out of the hands of the general public who have no right to own them? With ads for gun sales in the backs of magazines and other periodicles, it is so very easy to order them via the mail or on Ebay. There are no laws to prevent such weapons from passing through postal stations or Fed-Exing them as there should be. How about just not at all? Why not just say, “These kinds of guns are not allowed to be owned by a private citizen”? Well because gun owners and lobbiests cry and stamp their feet their rights are being trampled. Well how about those who are killed or wounded by such guns every time someone goes postal and shoots up an office building or a school or a small town? Where do they get their rights or lives back?

OUT OF THE BLUE is gutwrenching to watch. it is unflinching in the events as they happened and when Gray is finally taken out by New Zealand special forces operatives sent from Wellington to find Gray, we are left with the feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction that the man responsible for the deaths of five children and six adults in the rampage, is finally dead. Does that make us monsters for wanting men like this ‘taken out’? I don’t think so. I think it means we are for justice and for the rights of citizens to be paramount to out elected law makers. We want to know they have our best interests at heart and are not part and party to these NRA types who decry it’s their right to own them.

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