In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb mv5bnda4ymmwmgity2mzos00odjilthmzdetyza5ngu4zjq5yjhixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 674 1000 al

Geostorm

God knows how many millions of dollars and hours of manpower went into making and remaking Geostorm but it turns out to have been all…

Thumb same kind of different as me

Same Kind of Different as Me

It can be hard to disagree with the heart and events of this true tale, except for when the movie reveals itself to be mighty…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary ar15 thumb 500x147 50231

The body count

Five years ago, Roger responded to the shooting in Aurora, Colorado with one of his most somber pieces, noting the rising statistics about gun violence and wondering what could possibly be done about it. In the wake of more mass shootings around the country, I often ask myself how he would write about the issue today. Even five years ago he thought he could "change nobody's mind" about gun violence. Someone has to.—Brian Tallerico

The following article was originally published on July 20th, 2012.

Advertisement

"The Body Count" by Roger Ebert (July 20th, 2012)

I'VE NEVER HELD a handgun in my life. I did some rifle target shooting with the ROTC in college. That's it with me and firearms. Does this make me less of an American? I think handguns are dangerous, and the more people who walk around carrying them the more dangerous they are. I also don't understand why civilians need to possess AR-15 assault rifles, such as the one used by James Holmes in Colorado. They fire 10 shots at a time, and are intended for combat use. In civilian hands, they are by definition weapons of slaughter. Do you need one in your home?

About 47% of the American population has a gun in their home. About 49% support the right to own guns, and 46% support restricting gun ownership. We all know the arguments on both sides. Debate gets us nowhere. After James Holmes opened fire in Aurora, the discussion started all over again. I couldn't even bring myself to tune in cable news. It would be the usual assortment of talking heads, repeating the usual arguments. Blah, blah, blah.

The theory is that gun ownership makes us safer. That doesn't seem to be working out for us. The body count rises. In Chicago we have a murder wave going on. Gun ownership doesn't bring safety when both sides are shooting at each other. Nationally, most guns fired in homes kill people who live there, including children, and do not kill home invaders. The death toll in Aurora only represented half the daily U.S. average in deaths by gunfire. In a year, guns murdered 468 people in Australia, England, Germany and in Canada put together, and 9,484 in the United States.

Here is a record of mass shootings in the United States since 2005. It is 62 pages long. It was compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. I went to university with Jim Brady, and we were friends. He's spent the years since 1981 in a wheelchair. He was shot by John Hinckley, Jr., the flywheel who thought assassinating President Reagan would impress Jodie Foster. Of course he was crazy. I'll go out on a limb here and say James Holmes must have been crazy, too. When you think it is necessary for you to open fire and murder innocent people in a movie theater, what else does that make you?

Advertisement

True, there is no way we can defend ourselves against insane shooters. But I suspect Australia, England, Germany and Canada have about the same percentage of crazy people that we do. It's just that they can't get their hands on firearms so easily. Nor do they sell assault rifles over the counter in those nations.

You know what? The hell with it. I'm tired of repeating the obvious. I know with a dread certainty that I will change nobody's mind. I will hear conspiracy theories from those who fear the government, I will hear about the need to raise a militia, and I will hear nothing about how 9,484 corpses in a year has helped anything. That is a high price to pay. What depresses me is that half of my fellow countrymen are prepared to pay it.    Note, 10:50 a.m. Saturday: Many, many of the comments below inform me the AR-15 cannot fire 10 shots at a time. I know little about assault rifles. This was my source for the information: http://bit.ly/O61fYH

Popular Blog Posts

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

Oscars Could Be Facing Dearth of Diversity Yet Again

A column on the lack of diversity in this year's potential Oscar nominees.

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus