What Is Real “Gratuitous Violence?”

I recently went to see “The Hateful Eight.” It’s a well-acted (if not always well-written) Quentin Tarantino film about the fateful meeting of a group of bounty hunters, ex-soldiers from both sides of the Civil War and criminals who are stranded in a stage coach way station in the midst of a Wyoming blizzard. The two and one-half hour movie unfolds to increasing psychological tension within the group, flashbacks and complicated plot revelations, ending in a quite-literal blood bath in which most everyone dies.

Some would call it “gratuitous violence” and it probably is. On the other hand, it dawned on me that the real mass shootings around the country and gun-related gang deaths on Chicago’s South Side and elsewhere is the real “gratuitous violence” in our day. The blood and gore shed in those instances is not the red food-coloring of Hollywood, but the very life of our children being poured out on our streets.

After years of virtually begging Congress to enact “common sense” gun legislation and receiving only rebuffs from members, President Obama has announced that he will attempt to issue a number of executive orders to do such things as expand background checks on gun purchasers by forcing more sellers to register as dealers, improving mental health services, and kick-starting so-called smart gun technology.

Of course, opponents of such measures cry fouls of executive overreach and of violating the Second Amendment. Undoubtedly, the courts will have to sort some of that out. In the meantime, I wonder how many real blood baths will occur across this great nation.

Just in case anyone out there still thinks such violent deaths still look like the sanitary ones on “Gunsmoke” or even on most television shows today, let me assure you that they do not.

They look a lot more like the final scenes of “The Hateful Eight.”

When will enough be enough?




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