Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The "Hollywood Factor"

Blechta here.

Sounds sort of like the latest new thriller from Robert Ludlum, doesn't it? Yeah, yeah, I know he's dead, but death hasn't been able to slow down this man's output.

Vicki's entry from yesterday hits an awful lot of nails directly on the head. I'd like to amplify a few points if I may.

Last year, I believe, the Toronto CWC (Crime Writers of Canada for those who don't know) chapter had a guest in for one of our meetings. He was an arms expert and quite engaging. A few things he said really stuck in my memory.

First was the fact that far too many people who have guns, really know very little about them. "What they think they know about guns they learned in Hollywood movies. And that's not a good place to learn these thing."

He talked about the fact that guns have a tremendous kick to them, even smaller calibre weapons. So, each time you shoot a gun, it moves up (assuming you're holding it in an upright position).

Now here's the kicker, when the gun is an automatic weapon, the bullets come out in a very rapid stream. What happens with an inexperienced shooter is that the pistol, if that's what you're using, just goes "right up the ladder", as this man put it. So in effect, you're spraying bullets in an upward path. This can happen even when you hold the gun in two hands, if you're not ready for it. With one hand on the gun, it's very difficult to control even for an expert marksman.

The popular thing in movies now is to portray cops (or bad 'uns) holding their pistols sideways -- in one hand. Following the scenario of the gun expert, you're now spraying bullets in a level circular field.

He also said that no one in their right mind who knows anything about shooting would ever hold a gun sideways. "It looks great on the screen but really is a dangerous way to shoot."

We had this scenario for real a few years ago on Boxing Day here in Toronto. A firefight broke out between two gangs right on our main downtown street. A teenage girl, coming out of a clothing store was hit by a stray bullet from one of these idiots and died at her mother's feet.

Can you imagine someone starting to shoot on a crowded bus? How many people who carry loaded firearms (on a bus?) would be properly trained in shooting, let alone shooting with extreme accuracy in that sort of explosive situation?

To recap from Vicki's blog entry: everyone got off the bus in an orderly fashion, the damage was limited to the one terribly unfortunate soul; once off the bus, three of the people tried to do something and could not; and once the police arrived, the situation was resolved in the best manner it could have been.

It is a horrible tragedy, yes, but it could have been much, much worse. So Canadians are too civilized? What a horrible indictment of what far too many of our neighbours south of our border think is the right way to do things (not to mention a large number in this country). The point is, from start to finish, this event was handled in a civilized manner.

The man who perpetrated this heinous act is obviously mentally ill. There is no other conclusion. I will be exceptionally surprised if it proves to be anything else (and I'm not talking here about some slick lawyer getting him off). How else can you explain attacking someone you don't know, who is asleep and who is unarmed?

A few months ago I stated here how ashamed I was of Canada for the way a Polish immigrant was treated by Vancouver Airport staff and the four Mounties who were involved in his death (how and to what extent we don't know at this point).

Right now I'm cheering for "civilized" Canada. A pox on that man from Texas and all his cronies. The side with his viewpoint represents much that is wrong in our world. Sorry to say, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" really never worked very well in practice, did it?

We have the ongoing wars to prove it.


Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Way to tell 'em. I'm with you all the way, Rick and Vicki. People are getting way too much information from Hollywood (and dead thriller writers?)

Charles benoit said...

Great, yet another asshole from Texas making the rest of us look stupid.