Indiana Jones and the Gun Free Zones


Yesterday was the launch of the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull trailer, which was cause for celebration in the Cornell household. It’s something of a mixed bag as a trailer – the montage of Indy’s previous adventures doesn’t really work, and there are absolutely no plot specifics provided. But it captured the tone of Indiana Jones, and, really, who wants plot specifics? It confirms that Harrison Ford is still worthy of the hat, so nothing else really matters.

Except this.

In the trailer, Indy is pulled from the trunk of a car, and a swarm of soldiers cock their guns and aim them at him and Ray Winstone, who then says “This ain’t going to be easy,” to which Indy replies “Not as easy as it used to be.” All well and good. It’s an acknowledgement of the 19 years that have passed since the last installment, and it gives us our first glimpse of the new, grizzled, world-weary Indy.

But look at this.

This is a still from the US version of the trailer. Now look at a matching still from the international version. (It’s lower resolution than the first still, but you’ll see my point momentarily.)

Notice any difference?

It’s a really stupid edit. Winstone still has his hands in the air. You know that guns are being pointed at them. But someone decided it would be inappropriate for American preview audiences to see the guns. What’s worse is that it really makes the shot look goofy now that you know what they’re doing. Because they take out the weapons using CGI, Ray Winstone’s pants are strangely gelatinous in the areas where the guns have been removed. (There’s a Freudian sentence if there ever was one.) It’s not only a silly edit, it’s a clumsy one besides.

I honestly don’t understand it.

Presumably, we’re supposed to think that the sight of guns pointed at real people will be somehow too alarming or offensive for young children. Yet it’s not as if the trailer is violence free. We see crashing cars and soldiers being hurled from moving trucks and things blowing up and people being kicked through glass. There’s also the use of the word “damn,” which my 11-year old daughter noticed instantly even when I didn’t. Why is all that acceptable, but guns being aimed – but not fired – are beyond the pale?

Yesterday’s brutal massacre at Northern Illinois University is once again getting the usual suspects talking about more stringent gun laws, and it just makes my blood boil. Don’t people realize that the people willing to obey gun laws are not the ones who walk on to a college campus and start blowing people away? Universities, by and large, are designated as “Gun Free Zones.” Which means that wackos know exactly where they can start shooting and not have to worry about anyone shooting back.

Keep in mind that I don’t own a gun. I have never owned a gun. I don’t want to own a gun. (I keep losing my keys; imagine what happens when I would inevitably lose my firearm.) I have never gone hunting, and the last time I held a loaded weapon in my hands tha fired something stronger than BBs, I was at Boy Scout camp. My position on this issue has nothing to do with my own personal experience or passions. Instead, it’s focused on one concrete, cold, hard fact:

Restricting gun rights results in the death of more innocent victims from gun violence.

This seems counterintuitive. After all, who wouldn’t want to rid the world of gun violence? If, legislatively, we can prevent another Northern Illinois University or Virginia Tech or even Trolley Square here in Salt Lake, shouldn’t we do it? Of course.

But that’s not what restricting Second Amendment rights does. In reality, it does just the opposite.

In Scotland, where I served my mission, even the police officers don’t carry guns. And in November, 1997, the British Parliament outlawed handguns altogether. , which put a huge dent on the arms industry as the manufacturing and production of guns, and their accessories, viz. upper parts for AR-15’s had to be desisted.No British citizen now has the right to keep and bear arms.

Gun violence in Great Britain has skyrocketed.

In 2001, CBS news declared England “one of the most violent urban societies in the Western world” because of the dramatic increase in gun violence, up 60% from three years previous when the ban was put in place. The rate continues to rise, despite the fact that guns have been illegal for over a decade.

Examples here in the United States tell a similar story. When I lived in Los Angeles near the University of Southern California, I could hear gunfire outside my window almost nightly. This is despite stringent gun control laws in that city. I have also lived in Washington DC, which has a horrific problem with gun violence, despite the fact that gun ownership in DC is all but illegal. These so-called “well intentioned” anti-gun ordinances do nothing but keep guns out of the hands of those who exercise their rights responsibly. They encourage the black market sale of weapons to those with no regard for the law.

And that means more people will die at the end of a gun.

I don’t think my children need to be protected from the very sight of a gun in an Indiana Jones movie. They don’t need to be afraid of a piece of metal. They need to be afraid of the kind of people who would use that metal for evil, while at the same time understanding that it’s the people who use the metal, not the metal itself, that makes all the difference.

The new Star Trek movie isn’t going to be released until 2009. That blows.

Valentine's Day: The Agony and the Ecstasy. (Mostly agony, really.)
Skiing, Guitar Hero, Chris Buttars

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