Movie notes: The Killing of America


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One thing that strikes me as perpetually odd: violence is described on the news but never, ever shown. (At least, it never was when I was still watching.)

    The crumpled car might be shown, damage on a wall from a stray bullet might be shown, but never blood.

    It’s this weird attempt to be sanitized and lurid at the same time. It gives stories about violence a weird and unreal tint.

    Has this changed, recently? Did stills taken of the recent shooting show anything like blood? (The pictures I saw all showed crying people standing, crying people walking, crying people sitting, and school pictures of the children from happier times… but no blood. Never blood.)Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      I think it’s sometimes shown accidentally- something like the politician Bud Dwyer who shot himself during a press conference. I debated if I should include a picture in this post of someone who had been shot and killed because it feels like a lacunae in this discussion, but finally felt like it would be a violation of the decorum we’ve established in this symposium.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      The famous example of this is Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald in his cell. That was shown over and over.Report

      • Avatar mark boggs says:

        Not to be a history pedant, but Oswald was not in his cell, but being transferred at the time he was shot. This is what gave Ruby the chance to shoot him. He was in the basement of the Dalls police station being led to the car that would take him to another location. It has always been fodder for the conspiracy theorists that because Ruby was such buddies with members of the Dallas PD because of his night club and his organized crime ties, that he had advanced knowledge of the transfer and was allowed access (not even searched for weapons) to and free movement around the station to even get that close to Oswald.Report

      • Avatar mark boggs says:

        But to your point, how about the Zapruder film of Kennedy being shot. The enhanced colorized version of that is absolutely horrifying over the three or four frames where the head shot occurs.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Oh, there’s all sorts of grotesque footage out there that is available for the googling.

          It’s just never on the news. It’s “undernews”.

          Maybe it’s better that way.Report

          • Avatar mark boggs says:

            Without a doubt. I suppose because the Zapruder film was sort of groundbreaking in that it captured such a horrible event but also because it was also used to try to figure out the whodunnit of the assassination that we tend to see it more than other footage. Or maybe I’m inordinately fascinated with the Kennedy Assassination.Report

    • Avatar Will H. says:

      I had a friend that was shot to death, and it was filmed by a news helicopter. They rolled it on the news with a disclaimer that it “might be shocking.”
      The film was low-grade and indistinct for the most part. No blood to be seen, but you could tell when the bullets riddled his body.
      The truly shocking part was what was going on just a few feet away. The police lined up a firing squad right in front of 20 – 30 people, and stood there for about 5 minutes waiting for him to make one wrong move so they could gun him down. That part was reported, and I gave about 4 tv interviews.
      But the gruesome factor was removed. It looks like a ragdoll down there being jerked around by invisible strings. Probably the only reason I feel anything about it is because that was my best friend, the drummer from my band.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I’m profoundly sorry.

        I’ve witnessed one shooting, been in the vicinity of a mass shooting as it occurred (Brookline, ME family planning clinic), and had two friends plus and acquaintance murdered in a third.

        It shakes you, to the soul.Report

        • Avatar Will H. says:

          Thank you.
          And my sympathies to you. That sounds like a true horror of an experience.

          For me, the horror didn’t set in til much later.
          At the time, it was hum-drum. My first thoughts were, “Thank goodness that’s over! Now maybe I can get a bit of shut-eye.” I poked my head out of the door for a sec and saw all the people gathered round, and I knew my nap-time was lost.
          A sh!tty day, all the way around.
          And then the guilt that came with thinking of those things.
          But I knew within five seconds after the shooting stopped that I would have to leave that place, and probably forever; or else they would come after me.
          And they did.
          That’s when the horror of it started.Report

          • Avatar zic says:

            But I knew within five seconds after the shooting stopped that I would have to leave that place, and probably forever; or else they would come after me.
            And they did.
            That’s when the horror of it started.

            You know I want to know more, right?

            /also about this band, and your musicianship, and do you still play? We like musicians.Report

            • Avatar Will H. says:

              I can’t talk about it too much, because it’s an ongoing case. The family filed a wrongful death suit in federal court. It’s supposed to come to trial on October 13th. Maybe after then, I can tell you more.
              The local authorities tend to interpret the state witness intimidation statute to proscribe exclusively non-proficient witness intimidation; while proficient witness intimidation is something that they smile on.
              Federal authorities are no help either. I called the FBI, and they questioned me about what makes me think I’m a witness. This was only a few weeks before the state attorney general’s office was calling me to try to get a deposition (which I refuse to enter the state at issue in order to give).
              I filed a number of motions with the trying to gain standing for a motion for relief to be heard. Didn’t work out. In the wording of the order of the court:

              While the Court is cognizant of Mr. [H.]’s concerns for his personal safety, the Court does not believe his addition to the present action would properly allay those concerns.

              I make no secret of the fact that I fled the state in fear of my life for the very purpose of being a witness in a federal matter.
              Regardless of what the laws might state, there is no manner of protection under the law for a federal witness. Unless you file a civil case. Which I just did on Friday. (I just downloaded the original verified complaint from PACER as I was writing this comment.)

              I’ll always be a musician. I’ve been a ‘serious’ musician from about 1980 or so; but the earliest memories I have of playing are from around 1969 – 1970.
              I couldn’t listen to music for about two years after the shooting. I would get about halfway through a song, and then, “That’s it. I’m done.”
              I currently own something like 19 guitars (seriously, I lose count), 2 mandolins, 2 balalaikas, 3 amps, a drum machine, Tascam 4-track unit, and other odds & ends.
              I have an unfinished demo (burned some stuff) from ’97 that I listen to from time to time. It’s still good stuff. A lot of production errors in there. I’ll never run a drum track through a compressor again. But we used to drive around in my car listening to that thing all the time.
              I don’t play so much any more. Maybe I’ll record something for you soon, if I can figure out how to get this Vista machine to record. There’s about 3 pieces that I would like to record anyway; just eclectic crap that nobody but me really gives a flying flip about, but it’s good stuff.
              Those things I excel in, I tend to perform most excellently.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      Blood doesn’t show nearly as well on camera as fake-blood from hollywood. I’ve seen several photos released from accidents on the news back when one of my friends was an ambulance driver; actual blood, blood from wounds, dries up and tends to look like wet pavement pretty quick. The bright-red-blood that comes from a body in hollywood isn’t really what you’ll get for long, even artery blood releases the oxygen and starts to look like the darkish vein blood they take when you’re donating pretty damn quick.Report

  2. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    The media in Japan refuses to name killers. Everyone there is aware of this. And in fact, it was around the time of JFK that the old rules of decency guiding what was and was not tasteful to publish started eroding and the new tabloid shock standard began to come to the fore.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Have there been any studies in Japan showing whether the non-naming of killers seems to have any concrete effects (=reduction in copycatting, basically)?Report