Tag Archives: gun control

Movie Review – Death Wish (2018)

Paul Kersey is back and his death wish is stronger than ever!

BQB here with a review.

SPOILERS ABOUND!

You know 3.5 readers, in today’s highly politically correct times, I’m surprised “Death Wish” was ever made.

Then again, the original 1970s version was controversial.  In that one, Charles Bronson played architect Paul Kersey, who, after the death of his wife and rape of his daughter, he starts packing heat.  Technically, he never commits a crime, but rather, he walks the mean NYC streets and when trouble finds him, he doesn’t back down, run away, or become the next victim.  Rather, he stands his ground and shoots the trouble.  The message?  If everyone had a gun, criminals would go extinct.

Controversial then but even more so now given the epidemic of school shootings our nation is seeing, especially with the push for gun control that liberals are pushing for.  Ironically, liberal Hollywood has been churning out more films that feature gun violence than ever before, but as long as its just random violence that’s considered OK, but if its a man who buys a gun to defend himself, family, and home then God forbid.

In this go around, the original “Death Wish” formula is followed, but also broken away from.  Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis, who is one of the most well-preserved sixty-somethings out there, though he’s flattering himself in an attempt to play a late 40s/early 50s man) is an ER doctor who sees the effects of gun violence daily as he treats gunshot wounds all too often.

Alas, when a robbery of his home goes wrong, his wife (Elisabeth Shue, another well preserved older person flattering herself by playing a woman in her 40s) ends up dead and daughter ends up in a coma.

Just as the original Kersey, he blames himself.  He feels he’s failed as a man and begins packing heat.  He dons a hooded sweatshirt as he takes out various criminals, causing the media to dub him, “The Grim Reaper.”  And unlike the 1970s, everyone has a camera phone today, so his exploits are caught on video and shared all over the Internet for armchair spectators to gawk at.

Now in the original version, guns weren’t the only controversy.  The race issue was controversial as well.  Kersey blew away white robbers, black robbers, he wasn’t focused on the color but rather, on saving his life even though he was out looking for trouble.  Still, the number of black bad guys capped in the original was high and as I watched it recently, I knew that would never stand today.

In this new version, there’s, well, what I can only describe as an attempt at what I might call, “conservative political correctness.”  Yes, at one point in the film, Kersey, a white man, goes out and shoots a black drug dealer named “The Ice Cream Man” for the poison he deals out of an ice cream cart.  The dealer is sitting, hasn’t drawn, and that’s a deviation as the old Kersey always waited to be attacked first then defended himself.

The optics are bad – a white man shooting a black man, as well as a black man portrayed as a criminal.  But then the debate in the film begins.  A radio show featuring black hosts takes on the issue.  One host thinks it’s wrong, a black man killing a white man.  Another hosts argues it wasn’t so much a white man killing a black man as it was an arguably good man killing a bad man and doing the community a favor, ridding the world of a bad person.

In fact, Kersey learns of the Ice Cream Man in his ER when he treats one of his victims, a young boy, under ten years old, forced into a life of drug pushing by the dealer, shot in the leg for failing on a deal.

Meanwhile, the film goes out of its way to put black people in positions of power, from doctors and nurses that Kersey works with, to a cop he treats for a gunshot wound, to one of the two detectives investigating his wife’s murder (Kimberly Elise, partnered with the illustrious Dean Norris of “Breaking Bad” fame, appearing here in a quasi-Hank reincarnation.)

And Kersey even gets his first foray into vigilantism when he guns down two white guys trying to kidnap a black woman, saving her from being raped, sold as a sex slave, whatever ill fate would have happened to her.

So, the overall message seems clear – black people aren’t a monolith.  All too often, we see violence, whether it’s in the news or in a TV show or movie, and we look at the perpetrator’s race and people get offended that the member of X (whatever race) is being portrayed badly.

But what this film seems to be arguing is that not everyone in any given race is the same.  It isn’t about black or white but good vs. bad.  Paul is a good person, just as the black doctors, nurses, cops, and detective he encounters regularly are good people.  The black drug dealer and white kidnappers are bad people.  Good people who do the right thing of all different races, colors, religions, backgrounds should stick together and stand up against bad people of all different races, colors, religions, backgrounds who do bad things.

If it’s got to be a case of “us vs. them” then let the “us vs them” not be one race against the other but rather, good people vs. bad people.  Kersey, a (prior to the start of the film) law abiding doctor, has little in common with the white kidnappers, even though all three are white.  Meanwhile, Detective Jackson (Elise) is law abiding and has zero in common with the Ice Cream man, and doesn’t exactly cry a river over the Ice Cream Man, even though both are black.

Overall, it’s a good film, though there are some gaping plot holes.  For example, an early scene seems to argue that it’s rather unfair that Kersey has to wait a long time, do lots of paperwork, take a class, jump through hoops to buy a gun when he has an obvious need for self defense, given the recent murder of his wife.  Yet, later, when he needs a gun stat, he’s able to get one from the same gun shop ASAP and that’s never explained.

And the main deviation from the original is that while Bronson’s Kersey never caught the baddies who ruined his life (a young Jeff Goldblum in a Jughead hat leading a gang of toughs), this Kersey does focus on tracking down the men who ruined his life, with the occasional deviation into extracurricular vigilantism.

So, there you go, I pretty much ruined the movie for you, but in my self-defense, I did give a SPOILER warning up front.  It was no surprise to me that this film was rushed out of the theaters quickly.  But then again, it’s just as surprising this film was ever made.  Bruce Willis, one of the lone conservatives in Hollywood, was probably one of a handful of actors willing to even touch the script.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Increase School Security Today

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

I usually don’t get political on this fine blog.  I want it to be enjoyed by all…of my 3.5 readers.

But this is an issue I wrote about after the Parkland school shooting and sadly, I’m writing about it again after the shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

Look, I get it.  Gun control is a tough issue.  There are so many strong feelings on either side.

But let’s be honest…while we hope the gun-less utopia, a world where everyone voluntarily throws down their arms because everyone has become so kind, caring and trustable, is coming, it clearly isn’t coming anytime soon.

Listen, in the 1800s, did the world wait when desperados stuck up Old West banks?  Did we say, “Oh, we won’t secure these banks, we’ll just wait for a day when everyone becomes nice enough to not rob banks anymore.” No, they pinned tin stars on the chests of surly, bearded, tobacco chawing U.S. Marshalls to hunt down the bank robbers.  Today, go into a big bank and you’ll see all kinds of guards and security measures.

When terrorists struck on 9/11, did we wait and say, “Oh, we’ll wait until the day comes when no one wants to do anything evil with a plane.”  No.  The department of Homeland Security was started, the whole governmental intelligence gathering/law enforcement apparatus was overhauled and airport security was increased.  We haven’t had a plane hijacking since, knock on wood.

Does it suck that we live in an age where schools require armed guards?  Yes.  Will their presence at schools intimidate the kids?  I mean, if you think about it, you see so many police and security guards all day long, wherever you go – banks, major attractions, airports, subways, etc.  Do you ever feel oppressed when you see them?  Probably not.

Every school should have a security assessment and doors should be secured.  They should be made such that there’s only one way to enter and that entrance comes with having to go through a metal detector staffed by armed guards.  You go through security at so many other locations, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Yeah, I know.  You might say, “Well, that sucks that kids have to be shaken down by security every day” but we have to realize there is an ongoing pattern that has emerged the past twenty years.

Basically, the shooter is almost always a troubled young boy who gets his hands on a gun and after years of being picked on, or teased, made fun of, etc. he decides he’s going to get even.  Young people often have no comprehension of how long life is and how some of the things that seem awful when they are teenagers will one day become things they will barely remember when they are adults.

Video games are more violent than ever.  So are movies.  And with the Internet, kids have exposure to all sorts of naughty stuff you couldn’t have dreamed of seeing as a kid many years ago.

Worse, you’ve got the “me” culture and even worse, “the fame culture” where everyone seems to think the best thing you can do in life is to become famous and it doesn’t matter if you become famous for doing something bad.

We have to be honest here.  Yes, guns are a problem but also, keep in mind that up until twenty years ago, people had guns and yet, school shootings were not a regular occurrence.  Not saying everyone in those days were perfect, but there’s been a breakdown somewhere that so many kids end up deciding to do a school shooting.

Maybe we’ll get to the gunless, peaceful utopia someday. Until then, tighten up school security.

Thank you.  This is BQB, signing off. I’d run for president and solve the world’s problems myself, but I wouldn’t have time to write on this exceptional blog.

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What Can the Original Death Wish (1974) Movie Tell Us About the Gun Debate?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

So, here’s the deal.  Every new generation, for some reason, truly and sincerely believes they are the very first to discover an issue, as though prior generations had never considered it before.

For obvious and tragic reasons, the gun debate is raging all over TV and over the Internet these days.  Funny though, are you aware that a 44 year old movie pretty much sums up the arguments for and against gun control in one fell swoop?

No, I’m not talking about the recently released reboot starring Bruce Willis, although I do want to see it.

I’m talking about the original Death Wish, which by now, is roughly the same age as a middle aged man.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  I rented it last night and dated as the film is, it still hashes out all the talking points about guns that are being bandied about today.

You see, 3.5 readers, in the early 1970s, there was a crime wave in the inner cities.  Nixon actually won the presidency due to promises to get tough on crime.  People were fed up by the fact that they couldn’t walk down the street without getting hassled by hoodlums and Hollywood cashed on in this development, producing all manner of films where tough guys, fed up with the system’s inability to protect them, take law into their own hands and blow bad guys away with big ass hand cannons.  “Death Wish” was the most notable of these films, though it runs neck and neck with Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” series.

The plot?  New York City architect Paul Kersey is a mild mannered liberal professional and family man.  He loves his wife, his daughter, and abhors violence, having even been given a medical corps position during the Korean War to avoid having to kill anyone.

All this changes when his wife is killed and daughter brutally raped by a pack of hooligans led by none other than a young Jeff Goldblum.  “Life uh..finds a way.”

While some hero tales provide an instant transformation i.e. the main character instantly gains powerful skills overnight, Kersey’s progression from frumpy dad to badass killing machine is a slow one.

Kersey’s informed there’s not much the police can do.  His son-in-law, Jack, laments that to the government, his wife and Paul’s wife are little more than statistics, a certain number of crime victims that the powers that be deem acceptable, even normal, and that they’ll just have to suck it up and get used to it.

Pissed, Kersey starts carrying a sock full of quarters to protect himself.  When a mugger attacks him, he gives the mugger a sock knock and sends the ne’er-do-well running.   He learns an interesting lesson – if criminals are made to fear for their lives, they’ll run.

Our hero then takes a sojourn to Arizona for work, we he meets Aimes, a business associate who can only be described as a walking, talking caricature of a died in the wool NRA member on steroids.  Frontier justice, Aimes says, is the name of the game in the West.  Everyone’s packing heat and criminals know they’ll be instantly bagged and tagged, so crime rates are low according to the cowboy.

Aimes takes Kersey to a range and we can see Kersey feel like he’s regaining control of his life as he takes aim at targets and fires.  He reveals that he did some hunting in his youth and had to qualify as a marksman in the Army, so he has some skill.  The cowboy gives the city slicker a present, a rather menacing looking revolver.

When Kersey returns to NYC, he starts carrying the pistol.  Oddly, he’s accosted by another mugger.  Kersey keeps his cash and puts a bullet in the bad guy instead.  He runs home and is so horrified by what he’s done that he throws up.

But soon…Kersey becomes addicted to murdering criminals…or does he?  It’s sort of an up for interpretation part of the film.

Fun fact – although he’s portrayed as an out of control vigilante, Kersey technically never does anything illegal.  He just takes a lot of walks in the middle of the night in dangerous neighborhoods, on subways, in parks, and is sure to flash a wallet full of money in seedy establishments and/or look like a bumbling old man by carrying groceries.  He never attacks anyone who doesn’t attack first.

Maybe he really is just an old bumbler with a lot of bad luck…but most likely, he’s out trolling, just waiting, nay wishing that some mugger would attack him so he can shoot them in self-defense.

And that’s the rub.  Kersey never shoots anyone who didn’t draw a pistol or a knife on him first.

The overall theme of the movie?  If people arm up, bad guys will pussy out.  Not really a popular message today.

The alternative argument, that society will descend into chaos if everyone is carrying a gun, is briefly explored, but ultimately, it’s suggested that bumbling politicians are to blame.  During one such meeting of incompetent NYC bureaucrats, it’s noted that “the vigilante’s” hijinx have cut muggings down by half, but they’ll never tell the public for fear that the city will become a war zone.

But what’s the alternative?  Better governance?  More police?  A better economy?  More social welfare programs?  A better world where the poor have no need to rob and steal?  Nah, the politicians aren’t going to do any of that.  They’d really just prefer it if families of crime victims like Kersey would shut up, accept their statistic status and go along as if nothing happened.

Is it an awesome film?  In many ways, yes.  The gradual progression from pacified weakling to macho asskicker is fun to watch.

Is it open to criticism?  Yes.  In the past, criminals were portrayed as cartoon characters, bums who made a conscious decision to avoid the honest pay that a hard day’s work could provide and to seek a quick buck by hassling the law abiding instead.  Ergo, they deserved the new holes that Kersey gave to them.  And sure, that often happens but in today’s cinema, criminals are usually given a heartwarming backstory that makes you feel as though the person could not have helped becoming a criminal (often the case, though not always.)

Is the film racist?  Well, I mean, yeah, Kersey does shoot an awful lot of black dudes.  But he shoots white dudes too.  And there are many law abiding African-American characters, from a police officer that assists Kersey in the investigation into his wife’s death, to a working class couple who see a duo of white crooks enter a subway train and decide to get off at the next stop rather than deal with them, to an old black lady who, inspired by tales of the vigilante on the news, whips out a hat pin and stabs the shit out of two reprobates who try to run off with her purse.

I mean yeah, to borrow an SJW term, a white character gunning down so many black characters is “problematic.”  You could argue that perhaps there is a universal code of right and wrong, that no matter what color you are, if you point a gun or a knife at anyone of any color, then you’re getting what’s coming to you if the threatened person takes you out.  It’s a daily war against crime, with law abiding people of all different colors and backgrounds vs.  crooks of all different races and backgrounds.  White Paul Kersey and black old lady with the hat pin are on the same side – two good people who just want to walk home without getting accosted for the money they worked for.

But still, yeah, an awful lot of black dudes buy the farm in this movie so…how to rectify that?  I don’t know.  Maybe if there’s ever another reboot of this film, a black actor could play the Paul Kersey role, gunning down a rainbow of hoodlums from all different backgrounds, or just white guys, or really, does it matter what color the shooter or the person shot is as long as the shooter was being attacked and the attacker was, in fact, a threat to life?  Bruce Willis is one of very few conservative actors willing to touch this franchise, though I think Hollywood missed a real opportunity to hold a coup if they would have cast, say, Denzel Washington or Jamie Foxx as Paul Kersey.

Oh well.  Don’t picket my blog.  I liked the movie though I realize in many ways it’s un-PC, hokey, tacky and well, probably doesn’t hold up today.  I mean, sure if you stand out in NYC in the middle of the night for long enough, you might get robbed once, but no one is as unlucky as Kersey, getting robbed over and over, even if you are out walking around, wishing that someone would rob you so you could kick their ass.  (Note:  just give them the money.)

All in all, what does this old movie tell us?  Does it have any relevance to today’s gun debate?  Basically, the politicians of this movie, just as the politicians in real life today, are as clueless and inept as ever.  Gun control is a sensitive issue and no matter what side you’re on, government officials appear clueless and inept when they fail to make us all safe…and citizens must keep pressure on politicians to make the world a safer place because at the end of the day, they’re lazy and happy to just let victims become more statistics, more faceless victims, more deaths to be expected as just a matter of fact of life.

Overall, depending what side of the fence you’re on, you’ll hate or love this film.  And honestly, I can see why you’d hate or love it.

 

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Schools Need Security Guards

Hey 3.5 readers.

I know.  I always say I don’t get political on this fine blog.  And for the most part, I don’t.  When I do, it’s in the name of humor, and I think if you look at my track record, you’ll find that I harangue both sides equally.  If you can’t find humor everywhere, then there’s a glitch in your soul and you need to troubleshoot that immediately.  Try clicking your inner “CTRL + ALT + DELETE” and then remove your faulty program from your task manager.

I’m happy to hear a debate about how there are too many guns, that guns should be restricted more, harder to get, etc. etc.

However, and get mad at me if you want, but I think schools need security guards.  Schools vary in size, but every small town school should have at least one and bigger schools with bigger problems should have several.

I wish it weren’t the case.  Take away the school shooting issue for a moment.

When I was a kid in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was chasing interns around his desk with his pants around his ankles instead of chasing down Osama Bin Laden, I recall many a time when I’d be walking down the hall only to see a fight break out.  Teachers would run to break it up.  They’d get involved, pull the kids off each other, etc.

Teachers really shouldn’t have to do that.  If your goal in life is to master a subject and educate students on that subject, then teaching should be your job and you shouldn’t have to risk bodily injury to yourself by having to break up an altercation.

Talk to teachers from all over and I’ll bet there are many with stories about how they were injured while breaking up a fist fight.  I would imagine some teachers even get sued.

Keep in mind too that teachers aren’t security professionals.  Security guards who are properly trained learn various tactics to use to grab an out of control person safely without, say, accidentally injuring the person by applying too much pressure to a part of the body and damaging a vital organ or something.

I’m not saying that cops and/or guards are 100 percent safe and that they don’t make mistakes, but me personally, if I had a kid and that kid got into a fight, I think I would honestly rather have a security guard who has at least taken a class on how to break up a fight restrain my kid rather than Mr. Smith, the guy who really liked math and became a math teacher.

Not knocking teachers.  Teachers teach.  And teachers should be in charge of general discipline.  Guards shouldn’t be passing out detentions for not doing homework or arresting kids for talking in class.  However, when two students get in a fight, the teacher should have a little button he can beep to call in a trained person with an official looking uniform to break it up.

I’m sorry, but Mrs. Jones, art teacher, shouldn’t have to risk getting cold cocked in the face because you think guards in schools might make kids feel bad.

OK.  Bring back the school shooting issue.  Would tougher gun laws have stopped this shooting?  I don’t know.  Honestly, the only law that would maybe put a dent in school shootings would be a repeal of the second amendment and that isn’t happening.

This is how the post-school shooting debate usually goes:

DEMOCRATS:  Republicans are monsters who care more about guns than kids!

REPUBLICANS: Everyone needs more guns so when shooters start shooting they can shoot the shooter.

DEMOCRATS:  We need more gun control!

REPUBLICANS:  Name the law you want to pass.

DEMOCRATS:  Umm..ungh…

REPUBLICANS:  Just vocalize a proposal.  What do you want to happen that you think will make school shootings stop?

DEMOCRATS:  Umm…ungh…you’re monsters!  Monsters who care more about guns than kids!

REPUBLICANS:  Y’all want to repeal the second amendment don’t you?

DEMOCRATS:  :::look around to make sure no one’s watching, then they whisper::: Holy shit, no!  Are you trying to get me thrown out of office?!  Jesus, just let me bang my fist on the podium and call you a monster for the next five days and then I can go back to not proposing anything.

Anyway.  Confiscate all guns…and maybe there would be less school shootings.  I say less because surely one industrious kid would get his hands on an illegal gun.

But, and what people don’t want to talk about, is that the issue runs deeper than guns.  High school is a hard time for the young.  Kids fight.  They argue.  They feel wronged by other kids and they feel this wrong is the only thing that matters in the entire world.  Some kids let these slights roll off their backs.  Some turn to negative activities like drugs or alcohol.

And then, sadly, there’s that one kid who says, “I’m going to get even!”

Take away guns and that kid will probably build a bomb, or use a knife, or a car or something.  You’ll probably say the kid who does that might at least kill less if he doesn’t have a gun to use as a primary weapon.  You probably have a point there.

The second amendment is a bigger issue than I don’t have time to talk about in detail today.  Rightly or wrongly, it isn’t going anywhere.  Politicians can throw barbs at each other all day, but a gunless Utopia where everyone solves problems with hugs isn’t coming tomorrow.

Increased security at schools can start tomorrow.

Take away the school shooting issue again.  Let’s return once more to the 1990s, when Hillary was really the de facto president and Bill was leaving stains on Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

I was a big kid.  But I was a nerd.  I was an easy target.  Kids who felt they had something to prove would hassle me, hit me, punch me and then they’d brag that they’d got one over on a big kid.  They wouldn’t go after, say, a big kid who would actually fight back.

I never fought back.  I’d just accept all manner of abuse because I figured if I socked a kid who was harassing me, I’d end up in trouble myself.  I figured that black mark on my school record would keep me from my big plans of becoming rich and famous.

Hell, had I known that the best I’d ever do is blog proprietor for a website for 3.5 readers, I might have socked a kid back.

Teachers I turned to for help were utterly useless.  Sometimes they’d give me a speech like, “Well, that kid’s home life really sucks and your life is better so could you maybe try to understand that kid has problems.”

I’d usually just nod politely but in my mind I’d just say, “Oh OK.  I deserve to be a human punching bag because my parents are gainfully employed and free of substance abuse addictions.  Got it.  I’ll go tell my Dad to pick up a bottle and then maybe you’ll help me.”

One time a teacher told me to just sock them back.  I admire that teacher’s gusto, but again, I’d nod politely and then in my mind, think, “Um, sir, I’m here to be educated.  I shouldn’t have to train myself in the ways of kung fu and fight my way out of here every day like it’s ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ just so I can learn algebra.”

As an adult, do I realize that kids can be little assholes?  Yes.  Should troubled kids who slap other kids around be carted off to Rikers Island and have their lives ruined?  Sigh.  Maybe not if the kid can be sat down by the principal and reasoned with.  Maybe yes if the kid is making an environment where all the other kids feel like they need to train in the ways of kung fu and fight their way out of school like ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ just to learn algebra.  Even then, probably not to Rikers Island but maybe to some school for difficult children where teachers have training in dealing with problem kids.

The point is, at some point in a young person’s life, they have to learn that there comes a time when rough housing and horseplay and fights aren’t fun anymore and if you lay your hands on someone else, there are consequences.  That should start in high school.

When I was a kid, I thought those teachers who wouldn’t help me were lazy assholes.  As an adult, I feel like those teachers were probably just people who signed up to teach a subject and didn’t get paid enough to, you know…be security guards.

That’s why schools need security guards.  I know that as a 1990s kid, I would have enjoyed school more if there’d been a person in a uniform and a badge nearby to pull douchebag kids off me.

So, to wrap this up.  Big picture, security guards might help stop school shootings if they are being utilized to set up check points, make sure every kid has an ID and everyone entering has a legit reason for being there, to search bags and run metal detectors.

Smaller picture, they should also be there to break up fights and to intimidate bullies into leaving nerds alone.  Nerds should neither have to suck it up and accept being pummeled is just a part of growing up, nor should they have to train in the ways of kung fu for self defense purposes just to learn Algebra.

Thank you.  Commence haranguing me in the comments.

 

 

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BQB’s Bad Ass Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – Chapter 1 – Section 3 – Packing a Bug-Out Bag

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When the zombies come for you, they’re not going to care if you aren’t ready for them. This isn’t the prom and these flesh chomping dirt bags aren’t going to park their butts on your sofa and make small talk with your mom while you put the finishing touches on your make-up in the bathroom.

They want your brains and they want them now.

Thus, in the event that it starts looking like your home is about to be overrun with more zombies than you can handle, then you need to be prepared to make a dash in a flash.

Or to put it more succinctly, you need to be ready to “bug out” of your pad and that’s where a bug-out bag comes in.

Only Pack the Essentials

Your baseball card collection. That trophy you got for coming in seventy-seventh place in a foot race with seventy six of your classmates. Your collection of potato chips that bear a striking resemblance to Phyllis Diller.

Be ready to leave all that and more behind, because if you aren’t ready to eat those Diller chips for sustenance, then they’re just bogging you down.

(Phyllis Diller, millenials? No? Crap. Who’s a crusty old funny broad today? I got it. Do you have a collection of potato chips that look like Lisa Lampanelli?  No? Too early 2000’s?  Ok.  Check it out. Do you have a collection of potato chips that look like Chelsea Handler? Yes. The millennials are nodding their heads. I can get out of this terrible joke and move on.)

The zombies are not going to give you a break because you need to grab a few things before you go. And they aren’t going to run slower to compensate for you carrying a bunch of crap that you don’t need.

Zombies are dumb animals who don’t understand concepts like fairness…or kindness…or hygiene.

So if you’re slowly struggling under the weight of bags filled with all the notebooks you used to write love letters to Harry Styles from One Direction, then I guarantee your brains are going to end up with zombie teethmarks in them.
Thus, you must fill your bag with a) life sustaining essentials and b) the sum total weight of which you can carry while you are running away from damn dirty zombies.
The great thing about diversity is that we all are, at the risk of sounding redundant, different. An item that can sustain my life may be of little to no use to you.

So only you know what you can or can’t get along with during the z-poc, but here are some suggestions:

Food and Water

We covered storing food and water a bit in the section on zombie proofing your home. Now we’re talking about packing it. You’ll definitely want a few store bought water bottles in your bag. Prepackaged foods will also be ideal. Granola bars. Some of that nutritional shake mix (something along the lines of Carnation Instant Breakfast, for example) might be good. Of course you’ll have to mix it with water. You won’t have any milk to mix in it unless you manage to kidnap a cow amidst the apocalyptic fallout, which if you do, go you. I applaud your resourcefulness.

Canned food will last awhile, not due to its nutritious value but because it is pumped full of more preservatives than the face of your favorite aging celebrity. Just remember too many cans and you’ll be weighed down. The slower your roll the more likely you’ll end up zombie poop (because a damn zombie will eat and digest you and yes, they do poop.)

Medicine

You’ll definitely want to bring your prescription drugs, though I can’t really recommend just leaving them in a random bag in your house. Drugs can be dangerous so you want to keep all that shit locked up in a safe location, far away from dumb little kids who explore the world by putting as much of it in their mouths as possible. (You parents who are constantly prying random, tiny pieces of floor junk out of your kids’ pie holes know what I’m talking about.)

Plus you want to keep your drugs out of the hands of untrustworthy adults, like your coke head brother-in-law, or your self-medicating hypochondriac buddy who jumps onto various health websites and diagnoses himself with a strange new tropical disease every time he sneezes.

In other words, your pharmaceuticals are for you, period. A medical doctor prescribed them to you based on his assessment of your condition and his judgment based on years of medical training.

So no, don’t leave drugs lying around your house in an unsecured bag. Keep drugs somewhere safe, secure, away from others but remember where you left them in case you need to grab them in a hurry when the zombies come.

As for over the counter stuff, these drugs can also be dangerous if you leave them just lying around in a bag.

Instead, maybe keep a mental list of what you’ll want to grab quickly when the zombies come a calling.

Do you want to bring your Nyquil in case you get a stuffy nose and/or a sore throat that keeps you from sleeping? Be my guest. However, keep in mind that the sleep you get from it will leave you less alert and more likely to become zombie chow.

Money

It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to leave a little bit of cash in your bug-out bag. During the first few weeks of the zombie apocalypse, people will retain their faith in the government’s ability to restore order. Thus, they’ll be willing to trade goods and services for cash, completely unaware that the president has already left us all for dead and is partying hearty in his underground bunker with a champaign flute in one hand and a buxom supermodel’s honkers in the other.

(Not gonna lie, world leaders will really be the only ones who totally make out like bandits during the zombie apocalypse, which is totally unfair, for as we will discuss later, if anyone is going to cause a zompoc, it’s going to be those asshats.)

How much money? The short answer is whatever you can afford to lose, because you’ll be keeping it in a random bag in your house and you just know that when the end times come and you need a hundred bucks to bribe a guard to let you through a gate that leads to safety, you’re going to reach into your bag and discover that one of your sticky fingered relatives already found it, swiped it and spent it on something stupid (candy, comic books, ticket to a Justin Bieber concert, take your pick.)
Lighter and/or Matches

From time to time, you’ll need to start a fire when you’re living in the wilderness. Maybe you’ll need to cook a squirrel you caught and never would have even eaten before but after months without fast food that furry little bastard is looking mighty good to you (and ironically, it will probably taste much like your favorite fast food chain’s burger.)

Some experts might tell you it is possible to make a fire using a flint stone, rubbing two sticks together, or by harnessing the power of the sun through a magnifying glass, but I’m not an expert on anything. I’m just a jackass with a magic bookshelf pulling random thoughts out of my butt.

At any rate, it probably isn’t very safe to leave flammable materials lying around in a bag in your house either, so…ok. Scratch this idea too.

First Aid Kit

This is a must have. Some bandages. Some gauze. Maybe educate yourself on how to treat a wound. I have no idea how to do that shit either so let me know if you do.

Weaponry

Ah, finally. The gun control debate that’s tearing our country apart finds its way into a Bookshelf Q. Battler book.

Folks, here in America, we have the right to bear arms. This right has been written into our constitution due to a rather abusive relationship we had with our pre-democracy ruler, the King of England.

I’m sorry but someone has to say it. King George was an epic douche. Always bossing us around and telling us what to do. Forcing us to house his damn redcoats. Taxing the shit out of our tea.

We don’t drink as much tea as we used to and today we have  taxed ourselves at rates that would make the Founding Fathers spin in their graves, but still. It’s the principal of the thing.

If we’re going to be required to take a portion of our hard earned moolah and feed it to the bureaucratic beast known as government, then we at least want a say in choosing via elections which public officials will fleece us and which song and dance routines we want to see as these officials promise they’ll do one thing with our money and then once elected, do something completely different with it. Pick the song and dance routine that complies with whichever preconceived notions you have about the world that will never occur because political types just do what they want in the end anyway.

Like an empowered woman who has escaped an abusive relationship but remains fearful her nasty ex might break down the door at any time, we Americans still sleep with one eye open, frightened that the King of England will either come back for us, or a new, scary form of government will rear its ugly head and make us yearn for the good old days with the King.

Thus, Americans are understandably hanging onto this right. And aside from concerns about hypothetical tyranny, there’s always people who are rightfully afraid of crime, street gangs, terrorists, and assorted perverts.

Personally, I don’t own a gun. I could tell you that it is because I am trained in a variety of martial arts, from Kung-Fu and Krav Maga to Nerd-Fu and Obla Dee Ma Da.

But frankly, the real reason I don’t own a gun is because I did a mental calculation of the pros and cons of gun ownership versus potential risks posed to me and determined that due to my general incompetence and stupidity, the likelihood of me accidentally shooting myself or someone I care about was high whereas the likelihood of me needing to protect myself or someone I care about from a mob of violent weirdoes was low.

I’m in a weird place on gun control. I don’t want a gun. I don’t want to blow a deer’s brains out or anything. But I don’t necessarily want to see the right to own a firearm go away. After all, every time we surrender a right, the government grows that much stronger, and though the government we have today seems reasonable, who knows what it might morph into tomorrow.

On the other hand, we do have a problem with mass shootings and other gun related crimes. I don’t have the statistics but generally speaking, I don’t recall there ever being as many instances of mass shootings when I was a young lad in the 1990’s as there are today.

We were better at handling our depression in the 1990s. We’d pop on some alternative rock. A moody as hell bearded dude dressed up like a lumberjack in his best flannel would sing a depressing song. All of us young folk would sort of half-dance by swaying a few inches to the left then a few inches to the right with our heads down. We essentially handled our depression by going out of our way to let everyone know that we were depressed all the time.

Today’s kids are different. Parents and teachers and shrinks and everyone pumps kids full of so much happy good time, sparkly sunshine, special snowflake, get a participation ribbon just for showing up bullshit that when they become adults and meet up with someone telling them no for the first time, they grab a heater and go berserk.

And yes, I do realize its not only the millenials losing their shit. Old people have engaged in mass shootings. Middle-aged people have as well.

So I do understand why many people today are throwing their hands up, declaring society as a whole can’t be trusted with individual gun ownership, and demanding that the right to bear arms be thrown in the trash.

I’ll have to paraphrase the late great Ronald Reagan here. He once said that “the closest thing to eternal life on Earth is a government program.”

I’d go a step further and say that the closest thing to eternal life is a right. Once the government says you can do something, it becomes difficult and practically impossible for that right to be taken away.

I don’t know what the answer to the gun debate is. A long held government right vs. too many people getting blown away by wackos. I’m just a mild mannered humorist so I can’t tell you how to resolve this debate, but I hope the various and sundry folks at the helm of our national ship figure out a way.

Did I have a point with all this? Oh right. So honestly, I am not going to tell you to go out and get a gun or a knife or some other kind of weapon to prepare for an apocalypse of any kind, be it a zombie apocalypse or an apocalypse generated by some other type of disaster.

The odds that you’ll shoot or stab yourself, or someone else, maybe even someone you love are high whereas the likelihood of you needing a gun or a knife or another weapon to fight zombies are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. Shit, that’s a lot of zeroes, but that’s also how unlikely zombies will ever become anything more than make-believe.

Should you feel dumb for buying this book then? Probably, but it’s too late. I have already spent the money you shelled out for it on a delicious wings and skins sampler.

Burp. Excuse me.

If you are already a gun and/or knife or other type of weapon owner, I hope you’re exercising your right to bear arms cautiously. If you are, then surely you know it is a dumb idea to keep guns, knives and other weapons lying around in a bag in your house. You must, must, must keep all weapons locked up in a safe, secure location, and there is plenty of information out there on how to do that.

Bottomline

Hmmm. So I have determined it is a bad idea to leave weapons, fire starting implements, and medicine in a bag that’s just lying around your house. Perhaps this section was a waste of time.

Or maybe it wasn’t. You can still pack a bag filled with bottles of water, nonperishable packaged food, and as much cash as you can afford to lose. In the unlikely event that the zombies come, you can at least grab your food/water/money bag and run like hell.

During the first few weeks of post-apocalyptic survival, you’ll be able to survive off of the food and water you bring, and you perhaps could even trade some of your food and water with other survivors for goods and services.

Your money won’t be there because you always knew your buddy Doug was a dirty, dirty thief.

Up your nose with a rubber hose, Doug. You know you spent my zombie apocalypse money on hookers and blow. #WorstBuddyEver

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