Tag Archives: guns

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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Daily Discussion with BQB – The Fame Problem

Hey 3.5 readers.  Your old pal BQB here.

So, there’s been a lot of debate about guns lately – should they be restricted, regulated, banned etc and I’m not really here to talk about that, largely because if you want to there are plenty of other places to do so as the debate continues on all over the Internet.

There’s an additional problem we aren’t considering – the fame problem.

I think since the beginning of time, there has always been a desire to be liked by a lot of people.  I’m sure in a prehistoric cave, there was always one more dynamic than usual caveman who, because of his wily caveman ways, managed to score with more hot cave ladies and get people to throw him their twigs and berries and rocks and shit.

As time went on, people sought fame, whether through heroics on the battlefield, or in politics, or through the written word…people always wanted to be universally loved and admired but I don’t think it was until movies were invented that people really became enamored of fame on a large scale.

You see – a) life was hard.  You couldn’t really chase fame if you had to work on a farm 20 hours a day and b) there were just so many finite opportunities for fame, ranging from a handful in medieval times (either you were lucky enough to be the king or you weren’t) to maybe a few choice movie roles as Hollywood began its Golden Age.

Ironically, things people want tend to multiply and so, as time went on, more opportunities for fame grew…until the Internet happened…and well, that grew the opportunities a little but I mean, in the late 1990s, you might have said, “Hey I could get famous with this Internet thing!” but then you read a book on how to write HTML code and say, “Screw it! Mediocrity, here I come!”

At least that’s what I did in the late 1990s.

Then came social media – the best, worst invention ever made.

Suddenly, you could talk to all your friends in one place.  You could make new friends.  Maybe you’re shy in person but witty behind a screen.  You build followers.  Each new follower is like an extra little piece of validation, a pat on the back from the world.

I remember when Facebook first began, I found a lot of trends to be odd.  People would take photos of their lunch and proclaim it the best lunch ever.  Or they’d share 10,000 photos of their kids and every little thing they did was the most amazing expression of cuteness ever.  Or they’d say something witty, or at least they thought it was witty.

I was actually surprised at the number of female Archie Bunkers in my orbit.  Remember on “All in the Family,” how Archie would berate Edith for being a bad housekeeper?  All of a sudden, I’d see posts show up in my feed all like, “My lazy ass husband never does any dishes and I come home and dinner isn’t on the table and blah, blah, blah.”

Lady, please.  A) No man can say that on social media about his wife and expect to live to tell the tale and B) Fine, if you’re husband isn’t pulling his fair share of the house workload, then have it out with him in private, but stop airing your dirty laundry.

That isn’t to say men don’t do dumb things either but I was just surprised at how it suddenly became acceptable for women to dump on their husbands online….because I don’t think its as acceptable for men to do that to their wives.  Personally, I think families should hash out their differences offline.

But I digress.  Lady Gaga has an album called “The Fame Monster” and that’s what happened.  It’s like there’s a little fame monster in all of us.  We all believe we are great…and that fame is the ultimate ability to do whatever you want in life, to be able to make your own choices rather than be saddled with the cards that the universe randomly dealt you at birth.  Were you born into a rich or poor family?  A loving one or a shitty one?  A supportive family or a bunch of leeches?  Do you look good?  Are you athletic?  Are you hot?  Are you a lump of crap, the loser in the genetic lottery?  All of these issues and more go into how successful you might be.

So social media feeds that fame monster.  People liked my post about my lunch.  People liked my post where  I said that witty thing.  Oh, I know!  I can find a mundane, tired little point about something that no one really noticed because who looks at anything that closely, claim I am OUTRAGED and then people will notice me.

Thus, OUTRAGE culture began…conversely, that’s when comedy died.  Think about it.  The last uproariously funny comedy I saw was “The Hangover” in 2009 and that’s when social media was just stepping out of its infancy and into toddlerhood.

Is there a gun problem?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  The rights of all the law abiding citizens who keep a gun for self defense vs the wack-a-doos who can’t handle the responsibility.  It’s all being discussed.  Hopefully, there’s a solution that makes everyone happy though that’s doubtful.

But we’re ignoring the fame problem.  We have to be honest – guns existed for many, many years, whereas school shootings have only been a regular staple of TV news coverage for roughly the past twenty years, ever since Columbine in the late 1990s.

And usually, the shooter always fits a particular pattern – a kid who is socially isolated at school, not very popular, picked on and made fun of, pissed that he’s a joke until he decides he’s going to get even, and he’s going to get famous while he does it.

And sadly, he usually does.  In the wake of these shootings, the shooter’s name is plastered all over the media.  Can we blame the media?  I don’t know.  On the one hand, their job is to inform.  On the other hand, maybe they can just say the name once or twice and then just say, ‘the shooter” rather than give the shooter the desired fame.

Why am I thinking about this?  Because the recent YouTube shooter was, in my opinion, a shining example of “the fame monster” that is lurking in so many hearts out there.

Like other social media sites, YouTube is a great invention in many ways.  It gives the voiceless a voice.  It’s giving talented people a chance they never had before.  From the entertainment industry to political discourse, stars are being born online and more often than not, they’re doing it with a few simple purchases from Best Buy.  Got a camera?  Congrats.  You’ve got a show.

Meander through the YouTube well and you’ll pull up some great homemade stuff that you can’t believe was produced on a tight budget, a testament to the wit of the video’s creators.

You also might find a lot of schlock from people who tried…and they meant well…maybe if they knew about basic movie making techniques they’d of done a little better…but hey, they aren’t hurting anyone.

Then you also have people making total asses out of themselves and you wonder why there isn’t anyone taking them aside and saying, “Hey…you look really stupid.”

Before the shooting, the woman in question made a lot of videos.  I’ve seen some brief clips on the news.  To my eye, they look like crap.  Perhaps among the animal’s rights activist vegan community, they were awesome, I don’t know.

She made money on her videos.  Then YouTube’s video monetization rules changed and I mean, yeah, I’ll get to that in another post.  There’s understandable concern over YouTube’s monetization policy changes but obviously, and I hope I’m being clear, that those policy changes did not justify this woman’s actions.  Nothing could justify what she did.

Will we ever know what was going on inside her head?  We know her father called the police and told them his daughter had a grudge against YouTube.  We know she posted some anti-YouTube rants.

It’s probably a safe bet that the videos she made gave her a chance to feed her fame monster…and when the videos received less hits and/or money, her fame monster become very hungry, so she fed it the only way she knew how, by seeking fame as a mass shooter, perhaps in the hope that in death, her name would be plastered all over the news.  That’s why I’m not using her name here.

Somehow, we have to figure out how to tame the fame monster in all of us, to figure out how to use social media responsibly.  Just as a hammer’s purpose, when used properly, is to bang a nail, social media can also be used as an effective tool – to talk to friends you’d otherwise never get to see, to express opinions (hopefully well thought out ones not posed in a way to alienate those who disagree) and so on.

Some people are even able to channel that fame monster in a positive way, creating quality content that stands out above the rest-  but there’s the rub…

We really need to go back to the day when people only got famous if they did something.

Enough of the fame for fame’s sake.  Enough of the “it’s better to be famous for having done something bad than to never have been known at all” nonsense.  No, that isn’t right at all.  An 1800s farmer who never hurt anyone and who was good to his family is a better person even though no one today knows who he is than some dipshit making a video where he’s eating a tide pod or snorting a condom.

Is there a way to fix any of this?  I don’t know.  There’s the second amendment, so you can’t take away social media from people who do things on social media that make themselves look like assholes.  You can’t ban shitty content.  Honestly, if you could ban shittily made content with low production values, this blog would be in the trash heap posthaste.

Maybe it all just comes down to parenting and family, I suppose.  Though then again, while I don’t know anything about this woman’s family, her father did call the police and try to warn them about her YouTube grudge so…maybe even when family members notice someone in the family is falling apart, that isn’t always enough to prevent a tragedy, though family should still try when they can.

Maybe it’s up to all of us.  Social media is great, but it’s not everything.  Seek out more in your life.  Fame is very unlikely for most of us.  The odds just aren’t in the average person’s favor.  While social media has tipped those odds more toward the average nobody’s favor, the odds still aren’t good, so seek contentment in that hand you were dealt, lousy as it may be.

Seek success in relationships, in love, romance, in money, yes money, seek professional opportunities and good jobs.  This lady probably might have helped more animals as a vet than by dancing around in dumb videos with pictures of animals in the background.

Don’t shy away from social media if you think you have the next great idea, just do your idea, do it well, and be prepared to fall flat on your face as most do.  Have backup plans.  Realize there is more to life than fame, and if no one knows who you are when you die, that doesn’t make you a loser.

If you make it, great.  If you don’t, you don’t.  Never be in a position where you need social media to survive.

OK.  That’s all I have to say.  Everyone, please stop being assholes, please stop shooting up places.  Put the guns down.  Don’t give bullets, give hugs (consensual hugs.)

And get off hte damn computer and/or cell phone once in awhile and smell the roses, will you?  Those roses are more real than your dreams of Internet fame may ever be, and when you’re 70, you won’t care about making another social media post, but you’ll care if you didn’t smell enough roses (i.e. roses being a metaphor for experience good and or beautiful things in the world.)

OK, now let me go check out how many hits this post will toss into my fame monster’s belly.

Discuss in the comments, and you too can put a little piece of kibble in your fame monster’s belly.

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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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Movie Review – War Dogs (2016)

Guns, money!  Money, guns!

BQB here with a review of “War Dogs.”

David Packouz (Miles Teller) is a young man in his twenties, facing a problem that many young men face, that of money.  It makes the world go round and without it, his world is barely turning.  He’s a massage therapist, barely making ends meet while he deals with old men who expect him to rub their disgusting rear ends.  Worse, he’s trying to become a bed sheet salesman, but no one will buy what he’s selling.

Enter David’s old high school friend Efraim Diveroli.  Efraim’s started a small business, buying and supplying small amounts of guns, ammunition, supplies to the U.S. military during the Iraq War.

Out of a desire to keep the bidding process open, the government has a website that provides details for all manner of government war related purchasing contracts and if this movie is to believed, any old schmuck off the street can bid and win and make moolah, assuming he can provide what the government is looking for.

Efraim and David become partners and at first, it would seem, legit entrepreneurs who are making dough off of a solid business idea.  Alas, as you might expect, they get greedy, taking on bigger contracts they have no business getting involved in, and digging themselves deeper and deeper into an international world of gun running corruption in order to obtain the goods they need to fulfill the contract.

Shady characters, crooked third world businessmen and even mobsters are all faced by these two Miami dudes who are just trying to live the American dream.  Ironically, the movie even suggests that the U.S. government may be semi-aware of some of the practices their bidders are involved in, i.e. if you ask for a larger than usual amount of an item, you must sort of know that whoever provides it is doing so illegitimately.

But there’s the rub.  It’s a don’t ask, don’t tell world.  The government doesn’t ask how they get the stuff and the dudes don’t tell.  In the process, they make mad cash, but are the profits worth it?  Will they survive?

I gotta be honest, I didn’t expect a lot out of this one.  The trailers seemed like it was going to be a preach fest about the ills of the Iraq War.  While we can debate ad nauseum over the pros and cons (mostly cons) of that war, that’s the whole point.  Like most Americans, I’m tired of hearing about it.  The war has been USA’s been long itch case of crotch rot for years so while I’m not saying important people shouldn’t still be discussing it, I just didn’t know if I had it in me to devote two hours to re-hashing it.

Truth be told, it’s a modern day rags to riches cautionary tale, reinforcing that old adage that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Like any story where ordinary dudes rise up by doing unsavory deeds, you root for the dudes at first, until they start crossing lines and then not so much.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 40

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A month later, Cole and Rusty found themselves sitting in the parking lot of an abandoned strip mall. Broken windows. Cracked paint. Run down shops that were once hustling and bustling with customers, now gone the way of the dodo thanks to a burgeoning Internet economy.

“How do you this guy won’t just shoot you and take your money?” Rusty asked.

“He won’t,” Cole said.

“OK,” Rusty said. “How do I know he won’t shoot me?”

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

Minutes later, a rusty old van pulled into the parking lot. A gruff looking man wearing a skull cap stepped out, holding a bright orange lock box. A hissing snake was tattooed on his neck.

“How do I know I’m not going to get man raped?” Rusty asked.

“Again,” Cole said. “A risk…”

“Yeah, yeah,” Rusty said. “A risk you’re willing to take. Jay Leno’s got nothing on you.”

The duo stepped out of the car. “Are you Mr. Sagittarius?”

“Maybe,” the man said. “Maybe not. Who’s asking?”

“Mr. Pisces,” Cole replied.

“Hmm,” the man said. “That fits. Yes, I am Mr. Sagittarius.”

“Good,” Cole said. “Now let’s…”

“Whoa, hold the phone, Cochise,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “What’s the password?”

Cole pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and read the words on it out loud. “Crank That Soulja Boy.”

Mr. Sagittarius stared at Cole blankly, as though he was waiting for something.

“Oh,” Cole said. “Crank That Soulja Boy…69.”

“And?” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“Oh,” Cole said as he looked at the paper. “And the ‘C’ in Crank is a capital ‘C.’”

“That’s more like it,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “All passwords must contain a number and a capital letter. Mr. Sagittarius doesn’t mess around.”

“Can I see the piece?” Cole asked.

“Depends,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “Can I see the cash?”

Cole pulled three thousand dollars’ worth of crisp, one-hundred bills out of a manilla envelope and fanned it out. He waved the money around, then put it back in the envelope.

“Alright,” Mr. Sagittarius said as he unlocked the orange box. “Mr. Sagittarius can see you don’t mess around either.”

Cole looked inside and stared at the magnificently shiny hand cannon inside.

“Behold,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “The Angry Barracuda 500.”

“Umm,” Rusty said. “I think I’m going to go get a fro-yo with some extra gummy bears.”

Mr. Sagittarius looked at Cole, but pointed at Rusty. “What’s his problem?”

“Nothing,” Cole said. “He’s cool.”

“He doesn’t seem cool,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“I’m cool,” Rusty said. “I just like that fro-yo place across the street. They have great gummy bears.”

“Defeats the purpose,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“What?” Rusty asked.

“You’re going to get a frozen yogurt because it’s less calories than ice cream,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “But then you’re going to cover it with gummy bears and shit until it has as much or even more calories than ice cream. That defeats the purpose of getting frozen yogurt in the first place. You might as well not be a little bitch and just get a full blown ice cream.”

“Thank you for the nutritional tip, Mr. Sagittarius,” Rusty said.

“No problem,” Mr. Sagittarius. “Mr. Sagittarius used to be a lot bigger, but he lost a hundred pounds over the past three years.”

“Wow,” Cole said.

“That takes a lot of commitment, Mr. Sagittarius,” Rusty said.

“It’s all about taking it day by day and making the best possible health choices you can,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“You’re an inspiration to us all, Mr. Sagittarius,” Rusty said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, that frozen yogurt calls…”

“Knock it off,” Cole said.

“Look,” Rusty said. “You guys do your thing, but I don’t want to be a party to an illegal transaction.”

“What illegal transaction?” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I’m a fully licensed and insured gun dealer, compliant with all aspects of state and federal law.”

“Bullshit,” Rusty said.

Mr. Sagittarius opened up the door to his van.

“Shit,” Rusty said. “He’s going for a gun.”

“Will you get your vagina under control?” Cole asked.

Mr. Sagittarius returned with a folder he handed to Rusty. “Here you go.”

Rusty inspected the folder. It was filled with documents, permits, and licenses, all bearing the name of…

“Sidney Weimariner?” Rusty asked. “What’s with all this ‘Mr. Sagittarius’ bullshit then?”

“Mr. Sagittarius prefers to go on the down low as much as possible,” the gun dealer said. “There are many reprobates out there who want what Mr. Sagittarius has.”

Rusty pointed at Cole. “Then why is he, ‘Mr. Pisces?’”

“Because I like fish,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I know who he really is. Who are you?”

Rusty gulped. “Mr. Blonde.”

“Mr. Blonde?” Mr. Sagittarius asked.

“We’re doing astrological signs,” Cole explained. “Not colors.”

“Oh,” Rusty said. “Sorry. I just really like Tarantino.”

Mr. Sagittarius took the folder back from Rusty. He pulled out some paperwork and handed it to Cole. “There you go, all fully registered, nice and legal like, to one Mr. Cole Walker.”

“Wait a minute,” Rusty said. “Isn’t there a waiting period?”

“You’re right,” Mr. Sagittarius said. He looked down at his watched and hummed a few bars of a catchy tune. “28…29…30 seconds. Enough waiting.”
“Har dee har, har,” Rusty said. “What about a background check?”

“Rusty, why are you trying to screw this up for me?” Cole asked.

“There’s just something off about this,” Rusty said.

“Mr. Pisces,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “Are you going to kill a bunch of people with this gun?”

“No,” Cole replied.

“That checks out,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

Rusty slapped his forehead in disbelief.

“Look,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I don’t need to perform a back ground check because technically, this is a gun show.”

“It is?” Rusty asked.

Mr. Sagittarius wiggled his hips and swayed from side to side. “Best dance show ever.”

“You call that a show?” Rusty asked.

“You want me to sing too?” Mr. Sagittarius asked. “What do want to hear? Marvin Gaye? Maybe a little Gladys Knight and the Pips?”

“Please,” Cole said. “Ignore my friend. He’s a ginger.”

“That explains it,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

Cole handed over the money. Mr. Sagittarius handed over the gun.

“It’s a magnificent weapon,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I put a lot of work into finding it.”

“Appreciated,” Cole said.

Mr. Sagittarius handed Cole the key to the lock box. Cole locked it up.

“Only owned by one previous owner,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “He only used it one time to shoot a rhinoceros in the face in self-defense.”

“Come on,” Rusty said. “How do you shoot a rhinoceros in self-defense?”

“I don’t know,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I wasn’t there. I don’t judge. Good day, gentlemen. I wish I could say it’s been a pleasure, but you made me drive into Redneck country and well, I’ve had nightmares ever since I saw Deliverance.”

“Damn,” Rusty said. “That movie sure did give the south a black eye.”

Mr. Sagittarius hopped into his van and drove away. Rusty and Cole returned to their car.

“Well,” Rusty said. “You got two more weeks of leave left. What are you going to do know?”

“Get drunk and shoot a shit ton of animals,” Cole replied.

“That sounds healthy,” Rusty said.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 32

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Once Moses was walking upright again, he soothed his pain with another beer while he watched the Network News One Coverage of the Countess Cucamonga murder.

“Round the clock with this shit,” Moses said. “On every damn channel too. I once saw a machine gun nest take out twenty of my brothers in a matter of seconds. No fancy pants hot blonde chick lady reporter with big fake titties ever uttered so much as a peep about that but some famous girl with a fat ass kicks the bucket and boo hoo, here comes the waterworks, America.”

“Yup,” Cole said.

“I didn’t think you’d even be in today what with that college kid that got killed on the shitter,” Moses said.

Cole didn’t feel like explaining why he wasn’t working on the case. Instead, he kept quiet and loaded a new bullet into his Angry Barracuda. Meanwhile, Network News One began replaying Sharon’s press conference from earlier in the morning.

“Whoa nelly,” Moses said as he stared at the screen. “Is that?”

“Yup,” Cole said.

“So she’s there?” Moses asked.

“Yup,” Cole said.

“And you’re here?” Moses asked.

“Yup,” Cole said.

“Lord Almighty, Cole,” Moses said. “You’re a stronger man than I am. I’d eat a bullet from that big ass heater if one of my ex-wives ever became my boss.”

“Tell me about it,” Cole said.

“You and her…”

“What?” Cole asked.

“You talk?” Moses asked. “Do a little fence mendin?’ Maybe a little bridge buildin’?”

“What the hell does everyone want to ask me about her?” Cole asked.

Moses sipped his beer. “Sorry, Mr. Sensitive Sally. I wasn’t tryin’ to pry.”

“She left,” Cole said. “Nothing I can do or say will change that. She’ll be here awhile for her job, then she’ll be gone. No used talking about things that can’t be fixed.”

Moses pointed at Cole. “Damn right. You ever say one thing that lets a woman think she’s still got her hooks in you and she’ll abuse that power. Guaranteed.”

Cole ignored Moses. Something came on the TV screen that was way more interesting. Natalie Brock, or, a “Hot Ass Blonde Chick with Big Titties” as her viewers had come to know her, was standing inside the Sitwell Mall next to Mayor Dufresne. They both stood in front of the Mayor’s red sports car.

“Kurt,” Natalie said. “I’m here at a run down, suburban mall in Sitwell, Florida, the town where the Toilet Killer’s third victim, Chad Becker, met with a gruesome end while he was emptying out his end. Here with me as Mayor Beaumont Dufresne, who informs me that he is very concerned about the course of the investigation.”

The Mayor grinned like a hyena as he spoke into the microphone. “Yes indeed, Hot Ass Blonde Chick with Big Titties. Why, I’m here on the set of my latest commercial, one in which I’m about to notify the good people of Sitwell that if they stop on by Mayor Beaumont Dufresne’s Slightly Used Car Emporium, conveniently located off of Exit 33 off of Route 199, they can enter a drawing for a chance to win this fantastic Yarakazi Diablo, the finest product to ever come out of Japan outside the spicy tuna roll.”

“Yes,” Natalie said. “But Mayor, if we could turn our attention to the recent spate of murders…”

The Mayor phoned in his sad face. “Oh yes, Ma’am. Terrible business, that. If there’s one thing that my administration has stood for, it’s the God given right to take a shit without being murdered. I mean, what kind of animal murders someone on the toilet? Lord knows I don’t sanction murder in any way, shape or form but if you gotta kill someone, at least take a minute to allow the victim to wipe and pull up his drawers before you do the dirty deed. That’s just basic kindness.”

“Mayor,” Natalie said. “Do you think the people of Sitwell should be concerned?”

“Is that some kind of trick question, girly?” the Mayor asked. “Of course they should be concerned. I mean, Holy Burnt Cheese Biscuits, a Goddamn maniac is running around hacking people into pieces while they’re shitting. However, my wonderful, God fearing constituents should rest assured knowing that Mayor Dufresne is working hard on their behalf, doing everything he can and working his fingers to the bone, making sure that Sitwell gets back on track to being a place where it is safe to take a shit again.”

“Do you think the investigation is going well?” Natalie asked.

“Oh Missy,” the Mayor said. “I’m not sure that’s a question in my wheelhouse. As Mayor, all I can do is make sure the various law enforcement officers involved are getting what they need to see that this madman is brought to justice.”

“So you have the utmost confidence in Agent Sharon Walker?” Natalie asked.
“Miss Walker was one of my constituents here in town quite a spell ago,” the Mayor said. “But to be honest, I don’t know her that well, darlin.’ I suppose she’ll do just fine.”

“What about Police Chief Cole Walker?” Natalie asked.

Back at the gun range, Cole watched the Mayor grin like the proverbial cat that had just caught the canary. “My dear, I thought you’d never ask.”

“Do you think Chief Walker is up for the challenge?” Natalie asked.

“Dear,” the Mayor said. “How many folks you reckon are watching this program?”

“Millions,” Natalie said. “All over the world.”

“That’s what I figured.” The Mayor looked directly into the camera. “I hate to say this, I truly do because you know, I’m nothing if not a good Christian and my Momma always told me that if I can’t say something nice about someone then I shouldn’t say anything at all. However, with the public safety at stake, I’m gonna have to disappoint my Momma. Cole Walker is by far one of the dumbest, most ignorant, most incompetent police officers I have ever laid eyes upon.”

“Really?” Natalie asked.

“Indeed,” the Mayor said. “In fact, I recently began looking into the possibility of allowing the Grover County Sheriff’s Office to absorb all of Sitwell Police Department’s law enforcement functions, simply to rid the town of Chief Walker’s bumbling idiocy once and for all.”

“Interesting,” Natalie said. “What do you think about the fact that Agent Walker is Chief Walker’s ex-wife? Will their relationship have any bearing on the outcome of the case?”

“Well, I don’t suppose it’s any good for a couple of exes to work together in any capacity,” the Mayor said. “Again, as you know, I’m a Christian so I hate to speak ill of others, but I can’t imagine Chief Walker feels very good about himself at the moment while his fancy Federal agent ex-wife has clipped off his balls and shoved him in a mason jar and is now turning Cole into her personal step and fetch bitch.”

Without thinking about it, Cole aimed his Angry Barracuda at Moses’ flat screen.

“Mr. Mayor,” Natalie said. “Why did Agent and Chief Walker break up? I’ve asked around town and have yet to get a straight answer out of anyone.”

“And I’m afraid you won’t get one out of me either, Hot Ass Blonde Chick with Big Titties,” the Mayor said. “For as you know…”

“You’re a good Christian,” Natalie said.

“Indeed,” the Mayor said. “But between you, me, and your millions of worldwide viewers, I am almost certain the Walkers went their separate ways due to the size, or lack thereof, of Cole’s penis.”

“Pardon?” Natalie asked.

“Police Chief Walker has a minuscule, micro-donger, young lady,” the Mayor said. “I can only imagine the gut wrenching sadness when Miss Walker saw that scrawny little thimble on her wedding night. Probably looked like a sad half-stack of pennies between two of them tiny little meatballs, you know, the one you get at that Scandinavian furniture store?”

“And you have confirmation of this?” Natalie asked.

“I’m not about to give away my sources,” the Mayor said.

“But who told you this?” Natalie asked.

“People,” the Mayor said.

“People?” Natalie asked.

“What, am I on trial here, Hot Ass Blonde Chick with Big Titties?” the Mayor asked. “Yes, people! I can’t remember their names right now but many, many people have told me, Mayor Beaumont Dufresne of Mayor Beaumont Dufresne’s Slightly Used Car Emporium, that Police Chief Cole Walker has such a tiny pecker that it caused his wife to run as far and as fast as her feet would carry, most likely right into the arms of a man with a great, big…”

BOOM! Cole fired the hand cannon, putting a bullet right through the televised Mayor’s head. This caused Moses’ flat screen to explode into hundreds of tiny little pieces, all of which rained down over the interior of the gun range building.

“Holy shit!” Moses said.

“Sorry,” Cole said. “It’s just…you have no idea how badly I’ve wanted to shoot that asshole.”

“Understood,” Moses said.

“Send me a bill for a new TV,” Cole said.

Cole and Moses stepped forward to inspect a giant hole in the wall where the TV had once been mounted.

“Bill me for that too,” Cole said.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 31

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“Look at that beauty,” Moses said as he admired Cole’s hand cannon. “Foot long barrel. Point five hundred caliber rounds. Chrome shinier than a nun’s beaver during Lent. You gotta let me shoot it.”

“How many years have you been asking that?” Cole asked.

“Shit, I dunno,” Moses said. “Decade at least.”

“And how many times have I said, ‘No?’” Cole asked.

“Every time,” Moses said. “And frankly Cole, I’m painfully offended that you don’t think a marksman with a resume of confirmed enemy kills as long as my arm wouldn’t be able to handle such a splendiferous piece.”

“It’s nothing personal, Mo,” Cole said. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Me, get hurt?” Moses asked. “Please.”

“Hell,” Cole said. “First time I fired this thing it knocked me on my ass.”

“That’s ‘cuz you cops only know how to handle those little baby service weapons they give you,” Moses said. “You gotta be a real swingin’ dick to handle the big shit. Come on, give it here.”

“No,” Cole said.

“I need to fire that metal masterpiece Cole,” Moses said. “Shit, ever since you brought that bad boy in here I’ve been obsessed with it. Do you know there’s a video on the inter webs where a dude shoots a charging bull elephant in the face at fifty paces and drops the sucker like its nothing?”

“I don’t do the Internet,” Cole said.

“You should,” Moses said. “Lot of top notch stuff on there. Did you know that the UN is conspiring to give us all ball cancer so that we’ll be too sick to fight their new world order shock troops?”

“I did not,” Cole said.

“Yup,” Moses said. “Read it on the inter webs and you know, if it’s on the inter webs, it must be true. Give it here.”

“Nope,” Cole said.

“Anything, Cole” Moses said. “I know. Asking to touch another man’s gun is the virtual equivalent of asking that man to let you stick three fingers up his wife’s heiney hole but seriously…I’ll do anything.”
“No,” Cole said.

“I’ll suck your dick,” Moses said.

Cole recoiled with revulsion. “What?”

Moses laughed and lightly punched Cole in the shoulder. “Ha! Got you, ya’ dumb shit! You really think I’d suck your dick?”

Cole expelled a deep breath and laughed. “Yeah, you got me.”

Moses slapped his knee. “Yeah, I sure did.”

The shooting instructor straightened up his face and looked at Cole. “But seriously, is that not on the table?”

“Of course it’s not on the table,” Cole said.

Moses laughed again. “Bah ha, got you again, dip shit!”

“Yeah well,” Cole said. “If you’ll excuse me…”

“Free shootin,’” Moses said.

“What?” Cole asked.

“Your gun range fees?” Moses said. “Free. On me. For the rest of your life. Just let me squeeze one off on that sexy son of a bitch.”

Cole was still concerned for Moses’ well-being, but he was no dummy. Free gun range fees meant he’d be able to shoot his massive revolver for free whenever he wanted. That was important to him, seeing as how it was the one activity that ever de-stressed him.

“Deal,” Cole said as he handed the butt of the big gun over to Moses.

Moses marveled at the weapon. “Shit. It’s got some weight to it, huh?”

“Sure does,” Cole said.

“It’s heavier than my dick,” Moses said.

“Nah,” Cole said. “Nothing’s that light.”

“Well, look at you,” Moses said. “Mr. Serious making a funny.”

“Happens maybe once a year,” Cole said. “I’m good now until January.”

Moses aimed the gun at the target and closed one eye. “Damn it. I’ve been looking all over for an Angry Barracuda. Every dealer I know says this puppy is hard to find on account of it was discontinued after that big lawsuit where that kid blew his Daddy’s nuts off. Cryin’ shame that more parents don’t educate their younguns on the ins and outs of proper gun safety protocol if you ask me. You could make a pretty penny if you sell it. Shit, I’d give you nuts and Felix’s nuts for it.”

“Not for sale,” Cole said.

“No,” Moses said. “Shit, I don’t blame you.”

Moses cocked the hammer and hovered his finger over the trigger.

“Careful,” Cole said. “It’s got a kick to it.”

“I’m sure it does, Cole,” Moses said. “What, you think I’m some geek off the street that’s never fired a gun before? I was in the shit.”

“I know,” Cole said.

“Were you in the shit?” Moses asked.

“Just some local shit,” Cole said.

Moses sighed. “Yeah, I know and you’re going to milk that shit forever, Cole. ‘Boo hoo freakin’ hoo! My name is Cole and I got no damn leg so now I’m depressed and moodier than a teenage girl all the time.”

A moment of silence passed.

“Cole, I’m sorry,” Moses said. “That felt like too much. Was that too much?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Cole walked six feet to the left. “I’m just going to stand over here.”

“Don’t blame you,” Moses said. “I wouldn’t want to see another man handle my gun better than I ever…”

BOOM! The paper target disintegrated as Moses flew ten feet backward through the air until he crashed into the wall. Cole sauntered over and offered the marksman a hand. “I tried to warn you.”

Moses looked happier than he’d ever been before. He grinned like an idiot and sniffed the smoking barrel. “Hooo-wee! Smells better than pussy!”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 30

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Freedom Firepower. It was Sitwell’s top gun store/shooting range. On any given day, many a Sitwell resident could be found plugging paper cutouts of bad hombres full of red hot lead.

The owner was used to it. He loved the sounds of gunfire and the smell of gunpowder. Although he wore a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses, a trucker’s cap and a sleeveless T-shirt, he walked with perfect posture. He took a sip of beer, then enjoyed the cool feeling of a frosty can in his hand.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the owner said. “I am Gunnery Sergeant Moses T. Malone, United States Marine Corps, Retired. In my day, I took many a pile of cow shit dropped off on my doorstep by Uncle Sam and turned them into bloodthirsty killing machines. I’m talking trained killers who devour their enemies in one bite and then laugh in the glow of the moonlight as they shit out their bones.”

Moses looked to the clerk standing behind the counter near the door to the gun range. “Felix!”

Felix was half the size of Moses. His hair was brown and bushy, completely untamed. He looked like he hadn’t shaved in months and wore a black patch over his right eye. He was a man of few words. “Hmm?”

“Have you collected the requisite entry fee of eight-hundred and seventy-five dollars from each and every one of these pupils?” Moses asked.

“Affirmative,” Felix replied.

“Excellent!” Moses said. He clasped his hands behind his back and paced back and forth in front of his class.

“You unsavory ass maggots are in the gun range section of my humble establishment,” Moses said. “Here, you will learn how to fire with great precision and acute accuracy, for a true shot is, more often than not, the only thing standing between the protection of your life and the lives of those who love and a gruesome death at the hands of a crack pipe hitting lunatic criminal, the kind of which all those commie pinko hippies will gladly fill the streets with if they get their way. Isn’t that right, Felix?”

Felix nodded. “Mmm hmm.”

“Felix, my hetero, non-gay life mate and I saw a whole heap of shit in the war,” Moses said. “And God knows I’d be lying if I said we didn’t bring some of that pain back with us. I don’t know how Felix deals with his doldrums because he doesn’t talk much and frankly, that’s why we get along.”

Moses took another sip of beer, then drew a pistol from a holster on his belt. He walked over to an empty booth on the range, pointed his weapon at the paper target down range, then fired over and over again until the target’s head was blown completely off. “As for me, I get my kicks taking little sissy fairies like yourselves and turning you into stone cold killers.”

The instructor holstered his women. “Any questions?”

Multiple tiny hands shot up into the air.

“Yes,” Moses said as he pointed to a little girl with pigtails. “What is it,
Chloe?”

“My Momma said she’s gonna divorce my Daddy for signing me up for Gun Scouts ‘cuz she says guns are bad,” Chloe said.

Moses laughed. “Young lady, no offense, but your mother sounds like a radical left-wing lesbian who daydreams all day about crawling inside Hillary Clinton’s vagina and taking a nap. If she’s really going to divorce your father for enrolling you in a fine organization like Gun Scouts, then he should thank his lucky stars that he won’t be wasting another day of his precious life with such a contemptible shrew.”

A little boy raised his hand.

“Yes,” Moses said. “Kevin.”

“What was the war like?” Kevin asked.

Moses chuckled. He looked to Felix. “You hear this kid? ‘What was the war like?’”

Felix smiled, then picked up a remote off the counter. He pointed it at the big flat screen TV mounted on the wall to the left of his work area and turned on NN1. Countess Cucamonga coverage, as usual.

Moses put his hand on the little boy’s arm. “Son, if there’s one universal truth of life, it’s this. It is impossible to explain what something ‘is like’ to someone who has never experienced it. An astronaut can’t adequately describe to me what it is like to be shot up into this space because I’ve never been there. Therefore, it stands to reason that I can’t tell you what it’s like to gut a man with a rusty razer blade, then pull his rotting carcass on top of my body in order to hide from a roving enemy patrol. No, young man, I could never explain to you what it was like to stare into the cold, motionless eyes of a dead man for three days while being scared out of my mind that I was about to be just like him. I can’t tell you what sorrow I felt as I stared into that man’s eyes and thought about that man and what he must have once been as a human being – how he once had a family, probably a wife, children, how he had hopes and dreams and with one quick flick of a sharp piece of steel, I took that all away from him and turned him into a human shaped pile of trash for me to burrow under like some kind of two-bit junkyard dog.”

“Oh,” Kevin said. “OK.”

“Any other questions?” Moses asked.

Billy, a chubby lad, raised his hand.
“God damn it,” Moses said. “I’m gonna have to make you do some push ups, boy. What the hell do you want?”

“Mister Moses, sir,” Billy said.

“That’s Sergeant to you, pork rind,” Moses said.

“When do we get to shoot the guns?” Billy asked.

Moses guffawed. He looked towards his hetero life mate. “You hear this kid?”

Felix smiled. Moses looked at Billy and mimicked the boy’s squeaky voice. “‘When do we get to shoot the guns?’ That’s you. That’s what you sound like.”

“Well,” Billy said. “When?”

“Son, your Momma must have ingested a heaping helping of crystal meth while she was cooking you up in her baby maker because you sound like a meth baby to me,” Moses said. “Are you a meth baby?”

“No sir,” Billy said.

“You think I’d just hand you a gun on your first day, when you don’t know Jack Shit about anything?” Moses asked.

Billy shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah?”

Moses shot the boy a sour look, then smiled. “You’re Goddamn right I would!”

The instructor turned to the clerk. “Felix!”

“Hmm?” Felix asked.

“Take these little patriots out around back to the kids’ gun range,” Moses said. “Give ‘em each a man stopper and show ‘em what to do.”

“Hooray!” the kids shouted in unison. They all swarmed around Felix’s ankles as the quiet man ushered the students out the door.

“You kids listen to Felix, now!” Moses shouted. “I have deputized him with all my powers and authority as a licensed gun safety instructor! Just be sure to stay on the side of his good eye so he knows what the hell all you little shits are up to!”

As soon as his class was gone, Moses smiled. “Aww, kids. They grow up so fast.”

The instructor paced the length of the gun range, critiquing the stance and technique of each customer all the way.

Blam! Blam! Blam! A little old lady pumped multiple rounds into her target’s chest.
“Worst grouping I have ever seen in my life, Ethel,” Moses said.

“I’m trying, Sonny,” Ethel said.

“Yeah,” Moses said. “You know who else is trying? The gangbanger whose soul purpose in life is to break into your house and have his way with every one of your orifices! Are you going to let him get away with that shit?”

Ethel got mad. She pointed at the target and squinted. Blam! She put one right in the target’s head.

“Atta girl, Ethel,” Moses said. “No one’s touching your old lady parts without your say so, that’s for damn sure.”

Moses moved on. A bespectacled geek in a polo shirt was aiming his gun with his hand tilted to the left, gangster style. He squeezed off a few rounds, but his bullets flew past the target.

“Son of a bitch, Clyde!” Moses said. “What in Sam Hill are you doing?”

“I…I don’t know, Moses,” Clyde said.

“Why don’t you just do yourself a favor and go back to your restaurant, take all your money out of the cash register and wave it around in the air and shout, ‘Come and get it, lowlives! I’m a failure as a man and I’m literally powerless to stop you from depriving me of my livelihood!’”

Clyde hanged his head low. “I’m sorry.”

“Shit,” Moses said as he grabbed Clyde’s wrist and turned his hand straight. “Don’t apologize to me. Apologize to yourself. What is this shit you’re doing?”

“It’s gangster style,” Clyde said. “It’s how Tupac and Biggie used to shit.”

Moses scoffed. “Oh, you want to shoot just like Biggie and Tupac?”

“Yeah,” Clyde said.

“Yeah, well, don’t,” Moses said. “Maybe if Biggie and Tupac had held their guns straight they’d of iced the punks who capped them and then they’d still be out there putting out albums today? Ever think of that?”

“No,” Clyde said.

“That’s the problem,” Moses said. “None of you young people ever think at all.”

Moses pointed Clyde’s hand directly at the target. Blam! A hole opened up in the target’s shoulder. Clyde smiled. “I hit it! I actually hit it!”

“That’s a shitty hit,” Moses said. “Your perp could still steal your cash with his other hand and if he were so inclined, could probably still have the strength to push you down and have his way with your man hole but…at least it’s progress. Keep it up kid, and you’re be popping heads like ripe casaba melons in no time.”

Clyde threw his arms around Moses. “Thank you, Moses! Thank you!”

Moses extracted himself from the hug. “Whoa, whoa, hold the phone, Jack. What do you think this is, some kind of homosexual love shack?”

“Huh?” Clyde asked. “No. No, I was just so happy that I…”

Moses walked away. “Keep it in your pants, compadre. The only thing that will ever go near my butt is the colonoscope of a trained medical doctor and even then I’ll have my reservations.”

Blam! Blam! Blam! As Moses reached the last booth on the rang, the “blams!” grew deafeningly loud. “Well holy shit, if it isn’t Cole Walker!”

Cole pulled off his protective ear phones and nodded at Moses.

“I knew I heard the sweet siren song of an Angry Barracuda,” Moses said.

Cole flipped open the chamber and dumped his spent casings all over the counter in his booth. Moses held his hand out. “May I?”

The chief handed over his massive hand cannon. Moses hovered his nostrils over the barrel and sniffed away. “Mmm…mmm…oh how I love the smell of an Angry Barracuda in the morning!”

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