"Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often." Mark Twain
MILITIAS AND GANGS...
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United States - The Country
Land of the free and home of the brave. And you'd better be damned brave here, because people are free to do pretty much anything they like. Behind white picket fences and two-car garages, husbands clobber their wives silly while their kids make crack deals over the phone with Scarface on the tube. A land where the license plates of one state reads: "Live Free or Die." Nice choice.
And dying we are!
In Littleton, Colorado, a couple of pimply-faced kids too squirrely to join their high school football team, and armed like a Navy SEAL team, whack 12 of their fellow students and a teacher before doing a sword-swallowing act with their assault rifles and chowing on a lead lunch.
And that was a copycat killing.
In Chicago, a World Church of the Creator white-supremacist fruitcake goes on a two-state ethnic duck-shoot that leaves two dead and nine wounded before also dining on a .32-caliber Tootsie Roll. The victims' crime? They'd look a little out of place in a Greenwich, Connecticut, Starbucks.
In Wyoming, a kid is beaten in a pickup and his corpse then propped up on a roadside property stake like a bludgeoned scarecrow-because he's gay. In Texas, another guy is dragged behind a pickup until his limbs peel off his torso like drumsticks on a well-broiled turkey-because he's a black dude.
In Los Angeles, a couple of guys who watched DeNiro and Kilmer in Heat too much, pop a bank armed to the teeth and in full body armor, turning the streets of North Hollywood into a battlefield. Hollywood producers scramble on their Star Tacs to cut their deals for World's Scariest whatever deals as the bad boys walk around calmly, jacked up and spraying bullets. The cops are so outgunned they raid a gun shop for an arsenal usually reserved for beach landings. Was there a message? Hell Yeah! Great ratings on Fox.
This is a land where doctors kiss their wives good-bye and later lose their lives outside burning abortion clinics in Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, Oregon, Ohio, Minnesota and California-the victims of preachers, former altar boys, and women who look more like manicurists than terrorists. Other docs doing the dishes in their suburban homes are assassinated with deer rifles.
In Idaho, Montana, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Utah, the pride of white America, stash a decade's worth of Spam and freeze-dried food into the hills, practice with paint guns and plot the demise of everybody from the IRS to the FBI. In this land of equality and free speech, the JDL and Nation of Islam do their part to keep the hate at a scalding pitch.
In L.A., inner-city toddlers catch stray bullets from drive-by shooters, while, in New York, Islamic whackos use a rented van full of fertilizer makings to blow up the World Trade Center. In San Diego, a despondent plumber hotwires a tank, flattens some cars, and is shot to death after high-centering on a freeway divider. Rival rapsters in New York and L.A. gun down each other in a war of the coasts.
What would Ozzie and Harriet Nelson say?
In Miami, a renowned fashion designer out to fetch his morning paper-whose only crime is penning groin-high hemlines-is blown away by a young, bar-hopping trendie from West L.A. who looks disturbingly like another young, bar-hopping trendie from West L.A.-only that one is allegedly hacked up by a famous football and movie star.
Local police are now hiring ex-SEALs to teach them how to take down entire schools instead of trailers. Things are heating up. What's that miss? Your kitten's up the tree? Boom!
A recent Gallup poll discovered that 40 percent of the American people think that "the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens." Delta Force at Waco. Black helicopters over urban cities. New World Order? Naw just your tax dollars hard at work doing something.
In Oklahoma City, the Alfred P. Murrah Building is blown up. The nondescript building has no significance other than being the headquarters for the DEA, Secret Service and the ATF. The aftermath is a nine story-hole, a crater 30 feet wide by 8 feet deep, and 168 innocent people killed. The methodology is very similar to that used in the World Trade Center bombing: a 1,000 to 1,200-pound fertilizer- and diesel-based bomb packed into a rented Ryder truck and detonated by remote control or timer. Different folks, same strokes.
Farther south, some 300 miles away in Waco, Texas, the site of the Branch Davidian compound has become a popular local tourist attraction. The bomb blast in Oklahoma City occurred two years to the day after the attack by the ATF on the cult's compound. During the ATF raid, a brainwashed prophet, with an arms cache the size of the Serbs', had his followers blow their brains out as he torched his compound-and their children. Or so the government told us he did, until they found military advisors and inflammable tear gas canisters at the scene.
Mayhem, Tabloid Style
We used to chuckle at the tabloids, as we bought them with our groceries. Now we can't figure out if it's the news we're watching or promos for the latest B movies.
Hard times breed strange heroes. The hardscrabble days of early America bred the outlaws of the Wild West. Jesse James and Billy the Kid were popularized in East Coast dime novels. The Great Depression gave us Dillinger and Capone, Bonnie and Clyde. Today, in down-on-its-luck L.A., we are hatching a new breed of famous ne'er do wells. In Los Angeles, the land of "three strikes you're out" has become "do a crime, do the prime time." Are you watching a talk show or is it a Tyson bout? Is that a mass murderer or is he just working through some "issues"? What is wrong and what is right? Film at 11. Answers, never.
Here, random violence and thoughtless pain take on plot, character and movie deals, as two rich kids splatter their parents' brains against a wall with a 12-gauge for a couple of Rolexes. In Los Angeles, a former football hero and movie star is accused of nearly severing his ex-wife's head and brutally stabbing to death her acquaintance. Meanwhile, during his "getaway," traffic on plagued L.A. freeways comes to a halt; motorists emerge from their cars waving banners urging, "Go O.J.!" and "Save the Juice!" After the most publicized trial in history, the jury lets him go free.Crime needs a subplot and linkage. A mother tosses her kids off a bridge and jumps in herself afterward. The news media immediately connects it to a woman in the South who rolled her two kids to their watery end-a woman who played the media like a fiddle in her search for her "kidnapped" children. A mother of a school shooting victim walks into a pawn shop to see a gun, loads it and shoots herself in the head.
Distraught people block crowded freeways, unfurl large banners and then blow their brains out on the freeway. Suicide by cop means clean shooting, an ambulance if they miss and wall-to-wall TV coverage. Everyone can be Hemingway now.
Crime also needs a surprise ending, a payback. Rodney King gets the crap beaten out of him, sues and gets millions. Reginald Denny gets the crap beaten out of him and hugs and kisses the mother of one of his attackers. The Unabomber's big demand is that he have his antitechnology manifesto published. We Americans like our crime. Just keep it fresh, surprising and very brutal.