Events in Tucson have everyone talking about toning down the hateful rhetoric and bringing respect and decency back to public discourse. All well and good, do it. Events in Tucson have also brought back the old argument of the media's influence on troubled minds. We generally live by the Subway Rule, which is don't do anything you're not prepared to fight some lunatic over for ten minutes until your train reaches the next stop. However, what seems to be lost in all this moralizing is that there has always been inflammatory speech and provocative media, the difference now and here is that you can buy the same gun as your local police force at your local sporting goods store, even though you may have openly displayed mental illness or been mentally unfit to point a gun at an official enemy of United States as a member of the United States Armed Forces. All of which made us think of Alan Clarke's 1981 made for TV movie Made in Britain, which starred a very young Tim Roth as a violent and deranged skinhead. The opening sequence features the song "UK 82" by seminal punks The Exploited. The movie is about youth gone wild. The song is about hatred of the government. And yet there is no plot point in which Roth's character saunters down to the Sports Authority to buy a gun so he can address his nonsensical grievances. Because he couldn't. Loughner could and did.
January 10, 2011