One of the most significant bits of news coming in lately was The Rolling Stone article featuring General Stanley McChrystal and his staff and the subsequent media and political shitstorm that ensued, resulting in General McChrystal resigning his command over U.S. forces in Afghanistan. General David Patreus is stepping down as commander of U.S. Central command to replace McChrystal.
I’ll admit I’ve steered somewhat away from this topic, as it relates to real-world combat and not to stage or screen, but an event like this that lit up the international media is definitely worth noting on here. So I’ll leave my commentary at this: However much of an incredible warrior and commander General McChrystal is, and how much his strategies have aided U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, he still serves at the pleasure of the President. And the President wasn’t pleased. For me to go into further detail would devolve this blog into the ramblings of yet another disgruntled veteran who needs to get more comfortable on his barstool.
The U.S. Supreme court has now ruled that the second amendment is a fundamental right by a 5-4 majority. This comes on the heels of a ruling 2 years ago that stuck down Washington D.C.’s handgun ban. The gun law that kicked off this decision was a similar ban on handguns held by Chicago and one of its suburbs. This is pretty much guaranteed to fire off a typhoon of litigation across the U.S. as different states, cities and counties determine how much regulation individual firearm use can be made, and for what reason.
Why is this a big deal? Because for those of us who make action art, restrictions on the ability to own and use weapons has major repercussions on what we can create. Look at the website of any weapons vendor online, and you’ll see a list of “cannot ship to” areas. And on each and every one of these sites, the same names crop up over and over: California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts. All states with restrictive weapons laws, whether on firearms, blades, or even imitation weapons like Airsoft. And all too often I find that the biggest hurdle between independent action artists and the tools they use to do the job isn’t their status as mental patients, convicted felons, or any of the “common sense” restrictions involved in some of the more sane gun control laws.
Instead, it’s money. Pure and simple. Liscences and fees and permits that will let someone cut through the red tape to have a blank-fire pistol on their stage or on their set. Doesn’t leave a whole lotta room for the would-be Robert Rodriguezes of the world with barely enough change in their pocket for film and blanks. Going over the pros and cons of heading out to L.A. or NY with my fellow actors, I pointed out that in my niche, I benefit from living in the south, with their more relaxed weapons laws.
I’m hoping that the recent SCOTUS decision will result in more thoughtful and reasonable weapons laws as opposed to simple blanket bans. Wishful thinking, I’ll admit, but it’s nice to imagine.
I’ll leave you with some more fun from the rockbox. A crossdressing Taliban commanderwas killed by ISAF forces in Afghanistan when he attacked troops.