A sad talent for violence

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Published: May 15 2022, 01:01:am

Sunday, May 15, 2022

    Americans have a talent for wholesale violence. Yesterday (May 14), 10 people died and three others were wounded when an 18-year-old white male went on a shooting spree in and around a Buffalo, New York supermarket. According to the Gun Violence Archive, it was just the latest of some 198 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022 so far.

    Founded in 2013, the Gun Violence Archive is a nonprofit research group based in Washington D.C. It maintains a database of known shootings, including a page devoted to “Mass Shootings,” defined as incidents with “a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed.”

       It’s hard to know what part of this story is the most depressing. Is it the fact that a teenager in the U.S. is able to stop by his local gun shop, buy an assault rifle, drive across the state and murder a random group of grocery shoppers? Or is it that such incidents have become so normal in “the land of the free” that a website exists to record an up-to-date tally of the mayhem?

    Then there is the matter of retail violence, a specialty of the Israel Defence Forces. On Wednesday (May 11), a military sniper, accompanying an IDF unit raiding the Palestinian city of Janin, took aim at Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh. Ordered to take the shot, he killed her with a bullet to her head.

    Extra-judicial assassinations are hardly new in the Middle East. The most notorious recent example was the dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, killed on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Linking the two deaths is the fact that both victims were working journalists.

    For an old newspaperman, the fact that journalists (and, by extension, journalism) are increasingly in the crosshairs is particularly numbing. And, yes, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has a page on its website that lists Journalists Killed.
    As I said above, I’m not in the mood for humour today. There have been five additions to the Reeling Back archive since May began, including:

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES  —  The hockey-masked serial killer returns to the camp on Crystal Lake, where he adds another 18 to his body count in director Tom McLoughlan’s 1986 franchise feature. (posted May 13)

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING —  Despite having released a Final Chapter in 1984, the producers of this money-spinning franchise couldn’t resist spilling yet more blood in director Danny Steinmann’s 1985 picture, the story of Jason’s resurrection. (posted May 13)

BEING DIFFERENT —  Famous for chronicling artists and their art, documentarist Harry Rasky struck out in a new direction with this 1981 examination of people living their lives despite extreme physical abnormalities. (posted May 9)

STORM —  David Winning made his directorial debut with this 1988 tale of college kids whose adventure in the Alberta wilderness turns into a deadly stalking game. (posted May 8)

COMIC BOOK MOVIES —  Noting the release of director Brian Levant’s 1994 comedy The Flintstones, I compiled this list of 18 live-action feature films inspired by comic strips, comic books and cartoons. (posted May 7)