Posts Tagged Walking Dead

Picture of the Day

walking dead seson 3 cast

 

Entire Season 3 Cast of The Walking Dead

(From L to R: Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Steven Yeun (Glenn),  Norman Reedus (Daryl), Andrew Lincoln (Rick),  Laurie Holden (Andrea), Unknown, David Morrissey (The Governor), Melissa McBride (Carol), Unknown, Chandler Riggs (Carl), Emliy Kinney (Beth), Unknown, Danai Gurira (Michonne) and Scott Wilson (Hershel) –> and with unknown I mean guest stars.

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Review The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 12 “Clear”

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I have not written any reviews of any of the third season episodes of The Walking Dead because most of it has been pretty bad. Badly written with terrible, fifth-grader level  dialogues and comatosely boring content lacking real meaningful dramatic tension and  forward momentum.

Everytime I was going to write a review I realized that my review was going to be nothing but one huge rant criticizing all the things that were just wrong and pissing me off with the show and which ultimately diminished its quality and the phenomenally amazing tone set forward by Frank Darabont during the first season. And  as much as I sometimes love to hate this show, mainly because of the abysmally bad and incoherent writing and ridiculous plot outcomes, I just did not want to spend my time basically saying the same thing one episode after another.

Alas the latest episode titled “Clear” has departed from that abysmally bad note and was definitely worth a review  But before I get to that let me summarize the things I have taken an issue with during this entire season:

1) Despite the success of the show just numbers wise,  AMC seems to be either on a tight budget or just cheap. The entire second season took place on the Farm of Our Discontent and this entire third season has taken place in one facility (prison) and a set (Woodbury village).  People are getting bored with the lack of forward momentum and diversity. There is only so many exciting episodes you can shoot in the same one or two locations.

I mean, how many more times do we wanna show Walkers breaking into the prison? How many more times do we want to show these people sitting in prison cells bickering over something? How many more ghost images and knotholes can Rick make out with? How many more times can we watch Carol and Daryl give each other longing, awkward looks without it going anywhere? How many more times can we watch long, drawn-out shots of the Governor bullshitting his way into Andrea’s panties? I mean really. You would think this land and the prison on it were the last patch of land left.

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2) This show has gone from phenomenally good to ok to bad to abysmally bad. Jumbled together story lines, non existent character development, soapy, stagey phony struggles, half-assed dialogues apparently written by contest winners, too many characters –  none of whom are properly explorers and developed – much like a soap opera – bickering and arguing and blaming, lack of continuity, gaping plot holes and just overall implausible plot developments and outcomes.

A few examples:

–> Andrea’s deep loyalty to the townsfolk whom she just met two or three weeks ago and her dispassionate, half-assed speech a few episodes ago about how they must hold on was painful to watch. Especially since these are townsfolk who, may I add, are nothing but bloodthirsty sheep cheering at gladiator torture games and who have nothing worth saving.

–> Andrea’s loyalty to the Governor and acting like she and him had been in a close, personal relationship for years, when all they have been doing since she moved in two weeks ago is fuck.  That scene at the beginning of the mid season premiere where she tells the Governor to not “pull away” from her now and “close off” was phenomenally cringeworthy and completely unrealistic. Bitch just met the guy two weeks ago. Seems to be fucked in the head, literally, for being so dick-whipped that she apparently  – despite all evidence to the contrary – just does not seem to get how bad he is.

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This is a character who was so observant that she knew that Shane and Lori had a thing going on, someone who confronted Dale who wanted her to be thankful for having saved life by telling him that she saved his and that what he really did was take away her choice to end her life as she wished. And suddenly she is too stupid to recognize what a terrible sociopath the Governor is? Even after Michonne tells her? Even after the death match he set up between Daryl and Merle and the myriad of other pieces of evidence? She was supposed to have been an attorney in her life pre zombie apocalypse.  How come she be so immensely dense and unobservant?

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Speaking of:  her allegiance to people she doesn’t know is totally unreal, especially when in the loyalty department she is lacking as she, just a few weeks ago, abandoned Michonne, her friend of 10 months for the governor’s stick. Her loyalty to people she met five minutes ago doesn’t make sense. Not to the point where she is willing to betray Rick.

3) As to the Governor, it is unclear what his agenda is. What is inspiring him. What is informing him. He is just an uninspired, boring, dispassionate  villain on autopilot. He is just doing all things you expect villains to do, but he is one dimensional. There is no passion behind his villainary, so to speak. He is just an archetype. Not a real person. He might as well be the Joker in Gotham city hating Batman. That is how (un) real he is.

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People, at least I, don’t like characters that are unreal. Not in a show like this which is explicitly not supposed to be fantasy.  Now if this show was supposed to be Batman, it would be cool. But it is not, so why create real characters with real issues and then throw in this archetypal, comic book villain?  That seems fake.

The Governor and his character, if one call that incoherent, dispassionate jumble that is his person a character,  sounds made up and is evil and bad because it says so in the script and fits in nicely with the story, not because he has an agenda, a goal, a passion.

4) Grimes gang’s artificial holding on to the damn prison as if it was the last patch left on Earth that they had to defend until the bitter end not only makes little sense it pissed me off.  I mean shit, just about anything is better than this toilet they live in that has been compromised a dozen times anyway with the psycho Governor on the other side having it in for them for no good reason.  Just get the fuck out. You have cars and after this episode an arsenal, so just get out. At least with Walkers, bottomless pits of hunger as they may be, you know exactly what you get. 

5) Merle. Oh boy. Bringing back that backwoods degenerate who does not possess any redeeming qualities, whatsoever, is still beyond me. And then that fake, stagy made up attempt at trying to redeem him out of the blue without any evidence to a shred of humanity within him in the entire previous seasons. It is called building up a character.

If you wanna show that the character you are portraying is misunderstood and does have redeeming qualities hidden deep within, then freaking show it. Shows us glimpses of his humanity hidden deep within, like they did with Daryl, so that when he does change, it is believable  Otherwise it just seems like pulled out of your ass to fit the story line.

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I mean how did Merle go from being a violent, angry racist thug to a remorseful good guy feeling sorry for all he did in just as few hours? Not even weeks or days, but literally within hours? I am all for people changing and making amends but not within hours. That is not how it works.

Okay, so Hershel is established as a religious sort who very reasonably might have Bible quotes memorized. I buy that.  But then Merle cuts him off and completes the Bible verse? I didn’t even know Merle could read, let alone memorize complicated sentence structures.

Then he follows it up by saying that Woodbury has a good library which he misses. Hahahahahaha….yeah right.  I mean no. Merle did not spend the last 10 months hanging out in the Woodbury library memorizing the fucking Bible or reading shit.  

That is not plausible any way you look at it. It is also very inconsistent with his character as Assistant Grand High Oppressor of Shitburry.  I desperately hope that the intent is that Merle is lying to Hershel in order to gain his trust, because anything less is a laughably transparent attempt to retcon a lazy-minded bigot monster into some kind of conflicted warrior-poet. I am so sick of the writers trying to tell us Merle is interesting or trying to artificially create character development where there is nothing to create anything from.

Merle is not sorry, as he claimed, about what he did before or after the ZA. I mean it’s been only been, what, two days since he has fallen out of the Governor’s grace? He did not change and for the writers trying to tell us that he has by making that scene is terrible writing at best and insulting to our intelligence at worst. 

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Maybe Merle is just bullshitting his way through Hershel and Michonne knowing he has no way out and has to stick with these people or else be on his own. But Michael Rooker played the part convincingly. There was no guile in his tone or expression, so unless he is a terrible actor, which he is not, it is doubtful that he was just playing. In other words, when he said he misses the library, he meant it. And the writers meant it too.

I could go in with the inconsistencies and lack of forward momentum and the myriad of other issues with TWD since Darabont’s departure and the pooh-pooh platter of characters that are barely fleshed out always bickering, arguing, deceiving,  backstabbing and conning one another soap opera style, but suffice it so say that the third season has left much to be desired and I consider the episode Clear to be an outline rather than the rule.

The great thing about the Walking Dead has always been the extent to which the story of its protagonists has been rooted in reality. The challenges facing these people – from basic survival to the emotional and philosophical ones – aren’t stereotypical caricature type of struggles you see in most zombie movies. The problems of our protagonists feel real as these people suffer the way one would expect real people to suffer if the world had come to an end. The end of the world feels real and is palpable rather than being some fantasy scenario we can detach ourselves from.

The great thing about TWD, therefore, has been how real it felt and how authentically it portrayed the end of the world.

Zombies stopped being zombies but instead became Walkers and the apocalypse and the tragic end of human kind stopped being fantasy scenarios and instead became real – with survivors facing real problems and real dilemmas.  Talking to Jenner at the CDC you could say “yeah, I can imagine this taking place.” Not that zombies make scientific sense, but the end of the world and peoples’ reactions to it as depicted in TWD do.

This isn’t Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. These are real people, having real lives like you and I suddenly seeing the world as they know it end. These are people who have to start questioning not only their own humanity but humanity in general and all the beliefs they grew up knowing and holding on to so dearly, such as Hershel who suddenly found himself questioning his lifelong beliefs in his Bible and Christ, suddenly not really being sure anymore if any of it was true. 

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Questions human beings have been asking themselves ever since they have been intelligent enough to ask such questions, are being posited again and in a way forced into the foreground given the dire, end-of-days, apocalyptic reality these people are facing. Before the Apocalypse, these people never had to ask such questions so fundamentally and direly. But now they have to and with them we, as the audience, have to as well.

What has made The Walking Dead such an epic and compelling tale, therefore,  is that it feels real and close to home. There is something deep within the tragedy of its protagonists that resonates with us and which we all can identify with as the themes of loss, tragedy, pain, desperation and survival are real for all of us.

Being able to identify with the characters and story is very important. If nothing you see here could possibly involve you, the viewer, and you could not possibly identify with the emotions, struggles and tribulations of the characters, then  you also have no stake in this. Then you might as well just read a fairy tale/fantasy book.

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There is no destiny, no archetypes in TWD (except the Governor, which is what makes it so problematic).  Just real people who want all the things you and I want in a world were everything has gone to shit. Real people with flaws, hopes, dreams, setbacks, and strengths.

I’ve never been a chosen one, or a mystical monk, or collected aquariums with heads in them etc. I have, however,  been someone who holds a job, has coworkers, skills, and dreams and people I care about and lost. And I want to see that in the characters I watch and follow. Therefore, TWD always speaks to me more than just any old zombie flick out there.

The Third Season

In the third season, the dead or death, the Apocalypse, the disaster that has brought these people down, is just not as important anymore. It is about the interpersonal issues and rivalries of the protagonists and villains with the Walkers as the incidental backdrop. It’s been all about the Governor and his gang vs Grimes and his gang. Like Boys in the Hood but with zombies.

In season one and even two the zombies, or Walkers as they are called here, were almost like this third character and their presence directly affected every action and move by the characters.  In this season, however, the show has shifted from being about survival to being about war and gang rivalry. How the Apocalypse has been touching the people – our characters – in a personal as well as practical matter, is what makes the show and story enticing and interesting, however. Something the writers of the show have been forgetting increasingly in favor of prime time soap opera story telling schemes.

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What are the philosophical struggles these people face? What demons are they fighting? What real challenges are they facing day to day? Battles and wars and just having to fight a specific enemy while you are traversing the apocalyptic landscape is ok, but there has got to be substance, and episodes filled with questions about survival, humanity and science, describing the Apocalypse and its fall outs. I don’t care to see people bickering and arguing over the same garbage over and over again.

How is the fate of the world affecting people and society without spending a whole season showing a lame villain who is uninspired, dispassionate and apparently without an agenda?

In this Season 3 we have not found out anything about these people,  their inner torment trying to reconcile their new world order with their humanity. There is no questions of survival and the why. Instead, it’s all about the Governor, who is a caricature, and the townsfolk – who are also caricatures

That is why Andrea’s allegiance and loyalty to the people in the village of the damned seems so unreal. She is essentially rooting for one dimensional caricatures which most of us cannot identify with.

Clear

Last night’s episode Clear took us back to that. It took us back to Darabont’s original vision. It was beautifully written and the characters fleshed out and developed in a way the show had failed to do all season long – or in fact, for a very long time since the end of season one. Their tragedy was palpable and their humanity raw and exposed. We finally got to the psychological toll this has taken on people because aside from physical survival the most important part of survival is  psychological survival. Something often glossed over in such apocalyptic movies where people seem to be taking death for granted.

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No Woodbury and its terrible caricature of citizens  no prison, no stupid baby, no Lori, no Lori the unfriendly ghost, no Hershel speaking in sermons,  no arguing about Rick being the leader or not, no arguing about Merle, no arguing about trusting strangers, not much arguing at all in fact, no Carol rubbing up on the nearest man, no spontaneous Beth songs, no frumpy Michonne moping in the background, and none of Andrea’s hands-on-the-hips head-bobbing. Instead, the focus of “Clear” was sharper than Michonne’s katana because the episode isolated its story. And it was just the kick in the pants the season needed.

The episode wasn’t action-slammed and it didn’t feature a river of zombie brains and intestinal tracts. But it was one of the most thought-provoking, enlightening, and well-written episodes of the series. The writing was solid and beautiful at times,  with depth and nuances. And a great amount of Walker and Zombie Apocalypse moments reminiscent of the powerful and amazing work of Darabont in the first season.

It was great to see how the ZA has affected the world outside of the prison and outside of Rick’s immediate group. It was heart breaking and tragic to see him return back to his own old town haunted by memories of days gone by only to see it in devastation and ruins. The connection they drew to his and Carl’s respective pasts was beautifully done, ultimately putting a human face on the tragedy and preserving the continuity.

No comic book villains to fight, no gang rivalries, no bickering and arguing, just three people trying to make sense of a world in ruins. When Carl held the picture of his mom and dad and said he wanted it so he and Judy could remember how she looked like, the humanity that has been elusive for so long came back. And with it the extent of their tragedy.

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I loved the continuity and the connection to the first season. What happened to Morgan and his kid has always been on the minds and hearts of the audience and Rick and with this episode the tragedy laid out so beautifully in the first season has come full circle.

It was also a pivotal plot moment because Morgan, who apparently lost his sanity after his Walker wife attacked his son, was sort of the mirror for Rick.

In the past few episodes we have seen Rick gradually lose it, talking to ghosts and having visions and here we saw Morgan, having apparently gone down the same tragic path. When Rick saw Morgan, he saw himself or his future. His potential future.

In the brilliant first episode of this show, Days Gone Bye, Morgan was a strong man showing cracks and mourning the recent loss of his wife, but he still had something to fight for in his son Duane. In “Clear,” that man no longer was and in his place we saw a deeply troubled and emotionally troubled man talking to himself and writing gibberish on the walls, tormented by isolation, fear and guilt; we saw a broken man who had lost everything, being merely a shadow of himself today.

Seeing his old buddy in such a state was bad times for Rick, but it was also an eye-opener as Rick saw a potential future for himself in Morgan, realizing that if he continued on the same path, he could one day become Morgan. As Rick said to Morgan, they both started out the ZA together. Rick realized, in a final moment of epiphany when he left Morgan after having tried everything to help him get back on track but in vain, that Morgan was a goner and that if he wasn’t careful, he would soon be too.

Morgan's wife Jenny. Season 1, Episode 1

Morgan’s wife Jenny. Season 1, Episode 1

When Rick was telling Morgan, “You have to be able to come back from this,” he was also delivering that advice to himself. An advice he got just a few days ago from Hershel.

At the end of the episode, when Rick was staring off into the distance and Michonne told him that she knows he sees “things,” the “thing” Rick was staring at could’ve easily been Lori waving goodbye because Rick rocketed back into reality after seeing Morgan’s tumble and disintegration into insanity.

Just brilliant and beautiful.

This episode also showed just how apocalyptic their situation is.  – which is something the show loses sight of while it’s busy writing the next soapy segment.

In this episode we finally saw what it was all about all along, namely the zombie Apocalypse. Everyone they loved is dead and the landscape marred by the apocalypse. This was really in tune with the tone and spirit of the first season. The best episode in the whole season in my opinion.

Toward the end I was thinking that Michonne, Rick and Carl really make a good team and that I wouldn’t mind if they carried the show from now on. I mean, just go off by themselves and never return back to that group of dysfunctional losers.

I also realized that I would, in fact, be able to enjoy the show if all the other characters were dead, from Carol to Daryl to Maggie, Glenn, Hershel and Beth. Even Andrea. Who knows, maybe they can just have Rick, Michonne and Carl go their own way and give the other characters a show of their own which they can call Days of Our Zombie Lives or some shit.

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Actual Quote From A Walking Dead Fan Regarding Firearms

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

You won’t believe the shit I get to read sometimes:

I hope everyone who watches the walking dead supports Firearms and disregards that phoney media crap like the Sandy Hook shooting…. Guns DO NOT kill people, PEOPLE kill people.” 

This was actually posted on AMC’s The walking Dead comment blog by a reader a day after the mid season premiere.

The guy then followed his post by asking people who “have an open mind to spread the word” as this country “is in serious trouble.”

I don’t even…this asshole really believes that the guns in The Walking Dead and the ensuing zombie apocalypse make a good point for lobbying against gun control since clearly the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse is likely to happen and illustrates the need for guns galore, woohaaa.

You may laugh about this and dismiss this guy as someone from the lunatic fringe not really reflecting the “values” of gun advocates and lifetime members of the NRA. But incidentally that is kind of the same view professional jackass Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the NRA, holds when he says shit like

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Before I tell you how the NRA and our members are going to Stand And Fight politically and in the courts, let’s acknowledge that all over this country, tens of millions of Americans are already preparing to Stand And Fight to protect their families and homes. These good Americans are prudently getting ready to protect themselves.”

The rest of his “speech” was racially tinged, unfounded, ignorant garbage about Obama wanting to take away our guns! Latin American drug gangs and criminals! Mexicans! Illegal Immigrants! Kidnappers! Criminals! Terrorists! Muslims! and how terrorists and Muslims will attack with Obama standing by and watching while us citizens with our guns the NRA is working so hard to place in our hands, will be left to fend for ourselves.

Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival.”[…] Responsible Americans realize that the world as we know it has changed. We, the American people, clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster.”

That’s right, peace loving patriots. The world is a scary, terrible and dangerous place and we have to be prepared to SHOOT THEM ALL.  AAAAALLLL Whaaaa “to withstand the siege that is coming“.

Round them all up:  Liberals! Socialists! The Mentally Ill! Gays! Homosexuals! Pacifists! Immigrants! Activist judges! Women judges! Women! “Bloomberg, Soros, and the rest of their ilk.” Renew your NRA membership! Donate more so we can champion your cause, oh so freedom loving citizens, because apocalypses of all kind are upon us – even the zombie.

And let’s not forget all the other fun uses for guns. After all, “every year, shooting is becoming more and more popular, with more people engaging in the shooting sports for fun. […] Stand And Fight, let’s continue to make the shooting sports one of the fastest-growing recreational activities in America. By doing so, and by telling others about it, we’ll popularize and make gun owning and shooting more mainstream than ever before.” Shooting is so cool, especially chasing a helpless, innocent creature, cornering it and the blowing its brains out. It’s so much funnity fun fun. These are values we must instill in our children.

We gotta embrace guns and create an EVEN BIGGER gun culture. “We don’t want America to become like England” where only 155 people a year die of gun related injuries as opposed to 32,000 here in the US. Pah! “We have so much to be proud of as gun owners, shooters and freedom lovers. ” STAND AND FIGHT PATRIOTS.

Who’s Afraid of Wayne LaPierre?

I don’t know about you, but I am not really afraid of dying at the hands of an Islamic terrorist or a looter. I am, however, super scared of dying at the hands of a small, paranoid, frightened and law abiding NRA member pumped up by alarmist rhetoric and armed with deadly weaponry who shoots first and then asks questions. I am afraid of some disgruntled or unstable person deciding to take his anger, frustration and hate out on me by barging into a mall, bookstore, theater or any other public space I may occupy and empty several rounds of hot bullets into my body because the NRA has worked long and hard to insure that guns remain ubiquitous features of the American landscape and culture and are easier to obtain than a checking account.

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It is also interesting to note the kind of fear the NRA is choosing to vest their efforts in.

I too am afraid, see. But it is not the same fear LaPierre and gun merchants are mongering us into.

I am not afraid of the zombie apocalypse, looters during hurricanes, or Mexican drug lords. I am afraid of the Patriot Act and that the government can spy on its citizens no questions asked; I am afraid of the hollowing out of the Fourth Amendment where people can be arrested and locked up without due process, like they did with Bradley Manning and countless others;

I am afraid of people being locked up in places like Guantanamo Bay and tortured based on suspicion or nationality;

I am afraid of the toxic waste in our waters, air and food and that cancer has become an epidemic;

I am afraid of some asshole in Washington violating my body without my consent by telling me what I can and cannot do with it and then have the audacity to not call it rape;

I am afraid of losing my job and not having a social safety net in place;

I am afraid of being at the mercy of corporations and banks for my livelihood and economic well being;

I am scared that I may wake up in a world in which Roe v Wade is history and women have to resort to backdoor alleys and dirty coat hangers to exercise autonomy over their bodies and get an abortion;

I am scared of oil companies and defense contractors plundering our nation’s assets and wealth while they keep getting subsidized bu our tax dollars and make record profits; I am afraid of banks that are too big to fail so they cannot be prosecuted thus effectively giving carte blanche to banks to engage in all sorts of criminal activity knowing that they will remain untouchable;

I am afraid that our corrupt Congress, which is mostly populated with millionaires, has sold us out to those lining their pockets and that Supreme Court thinks that nothing is wrong with that as it grants corporations citizen status;

I’m  scared that unions 10 or 15 years from now will be a thing of the past;

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I’m scared of Israel extending its war mongering paws to our shores and conning us into another war on its behalf, potentially leading to a global military crisis with devastating consequences for all of us.

I am scared that this precarious position we are sitting right now – economically, socially, politically, culturally etc – is going to come crashing down on us while the NRA stuffs every orifice with guns, “just in case”.

So I’m scared, alright. But unlike the NRA and the “patriots”, I understand that paranoia, othering, scapegoating, bigtory, guns and violence are not going to help us out of this mess.

The only thing that is going to get us through it, as a society, is cooperation, empathy and the fostering of peace. In fact, you can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its vulnerable populations, not by how well armed they are. That is the litmus test of success for militant dictatorships under martial law.

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People who believe that arming up is the solution and naturally the way a civilized peoples need to behave themselves in society and as a matter of public discourse are clearly more concerned with antagonism and isolation, than cooperation and peace as killing people who scare you is not the same as protecting oneself.

Fear is a powerful ally. And so is scapegoating. The NRA has a very real financial interest in promoting violence and death and they recognized a long time ago, 140 years ago to be precise, that they can do so by instilling fear in the hearts and minds of people; a fear that will boil over and make everyone want to pick up a gun to get the point across. 

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The NRA Blames Everyone But Guns: Sandy Hook Press Conference

National Rifle Association Holds News Conference In Wake Of Newtown School Shooting

The NRA’s response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary – and any other mass shooting in the country for that matter – has been one of massive scapegoating: women, teachers, video games, the entertainment industry, hurricanes, terrorists, the doorman at the school, and the mentally ill. Everyone and everything but guns, gun owners and gun lobbyists who have spent years easing gun regulationsmor across the country making it possible to obtain guns easier than a car — were responsible.

More specifically, The National Rifle Association, which is the nation’s largest gun advocates lobby, attributed the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to “school free zones,” arguing that “genuine monsters” (other than the proponents of gun ownership galore that is) are attracted to schools because its administrators and teachers are not armed.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA low life and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said.  He urged Congress to “act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.” La Pierre shoveled out blame far and wide, going after reporters for glorifying killers like Adam Lanza, violent movies, video games, and music videos. He tore into gun safety advocates for exploiting the tragedy for “political gain,” targeted President Obama for underfunding police initiatives in schools, and said that the media demonized “local gun owners” and spread “misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next violence is a new cycle away.” “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural of man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization,” he said.

Now it is the fault of law abiding citizens who don’t sleep with assault rifles under their pillows that this happened?  Clearly, according  to the NRA,  they asked for it since not owning a gun is an invitation to being gunned down and shot in places you ought to feel safe. This is the same garbage rhetoric used in rape culture where the victims become the  accused and are told that having behaved or dressed in certain ways provoked and justified,  or at the least made it “understandable”,  why they were assaulted and raped. That is a very disconcerting position to take as it is incredibly manipulative, twisting the victim/perpetrator position around, thus indirectly assign blame to victims for the atrocities committed against them rather than trying to find ways to minimize such atrocities and violence and thus really change anything about the status quo.

Scapegoat and Round up the Mentally Ill While We’re At It 

La Pierre also called for the nation to create an “active national database of the mentally ill”, a brilliant idea that not only will not violate any privacy laws (HIPAA), it will also most definitely not lead to further stigmatization and marginalization of  people with psychological disabilities  – whom he apparently lumps in together with violent criminals – and discourage care-seeking, diagnosis, and treatment.

I don’t even know where to begin. Twenty families are burying their children in this holiday season, children who will never experience life and all its wonders, not to mention the psychological trauma the parents and families of those children will experience for the rest of their lives because of the actions of a criminal with easy access to weapons of mass murder, and all the NRA can come up with is basically blaming the victims and their parents for the outcome? Citing hurricanes and  the media and Hollywood and the lack of tools of murder?

La Pierre and his supporters are nothing but disgusting, contemptible, frightened, small-minded fear mongers who are placing the alleged rights of a bunch of people to own tools of murder and mass murder above the life and safety of people.

There is just something indescribably vile about a proponent of unregulated access to guns. This was an opportunity for the NRA to grow, to advocate responsbile gun ownership and regulations like, for example, creating a national database of gun owners and requiring gun registration and other institutional controls similar to car ownership and operation. Instead, all they could come up with was shameless scapegoating, deflecting of responsibility and advocating the discrimination of vulnerable populations, such as the mentally ill, who are, frankly, more likely to be victimized by violence than to perpetrate it.

Mental Illness Does NOT Equal Violent Behavior

The final straw, of course, was calling for a national database of the mentally ill. Not a national database of gun owners, but of the mentally ill.

Ok Heinrich Himmler.

What will be next? Round them all up into so called sanctuary districts, for their own protection of course, or make them wear some kind of a plaque on their garments so they can be easily identified?

What is outrageous is that not only mental illness is being equated with violent, criminal behavior but that all people with mental illnesses – which covers a broad spectrum of disabilities, most of which are not violent – are being lumped together as this one entity society must be aware and scared of.  The reality is that there are millions of people suffering from mental illness who would never engage in such a vile, inhumane act of mass murdering children.

Someone who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, after, hmmm.., let’s say having been a victim of violence with guns, or a school shooting, is technically considered as suffering from a mental illness. Someone suffering from depression and anxiety taking medication is considered an individual suffering from a mental disability; a person suffering from severe anxiety is considered mentally ill. To lump these people together with violent criminals – who may or may not be mentally ill, – becasue remember, not all people with mental illness are dangerous, and not all killers are mentally ill, meeting standards of psychiatric diagnosis – is as low as it can get and the height of irresponsibility and inhumanity.

NRA poll

La Pierre played quite expertedly into the irrational fears and scapegoating mentality of the minuscule minded gun wielding,  Jesus and cross hugging citizens of this nation by making references to those evil “killers, robbers, rapists, gang members” who have  “spread like cancer in every community across our nation” and from whom we need to protect ourselves by owning an arsenal of assault weapons and other tools for mass murder.  

The truth, of course, is that the only cancer having spread through society is the policies the likes of La Pierre and his organization of unregulated gun ownership advocates and the mindless tools that follow them advocate, believing that the answer to the problems of crime – or any problem for that matter in society – is arming every man, woman and child with all sorts of weaponry and sending them off into the world, as if guns – instruments aimed to kill – make us safer.

Imagine the principal of Sandy Hook had been armed with an assault rifle and after the first shot was fired and people were running around in panic  she had jetted out of her office with an AR 15 shooting into a crowd of children running in panic. According to the NRA, that would have been the solution, which, of course, is another comforting lie.

Living in a society with ordinary citizens armed to the teeth like guerrilla fighters, taking justice into their own hands, like George Zimmerman, and shooting into a crowd with moving targets, does not make us safer. This Dirty Harry and John Wayne mentality is only good for when the zombie apocalypse or another end-of-world scenario – mostly to be found in science fiction – is upon us. It is not the route rational people in a civilized society held together by the rule of law and the Constitution they allegedly trust in,  ought to embark on. We do not want to send our kids to school with the likes of George Zimmerman prowling the halls.

NRA’s Response to the Carnage at Sandy Hook At a Glance: 

1) Create a police state – TSA style security at every corner. A George Zimmerman in every neighborhood. I mean, we are all totally grateful that he protected us from the evils of a 17 year old child holding candy and we clearly need more of that.

2) Arm every man, woman and child with assault rifles like they were Snake Plissken. The more guns and tools of mass murder lie around, the safer we all will be since human beings are totally not prone to irrationality and rage over something like someone cutting them off on the freeway or giving them the wrong look at the grocery store etc.

3) Scapegoat everyone and everything for this: Women, pacifists, the mentally ill, video games and movies, entertainment industry, the doorman at the school…everyone but gun owners and the gun – a tool solely designed to take lives, nothing else. Apparently the gun is a very misunderstood tool for murder.

Great America. Moving towards a plutocratic police state one gun wielding,  Jesus chest-thumping, fear mongering, bigoted patriot at a time.

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Review: The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick”

Securing the prison

The Walking Dead is back with a vengeance for its third season and unlike the comatose second season of the Days of Our Zombie Lives style that was thrown our way –  the new season – up until now at least – has been quintessential zombie apocalypse.

Instead of cluttering our from stupid TV shows already half dead brains with prime time soap opera junk  – which was the entire second season – debating Lori’s rate of sexual intercourse and trying to find the answer to the number one question burning on everyone’s mind after the world has come to an end, namely who the father of Lori’s child is – the first two episodes of the third season (Episode 1 titled “Seed‘), have finally picked up in speed and intensity taking the show away from the bore  that was season 2.

Shelter in prison

This season starts off great by taking us back to all the things that originally made this show great: the chase, the herds, survival, thrill, making life and death decisions in the face of absolute dread. In a way it is great Shane is out of the question so that we can finally move away from the love triangle bullshit drama that was degrading this show into comatose depths.

The strength of The Walking Dead has always been the realism with which it portrayed the journey of its protagonists through the barren apocalypse of a world run over by the flesh eating undead. Whereas Season 2 had abandoned all those questions in favor of dealing with the domestic problems of Rick, Lori and Shane with zombies thrown in for show, this season starts off by once again placing the zombie apocalypse, its aftermath and the drive for pure survival at the forefront.

Maggie getting into the spirit of things

Flashback to season 2: the group had narrowly escaped Hershel’s farm  after a massive herd had swept through there, killing half of Hershel’s family. Rick, who had been led into the woods by Shane to be killed, finally realized what was going on and shot Shane. Andrea got separated from the group. The others believe her dea and meet up at the freeway trying to figure out what to do.

Fast forward through the winter and it is summer again; it appears to be going by the lushness of the vegetation and the sweat everyone seems to be breaking. People look worn out and even though around 10 months have passed, Lori is still something like 7 months pregnant holding her belly like it was a bowling ball she was afraid might roll out from underneath her at  any second. Don’t ask why, but we will get back to internal consistency later.

A transformation has taken place within Rick as well. Optimism has  given way the shadow inhabiting all of us. Unlike Shane where this transformation seemed forced and became off-puttish, the change we see in Rick is subtle and more believable   It makes sense. And it is also very revealing of the inner struggle he is facing; the inward battle to try to accept that the world as he knew it is over and with it every bit of morality that existed within that world.

At the beginning of their journey. Rick went back to save Merle from the roof of the mall after he had been handcuffed there for his threatening behavior. He risked himself and the group in order to do the right thing telling Lori “I don’t care what he [Merle] would do. I cannot let a man die like this.”

This past year seems to have taken a heavy toll on Rick’s ability to cope with the new order of things.  In a world having fallen apart at the seams – where good and bad and morality and ethics no longer have the meaning they used to have pre apocalypse – Rick’s priorities as a leader  – but also human being  – have changed.  And in a way, they have to.

Big tiny indeed has a tiny brain

In the absence of government and law enforcement or really any of  kind of structure of governance in place and thus the things that keep society functioning as we know it, humans degrade to savagery, committing unspeakable crimes against one another. In such a world, holding on to grand principles established in a world with government and the rule of law would be futile.

As the leader of the group, Rick is facing a daunting challenge on many fronts. And much like any leader, he is forced to make the tough choices. in light of those challenges. Diplomacy just does not work with entities that operate under no code of conduct.

I don’t think people – even Lori or Herschel – realize how truly   alone Rick is in this and the immense weight on his shoulders.

Unlike Shane who seemed to have been in his element in the world post apocalypse, willing to kill people in cold blood under the guise of “saving everyone”, Rick really does have a hard time pulling this off.  Everytime he makes a decision in that direction, he seems to struggle deep inside, even if he doesn’t talk about it.

Rick may have unwillingly become the leader of this of group of people that look up to him for guidance and leadership, but it appears as if this role has also given him something to live for; to strive for, to fight for. It is what keeps Rick going in light of absolute devastation in the remnants of days gone by. Rick’s allegiance to this group is unequivocal. Giving up on the group would mean giving up on hope and a future and Rick cannot go there if he wants to make it through this in one piece.

I think the writers have done a great job portraying Rick’s struggle and how he is divided and conflicted. Leadership is ultimately about making the tough calls and actually realizing that the call you are making is tough.  It it weren’t, it wouldn’t be leadership. And Rick is a leader, flawed as he may be in other aspects.

“Aim for the brain guys. No more of that prison riot bullshit”

Having said that, there are still some inconsistencies which puzzle the astute observer – in no particular order:

1) When we left off at the end of season 2, Lori was upset with Rick having killed Shane and that Carl had to put Shane down after he had turned. Halfway through the first episode of the 3rd season, that resentment is still apparent. But suddenly that changes and Lori complains that after everything she put Rick through, it is no wonder he hates her. But hello…where did that come from? Just five minutes ago Rick was the one trying to making amends with Lori but now suddenly Lori is the one having to make amends with Rick? It seems like the writers decided half-way through to change this around hoping we won’t notice.

2) Why does Carl hate mommy dearest so much? If something happened in the winter months we didn’t get to see, then the writers should have made it clear somehow. Without having done so, however, it just seems a bit odd.

3) When we left off, fall had begun and the group was trying to figure out a way to survive winter.  Let’s say it was October. Now it is summer again (going by vegetation sometime around July)  – so something like 9 months have passed. Yet Lori is still pregnant (looks like 7  or 8 months). How is that possible? Lori must have been at least a month or two pregnant by the time she found out. If something like 8 months have passed, how can she still be only around 7 months pregnant?

Rick is not kidding around

4) If everyone is infected anyway and they “turn” after they die, then why does it matter whether they are bitten or not? You only worry about such things when you worry about viral or parasitic transmission. But if everyone is infected anyway, why do they care? And for that matter, why do people who get bitten die sooner than those not bitten – even though both are infected?

I think that, by far, this is the biggest disconnect and disappointment in terms of internal consistency. Maybe there is an explanation for it but they are not telling us what that is, so we are left with speculating  – which is always a sign of bad story telling.

Tight formation

5) How the hell is Hershel alive? How did the infection not kill him? He first had his leg hacked off by a dirty ax lying around in the decay of the prison. Then they used a bunch of unsanitary towels and everything they could find in the stench to dress the wound. How did he not get an infection or die from blood loss? He is an older man who has been probably malnourished with a weakened immune system. How could his heart and brain have survived  the lack of oxygen from all the blood loss, not to mention the immense infection? I mean this was a leg being hacked off for crying out loud.

6) Finally, exactly who is brain dead may I ask? For 10 months these prisoners are stuck in there with everyone dead and zombies walking outside and it never occurred to them to break out? Or go figure out what has happened. They just stayed there hoping the National Guard would show up? Really? For ten months? Since when do prisoners not look for opportunities to break out, especially in light of complete chaos.

Such inconsistencies gnaw at the believability of the show and the writers are well advised to avoid them. It remains to be seen how far down the rabbit hole the writers want to take us; just hope that that particular hole isn’t something we can find easily in prime time soap.

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