Thursday, June 1, 2023

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Guest Commentary

The hype on Hollywood, guns and alcohol


“Jekyll and Hyde” is the perfect Broadway musical for the United States in the 21st Century. Major promotion indicates that it is the greatest musical of the century, but only 12-plus years out of 100 have gone by, so one might dismiss the hype.

Hype! There is so much hype today in the sports and entertainment worlds that one wonders what is real. You have fans going to a basketball or football game for the hype, not the competition. “Jekyll and Hyde” is perfect because the story revolves around violence — a mad man killing people. You know, that phenomenon happening all over the country every day. We might surmise that our “hero,” the mad man, did not kill. The knife and large, heavy rod did the dirty work. Does that sound familiar?

Many Hollywood stars have gone on record as being for new gun control laws while they make violent movies. Money and profit reign with shoot-’em-up movies coming out daily. Money and profit reign with the National Rifle Association, of course, and right now their profit is hitting the clouds. Most of you are aware that the NRA runs the country — not the Supreme Court or the president or the governors or the mayors or the various Houses and Senates or the Justice Department or those involved with defense spending. It’s called knuckling under for some damn reason. Cowardice is a better name for it, and it is based on an accepted misreading of the Second Amendment. Supreme Court John Paul Stevens once attacked the NRA as perpetuating the greatest fraud on the American public in the history of the country. Apparently Americans love fraud, especially when it comes to their guns.

A recent Dear Abby column focused on an angry, alcoholic grandfather who had way too many loaded guns. He had purchased much ammunition recently as well. The son insisted on visiting Grandpa, but the daughter-in-law was concerned for her three young children. Imagine that.

The following statistics on alcoholics might surprise you. It is a fact that alcohol is the No. 1 drug problem in America. There are more than 12 million alcoholics in the U.S., and Americans spend $197 million each day on alcohol. Eighty-three percent of homicides involve alcohol, but the NRA would have you believe that guns are never the problem in any homicide. Other western countries have few problems with guns. I guess the mentality of Americans requires us to be unique in the dumbest of ways. We just can’t get away from the wild, wild west of “High Noon” or “Shane.”

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Some day Americans might become rational and go back to rifles and shotguns. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hunting. Hunting may be necessary for a few, and it and golf are wonderful for getting back to nature. I’m not sure duck hunters are rational, but I’m willing to let them have fun while wearing long underwear and rain gear while sitting in freezing weather — waiting for a duck or two. CV

John Hicks is resident of Des Moines and a professor emeritus at Drake University.

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