30/7 – 5/8/19 More Mass Shootings and DA Pennebaker Remembered

The idea of this new Monday weekly event post is to present my meandering thoughts and reflections on various news or ‘other event’ related topics of the past week and provoke readers into discussion. While I aim for it to be ongoing I do not intend it to be considered a news related article per se about the ‘biggest’ stories. Instead this weekly post should be regarded as an informal journal about random events or topics I feel inclined to write about; and if it were not for the seriousness of some events; that which ‘tickles my fancy’ may be a more apt description. Furthermore, I foresee that a great deal of these posts will contain links to articles for additional information purposes and/or direct quotes from such articles.

2 more mass shootings in the US

Mount Cristo Rey
Mt Cristo Rey – El Paso Texas (Urbici Soler)

I wrote ‘random events’ above, but these horrific occurrences in the US are becoming less random ie more frequent it appears at least statistically. It’s a difficult topic to discuss as these incidents elicit such strong emotions in people including yours truly, but after the initial shock and anger I find myself compelled to revisit the gun control debate and try to do so dispassionately to ascertain with a clearer head the arguments. Also as a non-US resident it is hard to weigh in on it, as the second amendment is so coveted and what may work in one culture such as Australia may not work in another. I read a fascinating article in the NY times titled Australia’s Gun Laws Are Not a Model for America which I would recommend anyone with interest on the subject to read.

I think the following response from Reddit user scoogsy aligns more or less with what I would like to see happen with regards to gun control:

‘I think stricter regulation, with annual re-review of licences. I’d also advocate for a higher base level of training. People who own guns need to be highly trained, and are required to attend regular training in their use (say quarterly. You are reviewed on proficiency, and if you fail multiple sessions, your licence is suspended and you need to be trained to earn it back). Due to their lethality, and the psychological influence firearms have on power dynamics (you start to feel invincible against unarmed victims), I think something like this is proportional to the responsibility one takes when having a firearm. Added training aims at a couple of things. Enhancing the ability for those to defend themselves in active shooter situations, reducing accidental shootings, and bringing those who have extremist tendencies into more regular contact with the greater community. This culture of safty-ism, and a requirement for regular engagement with the greater gun ownership community may help in identifying offenders earlier.

I tend to think semi-auto rifles should be banned, other than with special permits (occupation, farmers etc. this means they must be safely stored).

I also think more development of self defence mechanisms is needed. It would be great to have an array of highly effective self defence weapons that rival that of a firearm, but are typically not lethal. A taser is about as close as I’ve seen, however something even more effective would be even better.’

– From the reddit discussion ‘So with the recent mass shootings..’

In addition, I don’t know why Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt the need to apologise over the following tweet:

Neil de Grasse Tyson tweet

You can read more about the reaction to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweet here.

Also,  Sam Harris’ discusses the recent mass shootings in the US in his latest podcast #164 Cause and Effect (with Judea Pearl) which can be heard here.

DA Pennebaker Remembered



DA Pennebaker
DA Pennebaker (centre) filming Dylan (left) for Don’t Look Back

DA Pennebaker who was best known for the music documentary on Bob Dylan Don’t Look Back passed away on the 1st August, 2019.

I wrote in another article: The Wonder Years and ‘Catch The Wind:

I would eventually watch the classic D. A. Pennebaker documentary Don’t Look Back of Dylan’s 1965 concert tour of England. Dylan and Donovan would confront each other for a famous folk duel (see below) where funnily enough, I saw both leave the ‘ol’ corral’ as the victor.

It was extremely satisfying watching that. I felt a sense of vindication apprehending the circle was now complete.

Some interesting facts about Pennebaker in this BBC news article – Cult music film-maker DA Pennebaker dies, aged 94

Pennebaker teamed up with British film-maker Richard Leacock to develop one of the first hand-held, synchronous-sound cameras – which allowed him to get closer to his subjects, capturing unguarded moments and snatches of conversation, dispensing with the need for overbearing narration.

The first film to use the camera was Primary (1960) which followed John F Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey from dawn to midnight for five days, as they campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Roger Ebert said Pennebaker’s film “invented the rock documentary”; while the opening sequence, in which a young, scruffy Dylan holds up cue cards with the lyrics to Subterranean Homesick Blues served as a prototype for the modern music video.

In 1973, he was invited to London to shoot David Bowie’s final concert in the guise of alien rock star Ziggy Stardust. He had no idea who Bowie was – in fact, he initially thought he’d be filming Marc Bolan – but quickly fell under his spell.

“What I saw when David got on stage, was one person totally holding that stage for two hours,” he later recalled. “I thought, ‘There’s not many people who can do that, I better get this all on film while it lasts.”

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music, News
6 comments on “30/7 – 5/8/19 More Mass Shootings and DA Pennebaker Remembered
  1. badfinger20 says:

    The tweet was interesting. I see exactly what he was saying. He should have seen what was coming though…

    I respect guns but have always been afraid of them. I don’t hunt and really never needed one. If they all disappeared it wouldn’t bother me…but that is not going to happen.
    What is making people snap now? That is the question…I mean guns can be part of the problem but he could have made a bomb and killed people.

    You brought up a lot of good points…people do need to be trained before they ever touch one.

    DA Pennebaker…the name always brings me back to Dylan. Don’t Look Back was wonderfully shot… Eat The Document is different…very different.

    • Regarding the tweet a lot of moral virtue signalers didn’t want the facts to impinge on their political ideological narrative. What did they expect other than the facts from a scientist?

      I have the same background and opinion about guns as you. It should be a lot tougher to acquire a license and maintain ownership of a gun. The right to possess arms should surely carry responsibilities as well.

      What are making more people snap now? They are all nearly all lone wolfs and it would be nice to put a little bow around all of them and label them this and that, but it would vary from case to case I imagine. The press shouldn’t be allowed to publish a photo/names of the killer in my estimation.

      I draw the same connection between DA Pennebaker and Dylan because of the 65 tour. I have to see Eat the Document again. His comments about David Bowie were illuminating too. He was a true pioneer of the modern documentary format.

      • badfinger20 says:

        I fully agree about the press. Not only are they named…first middle and last they are the new poster boy…this is going off topic a bit but sometimes an innocent person’s name is leaked and he or she has to live it down for the rest of their life. There is a man in Nashville where in the 70s his name was leaked in connection with an awful crime…DNA evidence has cleared him but he still gets looked at.

        I know a former special ops guy who makes guns…he is completely above board…also silencers for the military. He told me he would not sell to most of the people who ask because they are not trained and have no business owning one.

        He is pro gun and believes in gun control…or more intense screening.

      • Yes, that’s truly disturbing what happened to that guy in Nashville. On a lighter note, I think Seinfeld even did an episode of a guy who had the same name as a serial killer and Elaine wanted him to change it. lol
        I also have heard people like your special ops friend who are pro gun, but believe it should require more dedicated training and intense screening. Off the top of my head Joe Rogan is an avid hunter and he believes that.

  2. I find it hrd 5o comment on the shootings

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