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
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:
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 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.”