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I gained a stunning insight into just how long the American Gun culture has been reinforced by the media last night.  

I was breaking in my new streaming TV box, and I started watching an old "Singing Cowboy" western with the late Gene Autry, "Get Along Little Doggies" from 1937.

The plot isn't important to my point here, but rather it's about one of the early scenes.  

A woman driving a car drives by Autry and splashes him as it goes through a puddle. Autry's response is to pull out his gun and shoot out a tire. (!!!)  The movie presents this as a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and Autry and the woman chat and flirt as though he hadn't just committed a violent and psychopathic act.

This got me thinking about how deeply ingrained the gun culture has been in American life for a very long time, and how for some people at least, this sort of behavior is still considered reasonable.


12:46 PM PT: Addendum, Autry not only jerked out his gun and shot out his tires, he first chased her down on his horse, and THEN shot out her tires, thus magnifying his psychopathic act.


Would you shoot out someone's tire if you got splashed?

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| 52 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." --Albert Einstein

    by jtg on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 12:28:56 PM PST

  •  Gene Autry? (3+ / 0-)

    Well, whatever. Just don't go talking smack about Randolph Scott!

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:08:55 PM PST

  •  Multiple crimes involved here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, Killer of Sacred Cows

    Felony menacing with a handgun - assuming he actually pointed it at her.

    Reckless discharge of a firarm.

    Destruction of property.

    I guess the movie doesn't show Gene Autry being charged and prosecuted though.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:10:48 PM PST

  •  Using Gene Autry to make this point (5+ / 0-)

    is about the lowest I've seen on this site.

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:11:41 PM PST

  •  Did he use real bullets? (0+ / 0-)

    If not, how's it different than a video game? Or movie?

  •  A lot of old movies have crappy social attitudes (4+ / 0-)

    like John Waynes common act of spanking a woman to get her to learn to obey him with happiness. Tell that to my 4' 10" mother who got held by the neck over a traintrack for questioning the father of her two children where he was last night in that era. Or the images of blacks as either servants or criminals. Even today there are TV shows like cops where blacks are frequently the criminal with black women often shown as the prostitutes. If not blacks then hispanics...The number shown does not correlate with the stats but those are the ones shown but it does re-inforce the theme in its target audience.  Or how about that little video about Muhammed that was so disgusting. Not mainstream but it might as well be.

    But I think you are right. Portrayals in popular media by charismatic actors and gorgeous women do influence people. Question for me is do they reflect attitudes that are re-inforced or do they cause the attitudes. I think they are re-inforcing because in the long run that is what people will pay for and watch.

    So people who have an unspecified anxiety and fear look to FOX to give them a target to blame. The same could be said of the left  and thier echo chambers where already existing attitudes are accepted and re-inforced. It seems to me that is why it is hard to change people...because our brains are programmed by lifes events and the emotions engendered by them to accept (cling) to that which seemed to ameliorate the psychic pain or fear.  Someone who has never experienced anothers life events may simply disregard thier input.

    I was thinking about this looking at pictures of animals that in the wild can be pretty nasty and relentless. Yet if treated with dignity and care ...never worrying about food or shelter or medical care they become less violent towards what in the wild would be prey or at the least an enemy. Humans with thier bigger brain do an even more extreme division of who is prey...not only by physical appearance and sex but by clan or tribe which is even more ugly.
    Most animals do something like this. In a way it totally ignores the reality of the other in favor of shorthand behavioral rules.

    The perfect example of how people can be reprogrammed are cults or some star being an idol. I think that the biggest difference between those who are republican and those who are democrat is that the democrats are trying to find a way to do a controlled and thought-out reprogramming of thier own brains. Perhaps this is why so many cops are conservative because they would benefit from people all behaving in accepted and established ways ...safer, designated targets, distain for those who work for  a kinder, more egalitarian world.

    Egg or chicken? Sorry my comment is longer then your diary but it got me thinking so good diary.

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:18:48 PM PST

  •  I have trouble with film noir. Smoking looks so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    good.  Without smoking, there is no film noir.

  •  When that movie was made (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the murder rate in the U.S. was about 1.5/100,000.  It's triple that now.  So I'm not blaming Gene.

  •  Applying current social acceptance to a past era (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, RonV

    Will always leave with you feeling as though something is horribly wrong.  

    I could go back in time and say "BOY!  Where was Abraham Lincoln on gay marriage!"

    Or, "I can't believe that there are no African Americans cast in "Citizen Kane!"  

    The reality is that as society evolves it also evolves in our print and visual media.   We can't go back and change it, but we also have to remember the major accomplishments of each era as a step forward.   Society is growing, but you don't just start running at a full sprint.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:33:33 PM PST

  •  If it were not for guns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...there wouldn't be a United States in North America.

    The American Culture could not have come into existence without guns. It did not exist before guns.

    For Americans, guns represent wealth, security, and control  over global resources, beginning in North America. Guns are survival at its most quintessential -- and they lead to future dominance over the world by the United States.

    That's pretty steep programming to try to change.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 02:07:24 PM PST

  •  That's how it really is out here in the sticks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    guys shoot out the tires of pretty women just to say hello, and they whup city slickers upside the head with their six shooter just to get their attention.

    Don't buy land in Montana, Idaho, or Colorado to retire in, bunch violent SOBs behind ever cactus.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:54:11 PM PST

    •  Got to love it :) (0+ / 0-)

      People don't believe me when I tell them that when I was a kid the loggers chased the klu klux klan out of town with running chainsaws. But it is absoultely true.

      Guns are for hunting, while chainsaws have many uses.........

      It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

      by PSWaterspirit on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:03:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gene used a good ole six shooter... (0+ / 0-)

    Not a semi automatic rifle with a 30 round clip... just saying.

    The old westerns were fantasy.  We knew they were fantasy.  These days, however, the lines between fantasy and reality get blurred.  

    Have you ever played a video game like Grand Theft Auto and it felt really real to you?  I have.  The old video games were not like that.  They get more and more realistic.  I have an old western styled shooting video game.  It doesn't feel real.

    The television shows and movies are also more and more realistic.  I read that it is actually creating problems with juries because people think they are in some CSI episode.

    Watching TV back then was also more of treat/luxury, not the 24/7 hundreds of channels like it is now.  When I was younger we had I think 12 channels we could watch.  Also, violent shows were not allowed before 9pm.  There were much stricter rules before cable became common.

  •  In Gene's Defense... (0+ / 0-)

    ... do you know how much those outfits Autry used to wear cost?

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:36:21 AM PST

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