Friday, May 13, 2005

I’m Ready for My Close-up Officer


The other day a man driving a stolen car lead police on a 40-minute chase through the south bay area. After hitting a guardrail and almost running down some pedestrians, he was cornered in a parking lot. He jumped out of his ill-gotten car with a pistol…and was summarily shot by the cops.

And it was all on television. Wonderful television.

But you probably already know this. Unless you’ve been living in some kind of media-free bliss, you’ve seen the story a few times on the national news. They keep showing video of the incident, stopping it right before the man is killed.

I didn’t get to see the original broadcast. I missed the panic that must have been going on over there at the local ABC affiliate. I haven’t gotten to see the suspect receive his fatal injuries. I’ve only been able to see him take the first, non-lethal slug.

And I’m so much better adjusted for it too. Thank god I don’t have to see this man lose his life on live TV. It’s much better for my fragile psyche to just see him get shot the first time and simply be told that seconds after they paused the tape he was killed.

The thing that really gets me is that the media outlets will show footage of the man lying dead on the blacktop. After the fatal bullet struck. I guess they figure we could all just fool ourselves and pretend that he’s sleeping.

Let’s all sing the sleepy-criminal a lullaby.

Lullaby and good night
Go to sleep little car thief
Tomorrow’s another day
At least it is for me…

Now people are up in arms about the whole thing. NBC made it a point to call attention to the fact that their local affiliate has a policy against broadcasting live police chases for just this reason. Well, la-dee-da. Good on ya’ NBC. Taking the high road like that.

ABC’s Good Morning America today was doing some hard soul-searching. “Are televised high-speed chases simply gratuitous violence? That was the question they posed. And a good question it is too.

Are these chases and shoot-outs gratuitous violence? Here’s the answer.


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie chasing each other through a house, shooting and spouting off one-liners is gratuitous. Oh sure. It’s film. It’s art. Art is at its very nature both gratuitous and exorbitantly necessary. It makes us think. I can dig it. Sure. Films are supposed to reach deep into our brains and make us ponder things that normally we wouldn’t.

“If I were a secret assassin and I was suppose to kill my wife who is also a secret assassin assigned to snuff me out, what would I do?!”

Indeed, an important question. And if I ever find myself involved in the exciting life of secret assassins, I’ll be very grateful that “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” was there to prepare me.

But, let’s face it. That’s not going to happen.

But I might get a hankerin’ to steal me a car someday. It’s much more likely. I might also think that bringing a handgun along for the ride sounds like a fantastic idea. Who knows? And I might feel like driving my stolen car recklessly through the streets without a care for the well-being of innocent bystanders. Hey, you can never tell.

At least, I might have done that. Before. Before I saw a guy who tried the same exact thing get gunned down in a parking lot. Now I’m having second thoughts, you know. That dude who got killed on television isn’t getting up. He’s not going out drinking with the cops who shot him at the wrap party. He’s not going back to his house in West LA and checking the voice-mail for a hopeful message from his agent about the next gig.

He’s dead.

And he’s going to stay dead. Unless a meteor passes too close to the earth’s atmosphere and causes all beings that were once dead to rise from the grave in a never-ending quest for human flesh.

But that’s probably not going to happen either. Although it has a greater probability than me ever becoming a secret assassin. Nobody wants to hire an assassin who jumps and screams every time his own gun goes off.

My point is that movies have ruined us. In movies, leading cops on a freeway chase has a kind of sexy allure. In real life, if you do that, you’ll find yourself alone on the ground at a fast-food restaurant, leaking O-positive into the parking lot.

It’s not sexy. It’s deadly. It’s real.

If people are mature enough to see violence on television and in films and think it’s cool, then they should be mature enough to see the real thing.

In fact, in my opinion, they should be made to see the real thing. It might help a little.

That is if it doesn’t just totally fuck them up.

Fun Fact: Justin Timberlake had surgery to remove nodules from his throat. Which is what happens when you go out partying and drinking and then try to sing at a recording session for hours on end.

Sorry, I was channeling my old voice coach there for a second.

Anyway, Justin is being forced by his doctors to take it easy on his vocal chords. So he’s going to have to lip-synch for his upcoming concerts.

Therefore, fans should be happy to know that his concert performance won’t change one iota.

And, the latest TAM Cartoon is up! WhogivesacrapaboutJustintastic!

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