Violence through the ages, real and movie style
I just finished the Complete Fourth Season of The Game of Thrones. Aside from a fascinating long and complex story of political intrigue, there was full frontal nudity, full backside nudity of both sexes, humor, love, vampires, ghosts, magic realism and violence.
The violence was in the epic battles between men, giants, mammoths, kings and criminal’s, men and women, dire wolves and wild men.
The instruments of violence were many and varied. Besides the usual long sword, short knives and mailed fists, we saw the use of poison, thumbs to the eyeballs, battle axes, spears, crossbows and simply a pair of squeezing hands.
The sight of this bloody violence was always offset by the fact that the viewer could switch to the Features program at the end of some segments and see how the special effects department pumped all that gory blood, and how the fight scenes were endlessly rehearsed.
The actors who died in this particular book of The Song of Ice and Fire, were interviewed by one of the screen writers and they got to relate how exciting it was to work on this project, how cold it was to make a scene stark naked in a tent in the middle of an Irish field, and how much they missed the friendships of the working group.
I did not think that I could stomach all the violence involved in this story, but as I had read the books, I knew what to expect. Be-headings, guttings, loss of limbs, falls from a 700 foot high ice wall, being stomped on by a mammoth or impaled against a tree with a spear all are standard elements of a science fantasy epic. And don’t forget the witch burning’s both of adults and children.
Some of these deaths even though fiction, are hard to take, especially of children even if it is a piece of fiction. We even have a term for a type of story- kids in jeopardy which makes us very uncomfortable.
We finish the books, and then with a sigh of relief, say to ourselves- “It did not really happen, it was just a story”.
According to Wikipedia, the story of violence in Argentina in the 1970’s was not fiction.
According to this news source, between late 1973 and late 1974 the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance carried out 300 murders. These deaths included a university professor, an assistant police chief, a former vice governor, and a former Chilean army head.
On the leftist side, the anarchists murdered a former de facto president, a union secretary general, a construction union leader, a former Interior Minister, and a U.S. Consul.
The 1974 rise of the Trotskyite group ERP resulted in the murder of a Fiat executive, a criminal court judge, a writer and a publisher.
The police retaliated with an attack on the left wing union of steel workers shop steward. When the union elected a leader that the government did not approve of, over 300 steel workers were arrested and many “disappeared”.
All these deaths were for a purpose- that of the government against the opposition. The rule of law seems to have broken down with economic hard times, and the right and left political factions just kept killing each other.
For more explanations, go to the entry of Isobel Peron in the Wikipedia history of Argentina.
Plays, movies, and many books have been written about the death squads of South America, but they are all sordid stories of violence of men against men. Unlike our fantasy fiction, there is no overall plot or love stories, just murky shadows, petty grievances and death at the end.
Let us turn to life in these modern United States.
Comparing the violence of our recent days and the stuff that went on in South America and in fantasy novels, we see that death from armies, police squads and armored knights all have something in common. There is a reason to the madness, which we may not see right away, but has been there all along. Murders committed by the state have a political end, or are for some monetary gain.
We have lone gunmen that have the equivalent firepower of an Argentinian police squad, but no real reason to go and shoot up a school, theater, or nightclub.
Some “experts” say that religious sentiments are involved. I disagree.
The weapons are the reason.
Because we have such a huge amount of firepower at our disposal, an unbalanced mind has the urge to let it all out, see what he can do to large numbers of people who are gathered in a group, for easy targets.
Our American way of certain “rights” should not result in so many deaths at the hands of one person.
In Australia the guns are strictly controlled, and the death count went down dramatically after legislation was enacted. No guns available- no shooting deaths, it is that simple.