Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drama, drama & how I feel about guns:

I take gun violence very seriously. I think it all started with that 90210 episode where David's friend shoots himself in the head in the pool house by accident when he's doing a "trick" with the gun. He forgot or didn't know the gun was loaded and it went off and he killed himself. You know the episode. It is forever burned in my memory. I don't believe you need to posses a hand gun in this day and age. I think they are more trouble than they are worth.

So naturally when I saw my drunken neighbor stumble out into his yard last night and shoot a hand gun in the air at a tree and mumble incoherently, I was a little concerned. The second time I called my landlord and the third time I called the cops (the non emergency number). No. NOT O.K. I don't care if it was a pellet gun. Someone who is within city limits holding a gun while inebriated is uncalled for. How am I supposed to know the difference it looked fucking real!

Turns out having a pellet gun within city limits is actually illegal. And according to the officer I did the right thing. The gun looked real enough to him and he said that if he had the gun pointed at him he would have shot him. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that statement but I'm glad I played it safe.

Apparently the police also take gun possession very seriously. They came out in full force. The street was blocked off by 3 police cars and there was even a fire truck. I found out later that their first attempt was to go to the door polietly and ask after the gun; however, when the inebriated man resisted arrest and refused to show them the gun they had to shoot him down with rubber bullets, tazer him, hand cuff him and bring him to the police car. I missed all this because I was in the back of the house, but I received this information from a trusted source. Other people came out of the hosue peacefully and eventually handed over the weapon in question. After all the comotion I had to identify the man they took into custody as the man I reported. It was quite a dramatic evening for all involved.

And so this makes me think about the play I'm about to direct: THE BULLET ROUND, where there is a gun that travels between characters; and as Chekhov once said if a gun is presented in the first act it must go off in the last. And as this gun is passed around we learn about the relationships these characters have with eachother. Violence begets more violence and what goes around comes around. The gun is a big deal. I mean the play is 6 scenes (the number of chambers in a gun) and the play is called THE BULLET ROUND. Hello.

Guns scare the shit out of me. They are very powerful objects and invoke a pretty powerful response from people. People are very opinionated about guns in our society and I think it is important to consider their place and their meaning and use or misuse in society. So let's begin that discussion.


The Practical Gallery said...

OMG! I would have done the same thing you did - although I would have called the cops first and then the landlord. A pellet gun is only slightly less dangerous than a real gun - it might not kill but, with the right shot, it could certainly put someone in a coma for a while.

Our society, however, is numb to the danger of guns thanks to all the wonderful entertainment we're allowed as children. People can be killed left and right in a PG-13 movie but you have to be 18 to see a pair of boobs.

I'm all for guns when it comes to hunting for food or for personal protection. But once a gun is in the hands of a wack-job, or a drunk, then the picture is a bit different.

Who's to say that had your neighbor had a real gun he wouldn't have done the same thing with it? Were the cops a too aggressive with him? No. Had he pointed a real looking gun at me I would have shot him, too - I have a desire to stay alive myself.

Anonymous said...

How haunting that this happened in NW Portland....I mean, really. You'd expect this in the slums across the river. But frankly, I am shocked, SHOCKED. I mean we all know there is constant gunplay @ SE 30th and Hawthorne, but...I mean this was within 100 Feet of a Willams Sonoma.

maryann said...

I don't know why the anonymous comments above disturb me but they do..........mj