Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Flint Councilcritter blames "Scarface" for crime

Nothing like blaming a 20 year old movie for crime. From the Flint Journal

FLINT - High on cocaine, movie gangster Tony "Scarface" Montana dramatically perishes in a gun battle not long after an ode to his favorite machine gun/grenade launcher.


""Scarface" memorabilia depicting actor Al Pacino have turned up everywhere. There are Scarface bobbleheads, dart board cabinets and action figures.

That upsets Poplar, who is trying to work with community leaders on stopping the violence plaguing Flint residents, especially young people.

She said she'd like to ask merchants, "How can you sleep at night?""""

I grew up watching Steven Seagal movies. I never threw a knife at anybody. I never shot anyone and yelled "Yippee Kai Aye" (bleep) after watching the Die Hard movies. Goodfellas, Casino and Tombstone were three of the most popular movies when I was a teenager. We all saw that. We didn't shoot each other. Scarface was around then too - for 10 years. We all saw that too - and never shot anyone while telling them to "say hello to my little friend." They are movies. They are entertainment. Escapism from the real world.

"""""The only true part is you're going to die," Poplar said. "A lot of parents in the city need to realize the preacher and the teacher is not the role model, it's a movie, and if you haven't seen the jacket, they're all over town.""""

What happened to Tony in the end? Who won? Sorry for the spoiler to those who haven't seen the movie, but I'll just say that if there's a "Scarface II" someday, it will be a prequel and not a sequel.

"""Poplar would like to see Flint schools ban the clothing and merchants sell the items only behind the counter with an age limit. She said parents and grandparents need to know the message "Scarface" presents.

"This is causing a lot of the shooting in our city," she said. "This is their role model. It's not Martin Luther King. It's not even Elvis Presley. It's Al Pacino. They weren't even born (when the movie came out). " It's absolutely crazy.""""

Yeah....Al Pacino left the Miami TV screen and shot everyone in Flint. Riiiiiiight. Movies don't kill people, people kill people. The way to stop shootings is to stop the shooters - people.

In response to this nanny state feel good motion, I have this quote from Tony Montana.

"I kill a Communist for fun, but for a greencard I'm gonna carve'm up real nice"

I had to get that quote in there somewhere.


Anonymous said...

I am glad I read the full article because your post took it out of context. I agree with the Councilwoman on many of her points. The main point, which you miss, is that inner-city kids who deal with violence and the threat of violence everyday desperately need positive role models, but instead of having heroes like MLK, their teachers, parents or community leaders, they worship hip-hop criminals like the fictional guy Al Pachino plays.
I, nor anyone else, seem to have an answer, but it’s an issue that needs to be talked about. I don’t condone ban selling the gear from the move, but frankly I don’t understand why anyone would want to buy that crap. It’s a crappy, cartoonish movie. Al Pacino is a great actor, but that fake Cuban accent. What a joke.
I’m not sure comparing your childhood of watching steven segal movies compares to kids growing up in slightly tougher neighborhood.
I agree with you when you say people kill people, but I wonder what the glorifying of guns in this country does to the equation.

Keith Richards said...

When I was a kid we used to watch westerns and WWII movies. I owned several toy guns as did all my friends, and we used to run around the neighborhood and play war. My parents said this was a good thing because we were all getting a lot of exercise. We even used to take our toy guns and G.I. Joes to elementary school to play with at lunch.

By the time I was in high school I owned a BB gun as did many of my friends. We used to go out behind a garage or into some nearby woods to shoot at cans. If a policeman drove by while we were shooting he would smile and wave.

I also owned a nice pocket knife, as did all my friends. Back in those days everyone carried one, and it was even OK to take to school as long as the blade was less than 3" long. NOBODY in their right mind would have tried to fight with a short pocket knife. We all knew better.

Back then just about everyone I knew also knew how to shoot real guns. It was real easy to learn, as there were lots of people around eager to teach us the fundamentals of shooting safely. Even the Boy Scouts and summer camps taught shooting.

But there was another big difference. Back in those days kids were taught values, right from the time that they started learning how to talk. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not kill. All the Ten Commandments, and lots more besides. Our parents taught these values at home and our teachers taught them at school. These values were also taught on TV and in movies. And if we misbehaved we knew with certainity that we would be punished. So more or less we learned to behave, mostly. If we misbehaved at school, we would get a swat, have to spend a couple of hours in the principles office, write sentences on the blackboard, etc . . . and when we got home our parents would punish us again for good measure.

Back in those days, kids did not kill each other. It was an unwritten rule that it was OK to fight as long as you did not really hurt someone bad and nobody got caught. There were all sorts of nasty little tricks for "getting even", but it was understood that it was wrong to steal or do serious harm to another person or to their property.

It is strange for me to read articles about teenagers killing teenagers these days. When I was a kid we were entrusted with all sorts of dangerous things, including guns at times, but NOBODY would have EVER thought about intentionally using these dangerous items to injure or kill another person. It was just not done.

I would say that the problem with our society these days is not that kids have too much access to guns and knives, or that they watch too much violence, or that there are too many violent toys. I would say that the problem is that we no longer teach kids right from wrong. It is no coincidence that we started having all these problems about the time we stopped teaching kids values. And if we want to make our society a better place to live, we need to start by once again teaching people how to behave properly.