Sunday, December 23, 2012

American Guns

In Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1947), a distraught and confused (but certainly unarmed and not evidently dangerous) George Bailey slugs the Pottersville counterpart of Bedford Falls's cop Burt and runs off down the street. Despite having earlier speculated that George may be seriously mentally ill, Burt responds by letting fly with six shots, emptying his revolver.

This would appear to be an excessive and disproportionate use of force. Dangerous too: Burt has to worry about a lot of bystanders, including people in moving cars behind the running George (highlighted by the oval) and directly in the line of fine.

Yet in all of the American paenes to IAWL that I've read or heard over the years, I've never heard anyone query Pottersville-Burt's behavior. Maybe if he'd shot Clarence dead for resisting arrest back at George's abandoned Pottersville-house there'd have been some push-back!

I guess there is some question about whether Pottersville-Burt's behavior is supposed to deplorable/corrupted/Pottersville-only, so that, as it were, Bedford Falls-Burt would never let fly like that, but I dunno... maybe Americans really do believe that anyone who resists arrest or flees may (or even should) be shot and killed.

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