Why I Like Gunshot Wounds / 17 November 1995

Gunshot wounds are what America is all about and I’m nothing if not a patriot. Guns are everywhere, everyone wants one, and all because gunshot wounds are scarred into America’s collective unconscious thanks to movies. The single greatest cinematic invention is the squib, a remote-controlled device that causes the fake blood-bursting spurts when Steven Seagal or Michael J. Fox gets shot. That device brought filmmaking and violence to new heights, helping blur the line between fact and fiction. I’m sure we all remember the first time we saw a gunshot wound in a movie and felt our soul stirred by it. Mine was in Taps when the little kid gets shot. That little spurt of blood as he flung down to the ground (in slow motion? Seemed like it at the time but maybe not) changed how I perceived the society I lived in. This was a world where fragility and aggression could happily co-exist, where you could punch a hole in someone and then turn around and have a hole punched in you. I ache to live in a dreamland where everyone lives every single second of their lives as if they had just pulled a trigger at exactly the instant someone pulled a trigger on them. Preferably these guns are pointed at each other, as in The Killer. That would be ideal.

Joshua Green Allen

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