I would invite you to listen this discussion between Jeffrey Wells and actor Kurt Russell. It represents the rarest of exchanges — a big-name actor ripping a reporter for his rote liberalism. In his account of the interview, Wells sets up the confrontation by saying that he intended to ask Russell if the violence in Quentin Tarantino’s movies is appropriate in the post-Paris, post-San Bernardino world:
I segued into a riff about how movies tend to reflect the times and the culture they come from. I was thinking that the Quentin Tarantino brand, which has always included a swaggering, half-smirking, bordering-on-flippant use of violence at times, might not fit or reflect the post-Paris, post-San Bernardino culture now as well as it did the all-is-well Clinton ’90s.
Russell was not amused. Here are some highlights:
Wells: I’m not talking about politics. I’m talking about a ground-level, water-table…a feeling in people’s bones. People are genuinely…between Paris and San Bernardino the idea of sudden violence becoming a normal, day-to-day aspect coming from the gun culture and everything else…it’s a different vibe, you know?
Russell: I don’t understand concepts of conversation [about] the gun culture. We’ve lived with guns since, what, the 7th Century or something? I don’t know.
Wells: Well, I think we all know…guns are a trope. Not a trope but a totem, a metaphor that disenfranchised white guys need…it makes them feel good about themselves.
Russell: You can say what you want. I don’t agree with that. It’s not my thing.
Wells: Well, it’s statistically irrefutable.
Russell: If you think gun control is going to change the terrorists’ point of view, I think you’re, like, out of your mind. I think anybody [who says that] is. I think it’s absolutely insane. The problem, the problem that we’re having right now to turn it around…you may think you’ve got me worried about you’re gonna do? Dude, you’re about to find out what I’m gonna do, and that’s gonna worry you a lot more. And that‘s what we need. That will change the concept of gun culture, as you call it, to something [like] reality. Which is, if I’m a hockey team and I’ve got some guy bearing down on me as a goal tender, I’m not concerned about what he’s gonna do — I’m gonna make him concerned about what I’m gonna do…
The went back and forth like the Left and Right have since San Bernardino, with one side focused on the weapons and the other side focused on the mindset:
Wells: Obama’s point was that the guys on the no-fly list, [there] for good reason because of terrorist connections or suspicions…they can get hold of a gun pretty easily.
Russell: They can also make a bomb pretty easily. So what? They can also get knives and stab you. Whaddaya gonna do about that? They can also get cars and run you over. Whaddaya gonna do about that?
Wells: They didn’t kill the people in San Bernardino with cars.
Russell: But they’ve killed others that way, haven’t they? Yeah, yeah. Whaddaya gonna do? Outlaw everything? That isn’t the answer.
I loved Russell’s conclusion:
You and I just disagree. I understand that you think you can control the behavior of people that are dead set on taking your way of life away from you. You think you can control that? And there’s only one thing you can do with that. And that’s [to say} ‘No, dude, that’s not gonna happen. That’s just not gonna happen.’
Russell is right. Terrorists dead-set on taking American lives will find the weapons to do it, regardless of whether they use bombs, knives, airplanes, or cars. There is no substitute for aggressive self-defense.