Proportional Outrage

When this horrendous Pandemic started early this year and the United States was effectively closed on March 17th, virtually every single news story and even TV commercial has been about the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The current numbers due to this disease are unbelievable. 6 million infected since the the outbreak. 370 thousand have died around the world, and 104 thousand in this country. The numbers of deaths and new cases have for the most part shown improvement, but not in all areas of this country. Some, like New York have improved but other cities are showing increases. It seems that too many think this Pandemic is over and it is not risky to no longer follow the basic rules of common sense social distancing that includes wearing a mask when necessary. Many of us now worry about a resurgence of cases of this virus because of too many irresponsible people are less afraid of getting this disease, than their desire to get their life back to normal.

Everybody in this country probably thought that this virus would continue to be the number one story for a long time to come. That it would be impossible for any story to surpass the story of the worst Pandemic in 100 years.

On May 25th there was a horrendous video of a lowlife Police officer who while arresting a 46 year old black man named George Floyd – for allegedly passing a counterfeit 20 dollar bill, held him down on the ground by forcing his knee against his neck for 9 minutes. Despite Floyd’s constant pleads of “I can’t breathe”, the officer never removed his knee and Floyd died. The sadistic lack of humanity in this video is what stands out for most of us, and this has caused extreme levels anger and outrage throughout this country. The 3 other police officers on the scene, neither said or did nothing to save this poor man, who was being murdered in front of many onlookers and cell phones taking video. Now there are events of violent protests in every major city in this country including rioting. The police officer has been correctly arrested for 3rd degree murder, but what about the other 3 officers who did nothing to help this man who was being suffocated?

The question is, given the many violent acts of Police against mostly black men in this past, why didn’t something like these protests and riots happen years ago? Does violence and outrage have some kind of definable upper limit where when surpassed, the boiling point is reached? Is this boiling point caused by the number of events, or the outrage of one event, like the Rodney King beating of March 1991 and the not guilty verdict for the police officers involved in May 1992?

March For Our Lives against gun violence in March 2018, is another example of anger boiling over after yet another horrible school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, when 17 people were murdered. There were so many school shootings prior to Parkland Florida, why did a March on Washington happen long before this latest shooting? The worst of all the school shootings was Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, when 26 people including 20 children were shot and killed. Sandy Hook should have been the event that caused a huge March For Our Lives in 2012, not some six years later. Since the huge rally against gun violence in March 2018 there has been no new gun legislation put into law. There was talk of adding more background checks, but even this small and obvious additional legislation never happened. Considering the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in March 2018 – absolutely no new legislation is not acceptable or even believable.

Ironically, will the mass riots and protests that are still going on after the George Floyd incident and with so many thousands of people looting, rioting and protesting, cause another surge in Pandemic victims? Who would have thought that anything could have knocked the Coronavirus off of the number one story list for every news service? Who would have thought that after so many other horrendous examples of police violence and injustice that the vetting and training of police officers would not have been greatly improved by now?

Unlike the lack of change after the huge gun rallies in every American city that occurred in March 2018, will this sick and sadistic event where a 46 year old black man was murdered on the streets of Minneapolis a few days ago, actually result in the end of this ongoing outrage that is in fact a preventable problem corrected by common sense and obvious reform? Or like the March for our Lives in 2018, will nothing happen to fix this ongoing problem that is not acceptable in this country?

Is there a viable solution to this horrendous problem, aside from the obvious vetting of good police officers and training? One would have thought that a solution to violence and murder like this was already in place – because 3 other officers were on the scene to provided a check and balance to stop this officer who was committing murder in front of many witnesses with cell phones. But none of the 3 other officers cared enough about another human being who was being strangled to death, to do anything to save his life. This was even after Floyd said he could not breathe, no less than 5 times. At one point, George Floyd even called out for his mother and still, none of the 3 other officers did anything to save him. How could this happen? How could four human beings have no empathy for a man who was being murdered? None of this makes sense, not for anyone in this country, regardless of the color of their skin.

The protests that have followed for days after are understandable, but not the looting and rioting. What good can come out of burning down houses and wrecking the property of the very people who are victims of ongoing police violence?

George Floyd’s memorial was televised today on National TV. One can only hope that this horrendous incident during a horrible Pandemic is the final inflection point. The moment in time where real change can finally happen in this country for a problem that just like gun violence, never seems to improve.

Movie Review: The Lovebirds

Ever since the release of one of the best comedies in the last decade, 2017’s “The Big Sick”, actor Kumail Nanjiani has been in demand in several movies in the last few years. The problem with hitting it so big with The Big Sick, is that it is going to be close to impossible to surpass or even equal the quality of this film – which is a true story about Kumail and his wife Emily and her almost dying of a rare disease.

The new movie “The Lovebirds” was supposed to be released in theaters prior to the Pandemic, but instead it has been released on Netflix, that one day may be the place we all see movies in the new world that will be unveiled after this horrendous Corona-virus finally goes away.

The Lovebirds is a farce that starts out with a young couple Jibran and Leilani, who are having nothing but problems and arguments in their relationship, until they run into a crooked cop and witness his murder of a man on a bike. What follows is a disjointed story that even involves a sex club of masked people that reminded me of “Eyes Wide Shut” – another strange movie from 1997, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

For the most part, the farcical story that follows does not work, despite the subtle and sarcastic humor that Kumail is becoming known for. Some of the jokes do work, but not enough of them to recommend this film as a solid comedy. I mostly agree with the low 66% critic and 53% audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, and unfortunately I do not recommend this film.

Past Movie Review: Hangman

In 2017 the movie “Hangman” was released and because it rated so badly (only 5% by Rotten Tomatoes) it was bought by almost no theaters in this country. Most unbelievable about this bad movie, is that for some reason Al Pacino, one of the best actors of all time, signed on to make it. Hangman is one of those Hollywood situations where there are favors involved and a named actor might agree to act in several movies for a production company or an up and coming director – regardless of the quality of the script. In situations like this, the favor is greater than the desire to only act in the best possible productions.

This story is about the game Hangman and a serial killer who hangs his victims and then decorates the crime scene with the hangman game – adding a new letter from the last name of each victim with each new murder. Many of the scenes are unnecessarily gruesome and there are not nearly enough twists and turns to make this movie interesting enough to recommend. I do not agree with the 5% consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, giving this film now on Netflix – a low 30% overall rating. If you are a big fan of Al Pacino, Brittany Snow or Karl Urban, then maybe this movie might be worthy of some time during quarantine, but for the rest of us, this one should be missed.