Red Dawn, a movie about gun control

Note: This column appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Shooting Sports Retailer magazine. I chose to post it now because the NRA is looking for New Orleans residents who had their guns confiscated by the authorities after Hurricane Katrina. Also, about the time the magazine was published, a new Collector’s Edition DVD of Red Dawn was released by MGM.

Red Dawn: Scarier than you think?

Mention the 1984 film Red Dawn and you’re likely to get some extreme reactions. Some will tell you that it’s a pathetic piece of jingoistic Reagan-era patriotic propaganda while others will revere the, well, the film’s jingoistic Regan-era patriotic propaganda. While the story of a group of teenage freedom fighters fighting the good fight against evil Commie invaders was a great action flick for its time, many are surprised to learn that it’s not quite as simple, and maybe not as far-fetched, as it first appeared.

Medium ImageYou see, the film is a metaphor. And the Soviet invaders are playing the part of…get this…the United States government.

John Milius, Red Dawn’s director and final writer, made the film as an allegory for the unease many have about the growing power of the government and the growing militarization of police forces and intelligence organizations. He knew that Big Brother (recall that this film was released in 1984) was watching, and he knew that a lot of folks were more than a bit concerned.

An early scene in the movie, shortly after Soviet paratroopers drop into a rural Colorado community and begin shooting up the place, shows the ever popular “They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers” bumper sticker on a pick-up truck. Lying near the truck is a handgun grasped in the cold fingers of a dead gun owner. A Soviet soldier pries the weapon loose and claims it as his own. A subtle message this is not.
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WANTED: Owners of guns confiscated after Katrina

Gun Seized After Katrina? NRA Wants You

The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city’s seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners’ constitutional right to bear arms and left them “at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals” after Katrina.

The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren’t part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

The NRA says that it has only been able to identify about 300 gun owners and has located only 75 of them so far. It’s asking for a delay in the trial, which is set to begin February 19th.

Great New Orleans Gun GrabThe situation in New Orleans is exactly the sort of situation that many gun owners fear: The government showing up at your door requiring that you immediately surrender your guns.

The anti-gun crowd likes to claim that such fears are baseless. But it happened in New Orleans.

This past summer I was alerted to a new book in the works called The Great New Orleans Gun Grab by Gordon Hutchinson and Todd Masson. It’s out now, and, though I haven’t checked it out yet, you might be interested. It’s also available at Amazon.com.

La. shooter a church deacon

MSNBC.com: Police: Church deacon shot 5 in Louisiana office

A special tactical unit used explosives to enter the building shortly after midnight and shot John Ashley to death after he opened fire, police spokesman Sgt. Clifford Gatlin said.

Police said Ashley repeatedly shot at them during the 10-hour standoff Thursday, and even shot at a remote-controlled police robot they sent inside. No officers were hurt.