In an interview with Jeffrey Wells of HollywoodElsewhere.com, Kurt Russell was supposed to be promoting Quentin Tarantino’s latest film “Hateful 8,” but it didn’t turn out that way. Wells mocked gun rights saying they’re “a totem… for disenfranchised white guys.” Russell went off:
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.
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 to stop him. That’s when things change.
Wells tried to invoke what President Obama mentioned in his speech about the San Bernardino shooting: that people on the no-fly list can’t buy semi-automatic weapons. Russell refused to let it go:
They can also make a bomb pretty easily. So what? They can also get knives and stab you. [What are you] gonna do about that? They can also get cars and run you over. [What are you] gonna do about that?
This is the same old argument that gun addicts who are convinced killers are going to kill whether we give them semiautomatic weapons or not. It’s completely illogical.
Russell says that people on the no-fly list can make bombs pretty easily, which isn’t entirely accurate. After the Oklahoma City Bombing Congress and the White House worked together to pass the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 which made acquiring fertilizer or chemicals used to make bombs a hell of a lot more difficult as well as traceable. Chances are if you back up a yellow rental truck to a fertilizer seller and tell him to fill it up, the FBI is going to show up at your door. As a result, terrorists have to come up with pretty obscure ways to kill a large number of people – like airplanes. As a result of 9/11 we passed a number of regulations and scanning procedures to prevent even nail files on planes. Is Russell saying these laws are useless?
The stabbing argument is used frequently by people who oppose gun regulation. The problem with this logic is that you have to individually walk up to someone to stab them and you have to spend a lot of time and energy to stab the person enough to kill them. That’s why when you see a mass stabbing fewer people die and fewer people are stabbed because it is easier for people to run away and authorities arrive before a large number of people are killed. Also, due to 9/11 there has been knife regulation, like you can’t have knives or anything sharp on the plane. Once you’re beyond security, all they give you to cut your steak is a plastic knife.
As for cars running people over, it’s pretty difficult to drive your car into a movie theater and kill a lot of people by driving over them. Same is true for driving into a school. Guns can go anywhere, movies, schools, congressional town halls, but a wall separates people from cars in the parking lot.
Admittedly, there are cases of people driving into a crowd. A few months ago, a young woman was under the influence and drove into a crowd of people at Oklahoma State University killing four people and dozens more. If you watch the videos available in this case or in other cases where cars slammed into crowds or buildings you see one common behavior: people run away. Fewer people are hurt when they can move out of the way and put something solid between themselves and the car. You can’t do this with a gun. Bullets spraying a crowd from a semiautomatic weapon do so faster than a car can drive.
Russell is spot on that if one person wants to kill another person they can usually make it happen. But we’re not talking about a single individual killing another individual. We’re talking about mass shootings and acts of terrorism, not homicide. According to the FBI’s statistics, homicides are at the lowest rate in 30 years but mass shootings are at the highest rate of all time.
Compared to number of Mass Shootings:
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this kind of argument is illogical because that same kind of thinking also justifies legalizing just about any crime and living in a lawless society. People are going to shoot people whether guns are illegal or not. People are going to murder, so why should it be illegal? Child molesters are going to molest children does Kurt Russell want to make that legal? Does he think the sex offender registry is useless? Why not legalize drunk driving? Is texting and driving infringing on your personal freedoms? What about seatbelts? See what I mean? By this same logic, Russell’s threats of packing heat so he can shoot back at a mass shooter are also of little incentive to stop mass shooters. In fact, all of his arguments are nonsense.
Laws and regulations are put into place to protect the public. No one is talking about prohibition of guns but rather regulation just like anything else.
Listen to the full interview below:
Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr.