How Guns Work (According to the Movies)


I am no fan of guns. I don’t feel safe with them unless they’re on display in a museum nor would I wish to be either in front or behind one. Not to mention, I think they’re dangerous since they’re designed to kill. Besides, I’ve never owned one in my life nor do I intend to in the near future. Of course, in fictional outlets like movies and TV shows, guns are everywhere and are seen as awesome weaponry used to defeat bad guys. After all, violence is usually the answer in Hollywood in these kinds of situations. However, guns don’t work in the same fashion in Hollywood as they do in real life. Here I compile a list of how guns work in movies and TV shows you know and love as well as an explanation why some of these concepts wouldn’t  work in real life. Still, I’m going to exempt science fiction or fantasy since they don’t go by the same rules in real life anyway unless otherwise noted.

1. A muzzle-loaded black powder blunderbuss can fire three consecutive shots in under a second, without reloading. (Believe it not, this happens during the “Gaston” number in Beauty and the Beast where Gaston fires three shots in the barrels at the tavern. Perhaps no one shoots like Gaston but while firing three consecutive shots in under a second without reloading may be realistically possible for many of today’s firearms like an AK-47, such feat would certainly not be with a muzzle-loaded black powder blunderbuss. I mean even the fastest shooters (such as soldiers) could only get three shots off in a minute during Gaston’s day. For one, muzzle-loaded weapons can’t fire consecutive shots, which is why one Revolutionary War officer told his troops, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” Second, loading these weapons was a multiple step process such as pouring the powder, dropping the ammo (sometimes ripping the cartridge), securing the contents far back in with a rod, letting the wick in the flint, and lighting the flint before pulling the trigger. And to be a Minuteman in the Revolutionary War, you had to do all but the last in under a minute. Of course, the loading process explains why our Founding Fathers saw no need to mention gun control in the Second Amendment since it was only since the mid 19th century where guns fired multiple rounds.)

2. Almost every firearm in existence has an unlimited ammo only as long as ammunition count doesn’t have anything to do with the drama. (When it comes to ammunition counts, it depends on the weapon. Revolvers and long arms usually hold up to 5-8 rounds. Semiautomatic handguns have magazines that usually hold 10-15 rounds. Detachable magazines for semi-automatic or automatic rifles usually contain 20 to 30 rounds. The classic Thompson submachine guns holds a magazine of 100 rounds but has been retired due to other issues.)

3. Silencers make firing a gun completely silent. (They’re more or less “suppressors” than silencers since they don’t make guns completely silent but and usually only as quiet as “hearing safe.” It’s like more like putting your phone on vibrate.)

4. Homemade silencers are just as effective as real ones. (They are not. On the other hand, real silencers are highly regulated and illegal in several US states, so what does that tell you?)

5. Being in a heavy firing zone won’t bring any kind of damage to your hearing. (If you ever seen a gun range, everyone is wearing hearing protection for a reason. A gunshot is the loudest normal sound a human being is likely to hear. I mean firing one gun can damage your hearing significantly, let alone hundreds. Not to mention, many shooting enthusiast suffer from some degree of sound-induced hearing loss due to their hobby. You can also experience tinnitus as well as feel pain from such a sound. Some high powered guns can still hurt one’s hearing far away even with a silencer. Still, many Hollywood movies today are involve heavy gunfire as well as countless explosions while many of the characters don’t really seem to have any issues with their hearing and yet none of them are wearing any kind of protection. Out of all the movies I’ve seen relating to heavy fire, only Adrien Brody’s character in The Pianist experiences any kind of hearing loss from gunfire {which was temporary and due to a close range explosion that nearly killed him}. Sherlock Holmes may count as well, but only when he’s very close to the gun. Then again, gunshots in movies aren’t very loud to begin with mostly due to movie sound systems not being typically designed to output noises above the human pain threshold.)

6. You can fire a gun and hear tiny noises or whispers at the same time. (No you can’t unless you are at some great distance away. In fact, in a heavy firing zone, you may not be able to hear yourself shout, let alone anything else.)

7. All gunshots go “boom.” (Only shotguns go “boom.” Smaller guns usually sound like a firecracker. Other guns have distinctive sounds as well.)

8. Guns make a clicking noises whenever they’ve run out of ammunition. (Only pistols and some semi or automatics do.)

9. Being hit with a gunshot won’t cause bleeding. (Oh, yes it would, even when shot in the head when it’s certainly not pretty at all. Those shot in pre-1960s movies don’t bleed much because of the Hays Code but many do.)

10. There were no guns in the Middle Ages. (Gunpowder was introduced to Europe after the Crusades while guns were practically invented during the 1300s. The first recorded use of shooter lit wicks that ignited gunpowder loaded in a gun barrel in 1364. It was called the matchlock arquebus.Thus, guns and knights have existed side by side for over 300 years. Still, they weren’t very reliable, were very expensive, and had a limited production.)

11. The recoil will either send the shooter flying or have no effect at all. (Usually the recoil will result in no more than a bruised shoulder or a sprained wrist at least with most weapons. There may be physics involved in this so it’s complicated.)

12. Being shot can cause you to fly across the room. (Please, bullets may be powerful enough to kill you but to fling you across the room, you got to be kidding. When shot, people usually drop. Explosions may do the trick, on the other hand.)

13. One bullet can bring instant death. (The question of whether you’ll die from getting shot depends on where the bullet is or whether the surgeon can get to it, how much time passes between the shooting incident and the arrival of medical assistance, and the quality of the medical treatment. The advancement of technology and medicine at the time is also a factor.)

14. Lethality of bullets is usually dependent on the character’s importance to the plot. A redshirt or mook with no lines will be dead in one shot while it will take flood of bullets to kill the main villain or hero. (Actually bullet lethality doesn’t work that way in which a myriad of factors can play out.)

15. If you’re shot in the leg or right shoulder, you might be in pain but you can otherwise engage in the fighting since they’re pretty safe spots. (It is impossible to shoot someone and know they will survive the wound. When most people shoot, they shoot to kill, not wound or disarm. Still, if you were hit in outside shoulder, the  thighs, or ass, there are good chances you’ll survive and make a full recovery. Also, older softer bullets did much more damage.)

16. Armed henchmen can’t hit anything. (Though Imperial storm troopers may not shoot straight, they are sure to hit something or someone.)

17. Jammed guns are useless guns. (A gun jam is only a glitch that can be corrected within a second or two, though I guess some jams are harder to correct than others.)

18. A dropped gun will always discharge. (Most guns are made not to do this and a dropped gun discharge usually presents grounds for a recall. However, such recalls are voluntary in the US.)

19. Some bullets work like guided missiles. (Most of them don’t and will hit the first thing that comes in their path. However, given weapons technology advancement, this may be subject to change.)

20. Anyone with a gun can remain calm under threat of being shot or under fire. (Just because you have a gun in your hand, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fire without hesitation. That is, unless you’re someone who’s trained to act this way in such situations.)

21. Good marksmanship is easy to master even in a life-or-death situation. (It is not, especially in a life-or-death situation where high-adrenaline makes accuracy go to pot. Though soldiers are trained to get a decent accuracy rate, but in a war zone, most magazines will empty at a 10% accuracy rate. Most soldiers in battle just fire their guns in order that it will hit somebody who’s not on their side. For instance, the average WWII soldier had to fire about 200 rounds for every hit scored on an enemy. And these guys had pretty reliable guns. Also, conditions on the battlefield was another factor. Not to mention, friendly fire has always been common in war zones.)

22. Anyone can easily recover from a gunshot wound if the plot demands it. (Gunshots will send you on a one way ticket to the emergency room and may take weeks or months to recover from depending on the medical treatment. Some people don’t recover at all.)

23. Pointing a gun at someone and placing your finger on the trigger with no intent to shoot is always a good idea as long as you’re careful and know what you’re doing. (Even those who know what they’re doing will always try to avoid this at all times. Besides, when cops do this, it’s usually in a life or death situation in which they will shoot if need be. Still, most of the time, this will set yourself for an accident waiting to happen. Still, you see cops in TV and movies do this all the time even when it’s not in a life or death situation. Yet, very few end up having an accident with their firearms. Remember, guns aren’t toys.)

24. Having a gun will help you defend yourself in a mass shooting spree. (You’re better off not armed and hiding under a table. Also, those armed will probably be among the first of those shot in a shooting spree.)

25. It’s possible to fire a good shot through the scope of a sniper rifle where the bullet will end up in the sniper’s eye. (It’s unlikely this will happen and will more or less exit through the side at an angle.)

26. Any gun can destroy a lock in one or two steps as well as does a neat and tidy job of it. (It actually takes a high powered gun to do this at close range but shooting a lock off will result in dangerous shrapnel flying everywhere. Only soldiers and SWAT teams ever do this since this task involves a shotgun, Kevlar body armor, specialized ammunition, and full face protection. Seriously, don’t try this at home, this will put you in the hospital.)

27. Shoving a pistol down your pants is a harmless idea. (Just ask Plaxico Burress who accidentally shot himself in the thigh in a night club this way.)

28. Blanks aren’t dangerous under any circumstances. (Well, not as dangerous as some forms of ammunition but can inflict its share of damage when fired carelessly. Just watch the scene in In Bruges when Colin Farrell shoots a guy in the eye with one. Thus, this isn’t 100% accurate.)

29. Bullets ricochet with sparks. (They never spark, ever. Still, it’s said that paint balls filled with fireworks would.)

30. It’s easy to shoot accurately with a handgun. (It’s actually incredibly difficult and takes a lot of training to master.)

31. Firing while jumping is always a good idea and looks awesome. (Firing while jumping reduces accuracy, is a serious waste of energy, and can cause injury to your shoulder upon landing. May look impressive, but please don’t try it at home.)

32. To be shot in the ass is highly embarrassing. (Sure but in a war zone, to be shot in the ass, is actually quite lucky since it’s referred to as “the million dollar wound.” Out of all the places on the body, the butt has the greatest chance of not being life-threatening and causing any permanent damage when treated properly. Also, for someone in the war zone, it’s serious enough to get a medical discharge and shipped home.)

33. Gun duels usually involve both participants who stand back to back, walk ten paces, and turn around to shoot at one another. (Actually almost never used in real duels while distances were usually agreed upon by the participants. You could also fire to miss before drawing blood but you can accidentally shoot a second or bystander. However, I bet there was plenty of cheating taking place in duels. Still, it’s a pretty stupid idea, though congressmen were doing this to each other in early America.)

34. Squeezing the trigger can turn anyone into an instant marksman. (Marksmanship can take years of training and practice.)

35. You can always hear the bullet before it hits you. (You can hear the gun but you don’t really hear the bullet hitting you. You know that you’re hit when you see a bloody gash at the site.)

Kanye: Kim Should Have Gotten Vogue Cover Instead of First Lady

Really, Kanye? Let me take a look at this. Sure you may love Kim but that doesn’t mean that she is more deserving of the cover of Vogue instead of the First Lady of the United States. Sure Michelle Obama may be married to the President but still, someone married to a world leader is still seen as more important than being nothing other than a trashy reality show star. Seriously, what did the Kardashians ever do to deserve their own reality show? Besides, she’s no way more intriguing than a doormat. No offense, but that’s just my opinion.

Political Dealbreakers Ever Voter Should Follow

As with relationship dealbreakers, there are plenty of ones revolving around political candidates and elected officials. I’m sure we all have our own biases since politics is a highly contested business yet perhaps we need to have a few guidelines on what candidates we shouldn’t elect in the first place. Here is a short list:

1. If he posts a picture of his private parts online to people who aren’t his spouse. (I’m talking to you Anthony Weiner, when we ask for transparency in Washington, showing photographs of your “Carlos Danger” isn’t what we had in mind.)

2. If he knocks up his mistress while his wife is fighting cancer and refuses to acknowledge the kid until almost a year later. (Remember, John Edwards?)

3. If he knocks up his maid and doesn’t acknowledge the kid until ten years later. (You know who I’m talking about, Arnold.)

4. If he suddenly disappears for a weekend without a word and claims to he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while he was really screwing his mistress in Argentina with travel expenses paid by the tax payers. (What do you mean this isn’t a dealbreaker, South Carolina? Sanford didn’t even deserve a second chance.)

5. If he campaigns as a pro-life candidate and demands his mistress have an abortion. (This coming from a state senator from Tennessee, who got reelected anyway. Seriously?)

6. If he or she doesn’t pay child support or acknowledge an existence of an illegitimate child. (Seriously, if you can run for public office over the local level, you can certainly pay child support. And I don’t care if your ex is a bitch.)

7. If his behavior on C-SPAN is akin to a spoiled child who’ll throw a major tantrum if he doesn’t get his way. (I swear my cousins are better behaved than Tea Party Congressmen.)

8. If he threatens to shut down the government if he doesn’t have his way with certain legislative policy. (Again, Tea Party Congressmen.)

9. If he cheats on two critically ill wives for a certain amount of time before sending them divorce papers. (Newt Gingrich is such a despicable man in both spheres.)

10. If he is cheating on his spouse with a teenager or having a sexual relationship with a teenager or anyone younger. (Sexual behavior toward minors is never okay.)

11. If he sends lurid text messages to teenagers. (Remember Mark Foley sending his e-mails to pages?)

12. If he has camera crews follow him around to his yacht where he’s seen in a romantic embrace with a woman who’s not his wife. (This not only proves that he’s not only an adulterer but also lacks basic common sense, like Gary Hart.)

13. If he’s a clergyman. (Seriously if he’s addressed as a Rev. or has spent his life in a religious vocation, then he will not have my vote. We need to keep the institutions of church and state separate so clergymen should never run for political office.)

14. If he makes racist or sexist comments and doesn’t see no need to apologize for them. (This cost Sen. George Allen his seat in the U.S. Senate in 2006.)

15. If he tries to go to great lengths to justify why they don’t support abortion when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother. (If a Republican politician is ever asked whether about abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother, he or she should just shut up because no good can come out of answering such question. Seriously, just because you may believe in such ideas, doesn’t mean you should say them. Case in point, Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments.)

16. If he has several allegations of sexual harassment to his staff members. (Something tells me the mayor of San Diego isn’t going to last much longer.)

17. If he knows nothing about the kinds of policy that would be related to the job he’s running for. (Herman Cain anyone?)

18. If his favorite movie is Birth of a Nation. (As a film that promotes racism and portrays the KKK as the good guys, it’s easy to see why.)

19. If he is a member of his local KKK. (Like the gubernatorial candidate in O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Actually he was the Grand Wizard.)

20. If he’s involved a major corruption scandal which could mean jail time. (Well, this one is obvious.)

21. If he has a collection of child porn. (Another obvious one.)

22. If he used a racial or sexist slur on a reporter.

23. If he writes a book which states that women should stay at home and not give anyone sass. (Of course, this helped Rick Santorum lose to Bob Casey in 2006.)

24. If he says “well, one of my best friends is  (insert demographic here)” after saying something bigoted in order to prove he isn’t. (He’s a bigot.)

25. If his name has become eponymous to something disgusting due to his bigotry toward a certain demographic. (Again, Rick Santorum, naturally.)

26. If he is caught at a wild teen party where there was underage drinking. (This is now befalling a current attorney general of Maryland who’s probably going to lose.)

27. If he had committed perjury in a case that involved his son killing his neighbor with his father’s gun. (This happened to a local state senator in Pennsylvania.)

28. If he’s anti-gay yet is caught engaging in homosexual activity. (I mean like playing footsie in the bathroom with an undercover cop type situation or going on gay chat lines. There’s a whole bunch. Methinks they protesth too much? I think so.)

29. If he makes an ass of himself on the Daily Show. (Any news outlet can count on this one.)

30. If he is caught on tape calling half the nation a bunch of freeloaders who live off government money. (And this is why Mitt Romney never became president.)

More Historical Heroes and Why They Probably Don’t Deserve Their Fame


Since I got a number of views on my last post on historical heroes, there are plenty of others I didn’t seem to touch upon who are immortalized for their heroic deeds but weren’t as great people as thought or the stories were just plain made up.  I’m not going to use John F. Kennedy though he may not have had as great a presidency as it’s perceived, he’s still considered a hero since he managed to have the kind of life he led despite suffering from serious health problems like Addison’s. Also, I’m not going to use King Henry V though he may not be the guy Shakespeare depicted and actually quite ruthless, though no more than most medieval kings in his day. Yet, sometimes history isn’t as unbiased as you think it is. Here are more historical heroes I will kindly list here:

1. Medieval Knights

Known for: Being the champions of Christendom and chivalry who fought baddies, wooed ladies without seducing them, behaved honorably, and saved the day with a sword. They always fought for their country, king, and God. As good guys, they were always willing to protect the weak and vulnerable you could always count on them to rescue a damsel in distress. They’d also fight tournaments to win a lady’s favor.

Why they may not deserve their fame: Of course, there may have been some knights like this but they were human beings like any other. For instance, we all know that King Arthur’s knights weren’t all like that. I mean Sir Lancelot may do good in battle and be able to heal others yet he deserted his wife and kid as well as banged his boss’ wife. Mordred was an evil product of incest who does his old man in (in some versions, in others, he’s just Arthur’s evil nephew, brother-in-law, or not related to him at all). Sir Gawain was a homicidal maniac and had many other issues. Still, though a knight may claim loyalty to a nation, a king, or his lord, he was ultimately a mercenary working for himself mostly for land, power, and riches. If they were of the a Crusade Order, they could be ruthless and fanatical but so was everyone in the Middle Ages to some extent. However, it’s interesting to note that the Crusades weren’t just fought in the name of God to capture the Holy Land from the Muslims. Rather, many thought the Crusades were a good idea since it would not only grant knights penance for killing Muslims but also keep many of them from fighting and terrorizing each other as well as raping, pillaging and burning peasant villages. Really, they would do this to their fellow Europeans or even their own serfs, let alone Muslims. Yet, they wouldn’t kill each other unless it was in battle and considered the slaughter of peasants after capturing a village whether they be men, women, or children. Still, as for medieval damsels in distress, they probably wouldn’t call on a knight in shining armor to save them unless it was a last resort or if the guy was her husband. Most damsels in distress at the time usually tried to save themselves, because they’d never know what a knight may do to them.

2. King Richard the Lionheart

Known for: Being the good King Richard in the Robin Hood stories and seen as a paragon of knighthood and champion of Christendom. Badass hero of the Crusades.

Why he may not deserve his fame: King Richard I was a rather complex individual like any member of his family (like King John, for instance). He wasn’t the biggest jerk but he was as warlike as he was greedy. He certainly liked being in France better than England (there’s a story where he claimed to sell London if he could find a buyer, oh, and he only spent six months of his reign there anyway). And as like anyone in his family, he wasn’t above stabbing people in the back (of course, you can say that about any ruler in the Middle Ages.) Of course, he only saw his subjects as producers of tax revenue to support his exploits abroad. Then there’s the time when he was taken hostage by Archduke Leopold I of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. Of course, he was ransomed after two years but it was from the pockets of his English subjects. And he was taken prisoner by a guy he used to boss around. Richard may have been a great warrior king but he wasn’t good at anything that didn’t involve warfare and tactics like budgeting, tolerating, or judging. So Good King Richard wasn’t such a great English king after all. Yet, as a paragon of knighthood and chivalry, well, as far as actual medieval knights go, he may not be far off.


3. Charles Lindbergh

Known for: Being the first man to fly across the Atlantic solo from New York to Paris on The Spirit of Saint Louis. One of the biggest celebrities of his day. Also, his son was kidnapped and killed in one of the most infamous child abduction cases in history.

Why he may not deserve his fame: Well, Lindbergh certainly does deserve his fame but there’s no doubt about that. Yet, just because his picture may be in the history books and your grandpa might have had a poster of him, doesn’t mean that he’s a kind of role model you’d want to emulate or put on a pedestal. For one, he believed in eugenics and racist which wasn’t unusual at the time yet his beliefs on either may have been too much for those in the 1930s. Also, it certainly doesn’t help his case that he was a staunch isolationist (though he stuck with his country before Pearl Harbor), accepted a medal from Nazi Germany (and didn’t return it after the Kristallnacht), had a friendship with Anti-Semitic Henry Ford, and was willing to make excuses for Hitler. So no wonder he was suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer. Oh, and 29 years after his death it was discovered that he fathered seven children to three German women (trust me, you can’t make things like this up and it was mentioned on PBS).


4. Lady Godiva

Known for: 11th century pre-Norman Conquest Saxon noblewoman who pleaded with her despotic husband Leofric to be nice to his subjects and reduce taxes. Yet, when he refused, as a protest, she got up on her white horse and rode the streets of Coventry in her birthday suit.

Why she may not deserve her fame: Well, Lady Godiva has a bit in common with Betsy Ross, two famous women who get credit for something they didn’t actually do but receive credit long after their deaths. Still, though Betsy Ross most likely didn’t design the first American flag, there’s reasonable evidence that she might have had some involvement with its production. With Lady Godiva, however, there’s no historical evidence that she was ever known for anything from being beyond a sweet and charitable woman. She may have pleaded with Leofric to be nice and reduce taxes but that’s probably as true as the legend about her gets. Still, there’s no evidence that she ever rode naked into Coventry and that legend only surfaced about 200 years after her death. She was, however, the only female to remain a major Saxon landholder after the Norman Conquest.

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5. Andrew Jackson

Known for: Seen as a war hero in the War of 1812 and a populist bad ass who loved his wife and stood up for the people against the wealthy elite. President of the United States during the late 1820s and early 1830s. Nicknamed “Old Hickory.” Father of Jacksonian democracy as well as one of the godfathers of the modern Democratic Party. Picture is on the $20 bill.

Why he may not deserve his fame: There’s more than one good reason why Andrew Jackson is considered one of the most controversial US presidents to this day. The most obvious being his policies towards Native Americans such as his aggressive enforcement of the Indian Removal Act (despite that the law was struck down by the Supreme Court) which resulted in the relocation of thousands of Indians to Oklahoma and the Trail of Tears. Of course, it was said he did it out of belief that it would prevent a war with the tribes and possibly a civil war but still, it was a policy that denied human rights to a group of people for no good reason, resulted in genocide, and has put a strain on Native Americans ever since. Then there’s Jackson’s policy of getting rid of the Bank of the United States which would later be a direct cause of the Panic of 1837 throwing the nation into a deep depression (basically this is what would happen if we got rid of the Federal Reserve). Finally, you got the introduction of the spoils system which chose unelected government workers based on party loyalty regardless whether these people had any qualifications to do their jobs. This brought widespread corruption and incompetence as well as lack of accountability on every level of government and would eventually played a role in the assassination of a US president (James A. Garfield was shot by a rejected office seeker). As a side note, he appointed Roger B. Taney as Chief Justice to the Supreme Court (who will have an important role in the notorious Dred Scott Decision). Also, engaged in dirty campaign tactics against John Quincy Adams, did a bunch of things that would certainly get him arrested today (such as fighting duels), and might have been a bit crazy (yet he’s still a rather interesting and complex man).

6. Ronald Reagan

Known for: President of the United States during the 1980s, and seen as the greatest president of all time by American conservatives. Said to have ended the Cold War, revived the economy through Reaganomics, restored dignity and self-respect to the presidency, restored American pride and morale, and did all these super wonderful things that helped make the USA the greatest nation on earth. Voted as the Greatest American on the History Channel.

Why he may not deserve his fame: I tried to refrain from writing about him since he was a popular president but still, he doesn’t really deserve all the hype. Not to mention, conservatives still sort of make Reagan into a man he wasn’t. For one, the 1980s weren’t a wonderful time in history, especially since it was a time when many corporations started basically outsourcing their productions to other countries (and many areas never recovered). Reagan’s economic policies also started widening the gap between rich and poor, created budget deficits as well as an increase in homelessness. However, he did increase taxes a few times when he realized that tax cuts for the rich weren’t helping. Other blunders include the Iran-Contra Affair (which lowered American credibility), huge budget deficits (which made GOP “fiscal conservatism neither fiscal nor conservative), his environmental ignorance (believed that trees caused pollution), his do-nothing reaction to the looming AIDS epidemic, courting Saddam Hussein, and the list goes on. As for the Cold War, Reagan showed little sign of burying the hatchet with the Soviet Union (“evil empire” as he called it) until the Mikhail Gorbachev assumed power in 1985. And even then he was uncooperative in peace talks with the Russian leader until facing a scandal and low approval ratings, he was willing to do anything. And as for Russia’s bankruptcy, it was due to the War in Afghanistan that started while Reagan was still in California so bankruptcy was the Soviets’ own fault. Also, he had Alzheimer’s during his presidency (his son has even said this.) Then there are the times before he became president. For one, he didn’t become a Republican until age 51 and was mostly willing to change his political views for his declining career and satisfy his father-in-law. He opposed civil rights and Medicare, was almost recalled during his term as governor of California, sent the California Highway Patrol to crack down on campus protests at Berkeley, and oh, legalized no-fault divorce and abortion in California (though he later switched his position on the latter after realizing what it might to do him politically but still he didn’t do anything to make abortion illegal again and this was in 1967 so he had a good six years). Not to mention, he was divorced (from actress Jane Wyman), certainly engaged in pre-marital sex (wife Nancy was pregnant at the altar), was more into astrology than Jesus, and basically betrayed his fellow actors by leaking some of their names to the House Committee of Un-American Activities while president of the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan may not have been one of the worst American Presidents, but he certainly shouldn’t be ranked among one of the best. In fact, he wasn’t much of a great president anyway. I may be a liberal but even so, I don’t believe he deserves the hype regardless of anyone’s political affiliation.

7. Woodrow Wilson

Known for: US President during WWI and was seen as a model for Progressivism and Idealism. His 14 Points speech helped set the stage for the United Nations and earned him a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why he may not deserve his fame: Wilson’s presidency has come under significant controversy in recent years. Though many of his economic policies tend to be seen in a positive light since many his reforms on that front were greatly needed, he appointed the heads of large corporations to agencies supposedly regulating business. Not to mention, they did no favors for women, minorities, immigrants, workers, or others in need of assistance. Though his Virginia upbringing during the Civil War might have inspired his commitment to peace, it also served as the major influence to his hardcore racism and his policy of mandatory segregation of the government. I mean he was considered a racist even by early 20th century standards and seem to have a nostalgia for slavery (though he deemed it uneconomical). Oh, and he barred blacks from serving in the Navy which was at times more than 1/3 African American dating from the revolutionary war. To be fair, he was no fan of immigrants either and criticized Irish immigrants harshly. Then there’s the fact he’s one of the nation’s first of the Red Scare anti-socialist and anti-communist presidents, launched the Espionage Act of 1918 which arrested those who spoke out against WWI, and ran his reelection campaign on a pacifist platform (though he would be calling for war at the start of his second term). Though he’s seen as an anti-imperialist, he ended up intervening in places like the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Mexico. Of course, the Mexicans were attacking our borders but in some ways, they were doing it in response for the US occupation of Veracruz. As for ending WWI and other related foreign policy, let’s just say that it’s complicated. Wilson may have consented to punishing Germany for starting the war (even though Germany certainly didn’t). However, it would be unfair to blame him for the events surrounding actions during the Treaty of Versailles, especially when it came to Germany getting the short end of the stick. For one, Wilson wasn’t well aware about European politics and saw WWI as a war between Democracy and Absolute Monarchy (Germany was actually a constitutional monarchy while Russia was ruled by Czarist autocrat before the Russian Revolution.) Second, the US only entered the war in 1917 when it started in 1914. Also, France’s Georges Clemenceau was more the dominating influence at Versailles than Wilson ever was and wanted to punish Germany for a lot more than just WWI (like the Franco-Prussian War). Thus, Clemenceau wanted revenge, not peace. Not to mention, David Lloyd George was more concerned with politics in his native Britain than anything. Wilson may have been a bad president but he’s far from being one of the greats.


8. Nathan Bedford Forrest

Known for: Well, I’ll get to part of that in a moment. However, in the South, he’s considered a great Confederate Civil War general and kind of a hero. I mean he has so many places and memorials dedicated to him it’s ridiculous.

Why he may not deserve his fame: Forrest is perhaps one of the worst examples when it comes to being seen as a historical hero. Of course, this would stem from the Pro-white Southern “Lost Cause” school of history which seemed to prevail during segregation. However, while Robert E. Lee may not have been the great general or the great man he’s portrayed as but at least he has some admirable qualities you can respect. Despite his flaws, Lee can be seen as a great hero and a great man. However, this is not so with Forrest since he’s best known as the first Grand Wizard of the KKK as well as a figure associated with white supremacy (he may not have been as racist but still). And it doesn’t help he was a slave trader before the Civil War either. Nevertheless, Forrest still embodies the worst of the Confederacy during the Civil War mostly because of what happened at the Battle of Fort Pillow. Fort Pillow was a Union held fort which Forrest managed to attack and capture back in 1864. However, it was a battle that where countless black and Southern Unionist troops were killed and may not have died in combat. In other words, these two groups of captured soldiers were basically slaughtered after surrender, which is a war crime. Of course, Confederate commanders didn’t record that such massacre took place at Fort Pillow (even Forrest’s report doesn’t mention it), yet there is significant evidence that states such slaughter took place. For one, there are accounts by Union survivors and some even from Confederate soldiers writing back home. Second, the Union casualty rates pertaining to the battle are unusually higher (like nearly 300 killed out of around 600-700) than what the Confederates sustained (which was about 14 killed and 86 wounded out of 5,000-6,000). And in some ways the Union casualty rate is much higher than it should be if the Confederates sustained a rate like that in 1864. This is also telling when you consider that only 90 of the 262 black Union troops involved managed to survive the battle. Out of the white Union forces, only 205 out of 500 survived. If this doesn’t convince anyone why Nathan Bedford Forrest shouldn’t be remembered so fondly, then I don’t know what does.

9. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Known for: Being an admirable and badass general during WWII as Supreme Allied Commander and a great president who maintained stability in the early years of the Cold War and warned of the Military-Industrial complex. Affectionately nicknamed Ike in the 1950s. Possibly the most bipartisan and compromise-friendly US president of the 20th century.

Why he may not deserve his fame: Eisenhower certainly does deserve his fame and certainly can be considered a hero, in some ways, a lot of what happened under his presidency that have long term implications for the United States and need to be discussed. For one, Eisenhower appointed Richard M. Nixon as his running mate and it’s clear to say that Nixon may not have been elected president if he wasn’t tapped as Ike’s VP. Of course, we all know about the long term implications with that appointment. Of course, what should really get more attention in regards to Eisenhower’s presidency is his foreign policy which done its share of long term damage of US credibility over the decades. For one, Eisenhower supported a couple of coups against democratically elected governments such as Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran and President Arbenz in Guatemala. Both these guys were replaced by dictators. Overthrowing Mossadegh has critically strained relations between the Islamic world and the West to this day. Overthrowing Arbenz had put Guatemala under the successive rule of military dictatorships for decades. Also, Ike supported the Batista regime in Cuba which gives the Castro brothers a few good reasons to hate the US. Then there’s the fact he blocked an important vote on Vietnamese unification and installed pro-US dictator Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam after finding out that 80% of the Vietnamese would’ve sided with Ho Chih Minh and the Communists in said referendum, setting the stage for US involvement in the Vietnam War. Sure Eisenhower may have been a good president or even a great one, yet some of his shady foreign policy decisions have done more than its fair share to hurt US credibility and these should not be ignored.

10. Mohandas K, Gandhi

Known for: Seen as a saint who through the principles of ahimsa (nonviolence) brought independence to India in 1947.

Why he may not deserve his fame: This is a controversial one since Gandhi did help bring independence to India as well as inspired hundreds and has certainly earned respect. However, the Indian Independence Movement was a strong force well before he entered the scene when he did, he basically served as a figurehead for a cause and was happy to take the credit while other leaders did most of the work (like Nehru, Jinnah, Bose). Sure he talked of peace but also played politics as ruthlessly and slimy as any politician (more of a pacifist Machiavellian if you will). And he wasn’t above politically stabbing people in the back. Also, his ideas weren’t that original and even he knew that (basically nonviolence had been a kind of idea dating thousands of years. Not to mention, he was a British educated lawyer who spent a spell living in South Africa (of you knew that). Then there’s his private life which isn’t pretty. For one, he was difficult and demanding, a tyrannical and abusive father, obsessed with the workings of his own and other people’s bowels, and subject to long bouts of depression during which he refused to speak to even his closest associates. Also, slept naked alongside his female disciples after the death of his wife.


11. Medieval Outlaws

Known for: Being honorable men who steal from the rich to give to the poor, live in the forest, and stick up to corrupt sheriffs and noblemen, you know, like in Robin Hood. Basically a fugitive from a unfair justice system.

Why they may not deserve their fame: Outlaws then were probably no better or worse than today’s criminals. However, with lack of adequate law enforcement outlaws can basically get away with a lot more shit then (seriously no one would want to be the sheriff of Nottingham, it would’ve been a lot worse than being a cop on The Wire, especially since there was a lot more crime in the Middle Ages as there is today). Of course, outlaws would certainly steal from the rich yet they’d also rob or harm just about anybody. Also, many of those in England became knights later on so you might want to see what I have to say about them.


12. Cowboys

Known for: Seen as heroes of the Wild West who travel the open range on cattle drives while doing a bunch of other shit, I’m not sure what. They traveled on horseback by day and sang songs by the campfire at night. Sometimes they’d even shoot bad guys or Indians. Still, cowboys are seen as one of most prominent American cultural icons and loved by everyone everywhere.

Why they may not deserve their fame: This might depend on your definition of heroism since real cowboys were much different from the ones you saw in the movies. Besides, if you ask any boy in the 19th century whether he’d like to be a cowboy, he’d more likely say no unless he was black, Mexican, Indian, a poor white, gay, or an immigrant off the boat. I mean the job of cowboy was a low wage and low status job that entailed herding cattle from the ranches to the railroads which would transport them to the slaughterhouses in Chicago. The average cowboy earned a dollar a day for his hard work, slept in a barracks on the home ranch, and were more concerned with cattle rustlers and predators than Indians (Indians were more of a job for the US Army). Also, they wouldn’t be wearing those nice cowboy outfits you’d see at rodeos. Not to mention, they were notorious in Kansas for their wild and violent behavior especially since the place was seen as an end of a long cattle drive where cowboys received their pay as well as had towns with drinking and gambling establishments.

Myths and Facts on Environmental Protection Policy

In my post about the US government shutdown, I used issues such as increasing national defense and environmental protection to illustrate why the GOP isn’t the political party for smaller government it says it is. For instance, national defense only increases the size of the government, especially at a time of war yet it’s a policy most Republicans like. On the other hand, laws relating to environmental protection has helped Americans save money, yet Republicans hate it. However, as a government policy, environmental policy is one of the most understood thanks to media outlets like Fox News and other conservatives who basically try to trivialize it. Here is a list of the many opponents of environmental protection tend to say with my explanations on why they’re false.

1. Myth: Environmental conditions only affect the natural world and wildlife.

Perhaps the most infamous of them all. Of course, a conservative would say this to trivialize environmental issues as “special interests.” This is even more false than saying that all environmentalists are tree hugging hippies. If this was true, then we probably shouldn’t have much to worry about when there’s an environmental catastrophe. Of course, this is bullshit since the health of the natural environment has an impact on everything, especially people. Just because humans may be responsible for much of the world’s environmental problems, they also fall victim to them. Pollution has caused a variety of health problems through the years like respiratory illnesses, cancer, birth defects, infertility (including miscarriages and stillbirths), infections, heart disease, and the list goes on. Polluted drinking water can spell a crisis in public health in any community and droughts can lead to mass starvation (think of the Dust Bowl). And in some instances, an environmental disaster can lead to a destruction of a whole community as well as  bring social problems like economic collapse, mass poverty, homelessness, and other things. You can say that if you destroy the land, you also destroy the people.

2. Myth: Environmental policy is a burden to taxpayers and contributes to big government.

Like I said in my post about the government shutdown, this is absolutely false. In fact, this is another lie by Republicans who inflict the small government argument when it comes to policies they don’t like. Sure environmental policy may cost taxpayer money but it also helps save tax dollars by tackling problems that contribute to more government spending. For instance, pollution and environmental disasters contribute much more to big government than any funding to the EPA ever has.

High pollution levels can contribute to higher health care costs as well as more government spending on health care. This is especially true when you consider senior citizens and the poor since these two groups of people receive health care through medical assistance and are most susceptible to pollution related illnesses. Senior citizens are more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of pollution and over a longer period of time than younger generations. They are more likely to have grown up in a highly polluted area, had an environmentally hazardous job, have a history of smoking (and exposure to secondhand smoke), and to have someone in their family who died of a pollution related illness at an early age. It’s no wonder why senior citizens are so prone to respiratory illnesses like lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, and others.  Of course, some may say because senior citizens are more susceptible to illness in general, yet you can’t really dismiss the environmental factor either. As for the poor, they are more likely to be exposed to high levels of pollution because many live near environmentally hazardous establishments. These can consist of toxic waste dumps, power plants, or dirty industry centers that lower property values and aren’t nice places to live. Thus, residences near these places will always consist of people below the poverty line who can’t afford to live anywhere else, especially in cities. If you live in a rural area, then the chances of an environmentally hazardous establishment moving in are very high since many of your neighbors will welcome if there’s something in it for them, most of the population won’t be willing to sue (and if they do the chances of losing are high), and for those who do object, most won’t be able to do anything about it since no one’s going to pay attention. Oh, and many of the rural poor tend to whites who vote Republican and watch Fox News (Fucked News, as I call it). Nevertheless, high pollution and high poverty go hand in hand. Thus, pollution related illnesses are a burden to the healthcare industry, communities, the nation, and the taxpayer.

Another drain on taxpayers which the EPA helps prevent are environmental disasters since they are incredibly expensive to clean up and restore. Of course, polluting industries tend to be the main cause of these environmental disasters yet the job of clean up and restoration will always fall to the state and/or federal government for various reasons. For one, federal and state governments usually do the job better than anyone else and don’t need a court order to do so. Second, an environmental disaster precipitates a state of emergency in which environmental damage must be promptly acted upon before there’s serious long term consequences. Third, in an event of environmental catastrophe, most local communities don’t have the money and resources for the necessary action so responsibility will fall on a higher power. Finally, most corporations that cause environmental disasters will go out of their way in order to avoid responsibility for environmental damages such as fighting lawsuits (the case concerning the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill ended up at the Supreme Court but wasn’t settled since Alito had to recuse himself). So while environmental protection may cost taxpayers something, lack of environmental protection will cost taxpayers much more.

3. Myth: Environmental policy hurts the economy, hurts businesses, and kills jobs.

Republicans will use this myth all the time when it comes to rallying against environmental policy as if they are trying to justify that economic benefit is worth the environmental costs, especially in the area of dirty industry. However, how environmental protection policy actually affects the economy, is far more complicated. Of course, environmental protection is a popular scapegoat for conservatives when it comes to economic problems but there are many reasons why economies and businesses fail usually ranging from unfair competition, unethical business practices, bad economic policies, unsatisfied greed, or just simply plain ol’ fashioned bad decision making. And hardly any of them have anything to do with EPA regulations. Of course, EPA regulations may hurt smaller polluting businesses but most polluting companies can accommodate with environmental policy. However, for businesses, environmental protection is no fun since it means complying with more rules, may dip into profits, gets businesses to stop doing what’s more convenient and cost-effective to them, and compels them to be more environmentally responsible. It’s no wonder businesses don’t like environmental protection since they tend to be from a world in which success is based on short-term profit gains, fast growth, unrestrained corporate greed, and fierce competition, which is hardly a sustainable economic model.

Yet, what many pro-business people tend to ignore is that environmental protection doesn’t hurt economies as much as environmental destruction. The Lorax illustrates this to near perfection with the Oncler who builds his empire by destroying an entire forest to supply his factories. Of course, he becomes wealthy yet things fall apart for him once the last tree is cut down. His family abandons him, his factory goes to ruin, and the forest once filled with colorful trees is now a wasteland. Since the Oncler basically obtained his raw materials in a way that was most convenient to him in order to satisfy his own greed, he gets to see all he worked hard for all his life go down the drain. Of course, many corporate leaders don’t learn their lessons or suffer the consequences from all the environmental destruction they cause. Yet, many people do, those whose business is dependent upon environmental conditions and availability of natural resources. Environmental policies may not bring big profits but they might help a company stay in business since they may give reasons for businesses to adapt, encourage the development of green industry, ensure sustainability of resources and sustainable growth, and make businesses more competitive. As for consumers, more eco-friendly products might help them save money on certain products like at the pump for instance.

Things in American History Worse than Obamacare

In the news, I’ve been hearing things about what these Republicans in Congress are griping about how Obamacare is the worst thing that has ever happened in American History. As a former history major in college, I have to disagree big time. Obamacare may not be the best thing since sliced bread but as the worst, not even close. So here I have a list of things in American History that are much worse than Obamacare just to put people in perspective which assures me, the US is certainly going to be okay with it.

Things in American History Worse than Obamacare (Some of these might be according to my opinion):

Concepts: slavery, DDT, Birth of a Nation, Fox News (couldn’t resist), for-profit health care (yes, even the system Obamacare replaces), Blackwater, the Atom Bomb, Social Darwinism, Monsanto, racism, smallpox blankets, anti-intellectualism, abuse of laissez faire, sexism, napalm, child labor, Hays Code, blackface minstrel shows

People (Hall of Shame): Thomas Midgely (inventor of leaden fuel and CFCs), J. Edgar Hoover, Dick Cheney, Bernie Madoff, Jerry Sandusky, Lance Armstrong, Newt Gingrich (first used the government shutdown as a political ploy), Whittaker Chambers, Joseph McCarthy, Jack Abramoff, Dr. James W. Watts (helped popularized the lobotomy in the US), Roger B. Taney (said that blacks have no rights which whites are bound to respect in the Dred Scott Decision), Benedict Arnold, Henry Wirz (warden of Andersonville Prison and only person in the Civil War convicted and executed for war crimes), Nathan Bedford Forrest (responsible for the Fort Pillow Massacre and was first KKK Grand Wizard), Strom Thurmond, Richard Nixon, Anthony Comstock, Jeffrey Amherst, Anita Bryant

Groups: the KKK, the Religious Right, the Dixiecrats, robber barons, global warming deniers

Places: Andersonville Prison, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Indian Reservations


Wars: The Civil War, the Indian Wars, Vietnam War, Korean War,Spanish American War, Mexican Wars, WWI, Attack on Pearl Harbor, War of 1812, Iraq War, Battle of Little Bighorn, Wounded Knee Massacre, Philippine American War, Bataan Death March

Scandals: Watergate, Iran-Contra, Teapot Dome Scandal, Savings and Loans Scandal, Lewinsky Scandal, Plamegat, Enron, Chappaquiddick, Black Sox Scandal, 21 Game Show Cheating Scandal, Hollinger Scandal, Abramoff Lobbying Scandal, doping scandals

High Crimes and Attacks (non-war related): Kennedy Assassination, RFK Assassination,  Lincoln Assassination, Oklahoma City Bombings, Haymarket Riot, Kent State shooting, Virginia Tech shooting, Jonestown, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora, 9/11,Valentine’s Day Massacre, O. J. Simpson Trial (1990s), Waco, MLK Assassination, the Boston Massacre, Boston Marathon Bombings, Bleeding Kansas, Trayvon Martin shooting, LA Race Riots, the Murder of Matthew Shepard, Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping, New York Draft Riots, lynchings, Tuscon shooting

Disasters: Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Challenger Explosion, Columbia Explosion, BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, San Francisco Earthquake, Johnstown Flood, The Dust Bowl, Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Chicago Fire, Three Mile Island.

Economic Upheaval: The Great Depression, Panic of 1837, Stock Market Crash of 1929, Wall Street Meltdown of 2008

Crises: Spanish Flu Epidemic, Cuban Missile Crisis, Iran Hostage Crisis, Secession Crisis

Others: Scopes Monkey Trial, Salem Witch Trials, slave trade

Legal Actions: Jim Crow laws, Dred Scott Decision (worst Supreme Court decision in history), Chinese Exclusion Act, Plessy vs. Ferguson, Citizens United ruling, Alien and Sedition Acts, Patriot Act, Fugitive Slave Act, the Intolerable Acts, Comstock Laws, 18th Amendment, Kelo vs. New London (government can use eminent domain for the benefit of selling it to private developers), Indian Removal Act, Death of the Voting Rights Act, Shoot First Laws (unjust when it comes to certain cases)

Bad Policies: Japanese Internment Camps, Prohibition, the Pardon of Scooter Libby, Nullification Crisis, Trail of Tears, US-Soviet Nuclear Arms Race, Cold War, Palmer Raids, spoils system, McCarthyism, voter discrimination, Imperialism, government shutdowns, death penalty, 3/5 Compromise

Of course, this is only as much as I could think of but feel free to list more in the comments section. Still, I don’t think Obamacare is in any way worse than all the things I have already listed from American History, which I can offer a decent explanation. Of course, there are certain items I didn’t list since they may be subject to controversy. Still, if the United States can survive as a country through all this, then I’m confident, it will be fine under Obamacare.