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Rant #248
(published October 13, 2005)
Killing in the Land of Roseville
by Milton Gray
[Editor's Note: This is a response to Killing In The Land Of Make Believe by Jeremy Cope, which originally ran in PMjA Issue #244]

Hello Poor Mojo Guys,

Just wanted to comment on the rant "Killing In The Land Of Make Believe". I notice that the author does little to tie in the ostensible premise of fictional killings to the actual talk of real murder. It seems like some poignant or profound observations could be made about our views of death and murder based on their interpretation in fiction and movies. The author doesn't seem interested in doing so.

Additionally, thinking that you could kill someone and actually doing it are very different things. In my time on this earth I have held a man's life in my hands, and I could not take it. This was a man who had assaulted me physically with repeated blows to the head and was, at that very moment, attempting to choke the life out of me when I was handed a tire iron. With the tables turned he backed off and insisted that he would sue me if I hit him. I thought, "What a ridiculous statement! I have no intention of letting you live." But then the time came for me to swing the heavy iron bar that would surely crush his skull and I couldn't. I let him walk away, glad for the incident to be over. If I could not take the life of a man who would clearly have taken mine, what weight does the author's statement of "I could kill a man" really hold? It's the kind of thing that can only be known from experience.

There are a thousand what-ifs in my story: Could I have killed him if he didn't back off? What if I'd had kids at the time? What if I was more or less scared? etc, etc. I can't know the answer to these and pray that I never will. One thing I know for sure is that as the man walked to his car, his life still intact but probably unappreciated, I noticed that he broke the windshield of my car with his elbow. A windshield that I had replaced only the week before owing to some kids on I-96 throwing rocks off bridges. I didn't have insurance, that glass and it's installation were bought with my hard earned cash from working a minimum wage job that I hated. For some reason this destruction of my personal property, much more than his assault on my actual person, enraged me to the point that I was ready to beat him into a bloody pulp in that parking lot on Groesbeck. With a primal scream I chased after his car and flung the tire iron with reckless abandon, all of my reasoning gone along with a lot of my motor control (I missed and he drove speedily away). What a strange thing to learn about oneself. I wonder if Jeremy Cope has learned anything of value about himself, other than that he enjoys revenge and believes that he could kill a man?

-Milton Gray

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The Next Rant piece (from Issue #249):

The Aristocrats
by Kurt Nadie

The Last few Rant pieces (from Issues #247 thru #243):

You Are Bidding On A Mistake
by Brian Sack

Evening the Score When Playing the Race Card
by Milton Gray

Is The Right All That's Left?
by Luke Bruhns

Killing In The Land Of Make Believe
by Jeremy Cope

Yeats on New Orleans, from Beyond the Grave
by David Erik Nelson

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