SCOTUS rulings on Second Amendment, and then on Roe v Wade, pose serious questions as to which personal individual rights are really “fundamental”

protesters near SCOTUS walking back to Union Station, 2022-5

Okay, when “Bill” goes away for grocery shopping, the mice play.  The news on Roe popped onto my phone this morning as I stood in line at a Harris Teeter in Arlington VA.

Let’s back up and talk about the Bruen case in New York, ruled yesterday 6-3. The official name is “NEW YORK STATE RIFLE & PISTOL ASSOCIATION, INC., ET AL. v. BRUEN, SUPERINTENDENT OF NEW “YORK STATE POLICE, ET AL”, with official opinion link here

New York state apparently is not allowed to maintain its policy as a “may issue” (vs. “shall issue”) state when citizens apply for licenses to carry various weapons.  Typically, that may mean that the applicant needs a more specific reason to need a gun than just self (or familial or property) defense, which is often the standard in Europe (like New York, densely populated).  That means the individual has more personal risk from targeted violence, for example, which affects eir personal agency.

Hoeg Law discusses the opinion in a two-hour video, along with discussing analysis offered by Vox and by Fox News.  Understand at first, in the past I’ve talked about DC v. Heller (2008) which is supposed to deal with the “militia” question.

I’ll walk back on a couple of points, which also matter to Roe (later in this post).

That is, according to the opinion, “fundamental rights” pre-exist and are not granted by government or even by the Constitution (the Bill of Rights, and certain other amendments, especially the 14th Amendment with its incorporation doctrine).

But pre-existing fundamental rights are substantiated by a reading of history, which may go back to civilization much less technology-related than ours.  It is reasonable that self-defense as a fundamental right could be seen in American history, especially with its history of settling new lands (however problematic when it comes to other issues, like indigenous peoples – or to the history of slavery). 

The opportunity for individual self-defense certainly reinforces personal, individual agency.  I can relate an anecdote. In November 2016 I had volunteered to deliver meals for Food and Friends and had done so earlier only in northern Virginia.  When I found out that this time I might have to be willing to drive in SE Washington DC’s most dangerous neighborhoods, I backed out.  Maybe personally cowardly.  But if I owned a personal weapon and had been trained to use one properly and safely, I would not have had to back out.  Frankly, I don’t see becoming a “victim” of extra-legal violence when serving others as particularly honorable, deserving a funeral procession. So I have to be very strict about the kinds of risks I will take.

My own history, with my books and blogs, has talked a lot about many fundamental rights, especially freedom of speech – which I say does not automatically guarantee what Brian Stelter calls “freedom of reach” (SCOTUS has waffled on that point, as with COPA), and the “right to privacy”, which indeed comes from substantive due process (more later in this post) which I see as an individual right (as opposed to  group-enabled rights implied by the use of protected classes).  I did not (in any of the three DADT books or in my “Our Fundamental Rights” booklet specifically talk about the Second Amendment as an individual right.  I should have, and would do so if rewriting.  I can remember a Libertarian Party of Virginia conclave in Richmond on a late spring weekend in 1995 where it was a big issue.  I should have taken it more seriously then.  But I had come at this from another direction, gays in the military, the draft, the limits of privacy – I never got around to thinking about how critical individual self-defense can be for personal agency and integrity.

Hoeg, in his video, gives some discussion to the Supreme Court’s idea of “originalism” and “textualism”.  It is turning into a distinction without a difference.

I would take the discussion about “fundamental rights’ in a new direction, and try to apply the idea of “pre-existing rights” and due-process.  The universe, after all, is very inequitable.  “You” don’t have a fundamental right to be born without disability, or to a family of means, or to be born white, or even cis-gender straight.  That’s because the laws of physics make this impossible. That’s like claiming the right to fly like (Smallville) superman (or like an intelligent crow sitting on the railing on the balcony of your high-rise condo and watching you work on your computer – I have such a “friend” now).  Once a society has “rule of law” and some attempt at democracy (the West, essentially), it then becomes reasonable to postulate that some notions like right of privacy can exist if you can presume fundamental due process (below).  Clearly, in today’s (Putin’s) Russia or North Korea or (to a somewhat lesser extent) China this notion fails.  I have some of this sketched on my old “doaskdotell” site and it will be revised soon.

What is the effect on current efforts, even the recent agreement to a compromise on gun control in Congress?  

The New York Times has a summary by various writers, apparently published about the same time as the opinion.  Essentially, the SCOTUS opinion would not seem to affect control of weapons in specific places or venues (like airplanes), or the banning of people with certain signs of mental illness (red flag laws), or the personal possession of weapons of mass destruction (answering a Tim Pool tweet, I don’t think the opinion means you can possess nukes). Legislation affecting some kinds of military weapons (AR-15’s, etc) would seem permissible.  What isn’t permissible is questioning your need for individual self-defense.  (The House just passed its gun safety law 234-193.)

 Now, that brings me to the shocker for today, the overturn of Roe v. Wade (so predicted by Jeffrey Toobin on CNN since Barrett’s appointment), “DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION ET AL.” ,pdf link.  

It may be trite to say that as an elderly gay man who has never experienced coitus (or even meaningful arousal – bluntness is necessary now) with a female and never will (well, except in my “Second Epiphany” screenplay with the help of an identity-switching “crisis actor”), this opinion cannot affect me directly.  But the irony, of course, comes from the reasoning used to undermine previous rulings (specially Lawrence v Texas and Obergefell) affecting the freedom of individuals to have and benefit from intimate adult same-sex relationships that physically happen in private but which putatively do affect culture as a whole.  (It is important to recall that the AIDS epidemic raised questions about possibly unpredictable public health consequences of some gay conduct (covered previously, and in Chapter 3 of my own DADT-1 book and a public issue in Texas in 1983 with a proposed draconian state law 2138), and raised again with monkeypox (although this will spread among heterosexuals too with similar intimacies in public raves); ironically, however COVID19 seemed to hit hardest people in socially conventional large families. In general, public health, war, climate change and space weather can all pose issues that invade individual liberty in ways we haven’t seriously considered before, why we focus on ‘bathroom bills’ — may not have the luxury?)

I have to add, it is disturbing that some “Republicans” seem so  focused (and smug) on a narrow swath of the right to life concept, when there is a much bigger practical concern (the elderly, the severely disabled, and so on).  In a few states they have implemented vigilante laws, or proposed ideas like making it a crime for a state resident to contact a service online to seek assistance in another state. This could present a serious downstream liability situation for social media and even webhosts down the road (given, for example, how Section 230 plays out).

Alito has written that the effect of today’s opinion, undermining stare decisis, applies only to abortion, and has noted that no other issue has affected the right to take away the life of a human being, interpreting any entity after fertilization (maybe implantation) as a human being.  You might try to twist his reasoning around and say that some uses of guns for self-defense needlessly take away human life.  At least that is a first reaction.

But Justice Clarence Thomas wrote some comments in his concurring opinion, as explained by Adam Edelman at NBC News.  The long headline is “Thomas wants the Supreme Court to overturn landmark rulings that legalized contraception, same-sex marriage; In a concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the conservative jurist called on the court to overrule a trio of watershed civil rights rulings, writing,’” We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”   Thomas is “willing” to wait for another case, he says.  (Well, why did the Court have to overturn Roe v Wade at all;  it could have upheld Mississippi itself). This could work its way down to contraception (Griswold – 1962; and there are radicals who believe that sperm itself has humanity!)

The issue is “substantive due process”.  Thomas calls this an “oxymoron”. That doctrine has generally recognized liberty or property interests (as in the 14th Amendment) in contemporary terms.  But as we saw (ironically) with the 2nd amendment case, Thomas (and to a large extend other justices) believe this is validated only over a longer period of American history.  Same-sex relations have not been so recognized until the past few decades, partly because in the past homosexuality was seen as undermining the incentive for most normal men to marry and have and raise children (and post WWII had become fodder for McCarthyism).  That’s a pretty complicated thing to explore.  My three DADT books make a point of organizing all of this.  You could say that “substantive due process” means you can’t pass a law that intrudes into a personal space that cannot be enforced with normal procedures under the rule of law.  (Think how that applies to sodomy laws.)   Without substantive due process, rights would be delegated to groups, which critical theory embraces.  That would follow from the equal protection clause.  I am not a big fan of deriving rights through groups (implies intersectionality). I could say that an underlying theme of all my books is what individual rights you protect with substantive due process (as opposed to group equal protection and the protected marginalized minority idea) and what those who feel personally challenged should do to leverage the idea.

Tim Pool weighed in quickly today:

Also The Hill-Rising weighs in:

I’ll close this long post with trailers for two films deal with Roe.

One is “Reversing Roe” (2018), directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, from Lincoln Square Productions and Netflix.  ·

The other is “AKA Jane Roe”(2020), directed by Nick Sweeney, from FX Channel, about Norma Mc Corvey, the original plaintiff in Roe v Wade, who finally turned against her own prior activism later in life when she had cancer.

(Posted: Friday, June 24, 2022 at 4 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Short film about how Australia’s total gun control (1996) works; a thriller film about a gun shop from the Twin Cities; a bio of Alex Jones

Minneapolis, 2019-9

Today, not finding much to watch on Netflix (they seem to have more series and fewer movies and keep retreading the same stuff), I stumbled across an 18-minute documentary short from Wendover Productions, “Australia Had a Mass-Shooting Problem. Here’s How it Stopped”. 

Australia’s 1996 buyback, short film

Australia, with its history and low population density (except on the coasts), certainly facilitated individualism, self-reliance, and self-defense culture.  Starting in the mid 1980s, incidents of major shootings increased, culminating in the massacre at Port Arthur, Tasmania, in April 1996. 

The end result, after some jockeying with the legal mechanics of Australia’s own federal system, was a very strict gun control law, with a mandatory buyback over one year.  Prospective consumers had to demonstrate a “need” to own any firearm at all, and self-defense didn’t count.

Arguably, that kind of logic might work if guns are scarce enough in private hands.  In the United States, it hardly sounds feasible at all because of the volume of guns already in circulation. But it is interesting to note that most other western nations have low gun ownership, except outside of the area of conscription for military service (especially Switzerland, where gun competence is a responsibility, and now Finland, which gets interesting).

Australia (along with New Zealand), we know, as an island nation that can keep people out, wasn’t afraid to clamp down on its citizens’ freedom of movement and personal agency with strict lockdowns in 2020 (not quite as bad as China’s recently) to control COVID19 and “save lives” (in the words of Victoria’s “Dictator Dan” Andrews). Remember all the Sky News Australia videos of individuals nabbed by police for minor violations of sheltering in place.

On June 20, 2016 (a week after the Orlando Pulse bar attack – which resulted from radical Islam, not from American alt-right), Jon Stokes authored a piece in the center-left online magazine Vox “Why millions of Americans — including me — own the AR-15”.  The basic reason seems to be personal expediencey, because the AR-15 is reliable and very versatile to use (and deadlier if it hits someone).  He says it is not automatic (like the M16) unless tampered with.

My father had a 22 rifle in the basement in the 1950s, and I learned to shoot it once.  When I returned to my Drogheda in 2003 it was no longer around.  In Army Basic in 1968, I trained on the M14, which I learned to take apart and clean, and it was no big deal, and made sharpshooter on record range.  I did “requalification” at Fort Eustis in March 1969 and have never fired a weapon since.  My right ear developed tinnitus from the exposure during coaching; the ear plugs were inadequate.  The M14 would be replaced by the M16 even in Basic, but it had no Drill and Ceremonies manual.  The M16 can fire rounds automatically without tampering.

I did not really connect a lot to the Second Amendment during my own style of activism regarding “don’t ask don’t tell” in the 1990s, and I rarely talked about it in my books or essays.  I can remember a Libertarian Party weekend in Richmond VA in May 1995 when I was surprised at the amount of focus on it. 

However, I understand that for many people, their right to bear arms becomes part of their own sense of identity, which tends to be anti-tribal.  I don’t feel that way about this personally, but I can see moral parallels between the Second Amendment (interpreted as an individual right since the controversial Heller case) and my own use of the First Amendment when it is interpreted as incorporating “freedom of reach” despite potential conflicts one can cause.  However, compromising the right to defend oneself, like in the case of a home invasion (with family around) or potential exposure to kidnapping (workplace, carjacking, etc) could pose existential risks to persons if there were only an incomplete effort like Australia’s.  Note that the video discusses the success of Australia’s buyback in statistical terms. 

Let’s mention a couple other films.

At an independent film festival in Minneapolis in 2001 sponsored by IFPMSP when I lived there, I saw a curious thriller: “Bill’s Gun Shop”, from Dangerous Films, directed by Dean Lincoln Hyers, produced by J. Michael Tabor, written by Rob Nilsson, starring Scott Cooper, John Ashton, Victor Rivers, Tom Bower, James Keene, Carolyn Hauck, Sage, Jacy Dummermuth.   Again. The independent, locally produced film (this was shot on location in the Twin Cities and in southern Minnesota) imparts an urgency and tension lacking in the glitz and polish from bigger operations (and, again, why does Hollywood have to cover up real companies and real locations when small filmmakers don’t?).  In fact, the film has stunning photography (seems wide screen) and a pinpoint digital sound track.  And we identify with the 23-year old Dillon McCarty (Scott Cooper), starting out his adult life with a bit of personal schism, between being a mild-mannered (almost impotent) “good guy” and wanting to emulate his movie-star police heroes and marshals.  He goes to work for a gun shop and gradually sinks into a rather scary world.  (I didn’t know that gun shop employees are expected to wear guns going to and coming from work.)  Eventually he goes on a bounty run and has to get himself out of an impossible situation, generating a lot of rooting interest from the audience.  This film played to a full house at the Heights Theater, and comes across as a level-headed treatment of guns and self-defense for mainstream Americans (the film also covers racial tensions pointedly), and not just an activity on the rightwing fringe.

Bill’s Gun Shop trailer

On Sunday, June 11, 2022 (Pride Day in many cities), CNN aired a one hour documentary report “Megaphone for Conspiracy(link), a sketch of Alex Jones, from the founding of his media business in Austin Texas a couple decades ago, to its role during the Trump years, where Jones got banned from most social media.  Tim Pool has put Jones on his IRL show and had to collar Jones when in his “Cast Castle”, after having his own fights with YouTube over even having him on.  Toward the end of Trump fiasco leading to January 6, 2021, Jones got lost deeper and deeper in his beliefs.  He does not depend on sponsors, but seems to sell nutritional supplements enough to make a living at it.  I couldn’t do that.  He has been litigated against by the Sandy Hook victims.  He tried to attack David Hogg after the Parkland shootings, and ran into a teenager who could fight back hard.  It’s one thing to be called a crisis actor, but another to be called a centuries old reptilian alien (like from the 80’s series “V”) – as if the teen had superpowers and belonged with Marvel’s “Eternals”.  It’s really rather a compliment for Hogg.  Fox News’s  Laura Ingraham ran into the same thing.

Alex Jones bio

Now, is Hogg the most likely young adult today to become president in the future (if our democracy survives Trumpism, Putinism, and Xi-ism).

Maza interviews David Hogg

(Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

“A March for our Lives” has a big weekend in DC (at the same time as Capital Pride), and this time Congress at least “blinks” on sensible gun control

some signs at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington DC 2202-6-11

On Saturday, June 11 2022, “A March for our Lives” held a rally at noon on the north side of the Washington Monument, near Constitution Ave.  Speakers whom I heard included Mary Muriel Bowser, Manuel Oliver, DuQuan Brown (black Harvard student), Cori Bush (congresswoman) and David Hogg (20 minute speech).  

I posted sixteen short videos from this event on my channel  (link)

Muriel Bowser spoke predictably, about DC statehood.  I’ve talked to her in the past (in 2017) and she is not comfortable with the idea that citizens need guns to defend themselves.

Brown called for people to “do more love” and seemed to criticize the hypercritical attitude that individuals have for each other personally, and it is not so clear this is just about race.  It has bigger implications (like tempting politicians into fascism).

Oliver (who lost a son in the 2018 Parkland massacre) called for students to commit to a strike to get changes in gun laws (Common Dreams coverage).   

David Hogg spoke for about twenty minutes, challenging the rally attendees personally at many points.

I’ll embed videos 1 and 8 here.

Video 1.

David Hogg begins his speech at rally for A March for our Lives in DC 2202-6-11

Video 8.

In Video 8, at about 45 seconds, David starts to talk about what “I need from you”, making it personal with the people as their “fealty” to him.  That disturbs me a bit.  It sounds cultish.  At the end of that portion he asked for people to text a message to one address. (The same passage appears at 21.53 in the News2Share video below.) He repeats the clause “when I need you there” several times when talking about political action, as if activists should take orders from him specifically. That seems a bit blunt.

I have never joined an organization where I participated as a paean in mass activism, but that is something about me and my own set of circumstances (it would corrupt my personal “agency” but I might be able to stifle conventional activism even unintentionally) and  I’ll take up again soon.  (Look at a couple videos in March, “The Demands of Others”). 

Ford Fischer’s News2Share offers a complete speech filmed by T Jones.  News2Share allows embedding but (a warning!) requires licensing to use in your own video (his business includes licensing original footage to larger media outlets – I don’t have the capability set up myself to do that).  News2share has two smaller videos about Saturday’s event (Bowser’s speech, and a minor false alarm disturbance). Note in the News2Share video that David does seem to be reading some of the speech at the end (no teleprompter). But, a speech is like a podcast, and this speech could be matched with other video to make a compelling short film. David has written the “script”.

David Hogg complete speech, from News2Share

Sunday morning we learned on CNN, in an article by Dana Bash, Manu Raju and Donald Judd, “Bipartisan group of senators announces agreement on gun control”.   It is not clear this can get past a filibuster (another problem I hope Hogg has studied at Harvard).  It seems that Hogg’s speech shook up Congress a bit.  Add the ages of David Hogg and Joe Biden and you get 100.  It seems like David played president for a day. (He can’t be inaugurated until 2037, in time the worst of climate change; let’s hope we have our democracy then).  It’s interesting, to see someone who presents himself as immaculate, lean and cleancut, with almost military precision, speaks for the oppressed personally with very different social backgrounds from him.  Last summer, he showed himself learning to sail on Instagram.

CNN followed up with an op-ed, recommending rewriting or rescinding the Second Amendment. Authored by Bill Press, the title is “Opinion: There’s no way to fix the Second Amendment. Let’s just get rid of it”.  He discusses what he sees as the flaws of the D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008 and notes that Scalia had said that the 2nd Amendment did not stop Congress or states from limiting the kinds of weapons individuals can own. Well, you can oppose the NRA at get rid of gun manufacturers’ own version of “Section 230”. Or you might pervert the Texas and Oklahoma abortion laws in blue states for gun control (watch out).

I’m not sure that militias in the 18th century were just for white supremacy.  They also might have been needed against the British (we had the War of 1812, the impressment (“conscription”) issue too.  But many responsible individuals today see the right to defend themselves (and their families and properties) as indispensable to their personal agency.  Think of it as in an inverse relationship to conscription.

I would also be concerned that restrictions on 3-D printed weapons (including “ghosts”), while understandable, could have implications for other free speech problems not directly created to weapons (or illegal substances or practices). Look at the Defense Distributed case (Harvard Law Review). That’s a topic for another day.

During Saturday afternoon, I found out on Twitter (when I could get it to work – it doesn’t work when you are in large crowds with smart phones), when leaving the MFOL to go to Capital Pride), that the arrests in Coeur d’Alene Idaho this weekend were partially preventive, as there was concern about the possibility of a right-wing attack on a local gay pride celebration (after recent concerns about supposed ‘grooming’ covered in other posts).  The Pulse attack in 2016 was from radical Islam, not our own alt-Right, which rarely goes after individuals the way the extreme Left does.  News2Share also covered the events there this weekend (check the channel dated early today, and expect further videos).  MFOL learned about the concern mid-day Saturday but did not mention it at the DC Rally.  This is a developing story.  Daniel Walters has a story in the New York Times (paywall, available for gift), “Dozens of White Supremacists Arrested in Idaho Had Planned to Riot, Authorities Say”, story by Daniel Walters, June 12.

I have visited Coeur d’Alene once, in 1990, alone on vacation, and drove by the entrance to a white supremacist encampment at the time, in a rental car.  I didn’t take as many “journalistic” pictures at that time.  

(Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 10 PM by John W Boushka)

Climate change, “replacement” theory, guns, and personal nihilism all intersect

Near Uvalde, TX, 1985, near the southern end of the Texas Hill Country

There has been a lot of anguish in the news again the past two weeks, with two different shooting rampages.

I wanted to present three videos that offer some interesting perspective.

First, Al Jazeera-plus offers Sama Saeed giving the analysis “Replacement Theory Is Everywhere: Here’s Why” (May 26, 2022).  She starts out by reviewing the history of claims about the threat of overpopulation that were popular in previous decades.  She moves into the subject of climate change, with a rather blunt assessment that people in the world’s richest countries today are, by their consumption patterns, driving the carbon dioxide (and other) emissions.   Along the way, she touches on the inevitable temptation for societies to slide into eugenics.

Of course, one of the dangers today is that a country (like Russia now, apparently) will decide that there is not enough room in the world for any but its own “superior” people.  Indeed Putin deserves to be called “Putler”.  That is one reason why the sovereignty Ukraine now, even though it was within the previous Soviet orbit and not part of NATO, can be so critical in preventive something like a pre-emptive nuclear or even EMP war now.  This is what we call fascism now, and actually is a collective system, where loyalty to one’s own blood and soil is the demanded behavior (including giving it children).

near Black Mesa, OK, 2022-5-21

So we come next the notion that replacement theory (even as Tucker Carlson presents it in terms of importing “obedient voters”) as an ideology itself is dangerous and driving mass shootings.  It’s true, that in some of them, like Pittsburgh, New Zealand, El Paso, and Buffalo (recently) and Charleston SC in 2015, perpetrators have cited it.  But in many other incidents, there were many other driving circumstances, essentially a personal nihilism, as with Uvalde, Parkland FL, Dayton (which was left-wing driven), Rodger (incel), and even Columbine.   In a few cases, perpetrators have left “manifestos” of their ideologies, which often deal with personal failures and grievances more than with a specific alt-right ideology.

Niagara Falls NY/ON, near Buffalo, 2019-7-29

That leads us back to the resistance in the United States for consistent standards for background check or for limiting the possession of military-style weapons by civilians.  Yet Trump tells his supporters, “The existence of evil is one reason to arm law abiding citizens.”  Should you learn to use firearms to be a teacher?

OKC memorial for 1995 event, 2006 -7 photo

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now interviews  Robin Lloyd from Giffords.org. I remember the Giffords incident in Arizona in January 2011, the Saturday morning after my own return from a business trip.  

The mere accumulation of weapons in the US makes the interstate problem almost uncontrollable.  Compare that to Australia, a country with a lower population, with started a confiscation in 1996 after a single incident.  Add to this the complication of 3-D printed or ghost guns, which often do not work reliably for long. On the other hand, I understand the desire of a citizen to defend themselves (incl. family), and there are rarer cases (like that of a pregnant mom in Florida shooting a home invader) where the strength of the weapon seemed necessary.

Finally, Dr. Todd Grande examines “Dangers of Cowardice” and the partial inaction of the Uvalde police, which held back at first. Grande describes cowardice as the “shameful inability to control fear with retreat from danger”.  He says it is reasonable to expect less from police than military soldiers.  But think about conscription (male-only, as with Selective Service registration now, 30 days after 18th birthday – so is 18 too young to own guns as a civilian?), and what is demanded of men (biological males) in Ukraine right now, over an idea of national and ethnic identity.

(Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2022 at 4 PM by John W Boushka)

“When Claude Got Shot”: story of redemption after two pointless crimes in Milwaukee (review)

Amusement park near Charlotte NC, flyover, 2018-9

On Monday, May 9, 2022, some PBS stations aired the Independent Lens film “When Claude Got Shot”, directed by Brad Lichtenstein (PBS link).

Claude Motley is a black business owner in Charlotte, NC who had moved from Milwaukee. When he goes back for a high school reunion, he is carjacked by a 15 year old Nathan, who shoots him in the jaw during the crime.

Surgeons do a remarkable job of repairing his jaw to where it heals and is not that noticeable what had happened, but of the expense falls upon Claude as he gets into medical debt.  However, two days after the original crime, Nathan gets shot by a nurse defending herself and winds up paralyzed for life.

The film tells the stories of Claude and Nathan in parallel, in complete circles and perhaps character arcs. Nathan, black, has been raised relatively well and gone to a good school but seems to have turned to crime because of peer pressure and brain immaturity.  Nathan refused to cooperate well with the Wisconsin criminal justice system and winds up in adult prison in a wheelchair.

Claude resumes like in North Carolina and studies for the bar, which he does not pass.  But he has an opportunity to meet with Nathan in prison for a restorative justice session.  Claude goes through a forgiveness rite, and Nathan says that by the time he had turned eighteen he did not understand why be was so stupid at fifteen.  This is what Dr. Phil talks about as brain growth; many younger teen boys simply can’t see around corners.

{Recommended Milwaukee Picture} Wikpedia

Of course, we can ask how teenagers are getting their hands illegally on weapons all the time, as is happening in all big cities.  We are back to the world of MFOL (David Hogg). 

I have a script called “Williamsburg and Charlotte”.  This film might have been called “Milwaukee and Charlotte”. 

I have visited downtown Milwaukee twice, in 1992 and 2000.  The libertarian group Mythinformed sometimes has sessions in the Pabst Theater there.

The film aired at SXSW.   The production companies include 317 Productions and Black Public Media.

(Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 2 PM EDT by John W Boushka)