Hello Herman (2012)

The right to bear arms is one of the most controversial amendments in the American constitution. Apparently this controversy only applies to guns though, as congress and the NRA don’t seem to be majorly concerned with say, Chinese throwing stars, knives or swords. I mean, it goes without saying that someone with a large collection of machetes, improvised knuckle dusters and samurai swords, would be leaning towards the psychopathic, yet a large gun collection and a penchant for spending your weekends murdering, skinning and gutting animals is considered just plain normal.
Double standards one might say.
It seems you can’t get through a week these days without a mass shooting, or a racially motivated cop on civilian crime, ending in mass fatalities. People pray for the victims, rail against the shooter, and then go out and shoot (ahem) gun sales through the roof.
Wayne LaPierre of the NRA said after Newtown, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Stupidity breeds stupidity also, but apparently, this so called ‘logic’ is not lacking in common sense with these gun toting fearful folk, for they don’t consider that statistically guns are rarely used to kill criminals or in self defence. Go figure. Instead there is a growing number of accidental deaths, children dying by catching stray bullets and yet the need to arm oneself with a deadly weapon is sadly not dissipating.
The reason why guns are so popular as a method of murder, is because is it a cowards choice. To kill someone with a gun, you pull a trigger, feel the adrenaline of the recoil, and it’s as easy as bang bang you’re dead. There is no connection between killer and victim, therefore there is no culpability; unfortunately it’s so easy a child could do it, and, with growing frequency, they do.
When you stab someone, strangle them, beat them, you need strength, and you need to get up close and personal with your intended. With a gun, you need a gun and the motivation to kill – you barely have to look at that person to extinguish their existence.
Even the inventor of the AK-47 , Mikhail Kalashnikov, spoke of his regrets at creating the gun the end of his life, on writing to the Russian Orthadox Church, he is quoted as saying “I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle claimed people’s lives, then can it be that I… a Christian and an Orthodox believer, was to blame for their deaths?” he wrote:
“The longer I live, the more this question drills itself into my brain and the more I wonder why the Lord allowed man to have the devilish desires of envy, greed and aggression.”
Bit late then, though mate, eh?
When you live in a country where a woman needs to jump through flaming hoops, legally, medically, psychologically and not to mention, ethically to have an abortion, when good healthcare is bought and sold, and often light years out of reach for those who need it most; yet a person with a history of mental instability, can obtain a deadly weapon with little or no barrier, then you live in a country where morality and common sense has taken a leave of absence.
Blaming the shooter, or the parents of the shooter is all too easy, but the fact is that killers are created and not born. Being a target, being invisible, feeling alone, feeling overwhelmed, feeling pressured, being ill, being poor, being over entitled, having your heart broken,  being a bigot, being religious, being an atheist – we know these people. We are these people. But for the grace of circumstance, you could be pushed to a breaking point by society or psychology.

It is the fault of every person who sees the effects of a massacre and still rallies against gun control, who doesn’t want to see universally free health care, and who ignores the full text of the second amendment which states
”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It doesn’t exactly apply to any argument that the right wing media, the NRA or the pro gun people use for their gun ownership, really now, does it?
Hello Herman is the story of a mass shooting at a high school in Any Town, USA. The shooter, Herman, contacts a liberal Vlogger named Lax with footage he took of the murders, and a request to tell his side of the story.
Norman Reedus and Garrett Backstrom are brilliant as the two leading roles, with a chemistry that is rare these days in any film. The script is a clever concept, though sadly, never quite reaches the its true potential. It’s meandering, and a little disjointed in parts, and sadly seems to contribute little to the debate in it’s plot. It lacks the intensity of Elephant, the empathy of Zero Day, and the heartbreaking reality of Bang Bang You’re Dead.
This film is excellent for one reason though, when we keep a conversation going by merely addressing the subject in film. It does attempt to show the impact that such senseless crimes cause, on both the victims, their families and society in general, and the fact that director Michelle Danner was brave enough to open a dialogue, deserves credit.
Sadly though, Hello Herman is a little anaemic in its commentary, and though the tongue in cheek look at the media analysis will give a wry smile or two, it never scratches the surface, feeling almost one dimensional in places and extremely stilted.
The fact is that horror loves guns, and we love to watch horror films for the blood, the guts and the aftermath, because it’s a form of escapism from real life; but guns in real life are not fun, nor should the pain of the victims and their families be made salacious media fodder, or marginalised because you still want your phallic style boomstick to make you feel good and powerful.
Guns are made for murder and murder is the end result.

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