It’s not as if I write the kind of suspense novels that involve guns. I confess to having really enjoyed clay pigeon shooting whenever I’ve done it, but I've never fired at anything else in my life. I abhor violence, I'm scared by loud noises, my testosterone levels are waaaaaaay below my gentle feminine ways...
So how come I enjoy the gun-toting, action-packed thrillers at the movies?
I'm a late follower to the blog Cracked - when I scooped up its feed, I found loads of other online friends already following! Some of its articles - or are they just lists? - are fun, some of them are bizarre, and all of it fascinating. So as I'm currently winging my way over the Atlantic on my way home from an extended trip to New Orleans and San Francisco (yes, maybe I'll tell you all about it in my *next* blog post *g*) and I'm time-challenged AND jet-lagged, I'm going to borrow shamelessly today for our entertainment from one of Cracked's posts, called:
5 Ridiculous Gun Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies)
(I've only posted brief excerpts here, scroll down to find the link to the full article)
#5. Silencers Turn Gunfire Into a Gentle Whisper
Where You've Seen It: In The Line Of Fire, Die Hard 2, No Country For Old Men, Shooter, practically every James Bond movie.
The Myth: Cautious spies and assassins know that if you're going to take out a bad guy in an office or a library, be sure to use a silencer. It turns the concussive "bang" into a neutered "ptew." Itty-bitty handguns aren't the only things you can silence. Giant freaking shotguns can even be fitted with a special silencer that renders them inaudible in quiet suburban neighborhoods.
The Problem: Exploding gunpowder is loud. Really loud. A little metal tube won't do a whole lot to stop that. It does not make a soft phut that you could mistake for a kitten landing on a pillow. An unsilenced gunshot is around 140 to 160 decibels--that's in the range where hearing it once can permanently damage your ears. If you've never had a gun go off next to you, trust us when we say it's loud enough that your whole body will flinch at the sound of it. So a silencer really just makes a large gun sound like a smaller gun. If you're James Bond and are sneaking into the enemy's compound with a silenced pistol, you're basically hoping the guards will decide your gun is too small and wimpy to be a serious threat, and leave you be.
#4. Machine Guns are Magical Death Machines
Where You've Seen It: Starship Troopers, The Mummy, Max Payne, Commando, every John Woo movie, Scarface.
The Myth: It's an old joke by now that nobody runs out of bullets in action movies (unless it's suddenly convenient to the plot, that is). So much so that that most of us have wound up with an utterly ridiculous concept of how those guns work. They're seriously depicting these things firing a hundred times more bullets than they can actually hold.
The Problem: Full-auto is only really used for suppression, that is, to make the bad guys duck their heads and hunker down while your people maneuver into position. In fact, virtually all bullets are used for this. For each insurgent killed, 250,000 shots are fired that hit absolutely nothing. About three tons of ammunition for every one dude killed.
#3. Bulletproof Vests Are Magical Force Fields
The Myth: In movies, body armor (made from a material called Kevlar) turns most guns from magical death-wands to hilariously overbuilt Airsoft rifles. A burst of fire from an AK-47 at point-blank range would turn most men's torsos into gooey paste suitable for spreading on crackers, but add a slab of Kevlar and you might as well have a Gandalf's magic protection bubble glowing around your torso.
The Problem: In the real world, the type of bulletproof vest you can actually conceal under your clothes provides exceptional protection against most handguns. But against an assault rifle like the terrorists use? It's only slightly more effective than body paint and prayers to Khorne. When police wear body armor they don't tend to wear full military body armor. Probably because it weighs 33 freaking pounds and costs thousands of dollars. Since less than one percent of gun crimes involve military-style rifles, this is generally a pretty safe trade-off.
#2. Gratuitous Cocking
Where You've Seen It: Boondock Saints, Die Hard, Reservoir Dogs.
The Myth: Movies treat the cocking of a gun like an exclamation point. When Hardass McBadCop interrogates the lone surviving henchman, you can safely assume that, at some point, he's going to make his gun go "clickety-clack" to let the poor schmuck know he means business.
The Problem: That "click" is the sound of a hammer being cocked back, but it doesn't mean anything. The gun was already good to go. Guns are made so that pulling the trigger also cocks the hammer for you, to save you the extra step and the extra two seconds during which you could get shot. The "cocking the gun to show you mean business" must date back to Westerns, back when those old revolvers forced you to cock them between each shot. When movies show somebody with a gun that doesn't have a hammer back there to be cocked (like a shotgun or assault rifle) they substitute either the pumping of the shotgun or pulling back the slide on the automatic. It's the only way to get a cool clicking sound for dramatic effect.
(am I worried this is my favourite picture?! LOL)
#1. Bullets Explode Everything
Where You've Seen It: Jaws, Casino Royale, Matrix Reloaded.
The Myth: In the movies, bullets and anything mildly flammable have a matter/anti-matter relationship. The second hot lead touches a car's gas tank, it and everyone inside are going up in flames.
The Problem: The manufacturers of automobiles and pressurized containers really don't like liability lawsuits. If their products could be turned into a fireball the size of a city block with nothing more than a sudden impact or puncture, every car accident would look like the Fourth of July, every pile-up would look like a
And here's the link to the original post at Cracked, penned by Robert Evans.
So how many of these were a surprise to you? How many of these scurrilously misleading movies have you watched and loved (like me) - and will you ever be able to watch the re-runs of Die Hard with quite the same wide-eyed innocence again?