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TTAG reader Matt B writes:

I thought this applied well to the gun control conversation and something you’d be interested in. Last night I watched the film World War Z. Aside from being pleasantly surprised with something I had low expectations for, there was a philosophy portrayed by a country in the film that I thought was interesting. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it’s a worldwide zombie outbreak. In the course of events the protagonist makes his way to Israel, the only country to survive the outbreak in its entirety due to a gigantic wall built around the entire country. They finished the wall days before the outbreak which the protagonist calls them out on as “timing too good to be coincidence.” He asks them how they knew . . .

It is explained that after Israel ignored many disasters as “unable to happen to them” they created a policy on gathered intelligence. They explain that they have a 10 man security council, and when 9 of the 10 members vote to conclude that certain intelligence (in this case the existence of a zombie virus) is false, the 10th member must operate from the standpoint of that it is 100% accurate (hence the building of the wall.) The purpose is a fail-safe to ignoring a threat.

I thought this was an interesting analogy to the gun control argument in that the thought of a zombie outbreak is ridiculous, but in the film only one country took the possibility as even having an inkling of a chance, and as a result were safe. The argument against tyranny is viewed in our present time as just as absurd as protecting ourselves from zombies, however, like the film, if the “absurd” isn’t taken seriously, we’ll be woefully unprepared when it happens. Interestingly enough, one of the things the film cited as Israel’s reason for taking anything and everything partially seriously is the Nazi concentration camps.

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  1. The thing to remember about gun control supporters are that most come from two viewpoints.

    One is that firearms are too dangerous to be permitted in non-government hands.Folks with this mindset tend to have negative personal experiences with either a negligent fool ,or were crime victims and blame the gun instead of the lowlife who attacked them.

    The second category is the utopian believer who really thinks self defense is an imaginary need.Since they’ve never experienced the horror of being assaulted ,they believe in the sophistry that it never happens to anyone else.As anyone whose counseled a friend who indulges in a bad relationship knows, denial is a powerful drug.

    • There’s a third that I believe is the largest; The low information, kool aid drinkers that support whatever the liberal media, hollywood, and the current cool kids tell them. They don’t really think it through, they just want to be part of the crusade.

      • Type #4:

        The person who believes that “nobody is coming for your guns!” and that assault weapon bans are “reasonable.” This person probably believes in the right to self-defense, but they also believe that it’s OK to ban scary black guns because “nobody needs that.”

        They might even be a gun person themselves, but have bought into the stereotype that those black rifles on the shelf at Wal-Mart are select-fire 20mm anti-tank machine guns.

        They may not be a donating member of the Brady Campaign or anything, but they refuse to acknowledge the threat and vote for candidates like Obama because they believe that civilian disarmament is a crackpot conspiracy theory.

        • Type #5:

          One of these people that thinks armed self-defense is inherently immoral because:

          (a) They’re pacifists and they think everyone else should be too.

          (b) We might use our guns to violate the rights of the “accused” criminal breaking into our homes.

        • Type 6 of the gun control supporters. These are the ones who genuinely want you disarmed so you can either be subjugated or on the short list for elimination.

        • @A-Rod: While mulling 3-5 halfway through reading the first (1&2) post, type 6 occurred to me in all its unholy glory.

          The rest we can defeat slowly and with varying degrees of niceness, but type 6 needs to “protect” a wall from unslowed bullets.

        • Type 7 of the gun control supporters. These are the ones who have not earned any type of leadership or policy making role during their entire life, but have a desire to tell people that are different from themselves how to live their lives. These are the folks that are all about giving up your rights to guns, hunting, SUVs, privacy and self reliance. However, don’t tell them they can’t smoke pot or eat hamburgers, the batteries in the Prius are a net negative on the environment, its nobody’s business what I email my family and I don’t need govment taking care of me and mine, nor you and yourn on my dime.

        • Type 8: The blatantly racist

          I had a conversation with two people (from Maryland) that went like this: “Even with the impending (MD) ban we have enough money to buy whatever guns we want before the ban goes into place because we’re upper-middle class and have money, but with the ban, the poor blacks won’t be able to get them in time and we’re all safer.”

          They were dead serious and are no longer part of my life.

    • I found that to be one of the most hilarious and realistic moments of the movie. Too people assume that if bad comes to bad, they’ll just be able to pick up and use a gun because of CoD and/or Hollywood films. Better too train now and be safe rather than have zero skills when you and your family really need it.

      • Especially since Brad Pitt’s character specifically warns him to keep his finger off the trigger. I really appreciated that as a gun guy.

    • Anybody here ever seen the John Wayne flick “Big Jake?”

      There’s a delightful sequence involving a Mauser C96 which graphically demonstrates the truism that generalized knowledge of firearms or great skill with one or more type(s) doesn’t necessarily equate to the magical ability to just pick up and use an unfamiliar weapon.

      The first time I saw that sequence, I laughed my arse clean off and had to have it sewn back in place.

        • Really…?

          It looked very Mauserish or Bergmanish to me, and from the timeframe I just presumed it to be that “first commercially successful” automatic. I last saw the movie when I knew much less than I do now, and hadn’t thought of it for some time. The “professor” comment brought it to mind.

          Well, the object lesson still stands — familiarity is good.

          Hey — since you know so much (respectfully and with no sarcasm) I’ve always been curious what in Hell were the very non-Russian handguns used in the 1932 “Rasputin and the Empress?”

          They were neither at all Nagant-like nor S&W-like, and pretty much all revolvers in Russia at that time were Nagants and S&Ws. Some Hollywood revolverish prop, or some real, plentiful but non-apropos weapon?

          Inquiring minds want to know.

        • Can’t help you with that one Russ. Never heard of the movie. I might be able to get it if I saw a still photo. At that time in Russia revolvers were predominately S&W breaktops and 95 nagants. But other guns were around too. After the Bolshovics came to power they bought a large number of 96 mauser semi autos with a non standard 4 inch barrel. These are sometimes called bolos. I’d have to see a picture from the movie to make a call.

        • Sorry; I’ve no still. It’s the only movie in which all three Barrymores appeared together.

          The weapon type (all are the same) is definitely inappropriate, but I was wondering if it was even an actual gun. The one in Wizard of Oz, f’rinstance, is a non-gun prop.

          They did emit smoke, but that’s no sure indicator.

  2. Wasn’t the all but one thing a feature of traditional Jewish courts?

    Given that the movie is a loose adaptation of a book by the son of Mel Brooks, that kind of genius bonus should not surprise anybody.

    • The movie is no way even close to a loose adaptation of the book. The book is a collection of 1st person accounts of the entire z-pocalypse, from patient zero in china to recovery all across the world. The stories were well written and entertaining as hell. There however, was no Brad Pitt hollywood main character, so hollywood bought the name of the movie and damn near the only similiarity is that there were some zombies. I was even mildly entertained by the movie.

      • The movie basically had zero to do with the book. Max Brooks is on record against fast zombies..

        • I told a friend of mine who was asking about the movie you could have replaced the Zombies with the Velociraptors from Jurrasic Park and get the same effect. He saw it and agreed. Fast zombies just don’t scare me as much as slow zombies.

    • I haven’t seen the movie, but I have read the book, and from the moment I heard they cast Brad Pitt as the leading man I knew the movie would be nothing like the book, because the book has no place for a “leading man.” Right then, I knew I had to detach any expectations for the movie from my knowledge that there even was a book, because if I tried to relate them in any way, the comparison was doomed to failure.

      What the World War Z movie has in common with the book, by The Oatmeal:

    • Wait a minute here, I need a minute to catch up. Are you telling me that there are Zombie BOOKS?!? And that people actually read them?


    • Israel was destroyed by a woman with a microphone. Every single bad thing to happen in that movie was a woman’s fault. Car crash? Daughter. Lost camper? Daughter needing medicine. Seals dying? Wife calling. Israel? Stupid lady singing. Family kicked off safe boat? Israeli soldier girl not picking up the dang phone and calling Pitt’s handler, or just telling the Doc’s what was up. Zombies attacking group getting the “cure” in the cold storage lab? Israeli soldier girl breaking gun prohibition and alerting every single zombie in the building. Its a good thing allegory Jesus Pitt was there to save all those hapless dames.

  3. Holocaust. Progroms. Ghettos. It would surprise me to find a Jew that wasn’t paranoid. Only it’s not really paranoia if they actually are out to get you. I know we’ve talked this point to death on TTAG, but I’m still surprised by any Jew that supports gun control.

      • And I. I am very glad that you keep hammering this point, Robert. Our fellow Jews need to hear it over and over until they have changed their political views on guns (which, as we know, tends to happen slowly).

        • There are many stupid Jews, just as there are many stupid Christians. And if you look at the leadership of the gungrabbing movement, they have names like Malloy, Brady, Kelly, McCarthy, O’Malley, Casey, McCaskill, Leahy, Murphy — and they’re all Irish Catholic. You’d think that with a heritage of living under the English boot, they’d know better.

          So what does that mean? Absolutely nothing. No ethnic group has a monopoly on smart or on stupid.

          • I absolutely agree, and well said. My interest in changing the views of my fellow Jews is personal, because it bothers me that so many members of my local community are blind on this issue, and I think it is also a question of long-term survival as a people.

    • I’m pretty sure that most Israelis strongly believe in collective self defense as a nation – you know, strong standing army etc.

  4. That idea in the movie is absurd. Think of how much money and manpower would be spent on every boondoggle that someone thinks might happen? It’s not rational, and it would spiral a state into the ground.

    • Unless scientists and engineers make up half your country’s population (and unless the “boondoggle,” such as a giant wall, is useful to defend against more than one kind of threat).

    • In the book, they don’t spend a bunch of money one every absurd idea. However, the lone intelligence offer is supposed to follow up on and relentlessly pursue absurd ideas until concrete evidence is found. Contrasted with the US intelligence officers falling into step with the majority and ignoring absurdities.

    • The post doesn’t describe the idea quite right. The principle is that if nine out of ten agree, it’s the duty of the tenth to disagree and then fully investigate that opposite hypothesis. The purpose is to avoid groupthink. If the original hypothesis is true, then that should come out in the investigation. And if the nine are wrong, then they’ll have been saved from a potentially fatal mistake.

      In the case of World War Z, the Israelis get the same evidence everyone else does about the zombies. Nine out of ten of the group evaluating it agree it’s crazy. That leaves it for the tenth man to investigate, and he ends up turning up solid, convincing evidence that the outbreak is real and that they need to do something. That’s what leads them to build the wall.

    • The central theme is a bunch o’ zombies.

      I think we can afford to suspend disbelief with near totality.

      If you wand a somewhat-plausible storyline handled with the maximum possible stupidity and lack of concern for reality, look to Armageddon.

  5. The book lays out the context much better then the movie.In essence,when verified accounts of undead began to reach Isreali intelligence they actually acted on the information.The CIA and other nations round filed it:after all,what CIA or DGSE staffer is going to risk his career breifning his boss on “zombies”?

    Speaking to CCW,the lesson is that situational awareness can mean the difference between survival and destruction.The unarmed victim thinks nothing of the hoodie wearing guy paralleling them on a dark street.The aware pistol carrier processes the Intel for their survivial.

    Another relevant point-in the book,Isreal took a lot of political heat for making The Wall.Kinda like how us gun owners are labelled paranoid for carrying to the fast food joint.I suppose the lesson of Noah and the flood is still lost on humanity.

    • Haven’t read the books yet, but my sister claimed it was much better than the movie. She claimed the author approached it after having researched the system for responding to disease outbreaks and basically applied how CDC would react in this country for example.

      • You should read the book. Your sister isn’t lying, it is really good. You should also divorce yourself from any notion that the book and the movie are in any way related, with the two exceptions that first, they share a title, and second, they both put money in Max Brooks’ pocket.

      • I’ve never seen a movie that has been anywhere near as “good” as the book that inspired it. (for example, “Lord of the Flies” book version and movie version were both rather sucky.)

    • I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I am not a big fan of Vampires, wherewolves and Zombie stories.

      But once I got the idea that the whole thing was not really about zombies, the likelihood of those creatures as described in the book (and elsewhere) being entirely improbable and physiologically impossible, I understood that they were just a metaphor for ANY potential doomsday scenario that we (collectively) choose to ignore and/or do nothing to prepare to defend ourselves against.

      The closest thing that came to my mind in current events was the willingness of so many to pretend that radical Islam is not and cannot be a threat to the survival of our way of life. I will not say for certain that was what the author had in mind, but it is what occurred to me. There are any number of other disaster scenarios one could envision.

      If, for example, the estimate that 10% of Muslims are Islamo-fascist radicals is accurate, at what percentage point might they begin a viral-like infection of other, non-radical, Muslims? With over 1 billion on the planet 10% equals 100 Million.

      Not to belabor the Muslim point too hard, but as to threats in general at some point someone needs to take a look not just at the threat, but the potential of the threat to overwhelm prepared defenses. (Generals are always prepared to fight the previous war.) That was what I thought he was trying to say along with how disastrous it would be to ignore a threat until it was knocking on your front door.

      • ” I understood that they were just a metaphor for ANY potential doomsday scenario…”

        During the height of the “zombie craze,” a bunch of municipalities around the country would hold Zombie Emergency Response drills, and quite a few caught flack for it for “wasting our tax dollars” and the like. What those small-minded critics didn’t realize was that the Emergency Response Plan that they were drilling/testing may have said Zombies at the top, but the actions and reactions were solid standins for virtually any situation regarding some sort of contagion and the response to it. Being about zombies just made it fun, or if not fun, at least not “just another drill” for those involved.

        • True. And if they would take just one more little step and change the title to Militia Training, we’d be in good shape.

        • “if they’d just take one more step and change the title to Militia Training…”

          Every single suburbanite housewife with 2.5kids and an SUV will flip the hell out thinking that a bunch of mouth breathing inbred racists are running around the woods shooting at stuff with no regards to the safety of others while plotting to blow up buildings that belong to our benevolent and trustworthy government that is only trying to help us. The soccer moms are better with the wierd kids playing zombie survival than they are with the wierd kids playing militia.

          I believe it was Chris Rock who said it best: “Don’t scare the white people”. Christopher Titus also had a pretty good one that ended with all the white people in the audience appologizing for racism and slavery at once, then turning it around and saying “see how fast we can get organized?”

          Normalize the idea first, then change the title to “Militia Training”.

          • Well, I wasn’t exactly being completely serious – but, that said, I do not agree that we should worry so much about alarming the opposition. The Left has certainly never worried about that, which is how they have forced their policies on us again and again, by hook or by crook (see, e.g., the last four decades of Supreme Court decisions). People become habituated to activity only after others start doing the activity. First it’s strange, then it’s normal, then it’s good. If we worry about offending people, we’ll never do much.

            • Be careful with that. I don’t think it’s a good thing to turn oneself into the enemy for the sake of a Pyrrhic victory.

              • We only turn ourselves into enemies when we don’t support each other. If someone is fighting for gun rights, he should be supported, even if we don’t fully agree with him. If someone is opposed to gun rights, he should be opposed, even if we agree partly with him. We’re facing continual onslaughts by impassioned gun-loathers. We’re not dealing with people who can be reasoned with. It’s the people who claim they support gun rights but then criticize other gun rights supporters who end up weakening our political efforts.

                This is not a shot at you. I’m talking about people like Toomey, Manchin, and others who try to appear “reasonable” and make “compromises” that give away the whole fight. And I’m talking about some folks who are NRA members who criticize the GOA or the JPFO. Gun rights supporters can’t agree on everything – but the Left is more than happy to take advantage of any inclination to “moderation” on our part. There is no justification for being “moderate,” i.e., lukewarm, in defense of a fundamental freedom that has already been more than half-erased.

  6. “one of the thing’s the film…”

    One of the thing is the film…? An apostrophe is never used to form a plural of an ordinary (i.e., non-acronym) word.

    Rich Grise, Self-Appointed Chief
    Internet Apostrophe Police

    • Actually, no. With an acronym, e.g. “RADARs, SONARs, LASERS and MASERs,” (oh, my) or “the various FBIs, CIAs and so on.”

      The apostrophe is possessive only, as in “the FBI’s purview,” or “the RIS’ budget.”

      Russ Bixby, whose grammar makes great cookies.

      • “apostrophe is never used to form a plural of an ordinary (i.e., non-acronym) word. Rich Grise, Self-Appointed Chief Internet Apostrophe Police”

        “Actually, no. With an acronym, e.g. “RADARs, SONARs, LASERS and MASERs,” (oh, my) or “the various FBIs, CIAs and so on.”;”

        Oh. OK, even acronyms. Guess I’ve been letting them slip through the cracks! Thanks!

  7. If you think the movie is good, read the book. The book is phenomenal, and goes much further in depth into Israel and their techniques than the movie does. Not to mention it is written in an entirely different format than the movie was made in.

    For those that have read the book, my favorite chapters were the astronaut and submarine chapters. What about you?

    • I really enjoyed the whole thing, but I especially liked the section about the castles in Europe being restored to their original purpose. I don’t even remember the submarine chapter, so I’m going to read it again.

    • I know he never comes out and says it, but I love the imagery of the Queen fighting off zombies with a sword. Also, for some reason I really, really liked the interview with the merc who was hired to help guard all the celebrities.

  8. I hate and I do mean HATE all things Zombie with the exception of books written by Max Brooks and “Shaun of the Dead” and Shaun is kinda iffy.

    World War Z is a great read.

  9. World War Z (the book) and the Zombie Survival Guide are indeed great and Brooks knows something about guns. For Zombie work, a .22 head shot is the key, he says. Who am I to disagree?

    • I would have to heartily disagree with the thought he knows about guns. He said an AR platform would be bad because ammo is hard to find and only the military really uses them, so getting magazines and parts would be impossible.

  10. Bob, I know anything that makes you feel good about guns is wonderful and true and everything. But THERE ARE NO SUCH FARKING THINGS AS ZOMBIES. This is a FANTASY. It’s NOT REAL.

  11. I am the 9th man on the idea of our government going for all out gun grabbing and eliminating the second amendment.

  12. Israel survived the outbreak in the movie?

    Last i recall Israel being brought up in the movie, we see that its being fully overrun by zombies.

    Now the book on the other hand….

    The only similarities between the book and the movie is that there are zombies involved. In the book, they’re the classic slow moving type while in the movie they all run with Usain Bolt speed.

  13. Call me paranoid if you want but I don’t put gun confiscation past Boobama,at this point,if he attacks Syria without Congressional approval then I look for him to order more gun laws by his own hand!The only thing that will stop him is the armed populace.As for impeaching Boobama if he attacks Syria on his own,our folks on Capital Hill don’t have enough grit between all of them to do it.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

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