For the record, I don’t like guns. Along with money and lust (for power, for sex, for, well, money), they’re the root of all evil.
But there was a period when I briefly considered buying one. It was right after I was attacked and robbed in my apartment in Buenos Aires. Since the police didn’t seem particularly eager to do anything about it, a bit of a vigilante streak crept in. It didn’t last long, though. Eventually, I realized that even if I’d owned a gun, since the intruders entered my apartment while I was out, they probably would have found the gun and used it on me when I surprised them with my unexpected return.
So in a sense, I owe my life to not owning a gun.
Guns are pretty much useful only if you’re going to walk around town packing heat (and the thought of civilians running around with pistols in their backpacks terrifies me more than any murderous burglar), or if you happen to be home when the intruder shows up. Of course, even then, there are no guarantees. I had a friend in Buenos Aires, who once woke up in the middle of the night staring down the barrel of a gun. He lived to tell me the tale, but what use would a gun in his bottom drawer have served?
All that said, I do fantasize about the ways in which I would defend myself if my life and limbs were threatened once again, and I love to live vicariously through self-defensive, vigilante- and revenge-minded characters, generally female, on TV and in movies, like Jodie Foster in The Brave One (or Valiente, as it was called in Argentina, in a rare case of a Spanish title for a U.S. film improving upon the English one) or Farrah Fawcett in Extremities and The Burning Bed or Sigourney Weaver in Death and the Maiden or Anne Archer in Fatal Attraction or Jennie Garth on Beverly Hills, 90210 or Tony Soprano’s sister.
The other night I was watching a rerun of Desperate Housewives in which Katherine Mayfair was standing over her wounded ex-husband (Gary Cole, as hot as he was on Midnight Caller in the late ’80s), who was taunting her with threats to come after her once again after serving time in prison. (Dana Delany, who played Katherine, is such a fabulous actress that she can sell hot and cold, unhappy homemaker, vengeful woman scorned, and lesbian, all in the space of three seasons.) She’d never be free of him.
I cheered her on, and I cheered on her neighbors as they lied to the police in order to set their friend free. As Jacqueline Susann wrote, once is not enough, and apparently, it wasn’t for Desperate Housewives in the vigilante/self-defense department. Last season’s cliffhanger had the Wisteria Lane ladies once again covering for a nearest and dearest, this time Carlos, who had just bludgeoned to death the wicked stepfather who had sexually abused Gabrielle as a child and had returned to pick up where he left off.
Once again, I cheered on all involved. But why lie? Would the police actually arrest someone for murder that was clearly in self-defense, or in defense of a loved one?
Of course, they would. That’s what the writers of General Hospital are counting on right now. Lisa Niles, thanks to the assistance of public enemy No. 1 Anthony Zacchara, woke up from a months-long coma with super-human strength and headed to a boat to terrorize Patrick Drake and Robin Scorpio. En route, she knocked out several people, killed the boat’s captain and tossed poor Elizabeth Webber overboard. Her master plan: to inject Patrick with Robin’s HIV-infected blood.
It’s not bad enough that the GH scribes (who can pen excellent dialogue but can’t write a decent story to save their lives — or their jobs) would come up with the most tasteless plot in the history of soap operas, but now they actually want to turn the death of Lisa Niles into a murder mystery. Bloody murder?!?! Of a dangerous and armed (with deadly syringes full of God knows what) lunatic as lethal as any mobster in Port Charles?
Puh-leeze. I know it’s only a TV show, but as I watched the unfathomable goings-on onscreen, I wished I could climb into the TV and exact my own vigilante justice on Lisa, for all of her misdeeds, including setting into motion this most ridiculous storyline.
In reality, I may be no killer. But I’d gladly play one on TV.