Sunday, March 24, 2013

When Did The Ford Hall Forum Become A Drinking Game?

How was that?  At the end of the presentation, we were encouraged to ask questions.  But we were first admonished to remember that a question starts with "Who; what; why; where; when and ends in a question mark." by Edward Powell, the executive director of  StreetSafe Boston and the evenings moderator.

So how is that for a question?  It starts with "where" and ends in a question mark.  I hope is also conveys my disappointment with the "Ford Hall Forum".

Being the nerd I am, I would happily spend all my time traipsing from one lecture, presentation, forum to another all around Boston and the surrounding area.

So last Thursday, armed with birthday money (thanks Mum & Dad) for a nice dinner and a cab ride home, I set out for Suffolk University.  The Ford Hall Forum topic presented for discussion on March 21st was "Guns Don't Kill People, The Media Kills People".  Now before we go further, let me point out that a forum is, according to Websters, "A public meeting place for open discussion".  And thus it is not a lecture.  This will be important to remember later on.

The moderator, Edward Powell, gave a short presentation on the topic and his background working with Boston's youth and his efforts to stem violence, gun and otherwise.  It's very laudable work, if there were something I could do to assist him, I would.  I get right off the bat where he will be coming from during this forum and I understand.

Then Mr. Powell introduced our two speakers on the topic; John Rosenthal the founder of Stop Handgun Violence.  Mr. Rosenthal in the program handed out, describes himself as a gun owner and reiterates that point several times over the course of the night.  Mr. Rosenthal wants you to know that he is not against gun ownership, and tries to make the point several times with stories of skeet shooting and duck hunting.

Our second speaker is Charlton McIlwain, associate Professor of Media, Culture & Communications at NYU Steinhardt.  I would hazard a guess that Professor McIlwain thought he was brought in to discuss the media's view and impact on gun violence, I know I was there for that discussion.

Instead it was a diatribe against the NRA and Republicans.  A rant about people who require more than three rounds in a gun - that's all they give you when you duck hunt.  And for the most surreal aspect of the evening during the Q&A there was a celebration of how marchers on Washington and the Mai Li Massacre stopped the Vietnam war.  It was the most ridiculous bit of revisionist history I have seen outside of an Oliver Stone movie.

We were treated to such half truths like Republicans, surrounded with issues of great import are only concerned with the cancellation of White House tours.  This information was greeted with gasps, then murmurs of approval.  Evil, useless Republicans (remember, this is Boston)!  Of course Mr. Rosenthal left out all the examples where POTUS wastes far in excess of $18K per week (the cost of the tours).  It's what is known as "Washington Monument Syndrome" and it's a very valid criticism......when you tell the whole truth.

We were also informed that we must strike at this issue while it's hot in the wake of Sandy Hook. You see, these gentlemen, Rosenthal & McIlwain want you to know that no one cared when black boys are killed, but now we have white babies.  So that's an important fact to know, there has been no serious discussion of gun control until now because we are all racist pigs.

You think that's disgusting?  Oh no!  You haven't heard anything yet.  Mr. Rosenthal wants America to WAKE UP.  You know how he wants to do it?  He wants to get his hands on post mortem pictures of Sandy Hook victims.  He claims each child was hit 3 to 11 times.  And he wants to take these pictures and post them on his Mass Pike billboard!!!!

So anyway after explaining we are all racist and we can't make good decisions without gory pictures of bullet riddles babies..........the rest of the talk called for national gun owners registry, restricting types of guns and ammo, etc.  One unintentionally humorous idea that Mr. Rosenthal proffered was that Smith & Wesson produce guns like the one James Bond used in "Skyfall".  Great movie, don't miss it.  Anyway, the gun only works in Mr. Bond's hand and for no one else.  Who is going to buy that?  You know I have only been shooting twice, but half the fun of the other participants was trying each others guns.  Some people buy and resell guns.  What's the market on a gun that only shoots for one person?  Smith & Wesson, like most other businesses in this country are in it to make money.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

Mr. Rosenthal listed off horrific incidence of how many suicides, accidental deaths workplace violence happen every year in the US.  He incorrectly added Fort Hood which is not "workplace violence" but was an act of terrorism.  But there is risk and death and injury all around us.  Ban cars and you'll save more lives.  If this is your attitude, take away guns, cars, swimming pools, bathtubs, washing machines, staircases, knives, baseball bats, bycycles, boats.  Just wrap every kid in cotton batting and sit him in a climate controlled room, and feed him through a tube (can't have him choking on less than well chewed food).  Mind you, it won't help save all the children who get cancer

And never mind that face that more than 50 million Americans own handguns and never do anything wrong.

There was also an aggravating, aggressive mind-numbing misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment.

Did I get everything?  Lies, half truths, bad ideas.........oh yeah.  The drinking game.

Had I been so inclined and brought an adult beverage with me.  Then say I took a drink every time Mr. McIlwain finished up a Rosenthal point with "Well I basically agree." And/or a drink every time John Rosenthal said "When I was at the White House".  I would have been hammered.


HMS Defiant said...

You shouldn't torture yourself so. It's like watching MSNBC or CNN or TV at all for that matter. On this topic neither side will even listen to the arguments put forward by the other.

BostonMaggie said...

Normally a Ford Hall Forum is nothing like MSNBC. But it's funny you mention it because Rosenthal made a point of saying he had appeared on MSNBC. Was that my clue? should I have left then?

Seriously, other forums I have attended have had both sides. They are often controversial. It's customary to have the Boston Police present.

Edward Wagner said...

The Ford Hall Forum use to host the likes of everyone from Malcolm X to Bill Buckley to Ayn Rand. What struck me about the year's speaker's list was how boring most of it sounded, with a few exceptions of interest only to lefty wonks. And most of the speakers I had never heard of.

Why not start our own forum? Both sides talk to themselves too much but I think the left has forgotten how to talk to anyone else.

BostonMaggie said...

Next up is Barney Frank. I won't be going to that one. But I agree, I have heard so many interesting people at these forums. This year is disappointing.

Who will speak at our first forum?