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Westworld: A Show That Reveals Killing Is as American as Apple Pie

There are many who understand the fear the actors on Westworld are trying to convey.

Demonstrators hold signs on March 24, 2018 in Washington, D.C. during the March for Our Lives.

Demonstrators hold signs on March 24, 2018 in Washington, D.C. during the March for Our Lives. (Photo: Mobilus In Mobili/flickr/cc)

Wow! Westworld is back with a vengeance. Literally.

If you thought those pesky robots were gonna stop with just killing their creator who killed their other creator, you were in for quite a surprise.

Oh yeah, spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen the show, keep reading anyway, because this column isn’t really about the TV show—it’s about humanity—and you can get a good glimpse of that anywhere, not just HBO.

Man, do those brilliant writers of that blood-drenched series know their audience or what? I mean after just two second season episodes the cable network signed on for a third season.

And the special effects! Holy blood splatter! They can digitally reproduce an exploding skull with the best of them. Not to mention the way the on-screen scientists thought of everything. Seriously, brains running down the window, what could be more authentic?

I have to admit, I don’t like confessing what a light-weight I am. But I had serious nightmares after watching the seemingly indiscriminate killing done by all those borderline sentient automatons. I mean, they were intended to be used and discarded by society and then: Bam! They’re terrorizing and annihilating everyone they can get their hands on!

How in the world could Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy come up with such a frightening scenario? I mean, who in the world could conjure anything so petrifying?  Like, could anyone imagine the fear we’re expected to feel for those actors? Portraying the sitting duck victims of such senseless violence? Nobody can imagine that!

Except maybe those Parkland kids.

Or the students that went to Columbine. Maybe a few of the Newtown first graders who lost their recess buddies before they lost their baby teeth. Maybe they could tell us. Perhaps Sargeant Carrio of the Newtown police has an idea how gruesome reality really is. His grizzly narration of entering the elementary school and searching “piles of bodies” to see if anyone survived are no doubt the sort of chilling truisms we need when watching a pretend program riddled with gun violence. I mean no fiction writer can beat that line where Carrio explains how he found all those little tiny bodies were under that one dead adult. Silly teacher tried to the old human shield trick. That one never works—not even in the movies.

Now that I think of it, the survivors of that gore-filled Orlando nightclub understand the fear the actors on Westworld are trying to convey. According to news reports, truckloads of blood-soaked survivors could tell a horror story or two.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m going to bring up those poor unfortunate souls in Las Vegas next. Perhaps I’ll mention the church congregation wiped out in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Now that was a scene so like television, it almost makes ya think that the gun nuts who oppose rational gun control measures can’t afford HBO, or don’t even have a TV!

No. I won’t harp on the big famous shootings to remind you that the Parkland kids, the Orlando Nightclub people, the Aurora movieplex crowd all know the terror of watching friends’ bodies explode and therefore deserve our unwavering respect and continued protection for as long as those memories fill their heads. No, I’ll mention the five folks gunned down outside the Marcus Garvey Apartments in Brooklyn on Tuesday.  One dead guy took a bullet in the guts, another in the head, and we now know from Westworld, those sorts of things made an unpleasant mess of people.

I hear the NRA and others are picking on these mass shooting survivors and I don’t know what kind of ignoramus ridicules a person who has lived through a real live scene from Westworld. But if HBO’s blockbuster program has taught me anything, it’s that those survivors have some scenes in their head that will horrify them as long as they live. Scenes that weren’t invented to entertain—just like the guns that killed their friends weren’t invented to keep anyone safe.

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Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche is an author, activist and advocate. She is the author of "Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States."  Her new novel, The Magic Diary, is due out in late spring.

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