“Chicago Med’s” Stupid Gun Tricks


Dick Wolf’ (Law and Order) has a new NBC show, “Chicago Med” (one of a series, including “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Pet Shop,” or something: I can’t keep track). Tonight, the liberal activist’s hospital drama gave its audience a plot involving an NRA member’s wet dream gone horribly wrong. A man with an assault-type weapon bursts into a movie theater, sparking a mass panic and stampede and causing many injuries and at least one death. A mild-mannered, bespectacled young man in the audience (think Bernard Goetz, because that’s who the series wants you to think of) pulls out his pistol and shoots the gunman. He’s interviewed on the scene by an eager news media, and hailed as a fast-thinking hero.

Ah, but all is not what it seemed, or did seem. The “gunman” was a teen prankster with a website, who was filming material, and carrying not a weapon, but a leafblower. The hero, who had a concealed carry permit (he had been mugged in the past), wasn’t a hero at all, but the shooter of an unarmed kid—you know, just like all these trigger-happy cops. (The Mad Leaf Blower almost dies, but is saved by a liver transplant from a woman who died in the panic he started. Give-me-a-break. ). Now everyone at the hospital is looking at the one-time hero like he smells bad. He is overcome with remorse, and being relentlessly attacked on social media.

So he steps in front of a car, and is killed.

The lesson, of course, is that guns are a curse: fear of mass shootings caused the panic, and a legal gun made a bad situation worse. It’s a false lesson. The shooter did the right thing. The prankster was literally demonstrating why it’s wrong to shout fire in a crowed theater, and was not 10%, not 50%, not 85%, but 100% responsible for every resulting tragedy. He should enjoy his ill-gotten liver while sitting in prison for the next decade or two. That the shooter didn’t save lives (actually, he may have saved lives anyway by short-circuiting the panic) was pure moral luck, for the shooter just as easily could have had a gun: which is more likely when someone dressed as a terrorist charges into a theater, that he has a leaf blower, or a deadly weapon?

This was  manipulative and intellectually dishonest anti-gun propaganda not mitigated by the anti-hoax message or even by the sympathy of some of the doctors for the unfortunate shooter’s plight. Wolf thinks he proved that guns are bad even when they seem to be good. All he proved to me is how extensive and powerful the forces are that will go to any lengths to disarm us.

25 thoughts on ““Chicago Med’s” Stupid Gun Tricks

  1. Give-me-a-break” or several. Per show. It’s just going to get worse. They ran out of plot lines years ago, and the ability of writers to develop a compelling narrative along a single line may be a lost art. Quality can become somewhat attenuated when spread over 189 competing channels even if most Americans, according to Neilson in 2014, regularly watch only {give-me-another-break} 17 channels.

  2. Dick Wolf has a history of doing things like this. I remember not that long ago SVU had an episode ostensibly about GamerGate, and it was just awful. I mean… cards on the table, GamerGate has a weakness in that the moderates don’t get to control who is on the hashtag, and there’s just as much vitriol in there as there is anywhere else in Twitter… But the SVU episode tried to analogize those guys with ISIS. No hyperbole: Mask wearing, gun toting, gang raping terrorists.


    It was so groanworthy even Jezebel panned it. Jezebel.


  3. Just slightly ironic, considering the “Chicago empire” seems to be perfectly OK with “cowboy” cop behavior (Halstead, Ruzek) and police brutality (Voight, Olinsky). It wasn’t intended to go there, in fact Hank Voight was originally supposed to be a dirty cop and an all-around bad guy, but apparently there was enough potential in him that Wolf brought him back from the brink.

    I also thought they got a little too politically correct with season 2’s 2-parter in which there was the bombing of the hospital, the set-up of the Syrian ambassador’s men and a Muslim orderly which both turn out to be dead ends, and the plot finally leading to anti-government racists (of course). It leads me to wonder if last season’s apocalyptic episode where a Muzzie whacko does blow himself up in the ER was done to counterbalance that and prove they were not slaves to political correctness.

    Checking Wikipedia’s entry on Mr. Wolf, though, it does not indicate any liberal tendencies on his part in terms of activism or donations or anything like that. In fact he was a classmate of GWB at Phillips and an altar boy growing up, and Dianne Wiest left Law and Order because she thought the plots were too Republican in nature. What he is is a producer who specializes in plots “ripped from the headlines,” and that’s exactly what he did here. He also knows how to play to the audience on both sides of the aisle, which is probably part of why Law and Order lasted 20 years and SVU has lasted 17, both of which are pretty durable for crime dramas. I’d look to Aaron Sorkin, Norman Lear and Barbara Hall for truly partisan programming, and none of their series lasted anywhere near as long as Wolf’s. I’d also point to Rod Lurie’s naked Hillary promotion “Commander-in-Chief” which sank under its own weight after one season.

    Now, what we can talk about, certainly, is the ethics of jumping on a headline to create a television show while nerves are still raw from that headline. We can also talk about the ethics of revisionism, which all of the dramatic folks I mentioned above are guilty of – Sorkin’s attempt to create a Clinton administration with scruples and monogamy, Hall’s attempt to create a Hillary who was reasonably on the ball, told the truth, and was out for something other than herself, and any number of cases that Wolf had his teams take that ended with someone who escaped justice in real life getting his just desserts.

  4. ” …an NRA member’s wet dream…”

    There are (conservatively speaking) twice the number of CCW permit holders in the US as there are NRA members. Conscientious legally armed citizens deter and interrupt hundreds of armed criminals every year, often without firing a shot. I doubt that very many -even in the subset of them who are members of the evil NRA- have “wet dreams” of using deadly force, I say this as a National Rifle Association member for 48 years, since I began competitive shooting while in high school JROTC. Now retired after four decades in law enforcement, I continue to legally carry (state carry permit and LEOSA) virtually everywhere I go, certainly not with any desire to use deadly force, but prepared to do so if necessary. This would be true whether or not I was affiliated with the NRA.
    But thanks for the heads-up about another TV series that I will now be sure not to watch.

  5. It’s not the worst ethics breach I’ve seen on Chicago Med. My parents love the show and sometimes I have to sit through it with them; once I saw a doctor snatch life-saving equipment out of the hands of another doctor, wanting to use it for an experimental procedure to (potentially) save a middle-aged man’s life, whereas she was about to use it in a proven procedure to save an infant’s life. I didn’t stick around to see if his plan worked (it probably did, that’s how these shows operate), but if it did, it would have been pure moral luck following a decision that would not only get someone fired, but probably blackballed from every hospital within three counties. To add insult to injury, as he was stealing the nitrous tank, he accused her (the doctor he stole from) of only opposing his theft because she was pregnant.

  6. Jack, I disagree. I’ll admit that this show is predictable and smarmy, etc, but I just finished watching this episode and I think it posed some questions for people to think about. And part of the reason I disagree is because you actually gave away the ending, so I knew what was coming – I read this blog entry this morning, and had the show on DVR. So thanks for that… How about an ethics alarm on “spoiler alert”? But I digress. I was prepared to not like the episode, not like the message, etc. I am not anti-gun, but do believe we need more regulations or something (I don’t pretend to have the answers), so I was anticipating something far different than your description. Great episode? Nope, but it’s not a great show. I watch this kind of s**t all the time, because sometimes I just want mindless entertainment. But Dick Wolf has done far more politically-charged, left-wing episodes of SVU and other stuff than this one was. Ironically, the psychiatrist mentioned bias to his colleague when treating the suspected anorexia. Any bias here, Mr. Marshall?
    I enjoy reading your stuff!!

    • Now, I never said I didn’t enjoy it, or most of Wolf’s shows. Still, the key is moral luck, and the show didn’t make that clear—or the fact that the shooter was, in fact still heroic. His actions didn’t change. Good propaganda isn’t too obvious for those not expecting it. Wolf wasn’t too obvious.

      On spoilers? If someone misses an initial broadcast, the burden is on them to avoid spoilers, not the people who want to talk about the show.

    • The only questions it posed for people to think about are related to how anyone could write such a ridiculous plot. A leafblower prank?!?! Right. Happens all the time in crowded theaters… And the idea that the defender felt any remorse to the point of commiting suicide is ridiculous. He did what any reasonable man would do in such a situation. And in fact, in such a situation, he most likely would have saved people from further stampeding deaths.

  7. This reminds me of the increasing popularity of viral pranks in which the prank victim could reasonably be in fear for their life. One I’ve seen recently involves someone dressed as a muslim with a backpack running up to people chanting arabic phrases or faux-arabic gibberish before throwing the backpack at their feet and running away.

    Another one I’ve seen involves a person begging for their life to be spared by an unseen assailant as the prank victim walks up unawares, next, fake gunshots go off and the person begging drops “dead” as the “assailant” steps out over the “dead guy” with toy gun in hand to the utter terror of the prank victim(s).

    Seriously though, if the pranksters in any of these situations get blown away they’ve got no right to complain.

    In fact, coming to a culture near you, an entire rule constructed similar to the Naked Teacher Principle will be very applicable. Maybe the Life-Threatening Dead-Prankster Principle.

  8. I could not agree more. I just googled chicago med antigun plot to see what came up after watching this particular pathetic episode last night. Though I really want to like and enjoy the show as I am studying to become a physician and want to practice Emergency Medicine, this episode made me throw up a little.

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