A Crisis Actor’s Lament


People think it’s so easy. They look up on the screen and they see an Emma Gonzalez or a David Hogg stealing the scene, and they just assume that anyone can land that kind of opportunity.

Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work that way. It takes years of work, innate talent and a whole lot of luck. And for most of us, it simply never happens.

Look at me. I’ve been at this for 15 years. I’ve gotten some credits here and there, but nothing bigger than a little Off-Broadway* work a few years back. But here I am, still plugging away.

I can remember the exact day I knew I wanted to be a crisis actor. I was a 10-year-old kid playing in my living room while my parents watched the Channel 6 Action News team. In between slaying stories, the blond anchor du jour mentioned a protest being held over a bogus gay bashing. I sat mesmerized as the confident performers feigned outrage and sprinkled faux tears. A false flag was planted in me that very day.

But the road to stardom is a long, cruel one. For every 12-year-old Mike playing 3-year-old “Kaio” who goes viral, there are a hundred of us in the shadows. Men and women alike, living on the fringes, trying to beat the odds. I’ve taken all the usual part-time gigs that gave me time to pursue my true calling. I’ve stood in the median selling fake newspapers. I waited tables in the basement of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant. I even spent some time on the cleanup crew for Hilary Clinton’s EDT (Enemy Dispatch Team). Anything to pay the bills.

More than once I’ve been tempted to quit, to pack up my things and satisfy my landlords (mom and dad) by putting my biological engineering degree from Berkeley to use. I’ve got a standing offer to do water “treatment” work up in Portland.
But I’m not there yet. I might go two weeks without a phone call, text or any other nibble. But just as I’m on the verge of giving up, I’ll get a call from my agent – they want me to read for Soros. That’s the kind of promise that keeps a guy hanging in there.

It hasn’t been all empty. I’m one of the first guys a director will call when he needs to do a quick bus-in. I was the No. 3 lead in a small production of “GMOs will kill us all” a couple of years back. Oh, and I was a Pink Hat understudy in November of 2016. Just enough work to wet the whistle, I guess.

If anything does push me out of the business, it’s this move toward amateurism. These skinflint directors keep wanting to offer resume credit in lieu of cash. The day I consider selling out that way is the day I’m no longer a crisis actor. Have some respect for the craft, people.

Despite the odds, I still believe I’m going to make it. Give me the right role, and I’ll knock it out of the park. Sure, I’m a little too old to play a pretend high schooler after a Democrat-orchestrated shooting. And every time I’ve auditioned for a Dreamer Success Story fictional piece, I’ve gotten the same “Too Dolezalian” feedback from the producers. But let me sink my teeth into a meaty “man pretending to be grieving over his not-real sister who was never roughed up by Neo Nazis in the first place,” role and I’ll make you forget Burt Loughlin.** I think I’m perfect for these “phony veteran who gives up guns he never owned,” spots that have just taken off in the last few weeks. And I know, down to my core, that if you ever stick me in front of a green screen with Chris Cuomo occupying the other half of the picture, well, virality – thy name is Dan.

So, I keep on. Dreaming of the day I stroll across the stage to accept my well-deserved best crisis acting Golden Globe Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.*** It’s my destiny.

*Literally. Our Occupy string-pullers had hysterically planned a big anti-corporate greed protest near the financial district, and the cops kept telling us to “Get the f*** off Broadway.”

**See, I told you I’m good.

***Good Lord. Surely our globalist overlords could have tried to hide things a little bit better there, don’t you think?

Mass Fatality Fatalism

There is a bizarre sense of fatalism that surrounds these horrific mass shootings. Following each one, the cry from one side of the argument is there was nothing this law or that law could have done to prevent it.

In a very narrow sense, they may be right. We don’t like to admit it, but a motivated individual hell-bent on violence, and unconcerned with his (I don’t think we have to worry about the gender of the pronoun here) well-being will be able to do a great deal of damage before he’s stopped. Neither a well-meaning gun regulation from the left, or a well-armed good guy from the right is going to eliminate all of these shootings.

Yes, this isn’t a problem in other countries. But we simply have too many guns in the hands of the public, and the public is simply too heavily invested in the culture of firearms to think we can eradicate them.

But simply because these horrific incidents may still take place is not a reason to throw up our hands and do nothing, which has been the modus operandi for Republicans in Congress for far too long. Or, to believe the only possible solution is MORE GUNS.

Instead of worrying whether we can eliminate them all (which, of course, should be the goal), we should perhaps strive to limit the number that take place. Or mitigate the carnage when one happens. Or try to make a dent in the hundreds of shooting deaths, whether via homicide, suicide or accident, each and every day that aren’t part of a mass event. The Florida tragedy captures our attention and re-triggers the calls for some action, but it’s the everyday gun violence that is the true societal ill.


Perhaps we can take steps to keep the mentally ill from legally obtaining firearms. Or keep them out of the hands of people on the terror watch list. Could we have a better system of regulating gun shows and other sales? Maybe we can do a better job of following the weapons out there, or do a better job tracking the potential risk who begins stockpiling them. Require the owners to demonstrate some minimum of proficiency in handling them, or some understanding of gun safety before selling/licensing them. Possibly certain weapons whose only function is to kill lotsa people, lotsa fast can be reduced in the marketplace. Or maybe, and I know this is crazy talk, we can allow the CDC to study the causes and effects and correlations of gun violence, treating it as the public health issue it most clearly is. You know what they say, the only way to stop a nosy scientist with a slide rule is a well-heeled lobbyist with Congressmen on speed dial.

We don’t do any of these things. Not because Americans are opposed to them. A majority to super-majority of Americans, including gun owners, support many if not all of those things listed above. But we don’t do any of them because we have allowed a major element of public health policy to be written and decided and by the trade group representing gun manufacturers. Washington, D.C. lawmakers have abdicated their responsibility to seek out solutions to the scourge of gun violence to the NRA lobbyists filling their campaign coffers.

Thoughts haven’t worked. Prayers may have eased the pain of the mom who lost her son yesterday, but they haven’t stopped tomorrow’s disaffected high school student or disgruntled worker or angry white supremacist from taking out his rage on unsuspecting Americans tomorrow. And the next citizen good guy with a gun who stops one of these bad guys with a gun in the course of a mass shooting will arguably be the first.

We are the most heavily armed advanced nation in the world, by orders of magnitude. We are also the advanced nation with the highest per capita levels of gun violence, again, by orders of magnitude. Fighting fire with fire simply has not worked.

What will? I don’t know. None of us knows for sure. The problem is, we’re not allowed to even ask all of the damn questions.