A History of Violence

by Zach Oat May 23, 2008
Indiana Jones: Scientist or Criminal?

Apparently, Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., a.k.a. "Indiana," a.k.a. "Junior," is a respected archaeologist. The government comes to him when they want to know about old junk, he has relationships with at least one museum and he apparently has tenure at a respected university. So why is he allowed to break so many laws? Granted, many of the crimes he commits are perpetrated against Nazis -- thereby making them not only legal, but fun for the whole family -- but the remainder are committed against private citizens, sovereign states and the elderly. So why is he not in the slammer? Is it because the 1930s and '40s were such a turbulent time that no one cared what anyone did? Well, in the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it's already the 1950s, and we think the authorities might be interested in Dr. Jones, who has a list of crimes and misdemeanors long enough to trigger an international incident. Here's his rap sheet so far, free of any Crystal Skull spoilers.

The film opens in 1936, when Indy is doing a B&E on a temple in Peru. He has several unsavory accomplices, one of whom he whips on the hand, possibly causing nerve damage, although that guy later turns up dead, so it doesn't really matter. Without reporting his activities to the Peruvian government, Indy removes a priceless gold fertility idol from the temple and replaces it with a bag of sand. Yeah, the national museum of Peru is gonna be real happy about that - not that they can even get into the temple anymore, after Jones trips all of the booby traps and seals off the entrance with a giant boulder. While he pursued the idol in the name of "science," his actions have cost the people of Peru plenty. Verdict: CRIMINAL.

After stopping off at home, Indy heads for the Himalayas, where he gets in a bar brawl that ends in a bar-destroying fire. Granted, he didn't set the fire, he actually saved Marion's life, and the people he was beating up were Nazis (or Nazi freelancers), which totally doesn't count. We'd call him "good Samaritan," but he really only wanted Marion's medallion. Verdict: SCIENTIST.

Then we get to Egypt. Oh, boy. First off, when Indy and Marion are attacked in the street by assassins, that's self-defense; if someone swings a sword at you, you punch them in the face -- it's just common sense. But when someone 30 feet away from you just happens to have a sword, and hasn't attacked you in any way, that is not self-defense. You can't just shoot the guy. He may have been performing a traditional "sword dance," for all you know. That's murder one, pal. Ditto the guy in the truck that you shot in the head. Verdict: CRIMINAL.

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