Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
Thank you! All this talk about banning guns, but hardly a mention of violent
entertainment (movies, books, video games). If anything should be banned, it
should be violent entertainment before guns.
We have an entire industry (with many facets) that attempts to influence
consumer behavior via relatively short commercials. It is worth billions.How can we argue (with a straight face) that short commercials can be
effective but 2 hour long movies cannot possibly have any?Does this
mean that movies change a person entirely? Unlikely.But if we are
prone to violence (or any other emotion), the concept that certain movies can
reinforce that tendency seems quite realistic.
If entertainment is to blame for American's penchant for gun violence why
does Canada have such low rates of gun violence? And what about Japan, they has
a history of violent movies and amine, but they have a fraction of our gun
crimes?Maybe our lax gun laws and cultural glorification of guns are
The headline of the article states, "Content of movies affects the
culture." Yes, but, sadly, it's also true that "content of movies
REFLECTS the culture." The violence and explicit deviance in movies is a
direct result of a populace that demands--and pays--for it. Each ticket or
movie we purchase is our "vote" for more of its content. We have only
ourselves to blame for that which we purportedly criticize.
Not only movies, but TV, as well. Probably, even more so, since people watch TV
This is a multi faceted problem.Everyone wants to place 100% of the
blame on areas that are not contrary to their position.Of course
violence in movies and video games contributes. And people know it. It is
disingenuous to suggest otherwise.However, it is also disingenuous
to suggest that the prevalence of gun ownership and the failings of gun owners
to secure their weapons does not also contribute to the problem.Solutions are tough to come by, based on our constitutional freedoms and the
unwillingness to look honestly at the problem.Hollywood has every
right to make the movies that they want. Gun advocates have every right to
possess guns. These freedoms are addressed in the constitution.So,
what is the solution? I don't know exactly, but I can tell you what it
ISN'T.It isn't placing 100% of the blame on Hollywood.
And it isn't 100% about placing blame on guns and gun owners.But certainly each of those bear a portion of the blame. Until
both of these sides are willing to police themselves, instead of pointing only
at the other side to make changes, the problem will not go away.
They're watching the movies and playing the games in places with far lower
rates of gun violence than we experience. There must be another factor at play.
I recently read a book with the title NEWTOWN. I can't recall the
author's name right now. That book should be required reading
for all American adults.The author carefully steers clear of
political arguments and simply presents the awful story of what happened there.
He interviewed hundreds of witnesses, parents, emergency responders, surviving
children, and family members of the shooter, Adam Lanza. What
emerges is a chilling and extremely frightening story of many failures.
Especially poignant is the failure of this country to provide virtually any kind
of mental health help for a parent struggling with a mentally ill child. Nancy
Lanza's struggles -- and failure -- to find help was tragic and led
directly to the tragedy at the school.If you care -- read the book.
It's in your library.
We have been at war for over ten years. What effect is this having on the
violence in our country? In what way did media contribute to the civil war?
Maybe we are just a violent country. We fought for our independence, we have
fought in numerous wars. We are the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon
in war. Maybe our films are just a reflection of our society. I am sure the
warrior societies of long ago sat around the camp fire, and told war stories.
We are just tell the same kind of stories; in a different media now.
@Twin Lights – “How can we argue (with a straight face) that short
commercials can be effective but 2 hour long movies cannot possibly have
any?”That’s right… and like the tobacco companies
in decades past, Hollywood has been denying this fact for years which simply
proves Upton Sinclair’s famous quote – "It is
difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his
not understanding it"And while I agree with others here who have
said this is a multi-faceted problem, getting people to recognize all the causes
is a necessary first step to working on solutions.@liberal larry
– “If entertainment is to blame for American's penchant for gun
violence why does Canada have such low rates of gun violence?”Michael Moore (certainly no conservative) concluded in his film Bowling for
Columbine that the main difference between our two countries is in fact the
media (Canadians have comparable gun ownership per capita and their gun laws are
similar).I would say Moore ignored some other obvious demographic
differences as well, but given his politics I did not expect any different.
It's supply and demand. Hollywood would not produce violent movies if
society did not demand them. They won't make violent movies if nobody is
Not only content affects us as a society but also the actors. Why else would we
have a picture of Clint Eastwood who is an actor but currently not acting but
still wanting to be heard in our newspaper? Why pretend that his opinion is
more important to us than that of a school child?Actors and
performers become icons, not because they live betterlices than the rest but
because they live more affluent lives. Their affluence becomes influence and
rarely is it positive.So sad that paid performers who are acting
dictate our thoughts and actions.
The headline is so self evident that one wonders why there is an article to
Part of the problem is that we as a society have devalued life in all forms. We
also emphasize and glorify the exlposions, shootings, mayhem, etc. We do not
place nearly enough, if any, emphasis on the aftermath. I know a few officers
who have been involved in shootings. What Hollywood or the media doesn't
show the public is the sleepless nights, the ruined relationships, and the
psychological/emotional toll these people have suffered. When people watch a
movie that includes violence, they see how easy it is to commit said violence,
when for all but a few (reue psychopaths), this violence has consequences in
real life. Car crashes are always fun to watch on the screen, but
how the Fast & Furious found a way to make 7 movies Isimply cannot fathom.
But people don't always walk away from these crashes, just ask Paul
Walker's family and friends. In the media, the protagonist
always survives, no matter what he/she endures while the antagonist always
perishes. This couldn't be further from the truth.
JoeBlow,I believe in limited gun regulations (though I do believe
that strict legislation falls afoul of the Second Amendment). Also, despite my
post above I do not believe Hollywood is responsible for every bad act in
America.That said your point about the prevalence of gun ownership
and of gun owners failing to secure their weapons is debatable.When
I was a kid in the 1970s, many of my friends’ families had firearms and
virtually none were secured (at least not like they are today). The percentage
of homes with firearms was also higher back then. This means that in the 1970s
more kids had access to firearms than they do today. So why do have more
displays of gun violence now?Again, I am not arguing that there
should be no regulation of firearms nor that Hollywood has sole responsibility
here. But with less firearms available now, what explains our current problems?
This was a MOO (Master of the Obvious) letter to me.Of course movies
and content of movies affect culture. Why do you think the propaganda artists
of the 30's and 40' used movies and news-reals so much to influence
people??It obviously works or they wouldn't use it!===Why is the left so dedicated to deflecting all blame from
Hollywood??I don't get that. I know it's not all
Hollywood, but movies obviously get into our brains and our hearts... or they
wouldn't make them.===liberal larryRE:
"what about Japan, they has a history of violent movies and amine (aka
anime), but they have a fraction of our gun crimes"#1. Have you
ever tried to get a gun in Japan? It's practically impossible. So how
would they have ANY gun violence? Even police don't have guns. But that
doesn't mean they don't have violence, or murders. I can assure you
they do have violence in Japan (just not with guns).#2. Have you
ever seen gun violence in anime?True there's lots of violent
acts.. but it's fantasy hand-to-hand violence (never seen a gun used in
Culture effects contents of movies.
Twin,I completely agree that 40 years ago things were different. You
never heard of someone shooting up a school.But, we do hear about
that today. And oftentimes it is minors doing it.Where the heck do
they get the guns? It is one thing if a kid breaks into a neighbors house (that
has no kids) and steals a gun. But that is not the commons scenario we see.I know people with kids who keep loaded, unlocked guns in the house. I
feel strongly that a gun owner should be held liable when a kid gets an
unsecured gun and does harm to themselves or others. Why should I,
or my kid be at risk because someone feels that they are not obligated to secure
their guns?Look at Sandy Hook. The mom KNEW her teen had issues and
did not take the necessary precautions (possible assumption on my part) to
insure that her troubled kid could not access the weapons.Kids
should NOT have unsupervised access to weapons. Period.
@FT – “It's supply and demand. Hollywood would not produce
violent movies if society did not demand them.”True, but that
doesn’t mean it’s OK. Would you say the same thing with respect to
heroin, prostitution, or cutting down all our old growth trees?Conservatives rightly point out the decline in values as reflected in our
media, and yet they often readily embrace the libertarian, value-free economics
that in many ways is the real driver of this decline.When business
schools preach the mantra that making money (adding shareholder value) is all
that matters, they are doing far more damage than the usual culprits
conservatives often vilify as representative of this decline (gays, atheists,
etc…). Europe (usually miles ahead of us in many ways) has
recognized this fact and has tried to make the Milton Freidman values-free model
more comprehensive (e.g., Triple Bottom Line).
JoeBlow,I understand that kids often get the guns from their parents
and that there are folks who (inexplicably) keep loaded and unlocked firearms
around. But again, there were (proportionally) more in the 1970s than now.Agreed that gun owners should keep their firearms secured (or face
liability). I think it was Slate that had an article about parents with loner,
obsessive kids who feed their child's obsession with weapons. Tyler D,Agreed. I know I am starting to sound like an old man
lost in reverie (and the 70s were far from ideal) but pre-1980s American
business did have more of a sense of obligation toward community.
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