Thursday, July 26, 2012

Placing blame in the wrong places.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I reiterate that guns do not cause people to go on mass killing sprees.  Nor do they make such sprees easier.  Had Sideshow Bob used a lighter and Molotov cocktails or some kind of bomb he'd have probably killed more, and faster.   The latter two are just a little more dangerous to use, but no matter what he's going to be killed or go to prison for the rest of his life so does the method really matter? 

Inanimate objects don't hurt people.  Bad people who want to hurt people hurt people.  And they do it whether they have access to tools or not.  We understand that it is the person who does the deed, not the object.  Otherwise our prisons would be full of guns, knives, and crack pipes rather than people.

So it bothers me when I see people turn around from correctly defending firearms to instead point the blame at violence on tv or in the movies.  Violent television and movies are no more to blame for the actions of murderous goblins than guns are.  TV is no more a magical talisman causing an individual to lose all self control and start attacking and murdering people than an AR-15 or a machete is.

At the same time tv and movies have supposedly becoming more violent,* violent crime rates have been dropping overall, not rising.  Normal, well adjusted people can watch even graphic violence without in turn becoming irrationally violent.  The same goes for video games.  I can even watch extremely graphic BDSM pornography without becoming a rapist.  I don't even lose respect for women!

I think what is often termed 'increased violence' is just a more accurate portrayal of violence.  We don't just see the good guy shoot the bad guy once and the bad guy fall to the ground.  We see the good guy forced to shoot the bad guy multiple times with the resultant blood and gore before the bad guy gasp out his last bloody breath and collapses.  Forgive me if I prefer the realism. 


I've specifically seen the newest Batman movies called out for their over the top violence.  They are violent, but they're hardly over the top.  No worse than The Godfather movies which are considered classics.**  In fact, one thing that stood out when I watched The Dark Knight Rises last Friday was when Christian Bale in his role as Batman stops Catwoman from killing a bad guy and tells her, "No killing."  It's the bad guys who do the killing in the movie while Batman goes out of his way to subdue them without killing them.  For a 'violent movie' there was little in the way of blood or graphic violence.  Most of the fighting was hand to hand and hardly more spectacular that a fist fight from an episode of Have Gun, Will Travel.  In fact, Batman's epic fight scenes with Bane were kind of campy and reminded me more of tv wrestling than anything else.

Contrast this with a gunnie favorite from 12 years ago, The Way Of The Gun.  It is one of the bloodiest and most graphically violent films I've even seen.  It's often praised for its accurate portrayal of gun handling and gun fights.  I love it, yet I've never decided to shoot it out with someone's bodyguards or torture a man with barbed wire and come-alongs. 

Another gunnie favorite is Heat, from 17 years ago.  Very violent, though less bloody than The Way Of The Gun.  People are brutally murdered throughout the movie from the first five minutes to the last shoot out.  The vast, overwhelming majority of people who enjoy that movie have never committed armed robberies or gotten in running gun battles with police.

I know people want there to be a reason why some guy decided to shoot up a bunch of people in a theater, and there was.  Too bad for most people that his reason doesn't fit neatly into any agenda but his own.  The guns didn't make him do it.  Neither did the movies, tv, music, video games, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, either George Bush, little green men from outer space, Twinkies, his dog, his parents, Penn State, the Devil, God, or the voices in his head.  He did it.  He did it because he wanted to.

Realize that.  Realize and acknowledge that there are people out there who will do horrifically violent things 'just because.'  They'll make up a reason if you push them, or if you look you'll find one that you're comfortable with, but the real reason people rob, rape, and murder is simply that they want to.  As soon as you accept that then maybe you can accept that if you want to be safe from that type of person you're going to have to take your safety into your own hands.

Nothing anyone else can do can prevent someone from hurting you 'just because,' not gun control, not censorship, and not wishful thinking. 

*They haven't.  TV westerns from the '60's generally featured a gunfight per episode.  The Godfather and The Dirty Dozen  are extremely violent films and both were made before I was born.

**Except for the third which most people hate, which I in turn thought was excellent because it ties the entire story up without changing what it is at heart, a tragedy.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

The Way of the Gun... great movie. The opening scene is, I think, one of the best single scenes of any movie.

And I agree 100% with the rest of your post. Crazy/sick/sadistic/twisted/etc people will always do crazy/sick/sadistic/twisted/etc stuff regardless of what everyone else does to try and stop them.