Friday, July 8, 2016

End The Culture of Gun Violence

            Yes, I am advocate for common sense gun safety legislation. I think the Assault Weapons Ban should be reinstated. But that is not what this post is about. This post is about our culture of gun violence. There is simply too much gun violence depicted and glorified in movies, on television, and in video games and graphic novels.

            Because of the negative effects of cigarettes you almost never see a character in a modern film or television shown smoking. Public establishments have banned smoking and most smokers are now relegated to smoking only in their own homes, in designated smoking areas, or in dispersed outdoor settings. It is time we, as a culture, move the same direction with regard to the depiction of gun violence.

            I am old enough to remember watching The Andy Griffith Show. Sheriff Andy hardly ever carried a gun, maybe in only one or two episodes. Andy’s deputy, Barney Fife, carried a gun but he carried only one bullet, in his pocket, not in the gun itself. I think neither Andy or Barney was ever depicted firing their service weapons. They were certainly never depicted shooting and killing anyone.

            My favorite television show is now The Big Bang Theory. I think I have seen every episode of The Big Bang Theory and I cannot recall ever seeing a gun except in the holster of a police officer investigating a theft and an episode where the Leonard and Penny characters went to a shooting range and Leonard shot himself in the foot.  Never, ever, has anyone ever been depicted firing a gun at another person or a person being shot, let alone killed, yet this is one of the most highly rated shows on television.

            Various media, however, from motion pictures to television shows and video games to graphic novels glorify gun violence by using the portrayal of gun violence, including blood, guts and brains being splattered about, accompanied by car crashes and various explosions, to entertain and titillate us. But they also desensitize us to gun violence, making it seem all too commonplace. The Military uses similar media images to desensitize combatants and turn them into socially sanctioned regulated, killing machines. That should give us pause.

            Gun violence is depicted in the media because it sells. If people no longer watched media or purchased media depicting gun violence then such images in the media would almost disappear. I call upon all those who claim that Black Lives Matter, who believe people praying in a church should not be shot and killed, who think children should be safe not only in their schools but in the playground and at home, who know that Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered citizens have the right to safely party at a nightclub, and affirm that Police Officers and other first responders and public servants should be free from fear of dying on the job, to stop watching television shows, stop attending and renting movies, and stop purchasing video games and graphic novels that depict and seem to glorify and normalize gun violence.

            We can not legislate an end the depiction and glorification of gun violence in the media but we can send it to the gutter where it belongs. We can, as a culture, if we choose, make it culturally anathema. It is time. It is past time.

Here is a link to my Original POEM OF PROTEST written in response to the mass shooting in Orlando.

1 comment:

revray68 said...

It will take a long time but what you have described is the only way out of the situation that we have created. Nothing can long withstand the genuine disapprobation of an evil such as the culture of gun violence. I believe it was Everett Dirksen who once said that there is nothing so strong as an idea whose time has come. We must work to see to it that the rejection of this glorification and romanticizing of gun violence becomes unacceptable. Keep up the good work.