The Times' Joe Nocera has an op-ed piece today that does the trick. We're all coming from different places on the gun/violence issue. Nocera focuses on the core truths. No knee jerks here. He starts with the latest edition of "Die Hard, " a series that is making its owner megamegabucks. That's Rupert Murdoch, who doesn't give a flying fart for America even as we fill his pockets. So credit him with whatever "Die Hard 5" does for you.
It certainly doesn't harm to gun manufacturers. They get plenty of free advertising.
Among the guns used — and used, and used, and used — in just the first “Die Hard” are a Steyr AUG assault rifle, a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun, and a Walther PPK pistol with silencer. McClane himself relies on a Beretta 92 semiautomatic pistol in the first three movies, and a Sig Sauer P220 in the more recent films. ...Nocera, NYT
The camera lingers on the violence, but not on the anguish it causes. "Incredibly, the Motion Picture Association of America judges foul language to be more problematic for children than this kind of bloodless violence..," says Nocera. He concedes the argument to "Second Amendment absolutist" that our culture is all about violence.
Personal note here. I lived overseas for a couple of decades for the most part in a remote area where American culture and films were not readily available. Coming back to a culture which, in the interim, had ramped up the degree of violence shown in movies and on TV, I found I couldn't watch most of the stuff. Still can't.
“There is tons of research on this,” says Joanne Cantor, professor emerita of communications at the University of Wisconsin, and an expert on the effect of violent movies and video games. “Watching violence makes kids feel they can use violence to solve a problem. It brings increased feelings of hostility. It increases desensitization.” ...Nocera, NYT
Hey, not just in kids! An adult returning to this entertainment is affected, too. But there's another problem, and it's not just the Second Amendment. It's the First Amendment, too. (It's any Amendment that can be interpreted as saying "anything goes!")
Just as an assault weapon ban is the slippery slope for Second Amendment advocates, efforts to restrict violent images — or pornography, for that matter — is the slippery slope for First Amendment absolutists.
There is a second reason many people — indeed, many of the same people who would like to ban assault weapons — shrink from demanding changes in the culture’s tolerance for violent images. To do anything about it legislatively would likely violate the First Amendment. Just as an assault weapon ban is the slippery slope for Second Amendment advocates, efforts to restrict violent images — or pornography, for that matter — is the slippery slope for First Amendment absolutists.
Craig Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University, told me that children who watch even something as seemingly benign as Woody Woodpecker cartoons — in which Woody often pecks on someone’s head — can become temporarily more aggressive. “If you are going to start to ban media violence, where do you stop?” he asked. ...Nocera, NYT
Well okay, but where do you start? How about (forgive me for this violent, unpleasant thought)... ...How about personal responsibility and sensitivity towards others? Or do you simply rely on ramping up "security measures"? Like AMC movie theater execs who are putting on the 12-hour "Die Hard" marathon this week? Nocera spoke with them.
On Monday, I called an AMC spokesman to ask if his company was worried about its customers watching nonstop shootings for 12 straight hours.
“We are very excited about the ‘Die Hard’ marathon,” he replied. “It will be a great time for our guests.” He added, however, that the company had its “security measures in place.”
Just, you know, in case. ...Nocera, NYT
Wouldn't want to deprive an American adult of the violence fix offered by corporate America (or an Australian carpetbagger). Turns out the Constitution is interpreted as protecting Corporate America's life, liberties, and pursuits of happiness far more assiduously than just about anyone else's.