In the wake of what is only the LATEST massacre in a US school, the head of the NRA (National Rifle Association) gave a speech that emphasized the violence we tolerate–even enjoy–in our media–movies, TV and video games. He suggested that was the place to start in order to prevent such violence in the future.

While gun control advocates scoffed at this, and I agree it’s somewhat of a cop-out–that restricting the sale of machine guns and high capacity bullet magazines might be more effective–I think there’s something in it that we all need to think about.

Both gun lobbyists and entertainment executives are terrified that the government will impose restrictions on them. Gun advocates seem to think of it as the "baby with the bathwater" or "give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile" scenario: That if machine guns are no longer sold in stores and at gun shows (something that the police have been pleading for for years, since they often find themselves "outgunned"), hunters will eventually no longer be able to buy the rifles they want to use. This is ironic, because nobody hunts deer with a machine gun–or if they do, they ought to be ashamed of themselves, and if such a hunter was stalking deer in the woods near you, your orange vest wouldn’t save you.

Movie and TV moguls think the same way, especially since they’ve UNDERGONE censorship in the past. It was once "illegal" to show even an obviously married couple sharing a bed, and actors are still not allowed to cuss on network TV or on the radio–If you want to hear the "F" word, or even the "D" word, on the air, you need to get cable.

Scriptwriters and directors felt this was unnecessarily restrictive and it also led to the unreal family scenarios on TV and in the movies of the 50’s and 60s, where Dad always enjoyed his job, the kids were always well-behaved and Mom served supper in high heels and hose, her only concession to messiness a starched, frilly apron.

These situations made people in "ordinary," cantankerous families feel like they were failures for not measuring up to the standards of these seemingly perfect folks. I suspect this kind of media may have contributed to the antidepressant pill-taking "binge" so many people have been on during the last couple of decades. But today’s media–filled with gratuitous violence–may be leading some of us to take much WORSE actions.

The media solved the potential problem of government intervention by policing THEMSELVES–by developing broadcast standards for TV and ratings for movies. It would be nice if the NRA could do the same thing, but I don’t see how it would work (notices on guns, like the ones mandated on cigarette packs, warning about the dangers of using this item?)

But to get back to movies (and these days, TV shows): Why are they so very violent? Most of us are repelled by this. I don’t want to go to a movie where I have to close my eyes when the action starts.

One of the reasons for this has to do with what entertainment execs. call "demographics," which simply means: Who’s watching? The most prized audience, for movies anyway, is the pre-adolescent boy, who can’t yet drive, but wants (needs) to get out of the house on the weekend. His parents tell him to turn off that loud music and drive him to the mall, where he meets up with his friends, and they spend the day bumming around together. The stores aren’t too happy about this, since these kids don’t have a lot of money to spend and can be a nuisance, chasing away more "legitimate" customers, but mall movie theaters love them, because unlike Mom and Pop, they don’t read reviews, they’ll just go to whatever is playing when they arrive, and action films are what look good to a young male who isn’t getting any action with girls yet.

Every once in awhile (and it’s always too often), one of these kids sees a violent film and gets inspired to go out and gun down his OWN enemies.

Demographics helps to explain why there are so many violent movies, but what in the world explains all the violent TV series, especially when most of them play at 10 p.m., past these boys’ bedtimes? Lots of kids have TVs in their bedrooms now–are they covertly watching, in the same way their Dads used to use a flashlight under the covers to read comics and porno mags (when they could get them)?

Here’s another puzzle: Movie theaters make their money on concessions, not on the movie tickets themselves, and adolescent boys have healthy appetites for junk food (ask anyone who’s tried to feed one of them). But television relies on ads and these guys don’t have any lucre–what can they try to sell to them?

Maybe the answer is this: The pre-adolescents of the past have now grown into the men of today, who are more sophisticated but still retain their taste for violence–something that football doesn’t always completely satisfy. When adults pick up a gun and shoot up a school, are they inspired by the movies and reverting to their emotional battles of the past?

In the old days, mystery writers such as Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie compiled a list of "rules" for their fellow crime writers, and one of these was that the violence (in this case, the murder) should take place "offscreen"–or in this case "offpage"–in other words, the reader did not read about the actual killing, but only about the later discovery of the body, when the detective’s investigation began.

One of the most popular shows ever put on TV–"Law and Order"–followed this rule, yet no one putting on new shows seems to have noticed it.

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  1. Ted Nugent has infamously
    Ted Nugent has infamously hunted with a machine gun from a helicopter(!):

    The whole gun thing is a power trip, and in some cases probably rises to the level of a sexual fetish (no wonder the opposition to banning the big artillery is so fierce!) I’m not necessarily arguing in favor of taking away gun rights, but the controls need to be tightened and loopholes (like the gun show loophole) need to be eliminated. And that has to be at a national level, because it accomplishes nothing to ban assault rifles in one state and then sell them at Walmart just over the border.

    There is nothing in the 2nd Amendment that says gun ownership shouldn’t be regulated, and I understand even at the time in the 18th century guns were locally registered and essentially licensed to qualified individuals.

  2. Good observations, Anne. I’m
    Good observations, Anne. I’m an armchair detective and love the Law and Order series, especially L&O: SVU. Although I never attributed it to your observation of the murder off-screen (or off-page) rule, I’m sure this is why I’m also a fan of British detective series as well. For the most part, the Brits follow the off-screen murder formula, and very effectively, although sometimes their shows do seem a bit more graphic overall. When it is more graphic, though, it seems to fit in with the plot and I don’t find myself having to turn away, as I do some American crime dramas, which often seem to aim just for shock-value. I finally quit watching Criminal Minds altogether after one episode where my favorite show character was viciously brutalized during a kidnapping. It was shocking and seemed so unnecessary to me to show that. (Can you imagine George Lucas allowing Luke Skywalker to be brutalized mercilessly without some kind of backlash from fans?)

    I’m still up-in-the-air about the gun control thing. I’m pro-Second Amendment. However, I was deeply, deeply affected by the Newton, CT, shootings, having young grandchildren myself and think some controls are needed. What’s just as disturbing (and perhaps the bigger question) is why does it seem people are going off the deep-end for seemingly no reason? Every day, I wake to another news story about someone committing some despicable and immoral act upon another human being. Perhaps, we are, as Billy Corgan’s lyrics say, rats in a cage. The world just seems to be going nuts and yet I recently read an article of a study deducing that the world, as it is today, is the safest it’s ever been. Really?

  3. Anne: Machine guns have been
    Anne: Machine guns have been illegal since 1934, and Ted was firing a legally registered and taxed weapon. In any case, guns are not the problem, Gangsters and dissaffected youth, both of whom are full of drugs are….I take the Second Amendment very seriously, and those think that constitutional individual rights can be regulated are not reading the document correctly.

    Adam in CT was full of drugs, and spent a lot of time playing violent video games in his Mom’s basement…He should have been IN Newtown, not roaming around in that city…(For the non-Conncticut residents here, Newtown was famous for the Mental Hospital located there…)

    Yes, the world is safer, especially in locations that have armed citizens….

  4. We still are not addressing
    We still are not addressing mental health. It can’t be regulated, so let’s not even bring it up. The drugs these people have been on may well be part of the problem, but don’t step on the pharmacuticals lest they loose money. Drugs are not the only answer. This is a social problem as the mentally ill live amoung us. We may never be able to stop people like this, because evil always finds a way. I know people want the security of thinking if we just pass another law, things will be fine. The problem is bigger than that. I don’t see the need to have guns with the capacity to kill on that level either. Just plain stupid. But lets not fool ourselves into thinking that we solve the problem by putting yet another law on the books.

  5. There may be a reason for our
    There may be a reason for our violence.

    A very long time ago, a scientist by the name of Harry Harlow studied Rhesus monkeys, that were reared by wire mothers instead of their birth mothers. These infant monkeys were deprived of the constant physical touching, grooming and nursing that Rhesus mothers usually give. Those monkeys displayed rage, anger and aggression toward the other monkeys in their habitat. Usually there was a physical fight when ever another monkey tried to touch them. Control Monkeys did not display this behavior, but bonded normally, and exhibited normal behavior.

    As Krishnamurti says, violence is desperate touching.

    Since humans share many of the same needs for nurturing that primates do, its understandable that infants left alone to cry it out in the crib for sometimes days at time, or are left to fend for themselves in daycare while their mother is at work, will be damaged.

    Since this country doesn’t provide adequate support for families with young children, and economic pressures are forcing more and more mothers to choose between caring for young children, I would suggest that this is part of our problems.

    Harlow also found that there was a way to normalize behaviors in damaged Rhesus infants, by bonding them with other healthy peers of their same relative age. ( This is the Basis for Pair Therapy. )

    (Great post Dani.. I would like to add that we all are exposed to these drugs that are found in the public water system, because treatment plants are unable to remove them from drinking water. )

  6. I find it very strange that
    I find it very strange that so many Americans don’t seem to see a difference between the right to bear arms in a pioneering society and bearing arms in the form of machine guns and high powered rifles by people who have no earthly use for them except the possiblity of killing multiple people or animals when their power is finally unleashed. Interestingly, in Australia the main objection to having our guns controlled was by farmers who actually use them to kill vermin (wild pigs, camels, dogs etc) as well as to put down domesticated animals (cows, horses etc) when sick or injured. The recreational gun users were not a loud or large protest voice. We still have crime and violence but since the Port Arthur massacre stimulated our people to impose gun control we have had no massacres.

    ‘Recreational use’ – for heavens sake! A number of people use guns to go to a gun range but why? To make them better shots to shoot what? Other people of course, and unlucky animals. Strange recreation – thought of taking up bridge, or even getting a bow and arrow?
    I know many people regard the owning of forcesa gun protection against your out-of-control rogue government but would it really afford much protection? Beleive it or not, America is no longer the wild west. Have your seen what US have unleashed on protesting states overseas? Have a good look at Iraq before you think about fighting them with your assault weapons. There has to be a better way, and isn’t that what sites like this are all about?
    Good topic Anne!

    1. > I know many people regard
      > I know many people regard the owning of forces a gun protection against your out-of-control rogue government but would it really afford much protection?

      There is indeed now a huge imbalance of power between governments and their citizens – it is a relationship of oppression and exploitation, mostly of the poor by the rich/elite. So the whole importance of owning a cap pistol is largely psychological, especially when people are being poisoned, irradiated, drugged, etc – just as deadly. Yet governments disarming their citizens (a historical precursor to government-initiated genocide) creates a different culture.

      This is about a small group of people gaining control over a mass of people. For that to work, power must be centralized, not distributed. So this grab for guns is merely seeking to further enslave people – especially to make them *feel* powerless in their own protection. I think the psychological effect is the main goal – to make people believe further that they are protected by government, and are helpless to be responsible for themselves – even against other citizens. And once disarmament begins, it too will escalate, so even the cap pistol you use to protect your home may eventually become illegal to possess. The government will protect you (if you’re rich, the right color, etc).

      Disarming someone by force is a kind of violence too – it says something psychologically. This is a psyop being conducted to change American values of self-dependence. It also may be used to create a violent conflict in the US, which will be used as an excuse to initiate martial law. Taking away guns from some people is equivalent to declaring war – their buttons are being pushed, they are being driven to an extreme reaction.

      Not taking the bait is important. Instead, confront the government’s violence, and turn their pro-disarmament energy against them. Use it to create a wider call for worldwide military and police disarmament, including of global bullies like the US government. Yet making the police/military ever stronger (and condoning this as safe) while making citizens feel powerless is not going in that direction.

    2. (I rewrote this reply because
      (I rewrote this reply because I thought the first was lost, but it seems that replies are only visible if you’re logged in. ??? So this reply is just another version of the one above – sorry.)

      > Have a good look at Iraq before you think about fighting them with your assault weapons.

      This is a call for worldwide disarmament of military and police forces, and a war-no-more government. Yet you’ll notice Obama and the media machine isn’t talking about that, or about the murders the US commits daily. Or about the expense of the military-industrial complex where lives destroyed (war) equals money in their pockets.

      This is a psyop designed to make people ever more dependent, and reinforce the belief that government thugs are the only ones worthy of holding real power.

      Why aren’t the people in Newton enraged about the guns that killed Iraqi children, and taking them away from the irresponsible people pulling the triggers? Murder is murder. Oh, I forgot, state-sanctioned murder is somehow different.

      Your suggestion that citizens and militias are only capable of using cap pistols wisely and thus have no use for more power while government thugs have greater call for such power means you are buying into this psyop, and heading toward a greater imbalance of power than what already exists. It’s largely a psychological gambit. But their anti-gun rhetoric can be used against them – grow it into a full examination of US violence, globally, and who is pulling the triggers, why, and how they should be disarmed.

  7. Most people in this gun
    Most people in this gun debate seem to have forgotten that the primary purpose of the 2nd amendment is to protect people from governments. In that light, it is understandable for people to want free access to very powerful weapons. If the government doesn’t think weapons are necessary for protection, let’s see them give up theirs. That’ll be the day.

    You are basically dealing with two factions: People who believe governments are the source of violence and oppression (count me there), and people who believe governments protect and care for people in any genuine way. I find it amazing that any rational person can believe the latter.

    Yet I consider weapons a primitive form of expressing the desire for wellness, especially using weapons to protect mere property (killing people for material wealth). If someone was bent on killing me or a loved one I might use a gun to stop them, although there are many other solutions to most attacks, including simply running away. Being attacked or robbed is often an excuse for people to murder – to vent their primate aggression in a socially accepted way. Same for hunting – it is socially sanctioned murder of other beings which is simply unnecessary except for satisfying blood lust.

    Governments (which are just gangs, people) and citizens continuously escalating the power of their weapons leads to only one place: self-destruction. Any monkey could figure out that if you go around hitting people on the head with a hammer, eventually you’re going to be hit.

    Yet for one group of people (military, police) to tell another group of people (citizens) that “I can have a gun, but you can’t”, is clearly creating an imbalance of power. How many times must governments be revealed for exterminating millions of people before people get it through their thick heads? I wonder. But people just want to be cared for, and not take responsibility for themselves, so they believe lies like Hitler, Obama, etc readily. As long as people are this stupid, the same will continue.

    As for Newton and other mass killings, if you step out of MSM information it’s pretty easy to see that these events are manipulated. For example, read up on the evidence that Newton was performed by multiple shooters, choreographed well in advance, etc. Again, this is a common pattern – recognize it. Yet people just can’t believe their government-affiliated groups would murder children. Really? This is a case of governments (and the filth beneath them) engineering reactions in people, then providing a solution which serves their agenda.

    These same people mourning the children in Newton are the same people who readily encourage their children to go off to war and ‘support the troops’ as they murder others’ children in other countries. These people are addicted to violence as a way of life. If you think you can go around hitting people with hammers…

    The solution to this, for those seriously interested in it, is the use of violence suppression applied equally to all (even abusive cops killing kids, imagine that), regardless of income, status, country, etc. Further, it requires working on peace. Weapons are not the tools of peace – see Ghandi. Yet people don’t want to change, so they buy into these quick fixes – basically engineered to further tighten a police state (government violence against citizens).

    Ultimate protection comes from seeding no violence, from being genuinely peaceful. Karmic balance. Any other ‘solution’ is a fraud. Until values change, including the values of the typical American warmonger who portray themselves as ‘upstanding citizens’, society will be brutalized by Newton, Iraq, and far worse.

  8. I should think it would be
    I should think it would be better for the American people to support genuine voices of outrage such a Julian Assange of WikiLeaks – really throw some weight into objecting to the attempts by Amerika to drag him into the Amerikan court system forever – and throw some weight into objecting to the treatment of the young man Bradley Manning who has disappeared into the jail system probably forever. Someone has mentioned Gandhi and I think although it sounds bizarre and naive, that might be the only way to go at this stage.

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