Friday, August 17, 2012

Whose More Responsible for Gun Violence, Hollywood or the NRA/Gun Manufacturers

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette published a fascinating article by Edward Wasserman

Raising the issue of media violence feels like indulging in some ancient controversy from the 1970s, and that's too bad. I think we need to foreground the pop-cultural side of the killings, specifically the ways that Hollywood has drifted in recent years toward sanctifying firearms as the most powerful means of self-validation in action films, the go-to remedy for most wrongs, real and imagined, the universal vehicle of catharsis, cleansing, rectification.

Face it, the most dangerous promoter of gun violence in contemporary society isn't the gunmaker or the National Rifle Association, it's Hollywood. Movies are how guns are exhibited, marketed and sold. When did you last see an advertisement from Glock or Ruger or Smith & Wesson? Unless you read a specialty magazine, never.

That's because the market for firearms isn't widened and regenerated through consumer advertising. That happens through lurid, breathtaking portrayals of gun violence, lovingly depicted in harrowing detail, as plot elements indispensable to the contemporary action film.
What do you think? There's certainly something to what he says, but what's the point? Is it to take our focus off the NRA and gun manufacturers?

Let's say both Holywood and the NRA/gun manufacturers are heavily invested in the proliferation of gun culture and violence.  It's not true, Hollywood is involved in fantasy violence while the NRA/gun manufacturers are interested in the real thing, but for argument sake let's say they both make lots of money by promoting guns and gun violence.

Which one would be easier to control through legislation?  Hollywood would cry the 1st Amendment, the others would cry the 2nd.  Which Amendment do you think more readily admits exceptions?  The 1A has that famous "crying fire in a crowded theater" exception.  The 2A has so many exceptions and restrictions it's hard to count them all.  Justice Scalia clearly stated in his Heller decision that "reasonable restrictions" are allowed.

Obviously, the NRA and the gun manufacturers need to be contained through gun control legislation.  No one wants to do anything about Hollywood films that depict violence.  But, most people do what something done about the gun availability and consequent problems.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. Things like "obvious" and "most" are clear to you, but you're alone in your understanding. Millions of Americans don't want what you want, and they express that in the voting booths.

    By the way, "Who's" would be correct in the title, not "whose."

  2. Whose More Responsible for Gun Violence, Hollywood or the NRA/Gun Manufacturers

    The person committing the violent act, that's who. No one blames movies or manufacturers for violence committed with knives, baseball bats, gasoline, fertilizer, etc, why blame someone else when someone uses a firearm? Oh, I forgot, because gun death is the only one that counts. I guess getting hacked to pieces isn't as bad as getting shot.

  3. BOTH are equally responsible and until this country realizes that, nothing will change. No one lives in a vacuum for responsibility to be rightfully considered a purely individual matter in these situations. Two students do not just get the idea out of the blue to shoot up their school. The ideas are provided by Hollywood; the means by the gun industry. The problem with being a conservative is that you cannot blame the gun industry for anything while the problem with being a liberal is that you cannot blame Hollywood for anything. All the while both groups just point fingers and nothing gets done. Both the gun industry and Hollywood are billion dollar industries (that practically own the government) so nothing will ever be done to regulate either.