Entertainment Industry Control or Gun Control?

It took me a couple of days to be able to get my bearings together enough to write this. I was first made aware of the travesty in Newtown, CT on Friday afternoon, while closing out of my internet mail. For a split second my brain seemed to pick up “Newtown” and “School shooting” from the barrage of news stories and links. You see, I have children who go to school in Newtown—Newtown PA. Then came a sudden sigh of relief, then within seconds I realized, or at least started to try to grasp, the magnitude of the tragedy. Not many words or even feelings can attempt to describe the hell that several families, a high school friend, and the US in general have to experience because of this single act of one warped mind.

No one will ever be able to know what went through the shooter’s mind, before, or during the massacre. This is only a couple of days later, so a lot of questions still remain. Apparently, one of the four guns used during the killings, was his mother’s semi-automatic gun.

Immediately, the mainstream press followed up with the issue of gun control. The US former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, was infamously quoted as saying “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  The argument from the left says guns should be banned, or these massacres will continue. Those on the right say, it’s people who kill, not the guns. So which side is right?

We have to meet somewhere in the middle on this one folks. The US has a 2nd amendment, which clearly says “we have the right to bear arms.” This is in the document to help prevent tyranny—which is the reason the US came about in the first place. This right needs to be acknowledged by all. The Constitution is a bit over 200 years old, and is, in my opinion, still a fresh, living, breathing document, and one of the greatest ever written. But those who took an oath, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg who said she would look to South Africa’s Constitution as a framework for a revised US Constitution, in my opinion, have committed treason. They should not have taken the oath. Before making a claim that banning guns is the solution, those on that side should study some history about gun control and where that has lead other countries. In fact, I can argue there are some statistics and examples that show gun ownership among citizens actually decreases crime and murder rates.

While hunting rifles, and handguns carried with the proper documentation are certainly within bounds, any argument made for people who possess semi-automatic weapons, will continue to ring hollow with most in the mainstream media. Perhaps it is time to take a look at the reasons for possessing certain weapons; and the reasons for not being able to buy them.

On this topic of violence and killing, we need to take a step back and look at the entire field—let’s not lose site of the ball. In this case we have a problem, which requires a solution. Politics need to be placed aside here. Banning some types of weapons could help, but taking away the rights of decent, tax-paying citizens to arm themselves is nothing short of tyranny. So what’s the answer?

I firmly believe the question to be raised here is not so much should guns be legal, but rather how much the mainstream media, Hollywood movie producers, professional entertainers, and video game producers contribute to the avalanche of violence and viral crap, that all US citizens, including young children, are subjected to. How long will the practice of desensitizing children to violence, over the years, through more and brutal violence continue? We can discuss the hypocrisy of the ratings system, but, heck, even the old Disney movies for General audiences could have been rated differently back in the day. From the Wicked Witch in Snow White, Oven Baking in Hansel and Gretal, and The Hungry Wolf in The 3 Little Pigs to the barrage of violence in video games, on U-tube, and on television, humans in the US seem to be provided a steady dose of violence, and hence stress/anxiety from cradle to grave.

It now seems like normal fare for 10 year old kids to play war games on their PC’s or X box’s. The games are intense with the graphics, sounds, and themes—quite “immersing” actually. I took my 12 year old son and some friends to see The Hobbit recently, rated PG-13, and the be-headings were quite graphic. I don’t see any difference between the violence offered in the R rated, Lord Of The Rings—same degree of violence. So why a more lax rating? It is called “desensitization.” When I was 12, seeing some of the violence such as that in The Hobbit would have shaken me. When I asked my son and friends how they felt about it, they all said “I’ve seen a lot worse.” What can be worse than a be-heading?

So the point here, is that before we even begin discussions on banning guns entirely, let’s look at the entire picture, which needs to include a frank discussion about the state of our entertainment industry, and how their material and works of art contribute to and fuel violence, distortions of reality, and mass killings. Of course in the end, we as free citizens have the right to choose what we watch and what we do for our entertainment. Perhaps on this front we should all be choosing more wisely…

George Righter

About George Righter

American composer and musician who lives for the outdoors.

21. December 2012 by George Righter
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