The movement for tougher gun laws has gained steam in the wake of Friday’s tragedy in Newton, CT. What’s also gotten attention is that the killer, Adam Lanza, apparently was very into violent video games. It begs the question of why the culture of violence in both the Hollywood and the gaming industry doesn’t come under the same scrutiny as the gun industry.
I realize a lot of Americans—even those who aren’t anti-gun, might find the line “Guns don’t kill, people kill” to be empty after a tragedy like Friday’s, but it’s a line that’s indisputably true. When you consider the raw violence poured out, not just in video games, but in TV and film, why not look there for the root cause of the poison that goes into the human mind before it pulls the trigger?
For the record, I don’t hunt, don’t own a gun and have no desire to. And while I don’t think of my TV or movie-watching habits as violent, I suppose the police dramas that are my favorites have their share of people getting gunned down. I cite this simply to point out that I have no personal stake in protecting guns at all costs, nor in cracking down on the TV, movie and gaming industries.
So it begs the question of why Hollywood and the gaming industry has only come in for some slaps on the wrist—a negative tweet by White House advisor David Axelrod, while we settle in for a long, drawn-out legislative battle on the question of guns. I suppose it’s overly cynical, but I can’t help but note that Hollywood backs liberal Democrats, while the NRA backs mostly conservative Republicans, and since we have a liberal Democrat in the White House, he’s not going to bite the hand that bankrolls him.
An honest dialogue would bring all facets of the culture of violence into the discussion. While I don’t believe gun control is effective and in some cases unconstitutional, I don’t have an issue with it being a part of the conversation–including the flip side, which is examining whether teachers should be armed, as is the case in Israel. But that conversation should truly broad-based, non-political and not feel like a rush to ram legislation down the country’s throat in the passion of the moment.
Unfortunately, none of those criteria are being met, and this whole episode is another reason there should be a moratorium on any political statements or solutions until at least thirty days after a tragedy. The people in office aren’t capable of handling themselves like true leaders.
Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com