Why Does Hollywood Get A Free Pass As Violence Escalates?

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.

Is President Obama's financial backing from Hollywood the reason their contribution to national violence is being ignored?

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



  • Russell Lewis

    Maybe people should grow up and place the blame where it belongs, on themselves. If violence on TV affected people, then why isn’t everyone a crazed killer? I grew up watching Superman… it didn’t make me want to jump out a window to see if I could fly. Let’s face it, there are going to be people who are going to abuse the 2nd amendment rights and make good people look bad in the process.

  • Michael E. Douroux

    A Violence-Added Tax on Hollywood

    For those in Hollywood who are proponents of redistributed wealth for the betterment of society, how about a different type of VAT on both the purveyors and consumers of violent media to help fund the mental health care system?

    We put heavy tax on tobacco to discourage use, we can do the same for gratuitous violence.

    Just last month in Cook County (Chicago), they passed a “Violence Tax” on gun sales to defray uninsured hospital costs.

    Balanced. Consistent.

    And let’s cut through the dodge of pitting one scientific study against another with a simple question: Would advertisers pour billions into popular media if it had no impact on behavior?

  • John son of John

    there is something called gamer anger where the anger is kept inside and there is no outlet sought.
    God Bless

  • abadilla

    Simple. Hollywood gets a pass from the media because the media does not see, nor hear violence in this country, unless they are willing to support a leftist President getting ready to attack the Second Amendment. Obama will never say an unkind world against Hollywood because they are the hypocrites who give Obama millions of dollars to re-elect him and that’s exactly what the liberal media wanted, and indeed they got their wish. Does the liberal media have a word to say about Benghazi or Fast and Furious? Of course not, but they want to disarm honest Americans.



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