My original title for this piece was Ban Hollywood Not Guns. It was an attempt to shed light on the gun violence that is embedded in the entertainment culture which seeps into our general population. Case in point, James Holmes walked into a crowded movie theater at midnight in Aurora, Colorado with multiple firearms and killed 12 people and wounded over 50. Questions were raised regarding the level of violence in the latest film in the Batman franchise The Dark Knight Rises. Is there a connection between the overwhelming violence portrayed fictitiously in the movies and the acts of crime committed realistically?
I do not profess to be an expert on the matter, but from the Kat’s eye, once tragic incidents like Aurora or the Sandy Hook shootings occur, we are overtaken by emotionalism and are quick to find a solution to a problem that we are ill-equipped to solve. Hasty decisions often lead to faulty results. The bottom line is guns are scary. But even scarier are those with criminal intent or unfortunate mental health issues that carry them. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood are mass shootings that left permanent scars in the memory of the American public. In the same vein, Sandy Hook left an irreparable tear in the fabric of all things sacred at the loss of some many elementary school children. I believe that the general consensus is that if something is not done to avenge the death of those kids that we have been defeated by gun-toting villains. But the truth of the matter is that we are victorious when we choose NOT to live our lives through a prism of fear and deprivation because of such monstrous events.
When I was young, I was trapped in a confined elevator with a man welding a gun at a woman whose jewelry he wanted. There was no escape, he had control and my life and that of the other occupants in the elevator hung in the balance. Although I was not the direct target, I feared for my life. Shortly thereafter, I had anxiety when getting into crowded elevators. Today it would be called post-traumatic stress disorder. Years later, I am still cautious of my surroundings and the people that surround me.
The latest legislative debate is gun control and in light of my childhood ordeal, you would think that I would support the idea of tightening the reins on gun purchases. But I don’t. As a card carrying American, I have the protection of the 2nd Amendment that states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” While I don’t exercise that freedom, I don’t believe that others should be denied that right. I do believe that gun owners should be licensed, trained, registered within their state and have background checks completed. I also believe that those who commit the horrific crimes that make us cringe are not stable minded or law abiding citizens.
So then again, lingering questions remain. Is there a connection between the overwhelming violence portrayed fictitiously in the movies and the acts of crime committed realistically? Is the media culture to blame or the ready access and availability to guns the culprit? Should we politicize the bloodshed of murder victims to justify our belief systems? Will we ever be able to get along?