Movie News

Celebrities, Hollywood, Movies, Gun Control... Where Do You Stand?

Where do you stand on the effect of movie violence on our culture?

Jamie Foxx in Django UnchainedFollowing the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre placed blame on movies, video games and music videos including films such as American Psycho and Natural Born Killers and a free online game called "Kindergarten Killers".

LaPierre also targeted the media adding, "Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away."

Following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook the red carpet premiere in Los Angeles for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was cancelled. The film, which contains tons of gun violence, became a talking point with Tarantino commenting on the influence movies have saying, "This has gone back all the way down to Shakespeare's days - alright, when there's violence in the street, the cry becomes 'blame the playmaker.' And you know, I actually think that's a very facile argument to pin on something that's a real life tragedy."

Co-stars Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz also weighed in.

Waltz said, "What I consider the really significant and dangerous aspect is the sensationalization of it, and movies don't sensationalize, they just tell. Who is it who sensationalizes it? It's the media. So we have to keep these a little bit apart, and look at them separately, and not just meddle everything up and point fingers at the opposite side. I find that very important. And I would also consider gun control indispensable. Rigorous gun control! Because a gun that you can't have, you don't use."

"Here's the thing - even if you get rid of all of the guns, I think that symptom will still be there," Foxx told CNN. "So it will be a knife, it will be something, it will be their bare hands - but we have to, one, get the guns off the street ... and then address the problem of the person, how do we reach out to that person, how do we make that person feel like, you don't have to do this."

Fellow Django co-star Samuel L. Jackson also added some thoughts to the conversation telling the Los Angeles Times, "I don't think it's about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren't taught the value of life... I don't think movies or video games have anything to do with it."

I bring this up because I would like to know where you stand on the matter. Personally, the influence movies may or may not have, I believe, has a lot to do with a child's upbringing.

There is something to the question of "How do we reach out to that person?" and "This is about people who aren't taught the value of life." Yes, movie violence can have an effect, but I have to believe that effect is partially determined by a child's upbringing, the people around them and the mental stability of the person in question. Again, people are looking for black-and-white answers to complex moral questions where none exist.

I don't think gun control means the complete stamping out of guns altogether, just as much as I don't believe it means arming our elementary teachers with guns to protect themselves. Something needs to be done -- limited access to specific gun sellers, close the gun show loophole, etc. But, also, let's pay closer attention to those around us in an attempt to help prevent situations such as what happened at Sandy Hook, in Aurora, Colorado and a Portland shopping mall as well as the instances of gun violence that don't make national headlines.

Featured below is an edited version of the video embedded above (via Vulture) in which a YouTube user has taken snippets from films that correspond with the celebrity asking for gun control. I'd love to read your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

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  • Jack

    The problems with our culture run so much deeper than the debate over gun control laws. We live in a world that no longer respects life and therefore these monsters get created.

    I'm not saying that violent movies and video games are the cause, but I'm sure they don't help.

    • Beautifulm

      I agree. I don't think it's impossible to believe that if films, music and video games can positively influence people, then they can negatively influence them. On the other hand, I've seen many violent films, listened to violent music and played violent video games and I don't own a gun. I don't know what the answer is.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jennifer/ Jennifer

      I really like your statement. I don't think what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary or other locations of mass shootings can be blamed on movies, television, video games, or music, but I believe that all of these things have played a role in desensitizing people to what violence really is. The media certainly plays a role in this as well.

      I don't know what the right answers to this horrible event are, but as someone who resides not too far from Sandy Hook, I can't even describe the awful feelings of sadness and loss that have penetrated every person since this happened.

  • Billy W

    I think blaming movies and video games for school shootings and such has always been the easy way out for some people. But the whole world watches the same movies and plays the same video games, don't they? And other countries don't seem to have as bad a problem with shootings as we do here in the U.S..... A lot of Asian films are WAY more violent than American films for example. I think the problem is with each individual. If a bunch of teenagers watch the same violent movie one of of them shoots up a school the next day, then I think the problem was with that person already and not with the film. If the problem was with the films, video games, and the media then everyone who watched them would become raging violent maniacs.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/rififi/ rififi

    I agree with Billy W's stance, that blaming movies and video games for shootings and violence is a cop out. The truth lies in parenting and education. There is something more than "I saw it in a movie or played it in a video game so I wanted to actually do it or act some uncontrollable aggression out." Gun control laws need to be advanced and strengthened for the safety of us all, but to blame it on entertainment is the easy way out.

  • jamie

    i don't understand the gun debate. i have never been in a position, or situation, where i think, "jesus...i just really wish i could pull out a gun here". why do we need them? because it's our constitutional right? i don't want to be governed by any document written 200 years ago. i want that shit updated, and changed hourly! times change. society changes. we need to change, and adapt with it.

    of course there is still going to be violence. but doing what we can to remove the tools that can be exploited by these people, is to me, the only way to approach it. the NRA drives me nuts. their answer seems to be adding more guns, will help curb gun violence. well...that doesn't sit well with me.

    anyone that needs a weapon the can fire off 90 rounds of ammo, in order to protect themselves...should probably consider putting themselves in less dangerous positions. where do you live? the congo? if i'm living in a hut in the sudan, and someone is probably going to try and chop my head off with a machete every morning...yeah, i'm packing some serious heat! but i'm not loading up my trunk with firearms, before i head to walgreens to pick up some organic lettuce.

    we have discovered over time, that no...we should never have OWNED other people. that the rights of blacks, and females, are the same rights that we all should share. that gays should be given all the tools to be as committed and legally bond to each other as we all are. these are ideals that changed over time, because we allowed them to change. because we wanted them to. it's time for this to change as well.

    sorry that was a little rant-y.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

      Jamie, you are my Lincoln! great argument.

      • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

        It's ironic that the citizens of the most developed and powerful nation of the world need guns to protect themselves. I think the lawmakers need to look at the underdeveloped and developing countries for inspiration. Inspite of security being a concern in these countries [Read: India, Brazil, Israel], they have strict gun laws, and still no one complains in these countries that they should have guns.

        • Werdna Ecun

          You know another country that has really strict gun control laws?

          Mexico.

          See how well that's working for them.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

            it's a third world country....all the other first world countries that have strict gun laws dont have anywhere near the amount of gun deaths (when combined!) that the US has.

          • flerk

            And there is also rampant corruption in Mexico that has allowed these cartells to grow so big that they are basically in war with the government of Mexico now.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

          The reason "the most developed and powerful nation of the world need guns to protect themselves" is because (to quote Killing Them Softly) it's not a country, it's just a business. The selling of guns is a business. America's a racket all the way through and nothing gets in the way of profit. That's the difference between the US and everyone else.

      • Werdna Ecun

        What argument? All Jamie did was state a bunch of unsupported opinions.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

          His argument is to not take the Constitution at face value and adapt it for the times...it's in his first paragraph.

      • jamie

        thanks @the bioscopist! i just watched Lincoln last night, and that's probably why i'm grandstanding! i'm a loser!

    • DavidG

      I very much agree.

  • flerk

    I'm from Norway and here we have on average 30 murders (and most of them are not by guns but knives etc) a year on a population of 5 million (this is without counting the 77 people murdered on 22 july 2011. That was an act of terror). There are 1,3 million guns in Norway and 1 in 10 norwegians own a gun. Thats 11th position in the world per. 100 population. USA is nr. 1. The only way to get a gun in Norway is to go through training and then get permission from the police and you cannot own a automatic weapon like a machine gun or whatever (my gun knowledge is not very good.)

    Then why are there so few murders in Norway compared to USA? Well, the reason is, I believe a very weird mindset around weapons in US. In Norway weapons and hunting are a way of life. There are 200 000 people who hunt but we don't believe we need a gun to defend ourself and no one carries a weapon around either on themselves or in the car unless it is for transporting from A to B. In US there is a mindset that you have a right to own a weapon and defend yourself while in Norway people use guns in controlled situations like hunting and sport. Ski shooting was invented by Norwegian so you can see how much guns are a part of Norwegian culture.

    Another fact might be how do people solve issues? Through violence or not? US seems a much more violent country then f.ex. Norway, where violent crimes and issues are solved more violently. I am not trying to generalize but this is how US is seemed from outside. Not to mention also the relation americans have with military and weapons. It has a very glorified view of the army and war while the army has not much meaning in the Norwegian way of life and it doesn't take much for Norwegians to protest the use of the army in conflicts.

    I would not blame movies, games or music for these killings in US. We see the same movies, play the same games and listen to the same music and Grand Theft Auto or Marilyn Manson has never caused anyone to kill anyone here. It is the mindset about weapons and the use of violence.

    And here a stricter weapon control will save lives. If a guy gets pissed and doesn't have access to guns, he'll use something else. It'll still be a weapon like a knife or a but at least it will not be a gun where the crazy-o can kill more people faster. It is easier for 4 people to owerpower a guy wielding a knife then a guy with a semi-automatic. Victims also have a bigger chance of survival. We had a guy go nuts in a bus and attacked people with a knife. People got hurt but no one was killed as he was overpowered before he could kill someone. If had had access to a gun, more people would gotton hurt and some surely would be killed.

    A cultural change in the value of life, conflict resolution without the use of violence and much stricter weapon control is what is needed. Not banning Tarantino and Manson.

  • Winchester

    I've never bought the Entertainment breeds violence specifically since violence and violent acts predate 'modern' movie violence and I completely agree that the simple argument posed by the NRA guy is simplistic deflection (plus he has his own agenda - his idea is for everyone to have them. That's what he essentially wants) from a LOT of other factors.

    His argument does not explain why millions of people who watch these films and play these games do not go on a shooting rampage. The choice to go on such a rampage is made by the individual. Why does that individual make THAT choice? That's what is often hard or impossible to truly know. So..........in lieu of never having an answer it's easy to pick media.

    The need to blame someone or something over-rides blaming necessarily the right someone or something. That's standard human behaviour not unique to the USA. But I think the reason these tragic events happen is usually more complex in terms of 'why' than simply the films they watch. Sometimes it may be a factor. But there has to be something disturbed within that person to make them do it. Since all of us can easily separate film fiction from reality and do not do these things. And that space between is what people don't seem to want to explore.

    Perhaps because it involves poor parenting, societal factors etc that are less simple.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    It’s a complex issue for sure, with many intricacies and factors. First, there’s the issue of violence in movies, video games and TV. The key question is “do violent movies make violent people?” – The answer (as far as I’m concerned) is absolutely not. Take me for instance; I’m a guy who grew up playing the most violent videos games and watching the most violent films. If it were true that violent films created violent people, I should be Charles Whitman. But I’m not, so that settles that. I’ve never been in so much as violent confrontation in my life. But the next question is “could violent films encourage an already mentally unstable individual to go through with a violent action?” An impossible question to answer, really. The recent Norway shooter listed Dogville as one of his favorite films. Is Lars Von Trier to blame? What about the countless millions of other people who watched Dogville and never even considered killing anyone? I think it’s safe to say that the shooter would have killed those people anyway, regardless of whether he had watched Dogville the night before or not. But naturally, that’s speculation.

    Christoph Waltz’s statement: “What I consider the really significant and dangerous aspect is the sensationalization of it, and movies don't sensationalize, they just tell. Who is it who sensationalizes it? It's the media. So we have to keep these a little bit apart, and look at them separately, and not just meddle everything up and point fingers at the opposite side. I find that very important. And I would also consider gun control indispensable. Rigorous gun control! Because a gun that you can't have, you don't use.”

    I agree with half of this statement. There’s no question that the media sensationalizes violence and shootings. That’s how they get ratings. I talked about this before after TDKR shooting. They pretend to care and offer phony “thoughts and prays,” but they’re making money hand over foot by exploiting the victims and stirring up fear. Take my mother for instance. She’s well aware of how manipulative and shameless the media is, but she was still glued to the TV as the “news” was covering it. When I asked why, she said “to get all the information.” What information? They’d been repeating the same shit all day long. There was nothing to report. But fear sells. The media knows this. I also agree with Waltz’s statement on gun control, but I’ll get to that later. I disagree, however, when he says “movies don't sensationalize, they just tell.” Movies absolutely sensationalize. Watch the last 20 minutes of Rambo and tell me the violence isn’t sensationalized! Nonsense, of course it is. But again, the question is whether this makes people violent.

    The other point I’d like to make about movie violence is that every other country on earth watches the same exact movies we do, but for some reason they don’t have the issue with gun violence that we do. In fact, movies are generally far more successful overseas than they are here. So what’s the independent variable? If a British man is watching the same exact movies as I am, how come his country doesn’t have as many shootings? The sole fact that Britain (or any other country) doesn’t have as many shooting as we do immediately dismisses the argument that “it’s the movies fault.” Plain and simple. What do we have more of? Guns. Lots of them. One for every man, woman and child. Maybe this has something to do with it…

    The conservative mentality is that “it’s not guns that kill people, its people that kill people.” I was talking to a conservative friend of mine after the shootings and the first thing she said was “if the principal had had a gun, she could have just shot the maniac.” Yes, that’s the answer. Arm everyone and there will be fewer shootings. Makes perfect sense to me. From now on, Ms. Smith, the friendly 3rd grade teacher, can wear a belt with her ruler, magic marker and Glock, because you never know… little Johnny might pull his 9mm one day and he and the teacher will have to battle it out right there in the classroom. I think the ridiculousness of that notion speaks for itself. Oh, and by the way, could the principal have even been able to operate the gun, much less shoot the killer? At least the maniac KNOWS how to shoot. The principal probably would’ve ended up shooting more kids than the killer. But I digress. Less guns = less shootings. It’s doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure this out.

    And while we’re on the subject on gun control, I’d like to address the reason Republicans just have to have those guns: “One day, we might need them to overthrow the corrupt Government.” That’s right, you and Jimmy down the street are going to defeat the entire US military, countless private security contractors and drone strikes with your 12 gauge shotgun. Good luck.

    Parenting and upbringing plays a major role as well. If a child isn’t brought up by parents who teach them right from wrong, they’re probably not going to fare too well. But as I say this, you could point to any number of people who were brought up in completely normal circumstances and then went on to become mass killers. You could just as easily point dozens of people who grew up under horrific circumstances and became perfectly normal citizens. So what’s the disconnect? This brings up the “nature vs. nurture” discussion. Are some people natural born killers? Or do they learn to be violent? Hard to say. But I do think it’s safe to say that there are chemical imbalances in some people’s brains that cause them to act a certain way. This brings me to my next point.

    More than the NRA, more than movies; the pharmaceutical companies should really be the ones under the spotlight. With all the toxic chemicals that people pump into their brains on a daily basis, is it any wonder that there are more killings? And it’s happening to people at a younger and younger age. “Does your kid have ADD? Give her this pill!” By the time many children turn 20, they’ve already been pumped up with so many pharmaceuticals that they’ve developed chemical imbalances in their brain. So is it any wonder that people are more fucked up now than they’ve ever been? And of course in the United States (where capital is king) we can’t have any regulation! Money never sleeps, as all know.

    So yeah; when you have a country in which everyone’s hopped up on toxic pharmaceuticals to take their mind off of the tanking economy and everyone has access to guns, bad things will follow…

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

    I think the west wing clip of Toby Ziegler using real statistics, to prove the case for tighter gun control, says it all.

  • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

    The only country other than US where movies are a big part of culture and life is India. Infact with more than 1000 movies releasing every year, I believe Indians might be the most film-centric population you can find anywhere in universe. The story doesn't end here, the actors in India are demi-gods, and they generally referred to as heros or heroines instead of actors or actresses , which in itself shows how much they are idolized. And now the interesting aspect, Inspite films deeply ingrained in Indian psyche, and not to mention them being violent, there has hardly ever been a instance of any gun-crime in India where movies were blamed for it.
    But then, in India it's virtually impossible for an average citizen to posses guns. So it's difficult to say whether actually people don't get influenced or is it because there are strict gun control laws ?

    Though I do believe, agreeing to Brad's opinion, there is no black-and-white answer to this. A person can get effected by what he sees onscreen and the extent to which he or she brings the negativity to his/her own life may be determined by several factors - his/her mental state, or his/her upbringing or even his/her surroundings/company.
    Most of the film-buffs I have known, say that films are positive influence to their lives. I too hold the same opinion. And it's here, your personal judgement comes into picture - What can you filter out of your system and what you want to let it in and bring change to yourself in a good way.

    Having said that, I also believe stricter gun control laws can be quite effective and India is a prime example of it [though there are several other reason too, but non-accessibility to guns is definitely one of them]. The debate whether films actually effect people will carry on, but we have to find out ways to channelize this effect into a positive direction.

    Now coming to Hollywood, it's a little bit strange to hear the stories of people getting influenced by films to commit the heinous crimes.

    • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

      Ignore the last line. I was going nowhere.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TGH/ Thomas Hines

    I have read most of the comments on this and tried to consider all that you all have proposed.

    The fact that Brad can run this site and, even though its mostly about movies, he can if he wishes speak his mind about government officials, policies, etc. THAT is part of the 1st Amendment written 236 years ago and it is a wonderful freedom and blessing that we shouldn't take for granted.

    The 2nd amendment of that same document (Bill of Rights of the US Constitution) states that "citizens" have the freedom and right to bear arms. This right isn't just so we can hunt or blow up targets for fun, but also to defend our families from anything that might harm them: burglars, rapists, Chinese soldiers (doubtful), or (dare I say it), government soldiers coming to take your guns away because they don't think you're responsible enough to own any.

    No, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but this is where we could be headed if we're not careful.

    The core issue is the condition of our human hearts. We are all inclined toward evil whether we like it or not. Some of us, due to good upbringing may dodge some of the choices that could land us where these psycho shooters have ended up. Regardless, we are all imperfect and we all need saving from ourselves. The question is are you willing to be saved?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

      We'll if youre prepared to accept that the occasional gun spree will happen several times a year, then by all means have a gun. If youre okay with having the highest per capita gun deaths in the world, not to mention the developed world, then by all means have a gun. Just 'cos a document written 236 years ago says you can have one, doest mean it should be followed like gospel....you can change it.

      • Werdna Ecun

        This is so silly. Do you think because the government makes guns illegal that bad people won't be able to get guns? Mexico tried this. But look! The drug-runners and kidnappers can still get guns and now the only people who can't get guns are the people who CHOOSE to obey the law. Europe has outlawed guns and their crime rate per segment of the population is actually much HIGHER than the US. Somebody said that the principal of the school (were he given a gun) would probably shoot more students than the actual killer. I sincerely doubt this is true, because I don't think that shooting a gun has ever been that complicated, but even if he shot three students, and then either scared the killer off or incapacitated him, wouldn't this be better than killers having nothing to fear as they enter a school.

        Why do you think it is that every major shooting spree in the last few decades has taken place in an area where people are not allowed to own guns? Killers are cowards going after the defenseless. If killers knew that public school teachers were allowed to carry weapons, do you think they would be as excited about shooting up a school?

        This is so senseless.

        • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

          Mexico has various other problems too, which both you and I know and to top it all, it has a much weaker security system in place than what US has. So it's no surprise that gun control laws don't work there. Why are you making an exception, a rule ?

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

          if the killer didn't have easy access to a gun he wouldn't have been able to do the damage he did....the solution is not to give more people guns, its to limit all civilians access to guns. Leave the guns to police. The argument about mexican gangs obtaining guns is actually related to getting guns across the border from....guess where?.....the US!

          I lived in Africa for 17 years and I never owned a gun, and I remember the British Naval medics coming over to our hospitals to train in gun shot wounds, due to the heavy gang violence. So for someone in the US to feel like they need a gun seems mind boggling to me.

        • flerk

          First of all, the whole bad guys vs. good guys simplifying that you and NRA did is silly. There are several more factors then good guys with guns or bad guys with guns.

          In Mexico there has been a lot of corruption for several years that has allowed the cartells to grow bigger and stronger. It was when a new government came to power and declared "war" on the cartells that the killings got worse. Because the cartells has had so long time to grow bigger and stronger and have several people in government and police on their pay roll they are able to wage war in Mexico. If they from the beginning had been met with swift actions from a non-corrupt police thay might not have been so strong.

          Beside, if a person wants to get a gun that person can always get a gun. By enforcing stricter gun laws it will be more difficult for the crazy "lone wolf" to get a gun. Organized crime vs. one person is not comparable. See my earlier post with the example of the crazed guy in the bus in Norway.

          "Europe has outlawed guns and their crime rate per segment of the population is actually much HIGHER than the US."

          Where are you getting this from? Besides, Europe is a continent and a continent with an extremely difficult history with different socilogical and cultural differnces that has caused friction for years. The internal politics and conflicts in France is much different then those in Romania or Greece. To compare USA with Europe and claim Europe has a higher crime rate is nonsensical as the statistics will be skewed (and I still believe it is not correct that there is more "crime per. segment of the pop." but please prove me wrong). Furthermore Europe has also a lot of racial tensions that sometimes fire up and result in riots or lately hate crimes in Greece because of the rise of right-wing extremism (also Hungary). We also have a country with no democracy (no, not Russia even though it is close), in Belarus so claiming Europe as one statistic is pointless.

          "Somebody said that the principal of the school (were he given a gun) would probably shoot more students than the actual killer. I sincerely doubt this is true, because I don't think that shooting a gun has ever been that complicated, but even if he shot three students, and then either scared the killer off or incapacitated him, wouldn't this be better than killers having nothing to fear as they enter a school."

          I don't even know what to say here. Even if he shot three students isn't it better? First of all, give me a gun and I have no idea what I am supposed to do. I don't even know where the safety is. Put me in a situation where there is a crazed gunman shooting kids and ask me to aim and shoot the moving killer while adrenalin is raging in me I would miss. Then I would either hurt a child or get killed as well. Besides; do you really wanna live in a country where schools needs to have guns? Isn't US an indistrialized democracy way past life in the colonies?

          "Killers are cowards going after the defenseless."

          You also have killers going after cops, firefighters and there are guns used in crimes and shootouts between gangs. Both sides has guns there.

    • flerk

      The chances of the US government coming to take on it's own people I find hard to believe. Or chinese which will never happen as China has so much money lent and invested in the US that by going to war against USA it will go bankrupt itself. Besides China is more interested in increasing their financial stronghold and showing it's muscles off regionaly then attacking US. It is also the reason China for the most part don't get involved in international conflicts and many times refrain from voting in the UN unless is helps itself financially. There are a lot of bad things happening in China but the danger of a chinese attack on US or Europe for that matter is almost nill in my personal opnion.

      Burglary and rape are of course horrible things to happen but we can go and discuss other methods of prevention like more police patroling and faster response times on 911 calls or you personally set up alarm systems in your house connected to private security companies. This option of course excludes those who cannot afford this but more police patroling and faster response times on 911 calls is for everyone. I still believe that having a gun in every house because the criminals have guns is not the way to go. Stricter gun laws are better as it can prevent some burglars and criminals to get weapons and by not having guns in the house it might prevent overreactions and accidental killings during a burglury.

      To argue against my own points, I have never experienced violent crimes and never been burglured. If I experience something like that myself maybe I would be of a different opinion, but even if I am allowed to own guns or other weapons in Norway I would rather get a really loud alarm system and a good bat learn kung fu.

      "The core issue is the condition of our human hearts. We are all inclined toward evil whether we like it or not. Some of us, due to good upbringing may dodge some of the choices that could land us where these psycho shooters have ended up."

      I'll agree with you on that one.

    • jamie

      well...you're lucky i'm not in charge. cause if i was, i'd ban them all. the only people who would be able to carry, or own any fire arms, would be law enforcement. people will find ways to get them. but maybe a few gun-crazed psychopaths would have to go without. i know who definitely wouldn't have one: adam lanza's mom. maybe adam would have found another way, to get his hands on a military style assault weapon...instead of grabbing it off a shelf in his mom's home. but maybe not. either way, there is a better chance that those children are playing with their christmas presents tonight.

      that's what it comes down to. increasing the chances for us all. and maybe you'll use you weapons to stop the government employees, who are trying to take them away from you. but i think that's a fight you'll probably lose. and maybe that's for the best. someone who would want to kill anyone, who tries to take away their right to bear arms...well, that's someone i probably don't want to share my lifespace with.

      there are 3 things in this world i would kill for. my wife, and my 2 daughters. i'd die for many other things. things that i believe in. things that make this world a better place. everything else seems backwards to me.

  • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

    I guess coming from Australia it's hard to judge what the best solution is. My instant response would be just get rid of guns, but that's perhaps because I've never seen a gun in my life and it's not an issue at all over here.

    I think whatever the fix is, it's going to be something that may not have direct results in the short term but in the long term will help alleviate the issue.

    Whatever the answer is, more guns has to be the stupidest solution I've heard (in my opinion :) ) and I believe it makes the USA look ridiculous that it gets discussed as a serious option.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

      Agreement from Canada. I don't know a single person with a gun, and I think my reaction if one of my friends bought one would be definite unease. I'm not saying I know the answer because in MY personal world, guns aren't an issue at all.

      I've seen my fair share of violent movies, and it's probably true that they desensitize people (especially children) but in a world where owning a gun seems as ridiculous and unnecessary as attaching a missile system to the roof of my house, I can't say I'd ever own one.

      Maybe its a chemical thing, maybe its the way I was raised, maybe its the country I'm in, but i feel like if I ever did get to the point where I snap, my fists would be my only weapon (and believe me, i don't think anyone would have anything to worry about)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jjensen9971/ jjensen9971

    Apologize in advance for the long comment - expand your minds....

    The film "Casablanca" has many famous lines, but none more immortal than Capt. Renault's order after seeing a Nazi officer shot by Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick Blaine: "Round up the usual suspects." He issues that command to give the impression he's trying to solve the crime. In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, the Renault approach is alive and well.

    The three suspects commonly cited are the purported danger of certain firearms, mentally ill individuals and modern forms of entertainment. They all make plausible culprits, until you look closely.

    The first is our old nemesis the "assault weapon." The Newtown shooter used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle, which resembles a military model, and several 30-round magazines. President Barack Obama and several Democratic senators are therefore calling for a renewal of the "assault weapons" ban that expired in 2004.

    But the guns they would ban are functionally identical to innumerable guns that would not be outlawed. Contrary to myth, these firearms don't produce bursts of automatic fire, don't "spray" bullets and aren't any more lethal than other semiautomatic guns. They are exceptional only in how they look.

    What would a new ban achieve? As Reason's Jacob Sullum noted, Connecticut forbids the same assault weapons covered by the old federal law. Under its terms, however, the gun used by Adam Lanza was legal.

    The gun-control advocates also want to prohibit high-capacity magazines, limiting them to 10 rounds. The lifesaving value of this change is likely to be close to zero. Ordinary street thugs rarely fire many rounds, and those intent on slaughtering large numbers of victims can carry multiple magazines and multiple guns. That's exactly what Lanza did.

    The theory is that a shooter who has to pause to reload can be stopped. But switching out a magazine takes only seconds. Florida State University gun scholar Gary Kleck says he knows of only one case where bystanders overcame a mass shooter when he stopped to reload.

    Jared Loughner, who killed six people in Tucson, was tackled only after reloading, when his gun jammed. Lanza, shooting docile first graders in a confined space, didn't have to worry they would subdue him.

    Many of the suggestions for averting the next massacre involve how we handle the mentally ill. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called for denying guns to "those with a history of mental instability."

    That's a bit like looking for your keys where the light is good instead of where you dropped them. We don't know that Lanza suffered from mental illness. His developmental disorder, Asperger's syndrome, is not associated with violence. Lori Shery, president of the Asperger Syndrome Education Network, told The New York Times his disorder was about as pertinent to the crime as the color of his hair.

    Even if Lanza had some serious psychiatric ailment, it may explain nothing. The vast majority of mentally ill people are not dangerous, and the vast majority of violent criminals are not mentally ill.

    Federal law already bars sales of guns to anyone declared mentally incompetent by a court. Durbin wants to improve state reporting of mental health records, which makes perfect sense. But broadening the criteria for mental-health disqualification, as others suggest, would punish millions of people who pose no risk. It's important to protect the rest of us from the mentally ill, but equally vital to protect them from indiscriminate sanctions.

    So desperate are some people to make sense of the slaughter that they resorted to the flimsiest of straw men. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) fretted about "the impact of violence in the entertainment culture."

    Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) took a more threatening tack: "Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children. They have a responsibility to protect our children. If they do not, you can count on the Congress to take a more aggressive role."

    Seriously? If violence in media causes violence in the real world, how do they explain that homicides are less than half as common today as they were in 1980, before video games took off?

    Does anyone think the new film of "Anna Karenina" will cause a rash of train suicides? Has Rockefeller heard of the First Amendment?

    He evidently thinks video gamers can't understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Funny thing: A lot of politicians have the same problem.

  • JN Films

    I think that movies that have pointless violence (I.e. Texas Chainsaw Massacre) should not be made but movies like Django with violence incorporated and has a purpose in the art form should still be made. I think that we should at least take away semi-auto guns, only have guns on designated ranges (not physically on you everywhere), and mental checks for all gun owners 3-6 times a year, and background on all guns. I would be for getting rid of guns for regular citizens.

  • Mr.Jim

    I think movies,games, and anything else we see thats violent is just being used as an excuse of blame by people rather then face the issue at hand. I believe if people took the time to get to know somebody that could potentially go on a massacre we could prevent these. We as people don't want to take responsiblity for others in our society that we feel we don't have an obligation too. Just think as a person driving down the straight looking at a homeless person do you feel the need to help him, yeah you might give him some change but you think to yourself yeah hes not my problem. Its fucked up but its honest and true. Im no psychic but I feel if somebody had gotten to know the sandytown shooter, they could have either talked him out of it or reported it to the police or maybe he would have never considered it who knows.All i know is it seems that all these recent shooters had something in common in that they were loners who didnt really connect much with others. Now is that a fault on them as a person or the people around them not being supportive is a question of debate not whether movies and video games enabled this. Its one of the reasons why I loved Django unchained because although part of the violence was glorified watching the two slaves fight to the death for other enjoyment was horrible to watch but at the same time it was eye opening to the errors of our past(And only hypocrites would say this kind of stuff didnt happen then). So no i believe society as people have more to do with this issue that society's creations of entertainment. And no i don't believe banning guns is the solution as a retired cop told me if somebody wants to shoot somebody they will find a way to get a gun. You might stop somebody from a spur of the moment shooting but the people who have committed these massacres are methodical and I doubt a gun ban will stop them from doing something horrible. Although I am in support of banning assualt rifles but not all guns. I know if somebody comes into my house with a weapon im a lot safer with a gun to protect my family and if somebody says otherwise just wait till somebody breaks into your house with one because that gun ban doesnt save you when that gun is at your head.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kylejames182/ kyle coley

    This whole thing is really silly. we the people will always find a away to kill someone guns bare hands or knifes. killing will never be stop. There always be guns. this is a cruel world we live in.

    • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

      But it's much easier to kill someone with a gun than bare hands or knives. Why will there always be guns? As I said I've never seen a gun in my country and they were only banned around 15 years ago.

      • BR

        Obesity accounts for 6x more deaths per year than guns do in the US.
        Baseball bats account for more deaths per year in the US than guns.
        Should we do away with spoons, forks and louisville sluggers? I dont even have to mention vehicular deaths per year in the US - many even caused by driving under the influence. The idea of gun reform has been adopted by countries and cities throughout the world and it fails much more than it succeeds.

        • http://thebioscopist.com TheBioscopist

          "Baseball bats account for more deaths per year in the US than guns."

          BULLSHIT!

        • flerk

          Obesity is not a man made object designed to kill. Baseball bats and cars aren't deviced designed to kill. Baseball bats kills more people then guns? Ridiculous.

          "The idea of gun reform has been adopted by countries and cities throughout the world and it fails much more than it succeeds."

          Show any research and proof that gun reforms fails. This is nothing but an unsubstansiated statement from you and it makes no sense.

          • flerk

            Don't even show proof. Just refer to where you got this information from.

        • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

          Haha wow. Fails more then it succeeds? As commenters above have said, a source here would be great...

  • Josh

    It doesn't help that the NRA is listing "American Psycho" and "Natural Born Killers" as the movies to blame, makes it sound like they haven't been to a movie theater in 10 years.

  • M

    Saddism in any forms, including movie violence is unacceptable.

  • BR

    Studies have been done and those studies show that video game and movie violence have no correlation to gun violence. It is simply an excuse because no one wants to talk about the deeper issue that affects the psychopaths that carry out these crimes.
    It is a constitutional right to be able to protect yourself from harm and is the main reason why gun reform will never work.
    Look at the cities in the US, and the world for that matter, that have the strictest gun reform laws. In the US you have Chicago with some of the strictest gun reform laws in the country. This year in Chicago alone, 400+ children have been murdered in public schools by guns but the media will not show you that because it doesnt further their agenda. Mexico, strictest gun reform laws in the western hemisphere...clearly not working for them. It is human nature to want to do things that are considered wrong or illegal.
    I dont have a problem with all these hypocritical celebs coming out and saying what they want because the 1st amendment gives them that right. I will use the same constitutional right to say that I dont agree with gun reform. It has proven over and over again that it does not work.

  • GO84

    Since 1991, when violent crime peaked in the US, 24 states have adopted "shall issue" laws, replacing laws that prohibited carrying or that issued carry permits on a very restrictive basis; many other federal, state, and local gun control laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive; and the number of privately-owned guns has risen by about 90 million. The numbers of gun owners and firearms, RTC states, and people carrying firearms for protection, have risen to all-time highs, and through 2008 the nation's murder rate has decreased 46 percent to a 43-year low, and the total violent crime rate has decreased 41 percent to a 35-year low. Preliminary data reported by the FBI indicate that violent crime decreased further in the first half of 2009. Responsible people who own guns should not be punished for the terrible mistakes of citizens who clearly have psychological issues.Gun reform will not work.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TGH/ Thomas Hines

    I like that people are remembering the fact that just because our government outlaws handguns (or any type of gun), it doesn't mean that the evil and social deviants won't be able to attain firearms from the blackmarket, Mexico or elsewhere.

    Rather than disarming everybody and making them unable to defend themselves, we should have the freedom to go through the proper procedures and training to register a fire arm to our name and learn how to use it in case of emergency.
    People who concealed carry have gone through this process and are the one's that would have the ability to fire on a shooter in the event tat some dingbat starts shooting in a theatre mall, subway, convenient store, etc.
    Schools is a sensitive issue and even though I'm pro-gun I don't think the president of the NRA is right. Since schools obviously need protection, then trained and armed security guards should be assigned to each school. The number of them associated with the size of the school. Does any of this make sense to you TheBioscopists?

    • flerk

      But then let's go back to the question why guns are needed? Why are there more people killed per. 100 people in US then any other country in the world by guns? Why do americans need to defend themselves with guns when people in UK, France and Germany don't. Is there more violence in US then the other countries? Why? Find the answer to that and you will know what to do. One of the reasons I believe is that guns are readily available and in situations when there is a conflict or suspicion it is easier to use a gun as it is readily available. Case in point; Trayvon Martin. A senseless murder committed by a nutter believing he is John Wayne defending his turf against the scary bad guy kid. If the killer didn't have a gun, just some pepper spray a coward like him would never have killed Martin. He wouldn't even talk to Martin, just called the cops and the cops would've done nothing to harm Martin as he had all the right in the world to be where he was.

      Access to guns can also be used as a reason a mentally unstable person can go on a spree cause he can pick up mommy's guns at home. Including semis while a nutter in Norway had just access to a knife and didn't kill anyone even though people got hurt.

      So I am wondering; why do americans feel the need to defend themselves as if they are living in a unstable and dangerous third world country or as if they live in the past where the "bad guys" can attack the farm any time? Or is it so dangerous to live in the US that it is necessary to defend yourself as there is a lot of violence happening all time? I know in many US cities there is a lot of violence comparable to big cities in Europe and when I was in US I did stay away from certain areas in LA and NY.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TGH/ Thomas Hines

    I understand your feeling about the Trayvon Martin shooting, but that even if the shooter was guilty of murder, that whole ordeal is still an anomaly among many other instances of citizens licensed with concealed carry, using their right to carry to shoot down evil criminals before they are able to do their worst. This happens all the time in the US but! because our beloved media is anti gun they only prefer to cover the stories that demonize gun owners.
    Flerk, I gather that you live in Norway but have spent some time in the US? I don't know if you realize but our media HATES law abiding gun owners. They will do all they can to pour crap on those who have gone through the training to conceal carry. I'm not trying to persuade you to come over on my side; but I want communication to be clear and truthful.

    • flerk

      I only spent 2 months in US many years ago so I cannot speak about my experiences as base for any opinions regarding guns in US.

      If I understand you correctly, gunfire happens all the time where law abiding citizens have to defend themselves? Why do that happen so much in US? From what I gather from your post;

      "...many other instances of citizens licensed with concealed carry, using their right to carry to shoot down evil criminals before they are able to do their worst. This happens all the time in the US..."

      So, there are many instances of violence and crime in US that leads to deadly situations where it is necessary for a citizen to defend him/herself as the local law enforcement cannot help. I know I am tweaking your words now but this is basically the gist of it isn't it? This for me sounds like a country in crisis to be honest and a dangerous place. Maybe someone should try to figure out how US came to be so dangerous, or how it is that many americans perceive US as a dangerous place where they need guns for self defence. Either or, this doesn't sound like something that should continue.

      Just to clarify my position regarding gun ownership. I don't mind people owning guns as long it is for sport, hunting or collecting classics. In the last case the guns needs to be non-functioning.

      Every gun owner has to go through a test and that person cannot have a criminal record or have a history of mental illness where the person might be a danger to himself or others (i.e. psychotic episodes etc.)

      I see no need for people to own guns small enough to conceale but as smaller guns can be used for range shooting, sport, it should be transported in locked boxes from your house to the range. A person should never be allowed to carry a gun on him/herself, concealed or otherwise as this is not the way for a society to function with people walking around with guns and in worst case scenarios use it on people.

      Semi or automatic weapons should always be illegal for a civilian. Police and army should the only ones handling these weapons.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AmericanNoir/ AmericanNoir

    Have any of you ever had to use a firearm to protect yourself?

    • flerk

      I'm also interested to know that.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TGH/ Thomas Hines

    Flerk, in a perfect world I would be fine and dandy with only the law enforcement and the military having all the guns. The problem is, bad people will do what it takes to get their hands on instruments that they can use for violence. You can expect the evil people to abide by the law; n matter how strict it might be.

    My brother is a police officer, and just the other night five people invaded a families home and knifed all four of the occupants. No firearms were used. Could they have used guns? Sure. That doens't take away from the horror of it all. My point about gun ownership and the need to maintain that right is so that we have the option to legally own a firearm and use it on evil people like those five guys if need be. I don't blame that family for not using a gun to defend themselves, that was their choice -- their right. But, if one of the homeowners had owned a gun and chosen to shoot the home invaders (rather than hiding in the attic and calling the police; that's what one of the children did after the damage was done), the those five guys would be eithere dead, wounded or running for their lives.
    You ask me why is there so much violence in the US? Um, probably because humankind is inherently evil and if that evil is not checked (by a variety of means but that's a seperate issue) then some individuals will listen to their selfish tendencies and use whatever means necessary to get what they want.

    This may happen in the US to some extent, but my goodness, don't forget about the hell that Africa is going through and has gone through. Parts of Asia fare little better.

    • flerk

      The point is not that new laws will prevent "evil" people to use guns. People who wants to get guns will always get guns, but the point is that by enforcing a strict gun policy it will help keeping guns away from more people then now. Why make it easier for people to have access to guns and do "evil" acts. I am putting "evil" in quotation marks because it is a very simplistic view to put all criminals in the evil booth and use good guy vs. bad buy rhetoric.

      The Trayvon Marin incident was an anomaly you said, and so is the home invasion. It is horrible and those people who commited this crime will have a special place in hell. But how many home invasions have been stopped with the home owner possessing a gun? Guns are legal in US and still home invasions happened, so we can discuss that criminals aren't scared of people maybe owning guns. What we can discuss is that by enforcing stricter gun laws maybe death by guns will go down.

      The american justice system is the harshest in the developed world and US is the only western country that has capitol punishment. This hasn't helped decreasing criminality in the US. The US has more people in jail and very harsh and rough jails then any other developed country and still it isn't helping decreasing crime. Suprisingly what did help decreasing crime was legalization of abortion (read Freakonomics: http://www.freakonomics.com/2005/05/15/abortion-and-crime-who-should-you-believe/

      Harsher punishments and guns didn't help. And just so the thread doesn't spiral into abortion discussions, I am not advocating or critisicing abortion.

      "You ask me why is there so much violence in the US? Um, probably because humankind is inherently evil and if that evil is not checked (by a variety of means but that's a seperate issue) then some individuals will listen to their selfish tendencies and use whatever means necessary to get what they want."
      This may happen in the US to some extent, but my goodness, don't forget about the hell that Africa is going through and has gone through. Parts of Asia fare little better."

      Yes you are right about the shortcomings of humanity, but my point is that why is there more violent crimes in US then other developed democratic countries? Most of African countries aren't developed countries (or industrialized countries. I'm not sure what the correct term is) and there is a lot of corruption and lack of infrastructure and the rule of law is not working properly. Same for parts of Asia you might be refering to (Burma, North-Korea, Pakistan (my ethnic homeland), India and many more).

      If we compare US with western Europe, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and other developed industrialized democratic countries we will see more crime, more violence, more murders and more gun related crime in US. Comparing US to Sudan and Burma and say US is much better doesn't count. At the same time US has the largest and most powerful military in the world, the education system in US is a lot worse off then the aforementioned countries and same goes for the lack of universal healthcare, different chances in life based on race and location (the race factor is also unfortunately a problem in Europe).

      Maybe these social problems are the reasons people fall out of society and turn to violence and crime or drugs and some mentally unstable people don't get the help they need (the guy in the bus attacking with the knife in Oslo had a history of psycological problems and didn't get the help he needed. He attacked those people just a few days after they let him out of psychiatric hospital). Restricting the access to guns would be a logical move in my mind. If one massacre can be thwarted because the would-be killer don't get access to guns (for exampel the Norwegian guy) is much better then several shootouts between attackers and teachers with guns.