Categories
Loading
Welcome to Babble,
Settings
Sign Out

Get the Babble Newsletter!

Already have an account? .

Turn Off the Gun Porn

Roger Ebert had a fascinating response to a reporter looking for quotes that would help prove her premise that violent movies helped provoke a tragic shooting. He said,

“Events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of ‘explaining’ them.”

Matt Damon has spoken about how his mother, an educator, never let him play with guns as a child. In an interview about his role in the Bourne franchise, he said,

“I’m not a gun person myself. I actually hate guns. They freak me out. . . . my mom was a professor of early childhood education and she specialised in non violent conflict resolution so guns were verboten in my house. So I probably have some left over residual thing from that where any time I can get my hands on a play gun, I do it.”

If even the boy who was raised in a loving home without toy or real guns can become the star of a string of violent action movies, what does that tell us? That no matter how intelligent, civilized, or loved we are, violence is in our DNA?

I think it is. We’ve spent thousands of years trying to civilize, ostracize, beat, and pray it out of ourselves but it will always be there. What we need to do is stop creating the conditions in which we help it to flourish.

Most kids grow out of their war fantasies. Exploring ways to feel big and powerful when you’re small and powerless is a vital part of childhood. You have to let children go through it because if you don’t, they’ll figure out a way to explore those fantasies anyway, maybe in ways that aren’t so healthy.

As I write this, my son is playing on his Xbox 360. Sounds of grunting and crazily exaggerated fistfight explosions come from his room. When I ask him what he’s playing, he yells, “this one girl named Trish is kicking this other guy’s ass.” When I go in to look, I see some sort of Marvel mixed martial arts mayhem going on, but no guns. We’ve told Jackson to please not play any video games with guns in them, to give them a rest for a while.

Since the horrible shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday, I’ve read a lot of discussions about what made it happen. Lack of support for the mentally ill. Gun laws that don’t have enough restrictions on assault weapons. The glorification of violence in movies, TV, and video games.

I am not a media expert, I’m a writer who has watched her fair share of movies and who is raising a son who defines himself as a surfer and a gamer. At age four he confessed he liked to hurt our dog by pinching her ears, yet he’s grown into an almost-teenager who just yesterday cried reading the story of a bait dog who escaped a dog-fighting ring. In other words, he matured. He grew out of a childish urge to make our dog yip at him and grew into a bleeding heart animal lover just like the rest of us here.

Most kids do the same. I grew up with older brothers watching Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns on TV, and through their example I learned to revel in the gunfighter’s coolness, toughness, and murderous aim. We ranked our favorite James Bond movies based on their body counts. As teenagers, we all drove too fast and were proud of the bruises we got playing sports. Yet both my brothers grew up to be peaceful, sweet, funny men, and none of us has any desire to hurl Molotov cocktails at the Kremlin or drive our cars over cliffs.

Yet a small percentage of people who watch those movies and play those games do want to do some damage, or a lot of damage, or a catastrophic amount of damage to the world. That’s the only way the pressure inside will find release. And when all the elements combine — mental illness, access to military-grade weapons, and a head full of violent fantasies — we have a Newtown, Connecticut, or a Columbine High, or a mall, or a theater, or a post office, or a McDonald’s full of dead bodies.

Rational limitations on guns? I’m for them. Low-cost access to mental health services? Shouldn’t even be an issue. But how do we stop the glamorized bloodshed and gun porn coming from our televisions every minute of the day? By turning them off, I suppose.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Read more from Eden M. Kennedy on her personal blogs Fussy and yogabeans!

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for updates

Don’t miss the latest from Babble Voices Like Us on Facebook

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrPinterest
Tagged as: , ,

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrPinterest