Have you gone to a movie lately? Did you see at least one gun in it? I took my son to see Hotel Transylvania 2 recently, and there were no guns in the film (yet still plenty of cartoon violence), but we had to sit through about 15 minutes of trailers and we saw plenty of them. So even if you make a choice to go to a family oriented film, the possibilities of seeing gun violence and other associated violence is high.
Ms. Moore is an Oscar-winning actress who has appeared in many films, and seems earnest in this attempt to stop gun violence.
As actors, we are citizens first so we believe in the Constitution and the Second Amendment, but 92 percent of the people in the United States are in favor of background checks, too, so I don’t feel like I’m in the minority. I definitely feel like I’m in the majority here.”
While this sounds reasonable enough, it should be noted that her group is connected to former New York City Mayor Michael A. Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, which pushes for stricter gun control in America.
While this seems like a very worthy endeavor by Ms. Moore, it should be noted that she has appeared in films with guns aplenty (with Liam Neeson in Non-Stop for example), and many celebrities who promote stricter gun control have as well.
The inherent problem with all this is that Hollywood has glamourized guns in so many films the way it used to make smoking look glamourous; unfortunately, after so many incidents of mass shootings those in charge of films and television have not decreased the scenes of gun violence the way they did when all signs pointed to smoking being dangerous for one’s health.
Doing a little research uncovers the fact that even after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2013, gun violence in films increased steadily, especially in the industry’s most lucrative PG-13 films. This trend began in the early 1980s and violence in PG-13 films actually eclipsed R-rated films by 2013.
Daniel Romer of the Annenberg Public Policy Center; (University of Pennsylvania) was part of a group researching movie violence. They researched films from 1950-2012 that finished in the top 30 of the domestic box office over that period, and their findings were startling – “violence in American films more than doubled over that time.” Romer says, “Violence sells. We recognize that, and the movie industry realizes that.”
So we understand that the box office is going to dictate what we see on screen, and kids are exposed to more and more of this beyond sitting in the theaters and watching television. Gun violence in video games is also rampant, and more and more titles are released every year. As long as these things have an audience it seems that they will be churned out.
I have long heard the argument – and I myself may have said it more than a few times – that I grew up watching violent cartoons, playing with toy guns, and watching violent movies, and I didn’t turn out to be a violent person or killer; however, as the research shows the violence in films has increased dramatically since then and the opportunities to see it – especially online – have been multiplied almost incalculably.
We can commend Ms. Moore and all the celebrities that have joined her coalition to stop gun violence, but we should ask them to go one step further if they want to truly be successful in their mission. Every celebrity who wants to stop gun violence can do his or her part by taking one simple step – refuse to appear in any film, TV show, or video that has a gun in it.
Can we imagine the impact that kind of action would have on society? But wait, would any of these celebrities actually do this? Perhaps some would be brave enough to not care about the implications and come aboard, but their careers would probably be over. In the end there is just too much at stake for them to make this kind of stand, one of conscience and practicing what they preach. It is far easier to join a group, say you are against guns, and then show up for filming the next day and strap on the fake gun that stokes the imaginations of many people out there who cannot discern the difference between reality and fiction.
In terms of dealing with actual gun violence, the media continues to highlight the shooters after these horrific mass killings. They go hand-in-hand with a Hollywood that promotes and glamourizes the use of guns with seemingly little or no regulation of what they do.
If the media stopped making these shooters into household names, if Hollywood banned the use of guns in movies and on TV, and the gaming industry removed all guns from its products, think of the impact that would have on America, specifically young people.
This would truly be a case of celebrities rising and doing something proactive; however, don’t hold your breath because the chances of this happening are about as good as the movie industry deciding to give an R rating to any movie with a gun in it. Guns in movies, on TV, and in video games are here to stay, and that means all the good intentions notwithstanding, Hollywood is not part of the solution but continues to be part of the problem.
Photo credits: nydailynews, moviefone.com, 20th century fix
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