Hollywood’s reaction to the Aurora massacre has been relatively circumspect and sensitive. Trailers for ‘Gangster Squad’, which show glamorised thugs killing in a cinema, have been pulled, but there’s an understanding that screen violence has no direct link to such crimes.
Compare this to the bizarre UK linking of the Jamie Bulger killers, opportunistic MP Graham Bright and the ‘video nasties’ social panic created by the Daily Mail, which suggested that the murders happened because the boys had watched a ‘Child’s Play’ film. As it turned out, they hadn’t at all, and weren’t inspired by anything they’d seen on-screen – not that it stopped the witch-hunts.
I would find it had to imagine that even ultra-violent videogames translate to real life killings, which we know are more likely to be caused by mental aberration against a background of poverty and problematic family relations. What is without question now is that gun control would have prevented the tragedy, not that the far-right lobbyists of the NRA will allow that thought to flourish.
The UK has among the lowest number of gun deaths per year in the world, while the US is near the top along with Jamaica, the Philippines and Mexico. How can this not be connected to the issue of gun control? Inevitably, though, the NRA will go on the defensive (read: throwing money at the far-right) while Hollywood asks itself if there are too many guns in films.
Escapism is not reality, and James Holmes is supposedly bright enough to recognise that. But after the notorious Paradise Hills case, in which teenagers were imprisoned for little more than liking heavy metal, I wonder if the police aren’t now checking anyone with dyed orange hair.