Cinema Shooting: Hollywood’s Response

Film, Media

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.

8 comments on “Cinema Shooting: Hollywood’s Response”

  1. Diogenes says:

    “How can this not be connected to the issue of gun control?” Canada has similar gun rules to the US and has oodles of guns but it has about 1/4 as many gun deaths per capita. Gun control is clearly an issue but there is more to it than just that.

  2. admin says:

    I think Colorado’s law allowing people to wander about with assault rifles is utterly mad. But the only people I ever hear talk about guns are US-based. They’re not really visible in our culture. I love American people but the government laws make me uncomfortable visiting.

  3. Dan Terrell says:

    Yes, many of the laws are crazy and a lot of people are working to change them, but it’s hard to do.
    Come to the States for a book tour anyway.
    I live only a couple of miles from the huge national headquarters of the NRA. I see it everytime I’m on Route 66, which is now here, not out there.
    A propety developer in the shadow of the NRA headquarters named his “streets”: Three Bunny Court, Fawn Lane, Bluebird Drive, etc. Tongue well in cheek, I’d say.
    Like Diogenes’ new keyhole picture. Or is it a new old booking photo?

  4. glasgow1975 says:

    I remember being shocked as a teenager to see a cop saunter into the diner & just eat his breakfast with his gun on his hip. There is something slightly scarey to Brits about the casual attitude to guns in the US. I never knew it at the time, but my mum was petrified the whole trip to Disneyworld, not helped by 2 UK tourists being carjacked & shot the very day we arrived.

  5. Vickie says:

    As one news article pondered: “Why would a private citizen need to be armed with [that level of weaponry]?” Much of what the shooter used was military-grade (including his full-body protective gear), specifically designed for massive killing. Can you imaging shooting off one of these in your home to deter a burglar? “Oh, dear, there goes the west wall…”

    On a lighter note, I have been pondering what Las Vegas comedian Carrot Top is going to do now that his hairstyle has become rather of a national symbol of something not at all amusing. Perhaps he should ponder a hair/name change: Plum Loco, perhaps?

  6. snowy says:

    If you thought the invasion of rabid twiglet fans was bad, wait till the second amendment posse mount up.

    Games, TV, Films and books don’t instigate acts of violence in and of themselves. There has to be something already within a person, or a person is placed in a situation that normalises aberrant behaviour ie. atrocities during warfare.

    Media can only give an archetype, a ready made tableau to be played out. Rather than formulate a plan of entirely their own some pick and chose elements from whichever source appeals.

    All humans do imitate, it is their nature. If you will allow me an example, there has been an increasing amount of head trauma after fairly routine street fights. I call it the WWE Effect, before the rise of this pantomine entertainment form, once your opponent was on the floor the fight was over. And it was considered poor form to inflict further punishment. Now there is a generation that consider the coup de grace, via a boot to the head, or a stamp on the face is de rigueur.

    (And if you will take a word of advice, don’t ever suggest that tanned, heavily muscled, oiled up men in tight lycra rolling about on the floor together is in any way homoerotic, it goes down very badly, with fans of the “sport”. They get quite shouty.)

    Once an outrage has been committed, it is the news media that feel the need to put it in a neat little pidgeonhole, well it’s easier than investigating the facts. So they will cast around for something vaguely similar to compare it to, however tenuous. So any crime with two or more linked victims is always the work of the ‘Somewhere Ripper’ and if a medical professional is suspected it’s either ‘Dr Death’ or ‘The Angel of Death’ depending on the gender of the suspect. And if you can sum up a human tragedy in four paragraphs, there is plenty of space left for more “Is she too fat?” or “Is she too thin?” pictures.

    In short (too late!) evil people will do evil things, and there is little we can do to stop them.

  7. J. Folgard says:

    Apparently, according to a paper I read this morning, the NRA had the nerve to issue a communiqué blaming violence in films -yes, the NRA itself! I wonder, were they chuckling among themselves while typing the thing?

  8. Bob Low says:

    The most telling example of the need for gun control I can think of comes from time of the Dunblane Massacre. At approximately the same time as Thomas Hamilton went on a killing spree with several hand-guns, killing seventeen people, sixteen of them children, another wild eyed loner somewhere else in the UK attempted something similair, only not at a school, and with a Samurai sword.While he inflicted some horrific injuries on his victims, he didn’t actually manage to kill anyone. There seems to be a fairly obvious point here that escapes the NRA.

    On a lighter note, I would have to disagree with Snowy’s ”WWE Effect”. I am not a fan of the ‘sport’, but did watch it avidly as a young child in the seventies, and as far as I can remember,pro-wrestling baddies have been jumpming on the heads of goodies-to no obvious lasting ill effect-since the days of Kent Walton, and Kendo Nagasaki.

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