Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ripped From the Headlines

After the massacre in Connecticut, the search for answers came around — as it always does — to looking at the culture of desensitized people and horrific tales of violence that make up our everyday lives.

Stories like this:


Or this:


And this:


Not to mention this:


They are all tragic stories, and, of course, they are all classics of theatre, going back to the ancient Greeks.  They’ve been entertaining humanity for thousands of years, and each one bloodier than the next.  And if they are supposed to teach us a lesson, such as violence and revenge is bad and right wins out in the end, then we surely need to be taught this lesson over and over again, or theatre is a poor instructor.

When one of these massacres occurs, Hollywood and video games are always the first scapegoat, and usually by the people who have a vested interest in both tearing down art and building up the arms industry.  And yes, we make a lot of violent movies.  But they are seen all over the world, but we don’t see a rise in violence in places like Japan or Europe or India where American cinematic blood is very popular.  As Marc McDonald notes at The Reaction, the Japanese film industry’s propensity for violent films makes our worst slasher flick look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  And yet the number of gun deaths in Japan each year wouldn’t amount to a night in a major metropolitan city in America.  Other countries such as Germany, Great Britain and Canada all see our films, all watch our TV, all read the same stories, but it would take the combined total of all the gun deaths in those countries plus a few more to even get close to the number we have here.

It’s not that they’re any less violent or do not have the propensity towards it than us.  Certainly the last century proved that other nations such as Japan and Germany are capable of incalculable murder and genocide.  The one thing they all have in common is gun control.  Some countries are stricter than others, but none of them have the lax and laughable laws that pass for gun control here.  In America, it’s harder to get Tylenol with codeine than it is to get an AR-15.  (At least legally.)

We have always been a culture prone to violence, and not just in the modern Western era.  All of the stories cited above are based in Greek or European legend and history, and the Chinese and Japanese cultures have revenge and slaughter spattered through theirs as well.  We have just come up with more efficient ways of doing it: instead of swords, we have a semi-automatic rifle.

I don’t have an answer that doesn’t involve a course in constitutional law or a thorough examination of the reason for man’s inhumanity.  But if other people have found ways to do it and still enjoy the fundamental freedoms that we are entitled to, then there has to be a way to end the slaughter of children without infringing the Constitution, emasculating the issue-prone of the species, or banning Call of Duty: Black Ops.

7 barks and woofs on “Ripped From the Headlines

  1. In America, it’s harder to get Tylenol with codeine than it is to get an AR-15.

    I think this is what POs me the most. The US is so afraid of Teh Drugs that they (meaning the FDA, DEA and FBI at the federal level and nearly every state and municipality at the local level) goes to horrific lengths to “keep them off the streets” – to the point that actually reasonably beneficial OTC medications are tracked and tallied against one’s driver’s license or other identification. The US is afraid of people taking cold meds home to their meth labs, or teens drinking (FSM forbid!), or other nefarious activity, that the citizenry is forced to give up its privacy simply to combat common ailments (tylenol with codeine? Try grabbing a bottle of NyQuil: it’s on the shelves and not behind some counter, yet still “Can I see your ID?” [“Dunno: how’s your vision?”] can be heard at every pharmacy and grocery checkout). And yet one of the least healthful commodities can be had simply for the asking – and (in states that require such) the three-day waiting period while background checks run (or not).

    And for all the folks who say “we don’t need more gun laws – we need the existing ones enforced” – well, how about funding the proper agencies to allow for that? Every state and city has seen law enforcement budgets shredded as a consequence of tax law revisions and the Great Recession, and the federal budget for gun law enforcement is under attack every time the budget comes up for review and approval; if pro-gun legislators were serious about enforcing those laws then they’d provide the proper funding instead of screaming “we’re broke” at every line item.

  2. Oh, and if the recent tragedies had been carried out with machetes, dollars to doughnuts you’d hear [crickets] from the Reichwing – since self-defense (a/k/a arming oneself against Big Gubmint and UN black helicopters) can only be accomplished with firearms.

  3. I know I am very tired of the gun violence. When the little children and the firefighters got killed, it broke my heart. I wish I had the answer, but these bushwacker things are NOT for hunting or self-defense. We do not need them period, full stop.

    I would like the freedom to buy cold medication and control my own body without government involved.

    I wish there was a lot more common sense in this country and a lot less violence.

    • Hate to say it, Lark, but the freedom to control one’s own body is just after either a) contraception falling off the “hot issue” list and being treated like normal medicine or b) discussing Viagra coverage under one’s insurance gets the same reaction discussing the pill’s coverage does now.

  4. “man’s inhumanity” – Since it’s nearly always men who commit these horrendous acts, let’s ban men!! No? The most dangerous person is a young man with a major grudge and the means to act on it.

    All violence is an attempt to achieve justice.

      • Even if the injustice is a misperception, the violence, no matter how misguided, is still an attempt to achieve justice. It has to be looked at from the perpetrator’s viewpoint. It may not be the way society defines justice but the perp is trying to right a wrong by his own standards.

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