There are too many guns, too
many deranged people and too
many violent influences already
out there for new laws to have
any meaningful impact.
What Can brutal torture scenes. Both films have been ominated for an Academy Award.
Add to the above that America is the only
industrialized nation in the world that practices capital punishment. Literally, some of our
state governments kill people to deter killing.
Similarly, we wage wars to (somehow) create
peace. Our Defense Department has an annual
budget of more than $700 billion, while our
State Department has well under a tenth of that
amount to conduct worldwide diplomacy.
Furthermore, in a recent interview with
NPR’s Terry Gross, Tom Diaz of the National
Violence Policy Center said, “More die every
year from guns in America than die from terrorist attacks worldwide.” Diaz went on to
say, “While America has spent trillions on
two wars, created a massive Department of
Homeland Security and impinged on constitutional rights in order to deter terrorism, the
country has spent little and made but a trifling
effort to control guns — while carefully preserving the constitutional right to bear arms.”
Obviously, as Diaz inferred, our nation’s priorities need realignment.
Along with enacting effective gun control laws, America must somehow change
its culture of violence if it hopes to prevent
more massacres such as the one in Newtown,
Connecticut, that killed 26 innocent souls.
There are too many guns, too many deranged
people and too many violent influences
already out there for new laws to have any
What can be done? Consider the impact
violent movies have on unstable minds, and
no longer patronize them; answer with a
resounding “no” when children ask to play
violent video games; demand that political
leaders reduce America’s defense (war) budget
and that they favor negotiating over warring;
and do everything possible to end America’s
barbaric practice of capital punishment,
which, by the way, occurs right here in Marin
County. In short: Be the change you wish to
see in America. That’s all you can do. That’s
my point of view. What’s yours?
THeRe IS CONSIDeRABLe violence in our nation’s DNA. For this reason, it will take more than gun control laws to stop school shoot- ings in America.
Over the weekend, I went to the video
games section at Best Buy in San Rafael and
talked with employee Aaron Henderson. He
said none of the grim-looking video games
I was eyeing were that violent. “If you want
real violence, go to youtube/mortalkombat/
fatalities,” he said with a slight grin. “It’s dis-
So I did just that — and it was gruesome.
Blood gushing, heads severed and bodies being
bashed, brutalized and sliced up in every imag-
inable way. In case you’re as naive as I was,
video game sales in the United States were $17
billion in 2011, and a landmark Pew Research
Center survey says almost every American teen
actively plays a video game of some sort.
The next day I saw Quentin Tarantino’s
Django Unchained, an R-rated movie playing at several Marin theaters. I knew it was
violent and came prepared. At first, it struck
me as a great film: fine acting, scenic settings,
clever musical interludes and an intriguing
story line. Then came the gratuitous gore:
pistols fired at close range, blood gushing,
hammers bashing skulls and castration with a
San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick
LaSalle hailed Django Unchained as “the most
consistently entertaining film of the year,”
(although he did write a piece bemoaning the
ill effects of screen violence a few days later)
while columnist Willie Brown rated it “best
movie of the year.” Nationwide, in its first
weekend Django Unchained took in more than
$30 million in box office sales. Also grossing
high was Zero Dark Thirty, a film featuring