Killing is Fun? A Short Essay

 

That seems to be the message. Look through the movie and TV guides. People with guns killing other people. We entertain ourselves watching this. It must be fun … we spend billions on it. Violent entertainment is nothing new; it was in the Colosseum and probably the cave.

Am I standing on a tall soapbox shouting down to the offenders below? Oh no, I stand among the seduced with thousands of images of blood soaked bodies dwelling in my memory banks. I recently went to the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. I enjoyed it. What did I enjoy? — the action, the plot, the acting, the cinematography … and the guns, the guns killing people, many people. I am used to it. I have been seeing it all my life. It is just a movie, a TV show, a computer game. With the later you get to become the shooter (but it’s just a game).

“Saturated” seems a good word to describe our culture’s relationship with violence. We are saturated with violence. There seems to be a competition in recent decades of how to make entertainment that is more shockingly violent than what preceded it. While the violent entertainment I have experienced is a part of of me, I am not going to shoot anyone and most people are not. But about 81 people in the United States are killed by guns daily. Every day, day after day. When 26 people, most children, die in a massacre such as Newtown, people notice, as they well should. But day after day those 81 die too.

There were about 9000 murders with firearms in the US in 2011. There were less than 60 in United Kingdom, 19 in Australia, 11 in Japan. To look at it another way, the firearm deaths per 100,000 people were the following: US 10.1, UK .25, Japan .07. Sane gun laws account for much of this astounding difference.

What allows Americans to accept this daily carnage? I can conjecture that we have been desensitized to violence. That by entertaining ourselves with violence daily, we are more ready to accept to the real violence that is part of our daily national life.

The forces impacting violence and guns in the US are many and complex. Violent entertainment is just one. Tragedies such as Newtown wake us up and will hopefully effect some change in our current gun laws that allow so much suffering.

As for myself, I am going to limit my violent entertainment. In a consumer society such as ours, if you do not buy it, it will go away, and it has been said that if you want change — start with yourself.

 

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