Violence In Movies On The Rise
America has a serious love-hate relationship with firearms. There are those who stand by the Second Amendment at all costs, while on the other hand there are supports of gun control who continually clamor for greater restrictions
This matter only increased when there is a tragic shooting, which, despite a modern perception, isnât really all that common.
What is particularly odd about all this is that Hollywood has an even greater love-hate relationship with guns. On screen it seems that Hollywood embraces action more than ever, with increasingly bombastic shootouts, while off-screen, many actors and actresses seem to loathe everything to do with firearms.
It seems to be very much a âdo as I say, not as I do in the moviesâ kind of attitude from the Hollywood types. As a movie buff I get that actors are not the characters they play in the movies or on TV, so if theyâre in an action film it isnât an endorsement for guns and certainly not gun violence.
This is fair enough of course. However, as I wouldnât trust an actor who plays a doctor to give me medical advice, I donât really expect an actor who plays the President to understand foreign relations, so why should I listen to anything they say about âgun violence.â
The fact that actors arenât who they play doesnât stop many from thinking they know what theyâre talking about of course.
What is actually shocking is that while the country has actually gotten safer â crime has been down and according to the background check system gun violence is also down just as gun ownership is up â action movies have gotten louder and more action packed.
A new study by Pediatrics has noted that gun violence in movies has increased steadily since 1984. CNN looked deep into this issue and reported that since 1985 nearly 95 percent of most popular movies contain at least one violent scene and half of those involved a gun.
In many ways this could explain why people are so convinced that violent crime is on the rise when in fact it is on the decline. Perhaps we really believe the hype that there are more massive shootouts happening than there actually are.
Iâve written about this before, and I noted that previously that the 1995 movie Heat was intense for its nearly 15-minute-long shootout in downtown Los Angles. That was a film that had pretty much upped the ante, but now it seems downright tame. Today most action films have more violence that Sam Peckinpahâs The Wild Bunch.
What is also notable is that violence is on the rise in PG-13 movies, so you donât even need an adult to buy the ticket.
Meanwhile, after last Decemberâs tragic shooting in Newtown, many in Hollywood came out to âDemand a Plan,â and released a widely-viewed PSA. Are those stars so vapid not to recall what roles theyâve been in? Many of their films and TV shows seriously glamorized guns.
Those same stars seemed a bit like hypocrites when various responses showed up that noted that many were often in roles that involved either gun violence, or otherwise took part in irresponsible behavior involving a gun.
Now the question to ask is whether that amount of violence on the big screen is having an impact on the viewers. The makers of action movies like to say no, just as the makers of video games like to suggest that the games donât really have an impact on the player.
As a matter of disclosure Iâve long reviewed video games, I do play violent video games and I watch violent movies. Iâve written many articles on war movies over the years, and Iâm also a gun owner and collect vintage rifles. However I seldom go to the shooting range and Iâm not a hunter, so I own firearms that have never been fired â and in the case of a French rifle, only dropped once.
I bring this up because I can admit that when playing a game I might feel more aggressive, but never to the point have I felt the need to go shoot up the backyard! Iâm a responsible adult and I donât react violently from playing games or watching movies, but both can get my heart pumping. That is actually what these are supposed to do, just like a scary movie is supposed to make you scared.
The question now is whether all this violence has any effect on society? The studies have been mixed, but consider that in an episode of the HBO news program VICE, it looked at the gang culture in Chicago in a segment dubbed â#Chiraq.â It was pointed out that for many young gang members the gun is the tool of first response instead of the weapon of last resort. In this segment it also showed young gang members playing violent games and watching violent movies.
I canât help but wonder whether movies, TV and notably games havenât helped â at least in part â to install a sense of invulnerability. It isnât that the young gang members donât know the damage a firearm can do, but do they get a sense that they have but one life and realize the consequences of their actions?
In movies, the actor is only dead until the next movie, and in games you get another life if you âdie.â
Perhaps if Hollywoodâs stars really wanted to âincrease the peace,â theyâd consider making movies that didnât so glorify the massive shootout.
Image Credit: Thinkstock