If our society believes our violent movies don’t contribute to incidents like Sandy Hook and Aurora we need our heads examined.
Jim Carrey has dropped out of the publicity campaign for his latest movie, Kick Ass 2, because post Sandy Hook he believes it is too violent and sends the wrong messages. Good for him, hopefully more of his otherwise liberal cohorts in Hollywood take a stand themselves, and maybe even start a movement to stop producing such gratuitous violence in the first place.
We live in the most violent civilized society in history. If you look at our movies and television shows, which are also the most violent media depictions in history, one finds a clear instinctive correlation between this media and violence in our country. Whichever side of the argument you take on media violence you can find a study that supports your position, but clearly the majority of studies show that violence in media lowers the inhibitions of those who might (or do) commit violence in real life.
My unscientific (but correct) view on this was formed most starkly after Columbine. No one can explain to me how those two teenaged boys (I will not say their names or give them more public mentions) could commit such blatant, intimate violence and the real life gore it must have presented to them had they not been dulled by years of playing violent video games in which the very acts they committed were simulated over and over again on their home televisions and game consoles. What kind of leap is it for a teenager to shoot a real 15 year old girl in the head point blank and laugh, from having done so hundreds of times in a video game? I’m sure we can agree on this– it is much less of a leap than if they hadn’t played the video games (or seen such things in movies).
When I have debates with people about such things I am amazed at the consistency in arguments based on self interest and extensive irrational rationalization. Those who say video games have no effect are avid video game players. Those who say movies have no effect are avid movie fans or actors themselves. The “unbiased”, meaning people like me who would be happy if video games had no negative effects, or who would enjoy dramatic movies much more if we knew violence had no effect, are almost all nearly certain that violence in our media and games contributes to large scale violence in our society.
I close this post with an example from Youtube worthy of a click. Warning, though these scenes are from “successful” PG13 and R rated movies, there is excessive violence in the attached: