The shooting in Aurora, Colorado was tragic and scary at the same time. The knee-jerk reaction of the news media is to blame guns and the solution in its view is more gun control.
Guns do play a role, but looking at the life of the shooter, and how the media and the public reacts to such mass killings, the root cause is deeper than the existence of guns in our country.
I think the rise in mass killings better correlates with the increasing violence the entertainment industry has been stuffing in its movies, TV shows and video games the past 40 years.
You can’t turn on the TV or go to a movie and not see guns being used in all sorts of ways to gruesomely kill someone. Here is a list of the hand guns used in the movie Dark Night Rises: Beretta 92SB-C, Beretta 92FS,Beretta 92FS Inox, Glock 17, Glock 17 (Converted to full-auto), Glock 26, Walther P99, Smith & Wesson 5904, SIG-Sauer P226, SIG Pro SP 2009, SIG-Sauer P229, Colt Police Positive, Colt Anaconda, Smith & Wesson Model 19 Snub, Smith & Wesson Model 36, Smith & Wesson Model 64, Smith & Wesson Model 10, Smith & Wesson Model 15.
Rifles: AKMSU, M16A2, M4A1 Carbine, Remington Model 700PSS, Blaser 93, M1 Garand, Ruger Mini-14.
Submachine guns: Heckler & Koch MP5A2, Heckler & Koch MP5A3, Skorpion SA Vz, IMI Mini Uzi, IMI Uzi, Beretta PM12S, Smith & Wesson M76, Ingram MAC-10.
Shotguns: Remington 870 Sawed-off, Remington 870, Double Barrel Shotgun, Mossberg 500, Mossberg 590 and the Mossberg 590 Cruiser.
Other weapons were used in the movie (grenades, bomb guns, mini-guns), but I think you’ve got the point. Dark Night Rises is typical of such action movies today.
It isn’t only the bad guys doing the killing either. Often it is the good guys and their killing is glamorized most every time. If you feed society on-screen violence long enough and glamorize most of it, some individuals will choose to play that out in real life.
While the entertainment industry shoulders much of the blame, the news media plays a part too. The media covers stories of mass murder like no other. The more tragic, bloody and painful the killing spree, the longer and deeper their coverage. We’ll all know everything about the killer, James Holmes, after the media is through giving every aspect of his life 24-7 coverage. To a deranged person, there isn’t much difference between fame and infamy – they seek the spotlight.
Finally, society craves the news coverage. Too many find it titillating to hear about how the killer did it, how he prepared for the spree, about the pain and sorrow and millions are hanging on every new twist of the unfolding story.
Today a Agatha Christie murder mystery isn’t enough for most. Viewers want real life murder stories. When they aren’t unfolding in the news, the networks re-run old one on shows like 48 Hours or Dateline, with real killers, real victims, real bloodshed and real cops woven together in a suspenseful account of death Agatha Christie could not write.
Now if you were a psychologist and a patient came in your office exhibiting these characteristics or craving such things, would you say he is healthy? Obviously not.
That’s the state of the collective mind of America today. Unhealthy, and it is getting worse thanks to the entertainment industry, the news media and a public not smart enough to know how harmful all this is.