It seems that the letter that inspired this post managed to get a few of the people who read that paper fired up as well. The original letter stated that the author was disturbed by “how close” a gun shop was to a school, because apparently it sends a message of violence. I noted how silly that was, and it seems that the majority of the people writing letters to the editor to comment on the original letter agree with me.
My concern however is with letters like this one, which while not blaming the guns, are still doing it wrong.
I think the writer has missed a greater source of violence promotion that’s part and parcel of Hollywood and the glut of movies filled with murder and mayhem. Additionally, video games commonly found everywhere offer similar themes. These sources offer a much greater threat of promoting violence than the location of a gun shop.
I’ve had this conversation a lot with people, especially pro-gun people, that we have to resist the temptation to shift the blame from guns to the media. If some idiot is saying that “guns spread a message of violence”, I really do understand how tempting it can be to just say “no, the media spreads a message a violence”.
The problem is that you’re not addressing the actual issue of a lack of personal responsibility and good parenting. Blaming video games and movies is no different from blaming guns – all you’re doing is shifting the blame from one object to another.
Hollywood does promote violence. It sells. A lot of video games are violent. It sells. But just because the “violent media” exists does not excuse the parents who allow their 12 year old to play it; or the parents who don’t teach their children the difference between fantasy and reality. I grew up playing “violent video games”, and I’ve never succumbed to the “message of violence”. If Hollywood, video games, and guns are supposed to teach me to be a merciless killer, than they’re all malfunctioning.