You’re doing it wrong

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.


  1. Well, actually you’re only partly right. The Marines taught me to kill, but it also taught me when NOT to kill, which is important. You must train yourself to overcome the instinct that prevents you from killing your own species. Moves and violent video games do assist in that training.

    The problem is that they don’t train you how to turn it off. In practically every shooting game out there, you kill everything that is on screen. Very few games force you to not kill innocent people (I had a Clancy game that would fail your mission if you killed the wrong people). This trains your mind, whether you think it does or not. (See for better explanations)

    You’re totally right in the fact that parents should take responsibility for their kids, but guess what? They don’t and they’re not. It’s one of the drawbacks of a free society.

    Personally, I think we should push for licensing to have children. You have to show that you’ve completed approved parenting courses, waive your 4th amendment rights to allow surprise inspections, etc. Because raising a child incorrectly leads to more danger than guns, so why shouldn’t we request that parents be licensed in the same way?

  2. I think that Killology site/book is slightly wrong on one point: Revolutionary/Napoleonic-era soldiers would not aim their muskets. They would merely point it in the direction of the enemy, look away, then fire. The soldiers looked away to avoid smoke blowing into their faces, blinding them.

    He claims that poor accuracy means that soldiers weren’t trying to kill the enemy. That just doesn’t seem right.

    Anyway, any FPS with Friendly Fire turned on should give enough incentive to not shoot your teammates… unless you’re a friggin’ team killer, then you can go to heck.

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