Quick note: I don’t make this stuff up. Day after day, month after month, I click onto anti-gun screeds that make no sense whatsoever. The overarching theme is unmistakable: anything that “allows” civilian gun ownership is inherently flawed; anything that “promotes” civilian gun ownership is deeply evil. All gun laws that aren’t completely insurmountable by law-abiding citizens fall into the flawed category. The National Rifle Association (a.k.a, the “gun lobby”) is the poster child for evil. Needless to say, gun grabbing Miami Herald columnist Edward Wasserman is down with saying down with the NRA. But he demotes the gun rights group to number two slot in his post-Aurora rant . . .
Face it, the most dangerous promoter of gun violence in contemporary society isn’t the gunmaker or the National Rifle Association, it’s Hollywood. Movies are how guns are exhibited, marketed and sold. When did you last see an advertisement from Glock or Ruger or Smith & Wesson? Unless you read a specialty magazine, never.
That’s because the market for firearms isn’t widened and regenerated through consumer advertising. That happens through lurid, breathtaking portrayals of gun violence, lovingly depicted in harrowing detail, as plot elements indispensable to the contemporary action film.
The reason you don’t see ads for guns in mainstream magazines: left-wing media companies ban them. Just thought I’d point that out. Now, back to the action!
Cinematic technique has made huge advances in depictions of all violence, from dismemberment to fist fights, but the achievement with guns has led the field. The visuals, as the shooter blazes away, are almost a cliché: Lyrical, slow-motion close-ups of the slide of the semi-automatic pistol spitting out the spent shell and chambering the next round, the viscous slide of the now-empty magazine dropping from the grip, the snap of the new clip as it’s shoved home, the cutaway to the cascade of shells hitting the floor. There’s a grim pornography to the camera work. And then the money shots as the bullets hit bone and flesh.
Yeah America was much safer when special effects sucked. Correlation equals causation—at least in theory.
But you gotta admit: Wasserman has a distinctly cinematic style. I wonder what he’d say if Hollywood backed-up a dump truck of cash to his garage door in exchange for a movie script? Maybe he could do something about a mind-reading writer who bumps into a spree killer?
What was in the mind of the Aurora shooter during the weeks of planning and calculating, while he was figuring out which weapons to buy and how much ammo he’d need, waiting for the shipments, building his bombs, picking out his commando wardrobe? Do you need to ask?
A 24-year-old American lad, marinated in revenge fantasies — how many cinematic montages has he seen, the quietly determined protagonist fashioning his straps and holsters, lubricating and reassembling his weapons, squeezing cartridges into clips, DeNiro in Taxi Driver, Jean Reno in The Professional, Keanu in The Matrix: “Guns, lots more guns.” The essence of cool.
Actually, we know nothing about James Holmes’ movie preferences or cultural influences (save a Joker fixation). We do know that he was a doctoral student who snapped after failing his prelims (Holmes bought his rifle five hours after his chosen alma mater declared him persona non grata).
We also know that anti-gun “thinkers” have a tendency to completely blow the firearms-related details within their argument. For example.
In what has likely been the winningest — and least transparent — campaign of product placement in Hollywood history, those weapons became the norm on the big screen, and back home the punk who might have settled for a snubnose .38 was so tantalized with the far more devastating .45 or AR-15 or 9mm that they became the streetwise norm. (It was a 9mm that the killer of six Sikh worshippers used last week in a suburban Milwaukee temple.)
Parenthetically, Wasserman (or his editor) got it right: while Holmes used an AR and a .40-caliber Glock in his attack (and a shotgun), the 9mm handgun is both the spree killer and gang-bangers’ weapon of choice. And? Would criminals have “settled” for a snubbie if Hollywood hadn’t depicted larger caliber weapons since, I dunno, World War II.
The answer doesn’t fit the gun-averse media maven’s narrative so . . . the stupidity stays in the picture.
Hollywood didn’t cause the Aurora slaughter, but it’s impossible to imagine Aurora without Hollywood.
Over-educated arrogant statists without any understanding of (or respect for) the United States Constitution didn’t create gun control, but it’s hard to imagine it without them. Impossible, in fact.