A study by the Parents Television Council (PTC) reveals that even in shows rated as okay for children, Hollywood gun violence has increased dramatically on television over the last five years.
In the years since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, the PTC found that overall violence on television jumped from 49.2 percent to 61 percent (of the 287 episodes examined). Gun violence jumped from 30.8 percent to 39 percent.
The time periods studied took place in the month after Sandy Hook in 2012 and the month after the Las Vegas music festival massacre in November of 2017.
All of the TV shows studied ranged from TV-PG to TV-14. In one of four of these shows, the “V” rating, warning parents about violence, was missing.
The question is not “Do movies and television affect human behavior?” Of course they do. Since its creation, popular mass culture has affected everything from fashion to language to tastes and attitudes. Advertisers spend billions of dollars on television to manipulate human behavior — Why? Because it works.
Rather, the question is what are we going to do about it.
Will we choose freedom or censorship? With the full understanding of the downside of artistic freedom, I choose freedom because those downsides are always preferable to the downsides of the government censorship and control. I would rather take my chances in a free country than live with the alternative.
The question of censorship, however, has nothing to do with the question of Hollywood’s responsibility.
While NRA members quietly sell and trade guns in their own subculture, as they quietly go hunting or target shooting, it is Hollywood that is sexualizing guns, presenting gunfire as a solution to problems; and doing so using the most powerful propaganda device ever created — the moving picture.
Hollywood should not be blamed for gun violence. Decent people understand that no one other than the individual who committed the act is the one responsible. Moreover, it is neither appropriate nor American to use the criminal behavior of others to emotionally blackmail innocents into giving up their individual rights. But Hollywood does not see it that way. Hollywood disagrees, which is why the entertainment industry has launched a jihad against the NRA and the individual rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Meanwhile, this very same Hollywood not only refuses to voluntarily do its part to tone down the glamorization of gun violence, but Hollywood is increasing that glamorization.
Hey, I love Hollywood’s sex and violence as much as anyone — but I am not the one openly calling for the government to infringe on the personal freedoms of others.
Maybe before Hollywood takes our firearms away, they should take their own guns away — those up on the screen presenting gun violence as necessary, cool, and oh-so climactic.
Hollywood heal thyself.