The Blame Game: Violence and Social Responsibility

By Annie Highfield on January 27, 2013

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, that left 27 dead, we’ve entered into 2013 looking back on the past year as one of the most horrendous in our history considering the multitude of mass shootings that occurred in 2012. From the massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, CO to a shooting in our own College Station, TX, the dawn of the New Year left all of us wondering not what can we do to change this, but who do we blame?

Following the events at Sandy Hook, National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre responded to this tragedy by placing the blame for gun violence on the media, movies, and video games saying, “there exists in this country a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people… slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on [the channel] “Splatterdays”… and then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment”’. Many agree with LaPierre that increasingly violent scenes in films are exposing violence to the public at younger and younger ages. When asked by NBC Los Angeles about LaPierre’s statements, Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, agreed saying “he absolutely has a point… How much blood money do you need, really?”

Upon the release of Quentin Tarantino’s newest film Django Unchained, I knew what to expect. I had seen his other films and made the decision as a conscious adult to go and see it. Given the violent nature of his cinema, I wasn’t allowed to watch his films until I was a teenager. So you can imagine the shock that I and those around me encountered when a young child, probably about three or four, started crying during the film. My initial thought was something along the lines of “who has the nerve to bring a child to a film like this?” But it gets worse. As I was leaving the theater, I noticed a few families leaving the theater with their kids and young children.

I am positive most of us have had an experience similar to this at the movies; Parents bring their kids to a movie way inappropriate for a young age group. Yet every time mass gun violence occurs, we immediately look for a scapegoat to carry the burden of blame. Whether it’s Hollywood or the NRA, they are expected to respond in some grand way for our own short comings. It is not Quentin Tarantino’s job to pick which movies your children watch and it is not the NRA’s fault that you leave your gun in an easily accessible place where any person, adult or child, can find it. There will always be guns just as there will always be violence in the movies. We must operate as responsible, rational, human beings; pose better advocacy for parents on appropriate family behavior and obey the ratings on films and games.

Social responsibility lies not only in the laws our leaders choose to make for us, but also in the decisions we choose to make every day, especially those choices that affect the small eyes and ears around us. Just as there are plenty of responsible gun owners, there are plenty of responsible movie goers who enjoy adult, sometimes violent, movies. It comes down to two alternate choices of reaction to tragedy: continue to search for a source of blame or consciously advocate change within ourselves. There is always a choice to be made.



By Annie Highfield

Uloop Writer
Anna is currently a junior at Texas A&M University majoring in communication and minoring in English.

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