Tag - Newtown

There’ stupid, there’s mean-spirited, there’s insensitive…and then there’s Larry Pratt

One of Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt’s favorite talking points is that “of the mass murders in the last 20 years, all but one have taken place in a gun free zone.” (That statistic is just plain wrong, but that’s another story). Speaking with a conservative radio host in Idaho this week, Pratt delved into the one shooting that he counts as an “exception” to this nonexistent trend: the 2011 shooting at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson, which left six dead and Giffords critically injured. Giffords and the constituents who came to talk with her – including a nine-year-old-girl and a Republican-appointed federal judge — had it coming, Pratt implies, because “it was a Democrat town hall meeting of a Democrat representative” and Democrats “don’t necessarily, most of them, believe in carrying guns.”…. “And so when this dirtbag attacked a town hall meeting,” Pratt continues, “he didn’t find any resistance and he was able to kill a number of people there.”

assault-needJust when I manage to convince myself that there’s NO POSSIBLE WAY that gun nuts could POSSIBLY find a way to be anymore offensive, mean-spirited, and dismissive of those who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence, I learn all over again that this is a barrel with no bottom. So many gun nuts believe that their gun “rights” trump any and all considerations- even human life. That so many gun nuts are also arch-Conservatives who oppose abortion (where the claim to be “pro-life”) under any circumstances is laughable. That these trolls lack the self-awareness to recognize that contradiction is indicative of just how dangerously inhuman they can be.

Larry Pratt is merely the latest (and most egregious) example of what verbal vomit can spew forth when a gun nuts puts their mouth in gear before engaging their brain and sense of humanity. Or perhaps they really DON’T care about the suffering of others. Perhaps Pratt and those who think like him really DO consider the massacre of innocent civilians to be merely the cost of freedom and not a problem…as long as someone else is burying their loved ones.

It’s difficult to believe that a human being could so thoroughly inhuman and insensitive to the pain and suffering of others. And to assert that they died because they were Democrats is…well, I’m not certain I could find a word in my vocabulary to adequately express my revulsion. I’m sickened by the thought that anyone would seriously consider their gun “rights” to be sacrosanct, inviolable, and of greater value than innocent human lives. OR that an “improper” political orientation could be blamed for the death of an innocent civilian….

(read the full post at What Would Jack Do?)

Looking beyond movie violence

by Tom Emanuel

(Originally posted by Waging Nonviolence, republished under a Creative Commons license)

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, there is little doubt that the gun violence debate in the United States has radically changed, with proponents of gun control and mental health care gaining greater acceptance. Even those calling for an end to violence in the media have found a more receptive audience.

Several films scheduled for release since the Newtown shootings, such as revenge auteur Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, have been delayed. And following reports that Newtown killer Adam Lanza may have played violent video games, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller has introduced legislation to study the impact of video game violence on children.

The problem is, when it comes to media violence, questions of causality are difficult to establish. Is society violent because we glorify violence in our films and video games? Or do films and video games simply reflect the violence that’s already present in society? The real answer is probably both. Research on the subject is inconclusive, though as Django star Jamie Foxx said in a recent interview, “We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence.”

Americans have already had this conversation once this year, following the grisly theater shooting at the opening of The Dark Night Rises in Aurora, Colo. But movie studios seem to have recused themselves from the discussion. Rather than produce films with a critical view toward violence, their only effort to acknowledge the controversy has been to simply postpone the ones that glorify violence to a more socially acceptable hour.

It was at another opening night, however, that I began to think seriously about this issue: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first installment in director Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Perhaps it’s not the kind of film you’d expect to prompt a critical examination of violence in the media. But this film was released the same day as the Newtown massacre. Also, as a lifelong Tolkien fanatic — my father first read The Hobbit to me when I was too young to remember — I was struck by the heightened level of violence in the film as opposed to the book.

Granted, the violence portrayed in The Hobbit is of the swords-and-sorcery variety, with comparatively little blood and gore. Nevertheless, Jackson did add several action-packed battle sequences that were not present in the book and expanded those that were in the original into set-pieces of central cinematic importance. [Spoilers after the jump – mb]
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