The Blame Game

Here we go again. I read this story when it first came out and decided at the time to let it go since I didn’t really want to talk about this going into Christmas. Now that I’ve had time to think on it and consider Mr. LaPierre’s statement, I can only say….bullshit.

I find it interesting that he, as the leader of a group that ends up getting the blame anytime there is a gun death would decide to do the same thing to the entertainment industry. I understand the need to understand these types of tragedies. We just don’t want to take the simple answer that, in this case, a lone, totally screwed up individual did all this. So we blame the guns, we blame the movies, we blame music and we blame video games.

I’m not gonna get into the gun argument here, that’s way more political than this blog needs to be.

So let’s look at the entertainment industry. The industry that Mr. LaPierre threw under the bus to deflect attention away from his group. He said “a child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18”. Ok, first off I would like to say that I hope all that violence is fake Hollywood stuff. If they are witnessing this for real, holy crap no wonder we are messed up. Then he insists that we should protect our children from this fake harm, and real harm. Now I’m all for that Mr. LaPierre (yeah, I know, like he’s gonna be reading this.) and that is called parental responsibility. I believe it is something you believe in when it comes to gun safety. It is just as valid when it comes to the entertainment industry. It is the parent’s responsibility to keep inappropriate content away from their children until they are old enough to understand it, and understand that it is fantasy. I realize in this age how hard that is to do, however it is still something that needs to be done. Hollywood doesn’t tie your kids down and force them to watch their movies. Video game makers do not break into your house and force your kids to play their games. If you wish to blame to the entertainment industry on our children seeing all this rather than the parents for not taking away the remote controls and game consoles, then we need to make sure these same parent’s do not have the ability to get a gun. If they can’t take care of their kids in that one sense, how is it possible they could be responsible enough to have a gun in the house with kids?

But hey, if we want to blame video games then let’s really do it. We should blame Grand Theft Auto everytime there’s a carjacking or car theft. Every time there is a police chase, it’s Grand Theft Auto’s fault. Every time someone steals a horse, we blame Red Dead Redemption. See how ridiculous it can get?

Blame music, really. Back in the mid 1980’s Ozzy Osbourne was blamed for the suicides of two teenagers because they had listened to a song that he did called Suicide Solution. He not only got blamed in one case, he was actually sued. The song itself has nothing to do with killing yourself, it’s about alcoholism. Fortunately the courts sided with Ozzy on this one. But even if they hadn’t and they decided that every copy of that song be destroyed, would that have ended suicides? Do they blame Shakespeare every time two lovers commit suicide? After Columbine, Marilyn Manson took a lot of heat because he happened to be one of the artists that those kids listened to. While I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Manson (I’m more partial to Alice Cooper), I know he’s not to blame. If their playlists had been filled with Barry Manilow and Liza Minnelli would it have even been reported what music they listened to? Probably not.

To throw in a little more history, on February 14, 1929 the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred. On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitmore killed 14 people from a tower in Texas. Here’s a list of others if you’re so inclined to look. The two mentioned, and most of the others, all occurred long before video games.

But, you say, there’s more of these types of things happening now than way back then. Our filthy entertainment industry must be to blame. Yeah, sorry, not buying that. I do not know whether there are more of these types of things happening today than in the past. If that is true, there is at least one explanation. There are a whole lot more people around now than there was then. That would lead me to believe that there are going to be a whole lot more messed up individuals than there used to be as well.

What it comes down to is this, odds are we will never fully understand what happened or why it did. But this act, was committed by one person for reasons only he knew and understood. Trying to blame something else, seems to be a way to try to acquit him of his crime, at least in my eyes. Not to mention all this bickering over agendas that is going on and has gone on before after other such tragedies, takes away from the memory of those lost. Once again, at least for me it does.


Originally posted December 27, 2012