The Big Picture: On The Subject Of Violence

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On the topic of gun control and killing sprees. In Germany all school shootings happened with legally owned and purchased weapons. And Germany has one of the rigid laws in the world. That said I cannot imagine how much more suffering these shootings would have caused if these culprits had access to automatic weapons like machine guns and/or SMGs. And the people in the theater were lucky that the gun of the killer hat a malfunction because otherwise the body count had been much higher.

So no, stricter gun control will not prevent such tragedies but they can limit the number of victims. Thats what America needs to understand.

Also I'm with Bob on this topic but I'm not sure how much impact violent media has on the psyche of such people but I'm pretty sure that there are other factors that have much more affect. For example these shootings happen mostly in countries with strict rules in the society and not in countries were people can express their feelings freely. So this kind of crime appear mostly in Scandinavia, Germany, the US and Japan. And almost every offender has some kind of social disorder and a dysfunctional social life/family.

If I offended any person with my posting I'm sorry in advance.

I can't help but be a bit taken aback by the hypocrisy here. You say in one breath that stricter regulation or bans on guns would help but in the next breath you say that the various types of media don't play a part.

In essence what you are saying that it's fine to give the things you as a law abiding citizen enjoy, legally without hurting anyone, a pass. However, those things that other law abiding citizens enjoy, legally without hurting anyone, those need further scrutiny and regulation.

Sure you can say if he didn't have the guns he wouldn't have been able to kill as many people but then I could just as easily say if he wasn't inspired to do so by the previous Batman movies maybe he wouldn't have killed anyone at all.

The fact of the matter is we would both be playing a game of "what if" and neither of us know for sure if regulation on either of those things would have matter one single iota. I personally am of the belief that you shouldn't restrict the liberties of the vast vast law abiding majority in a blind attempt to possibly have a small chance of dissuading the next lunatic.

Sick people are going to do sick things. If he didn't have guns he would have had access to bombs or the 30+ homemade grenades they found in his house. You want to ban fertilizer and gasoline next?

Benjamin Franklin once said that those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. This is especially true given the reactions I've seen stemming from the Aurora shootings. If people want to line up to give away their personal rights, liberties, and freedoms in a misguided attempt at safety I say fine let them. However, please leave mine alone I like them just the way they are.

Your fertilizer/gas comparing does not really translate very well since they have some very "peaceful" main purposes but guns have only two "almost peaceful" purposes... (recreation and "pest control")

And if you want to live by Benjamin Franklin's words I truly hope you don't live in a country since you already given up freedom by then....
You get a driver license to be allowed to drive a car(you give up liberty of driving to be safe that you are somewhat safer on the road),
you go to work to get money to be allowed to get food (you give up the liberty to do anything to be safe to get fed),
you (if you live in any half modern country) are under some surveillance so you wont do anything that breaks the law by that you given up privacy and liberty for security....

But gun control is more likely just a part in the solution to start with, best is education and/or banging some sense in to people.
You don't need a guns, you need intelligent people whom understand that since you don't have a gun they don't either....

But why am I arguing it probably wont change anyones mind and "Don't argue whit idiots, they drag you down to their level and beat you whit experience.".... =D

Rashly contrived laws like I don't know, randomly attaching a gun ban to a cyber security bill.

Schumer you disgust me, abusing the tragic death of innocents at the hands of a rabid dog to push your political agenda.

Very good show, and although it wasn't all happy and about cartoons I did enjoy it. Probably because I agree.

The actions of a mad man can not be predicted. This massacre could have occured at any other big sreening if TDK had not been made, claiming that something else gave them inspiration.

Either way my heart goes out to all those who lost someone close to them in the shooting(s) and that justice is carried out.

That was honestly beautiful.

OK, but I have to ask this too... can we all stop comparing this pathetic mastermind wannabe to The Joker? The Joker is a fictional character, and a dangerous psychopath, but even he had some sort of plan. He's been silly, dark as hell, the equivalent to Skeletor or No-Heart or a fragile attention-seeking bungler from media to media. Even Breivik had a plan, some ideal (however flawed and selfish) that he wanted to perpetuate through his violent massacre.

The most important reason is, of course, that this idiot WANTS to be compared to a beloved fictional character, even if the character in question is only beloved because they're an interesting villain. In real life he'd be a horror story like Ed Gein but with a smile obsession. He'd get the injection.

In conclusion, fuck this guy. This troll, this newt, this fucking shit-smear on my shoe. I hate him so much it makes me tremble. I'm not going to remember his fucking name, and I want to forget him and his stupid stupidity in a month or so. That's more than he deserves.

Katya Topolkaraeva:
Ok. not to be a jerk here... but to put it in perspective... These kinds of media candy shootings REALLY don't tend to happen too often. And the number of people that die from such loony actions is absurdly small compared to the number of people who die from other things such as traffic accidents or cancer or war or what have you. Those are just booring deaths though, and these are fun so we must suck them up like another form of entertainment.

Amen to that. Practically nobody believes the automotive industry is being criminally negligent because of the thousands of people who still die in car accidents every year, or even cares about the millions of cancer deaths caused by the tobacco industry, but 12 people get shot by a guy dressed as a movie character and suddenly it's all "oh noes teh Hollywood needs to stop having bad guyz in their movies!"

It's doubly ridiculous when you remember that the media outlets giving those wackos air time are owned by the same entertainment empires as the film studios. If they thought for a minute they were in any real danger of being censored, they'd return the favor in a heartbeat. Same way they tried to silence the anti-SOPA activists.

How about gun control? Would making that stronger be a rash emotional response? After all, there's definitely a strong link between legal assault weapons and movie theater massacres.

There have been times where I've felt Bob's opinion on something is near-sighted, or just plain stupid. This is NOT one of those times. In fact, this is so entirely not one of those times, that it almost makes up for those other things that I didn't agree with.

Thanks Bob. Spot on.

And yet MB didn't touch upon religion & violece....

If violent books were to be banned I hope that the one with the guy that wants you to cut off your hands & gouge out your eye if they commit sins. Or bring those in front of him to be killed that didn't believe who he said he was. I believe it was called "The New Testament". Or in some cases that part of the bible that can't be rationed off as "But that was the Old Testament".

Metaphors are metaphoric.

If anything more violence has been done in the name of religion then in Entertainment. But no one usually points at things like The Holocaust, The Jones Town, What was going on in Waco that caused The Waco Siege, or The Oklahoma City Bombing & goes "see what violence religion causes" then gets a major backing for it.

Which largely just extends Bob's point about violent people using anything to justify their actions (like the Beatles).

Kid doing something really bad because the child was inspired by Harry Potter is more likely to get shock then "Though shall not suffer a witch to live".

That quote is not in good translations of the Bible, just the ones that have "modernized" their translation in stupid or propagandic ways. The actual line is, "Do not allow a sorceress to live," (Exodus 22:18 NIV) a sorceress being a specific type of person, one who would fake supernatural powers for the explicit purpose of leading rulers away from God and destroying the kingdom (think of it as treason via the supernatural). This line is actually less shocking than Exodus 22:20 ("Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.") but even that one specifically referred to Israelites, and not foreigners they weren't exactly big on religious freedom--for themselves).

There are certainly shockingly violent things in the Bible (Joshua 6:21, "They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it-men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.") You could at least use the better references and not misquote and misrepresent.

Playing a bit of devil's advocate here Bob since I know you're big on the artistic ingrity thing. When gabrielle Giffords was shot a lot of the uproar was about if some of the more right wing extremism leasd to it. Specificaly if tossing out phrases like "second amendmen solutions" did or needlessly could convince someone unwell in the head to go shooting politicians as part of their constitutional duty.

I'm no fan of censorship, but when one shows little to no concern for how something might [reasonably] be misconstrued, he does invite it. It's not that we should worry about how anyone mihgt at any point get the wrong idea, but sometimes the wrong idea is easier to get to. On aroura for example, taking the complaining about censorship route misses a better point that the Joker is was and never will likely be portrayed as a character one should empathisize with, pity, idolize or immatate, and anyone that does misses the point, and likely has other influences in his life that would make him root for the clown instead of the Bat, while Ra's al Ghul's acts while extreme, weren't without moral justification. Helter Skelter is far removed from something by Enemim in terms of inteneded reactions. Out saturday morning heroes only fought defensively, while wrestling came off as raw anger (and was far easier to immitate).

I know censorship is the easy answer, usualy promoted by groups that have bitched about everything from movies, to TV, to comics, to cartoons, to video games, to every form of music since big band. Still, we do have to be careful what we erroticise and glamorize in everything from our creative works to our brain farts. Yeah, it's hard to understand how someone could come away from a movie thinking "I'll act like the villan" but bets are on there's some anarchist blogs that promoted sonething like this in a non serous tounge and cheek fashion that may now be dealing with someone that took them seriously. I know it doesn't sound fair, but in a world with increasing numbers of people with some mental disorder or another, lack of access to proper medical care, diagnosis or medication, and a lack of will and / or ability to keep mass killing devices out of the hands of nutjobs, it may be necessary.

...speaking as if something is 100& certain and entirely black or white, which nothing ever is, especially not when it comes to psychology.

Weber's Law. Just sayin'.

(I think it's the only scientific law in psychology. If there are others, I don't know them.)

The problem here is that the pro-censorship people have already made up their mind, so arguments like Bob's won't convince them of anything.

This was the best big picture so far why cause it was a big picture heavy handed and makes you think well done

I agree with this thesis completely. It really doesn't matter what we do because there will always be some lunatic fucking up someones day. We as people just have this need to feel like we can take control of the situation. Or somehow guarantee things like this won't happen again if we find the source of the problem. The truth is hard to accept and that truth is, life is chaos, shit happens and it can be rough so wear a helmet and adapt.

If only we could jump back in time to a more innocent era before all this violence in media when there wasn't all this blood drenched art inspired bloodshed.

::looks back in time::

Oh. Oh, that's just dreadful. Those poor bastards. Oh come on, not the kids and animals too. That's just, ugh. If only they had some other outlet for their aggression like... heeeey, wait a minute...

Tell it like it is Bob.

I've not much to add to it.

Does any one know what could have prevented the Denver incident? GUN CONTROL!!

Wow, six posts in and some moron had to lower it to another topic about gun control.

Wellp, fuck this thread, then, I'm outta here.

I like the thought process in this one.

We do need those darker themed games, books and movies because humans have a very dark side to us and exploring fiction is a way for us to vent or work through that side of us in a way that doesn't harm others because if you repress these things and force "happy thoughts", you're going to do more harm than good and end up a mental wreck.

Art can't make people do anything unless they're already sick in the head and I think it's more a lesson of how much harder it is to get mental healthcare than guns.

Wow. Well spoken indeed, Bob.

I agreed with it, but a former ESL teacher Bob, I have a few suggestions:

1. "Folks". The "L" in this word is silent.

2. "both". There is no "L" in this word.

Sorry Bob, couldn't stop myself.

People enjoy violence
We always have and always will
It's a part of humanity and so long as it's encoded into our very DNA it will pop up time and time again

However madmen don't act like animals
They act like madmen
Madmen may use violent video games/ movies/ books/ paintings/ tablecloths etc as a focus for their madness and go on a rampage
Madmen may go on a rampage for no conceivable reason whatsoever
Both points are equal in value, which is to say none and the only real link between madmen and rampages is still that they are crazy
Madness just being a simple all encompassing term describing all mental illness or abnormality that leaves people unable to function within societal norms

You know what? Tomorrow I'll go into a bakery store shoot the owner and claim that my hate for bread forced me to do this. Just to see them talk about the evilness of bread!

(of course I wont do that - this is just sarcasm - I would never hurt anyone)

In my opinion that norwegian killer just said he used MW2 to train killing because he wanted to focus rage of stupid people against games again and get more attention. He most likely just made that up. People like that are insane and they will does this kind of stuff no matter what...

The only thing society can do to actually prevent this kind of stuff happening (or to decrease the rate this stuff is going to happen - it's impossible to prevent it alltogether) is stopping to actually create these insane minds. Todays western societies are mad. Most of it begins already at childhood with brain washing in schools, TV advertising and other stuff and it goes on in jobs. Mobbing, simple jealousy and this greedy "me first" attitude is the kind of stuff that forms these minds.

Look what's behind the mask these killers put on. Usually their lifes are completely fucked.

Society is creating these killers - not games or television alone


I can't help but be a bit taken aback by the hypocrisy here. You say in one breath that stricter regulation or bans on guns would help but in the next breath you say that the various types of media don't play a part.

In essence what you are saying that it's fine to give the things you as a law abiding citizen enjoy, legally without hurting anyone, a pass. However, those things that other law abiding citizens enjoy, legally without hurting anyone, those need further scrutiny and regulation.

Sure you can say if he didn't have the guns he wouldn't have been able to kill as many people but then I could just as easily say if he wasn't inspired to do so by the previous


I'm sorry, but it seems that I phrased it incorrectly.

What I want to express is the following. Even in countries with strict gun control these shootings happen with legally bought weapons. So it seems that strict gun control obviously doesn't prevent killing sprees.

But you can wreak so much more havoc if you can buy firearms that are for military use only. A SMG or a MG has nothing to to with sport or self defense. They are tools to wage war and the access to those kind of weapons should be restricted to the military. They don't belong to, as you called them, law abiding citizens.

And from my understanding (I'm not from the states) you can legally buy this equipment in the US.

And I said that violent media can have an bad influence on people especially if they suffer from a kind of mental sickness. But in my opinion there are other influences that have a much greater effect that violent media has.

Katya Topolkaraeva:

Shotgun Guy:
However I wouldn't say so much that we like it, perhaps some do. I think we are interested in it, we want to understand why, figure out the reason, when in reality there is very rarely a rational reason.

Perhaps like is the wrong word (though def still the right word for a lot of people) we are interested in it and we are excited by it and we stimulated by it. So while many may not consciously "like" it, i'd say our brains def. like it if that makes sense?

That does makes sense, we don't connect positive emotions to it but subconsciously a part of us does express the same feelings as if we did, it's not something we can control but pandering to those feelings (like the news media does) is exactly the problem.

I'd just like to remind people that violence is not the leading cause of death in the United States (according to the CDC) or the world (according to WHO, and my mini web-search might be wrong). I don't mean to trivialize the victims, but I just want to keep things in perspective in the flood of people saying the world sucks.

It's just that the leading cause of death in United States media coverage is violence. True, the United States media covers other sorts of deaths, but usually moves on. When it comes to massacres? The media won't move on.

What else do I have to add? I happen to have 3 mental illnesses, but I can handle the dark material in the media and even the dark fantasies in my head. For starters, my dark fantasies last only for a few seconds. Also, I don't own any weapons or drink alcohol.

I'd like to focus on another reason why my crazy ass isn't going out and killing people. I know the difference between the mentally ill in certain media like comic books and the mentally ill in real life. The mentally ill in comic books can frequently be machines of destruction, able to slaughter people wearing uniforms and able to break out of prisons with toothpicks. Practically all the mentally ill in real life would get their asses kicked by SWAT teams and would never escape a prison.

"Movies don't create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative."

This is really what I've been saying about violence in media this whole time, and I'll say it as many times as I have to.

Video games, movies, TV shows, music, etc... all have an effect on us whether positive or negative. It's really frustrating to see so many people here absolutely go nuts whenever some study or some scientist even thinks about linking some sort of effect that video games may have on someone. Eloquently put by our very own Critical Mis.

Also, I can't be the only one not surprised that this was easily linked to the gun control debate, though I would argue that these two subjects are fundamentally different.

Seems to me the most logical solution is not to ban movies, video games, books, or any other art form, but instead to ban... Colorado.

It kinda reminds me what I said to defend games in front of my mother
"Give a madman spoon and he'll kill his neighbors, his family and then himself with this spoon"
Fact is that inadequate people will find "inspiration" to hurt and kill innocent people in anything
Ban everything and they will start to look at stars at night and weather changes
(I personally believe that it is how first religions started. "People, you all know that there was no rain for some time, but in stars I saw the answers to our troubles. We need to burn all of our young women and then gods will send rain to us. And I must emphasize, this NOT because they all declined my marriage proposals, and I'm NOT worthless human being, THIS IS THE WILL OF GODS and I am their voice." And so on. I dare you to prove me wrong)

Very nice set of arguments, Bob.

It doesn't matter what they ban, which age restrictions they place, whether or not they allow blood and gore or if they neuter some of the most celebrated if graphic literary or visual representations in the world - bitches be crazy.

Nutjobs will always and forever find something to inspire them. Pro-censorship arguments often rest on the idea that if *that one reprehensible thing* is banned, then everything's going to be sunshine and bunnies. I'm terribly sorry, conservative or easily scared parents, but that's not how the world works.

You want your kids to not turn out to be fucking psychos? Take care of them, then. Educate them yourselves. Pass on the values you'd like them to have. Don't just sit there waiting for school or high school or college to do it for you. Inform yourselves on what it is your kids find interesting. Try them out, maybe. Talk it out with your kids, too. Who knows, maybe your crotch dumpling's more mature than you think, and he's totally aware that Mortal Kombat's fantasy vivisections cannot and should not occur in real life.

Get involved. That's always been the key, and will forever keep being the key. Understand what the average kid and/or gamer likes. Do your research. Figure out why your pre-teen boy has nothing but contempt for the safe Mavis Bacon typing aid you just bought him and why he's more interested in being a fantasy Marine shooting down fantasy Afghans.

Above all, don't condemn these things for what they are. Understand what purpose they serve, who they appeal to, and which market gives rise to products like nowadays' endless deluge of gritty military shooters. Understand why Batman's so goddamn popular. Figure out on your own terms that he's one big-ass wish fulfillment fantasy about us wanting to imagine a guy who's closer to the Little People than to the Man, and who still takes control of things to keep everyone else safe.

That's what I'd tell your average passive parent if I could.

Well said Bob.

Not to mention if you some how did manage to ban everything and just lived in this ultra bland artless world, you'd have people commenting murders and blaming it on the lack of an outlet (IMO, there would be more murders because of a lack of an outlet then because of violent media.)

Who thought having a video ad on a video feature page was a good idea? It's almost impossible to watch this without the sound stuttering or worse.

"You don't punish innocent people for the possible crimes of others."

>_>...Capitalism says otherwise! /ohoho.

I know...lazy jab at DRM.

Anywho, its the problem with philosophy. You "could" cease to exist tomorrow. I think saying "not likely" wasn't far enough when explaining just how unlikely it was.

1 guy in 330 million?

Holy shit, how is that just "not likely"? That's...SO SMALL!

Good heavens if I had a 1 in 330 million chance for something to go wrong I'd do that something.

All I gotta say... is nothing else needs to be said.

Thank you, Bob.


I don't quite like how far you stretch "possible" in this one. I mean sure, it is possible, but almost anything is possible if you don't have to worry about "likely".

It's just as possible that violent media have a cathartic effect and generally decrease the level of violence in a society by letting people blow of steam. Much harder to verify of course since by definition, all the people who didn't snap and do something violent because they had violent video games to vent in won't really show up in the media.

Regardless, censorship is indeed pointless. And I personally would, in fact, defend the principle of free art as valuable over some slight and completely unproven security concerns.

It's easy to say a human life is the most valuable thing and always takes primacy, but exactly how valuable would a human life be in a world that didn't allow it freedom of thought and expression?

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