News / Arts & Entertainment

Colorado Shooting Renews Questions Over Movie Violence

Pamela Dockins
Reports indicating the alleged gunman in last week's mass shooting in the U.S. state of Colorado may have fixated on Batman movies have raised new concerns about possible links between movies and violence.  . 
 
Long before James Holmes allegedly opened fire in a crowded Colorado movie theater, there was debate over whether violent movies spur violent acts. 
 
Dr. Jay Reeve, the president of a mental health facility in Florida, says it would be wrong to blame movies entirely.  Reeve, who has studied the effects of movies on behavior, says people predisposed to violence are attracted to violent movies.
 
"Folks are walking into these movie theaters with certain kinds of vulnerabilities, with a certain set for things and in a way, the movie just is another vehicle for them to express something that, you know, my guess is they would have expressed anyway," he said. 
 
Investigators said a teenager convicted in the Washington-area sniper shootings that killed 10 people in 2002 was fascinated by The Matrix, a science-fiction thriller.
 
John Hinckley, the man convicted in the 1981 attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, appears to have followed the plot from the movie Taxi Driver.
 
And in the aftermath of a 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, investigators said one of the two teenaged gunmen had a journal reference to the Natural Born Killers movie.  Also, families of victims questioned whether both gunmen were influenced by The Basketball Diaries, another movie with graphic violence.
 
University of Michigan psychology professor Rowell Huesmann, says people can be influenced by a movie. "Violent movies can increase the risk of a person behaving violently," he said. 
 
But he says a wide range of factors, such as mental health and aggression at home, have to be taken into consideration. "Yes, I would say violent movies, violent TV, violent video games do cause an increase in the risk of violence but it would be a mistake to think that by themselves these cause the violent acts.  It's usually they have to be combined with other psychological factors in the person," he said. 
 
Criminology professor James Fox at Northeastern University in Boston says most people have no problem separating fantasy from reality. "There are millions of people who are interested in, fascinated and sometimes even obsessed with violent entertainment and of course they don't go on rampages," he said. 
 
He says for some criminals, it could be that violent entertainment is a reflection of their personalities but not the cause of their actions. 
 

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."