News / USA

    Shooting Renews Concern About Movie, Game Violence

    Penelope Poulou
    The shooting of 20 young children and seven adults has renewed discussions about gun control in the United States.

    Many say the availability of guns, however, is not the only factor that could trigger a deadly act.

    Though the industry disputes it, some experts say films glorifying violence and video games rewarding death can be equally lethal, especially in the hands of people with mental health issues.

    When "The Dark Knight Rises" opened in July, the on-screen carnage served as the backdrop to a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, theater. The shooter, James Holmes, 24, had dyed his hair red to resemble the Batman character, the Joker.

    Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58.

    Hollywood violence

    Production of violent films continued after the massacre.

    A look at how the U.S. ranks in comparison to the rest of world when it comes guns and gun violence.
     
    The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world. 
     
    GUN OWNERSHIP PER 100 PEOPLE
     
    1. United States  -  89
    2. Yemen            -  55
    3. Switzerland     -  46
    4. Finland            - 45
    5. Serbia             - 38
     
    --------------------------------------------
     
    Despite the high number of guns, because of its large population, the U.S. does not have the worst firearms murder rate.
     
    GUN MURDERS PER 100,000 PEOPLE
     
    1.  Honduras     -  69
    2.  El Salvador  -  40
    3.  Jamaica      -   39
    4   Venezuela   -  39
    5.  Guatemala  -  35
     
    The United States ranks 28th, with a rate of 3 per 100,000 people
     
    -----------------------------------------
     
    *The U.S. is one of the leading countries in the number of deaths attributed to guns.
     
    NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED BY FIREARMS IN 2010
     
    1.  Brazil              -  34,678
    2.  Colombia         -  12,539
    3.  Mexico            -  11,309
    4.  Venezuela       -  11,115
    5.  United States   -  9,146
     
    Source: UNODC & Small arms survey of 2010 
    The graphic drama, "Killing Them Softly," about a hired gun with feelings, was released in late November.

    The Hollywood premiere this week of Quentin Tarantino’s bloody western, "Django Unchained," was canceled out of respect for those killed in Connecticut. However, the movie will be released.  

    Criminal defense attorney Rene Sandler said on-screen gunfights can inspire real-life shootings.

    “The perpetrator becomes a character, takes on the persona of an aggressive, violent individual or superhero," Sandler say, "and in Aurora, it’s a perfect example of just that.”

    Video game carnage

    But, even more than films, Sandlers thinks violent video games are at the core of brutal behavior, and believes they should be regulated.

    “I have seen clients who have engaged in that interactive video experience where they are killing, where they are using guns, where they are gaining points and winning given the more bodies that they amass," she says. "In this country, we can ban sugary drinks for children because it’s unhealthy. We have done nothing to stop violent video games for children and adults.”

    While on-screen violence itself is not dangerous, Sandler says it can be "weaponized" in the hands of people with mental issues.

    Mental health issues

    Law enforcement authorities in the Connecticut shooting have said very little about the 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza's mental health. But the elementary school attack has raised the issue and many are calling on society to be more vigilant.

    A game industry group calls any link between video games and violence a myth.

    Following the movie theater massacre in July, a movie industry mogul suggested a summit on violence and film, which has not yet occurred.

    Still, an Oscar-nominated movie last year, "We Need to Talk About Kevin," eerily mirrors the Newtown shooting. The upper-class Kevin, 16, goes goes on a killing spree at his high school after murdering his family. The movie raised compelling issues about teen mental health, family breakdown and violence in American society.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: James from: Nebraska
    December 22, 2012 6:10 PM
    Yes, and that commentary was started by the NRA "press release," also blaming film and the mentally ill (who are eleven times more likely to be the victims of violence than the average person).

    Note too, the day of that press release, there was another mass shooting in Pennsylvania, four people killed (including the shooter) and three state troopers wounded, not in a school, not yet reported on VOA.

    The NRA wishes to deflect any issue from itself, and the gun culture in the USA. In the meantime, like Australia, now Serbia is eliminating mass quantities of freely-available guns, with the same results.

    In every western nation, this experiment has been run, with the same results. Little wonder other nations want to emulate our Wild West culture.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.