Is the NRA Hypocritical for Blaming Movies and Video Games?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Not really.

The NRA’s position has always been that gun violence is a matter of the human factor, the mental software, not the physical hardware. Movies and video games are a software issue. They go to the question of individual character, rather than available firepower.

That said the evidence is far better for media coverage of school shootings spurring on copycat shootings. A lot of these incidents happen in groups for a reason. The evidence for fictional media impact on shootings is far weaker. Some school shooters have cited fictional works, including Stephen King’s Rage and Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino’s Natural Born Killers as influences, certainly more so than have cited the NRA as a reason for shooting up a school.

LaPierre did not call for banning video games or movies, he did challenge the hypocrisy of media companies for calling for gun control while promoting gun violence. The NRA has positioned itself as an organization of law abiding gun owners and it has a point about the state of affairs when media companies that promote irresponsible gun violence accuse it of being responsible for gun violence.

An attack on the First or Second Amendment is not a solution to school shootings, but then school shootings are an occasional tragedy exploited by exactly the sort of people who would like to undermine either amendment.

The left spent 7 years insisting that Islamic terrorism was a rare event that should not make us give up our civil liberties, but at the same time it insists that Newtown should make us give up our civil liberties. There’s a basic problem there and it’s hypocrisy.

  • Johnconrad

    Hollywood knows just how much cultural influence it has – see smoking cessation and promotion of gay marriage

    However, this one (violent video gaming, etc.) threatens THEIR pocketbooks.

    So, they're going to pretend they are innocent bystanders.

    I call B.S.

    • Questions

      The whole idea that a mass murderer can't help himself, that "society" or "the culture" somehow is a real villain is a pile of nonsense. The Left's and the Right's version of "the devil made him do it" is a lie either way.

      The moral responsibility for violent crime must be placed squarely on the shoulders of those who commit it. Neither gun manufacturers nor "Hollywood" have anything to apologize for.

  • Mary Sue

    I don't think that the violent video games have anything to do with school shootings. The root of that identified problem is parents not being parents and letting their kid just play any old thing. It's not the game's fault. Parents can teach their children to be moral people even if the kids are playing the full uncensored Sega version of Mortal Kombat.

    If violent video games truly were a problem, we'd see a lot more kids just going off and I don't merely mean school shootings. I mean violence in general.

  • cxt

    The Left usually claims to be the smartest kids in the room. And yet study after study after study seems to show a direct and unpleasent link between violence and violent video games and entertainment.

    Me? I beg to differ, but if THEY are going to do so then shoud they not be forced to explain exactly why they all-of-a-sudden-like have issues with "science?"

  • RedWhiteAndJew

    As a gun owner and a competitor in practical shooting matches (IPSC, specifically), I have made the choice to not participate in paintball. I never want to be comfortable with, or find it entertaining to, point a gun at another human being. When I have a gun in my hands, I reflexively ensure that the barrel is never pointed at another person, if I can help it (and if I'm handling a gun with other people nearby, it is all but invariably unloaded.)

    I don't think it's a given that violent forms of entertainment will inevitably lead to inappropriate or illegal violent behavior, but it is the height of denial to assert that there are some who are not influenced thusly. This is of course not an argument for censoring such, just as the murderous actions of a few is no justification to ban firearms.

  • richard ahern

    THA FAR LEFT RADICALS MUST BE DONE AWAY WITH AT ANY COSTS

    http://www.wastewatchersinc.org
    http://www.judgenap.com

  • pagegl

    I'm not sure there is a causative relation between violent media, such as video games and movies, and the violence in our society. But, they certainly have desensitized us to violence. The problem, I believe, is society has been moving to a general disregard for the individual. Our politicians, educators, media personalities, and others have been emphasizing what they feel is best for society not its individual members. This leftist, collectivist view almost expects there to be sacrifices of individuals for the greater good, especially those individuals who do not follow the collectivist mindset. A case in point could be those lefties who were stating on-line that NRA members should be shot.