Ever since the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, liberals have been on the warpath against so-called “assault weapons.” Never mind that the semi-automatic rifles they have on their hit list are used in fewer murders than hammers and clubs; never mind that handguns are used in the vast majority of killings in this country. Never mind, either, that the state with the lowest rate of gun murder is New Hampshire, which has virtually no gun laws, and the municipality with the highest rate of gun murder is Chicago, which has a bevy of them. Forget all this and remember the party line: guns are the problem, not people.
But the American public disagrees, and does so strongly. Unlike liberal Hollywood, Americans largely blame individuals for their actions. A new poll from NBC/Wall Street Journal, for example, shows that Americans blame the following problems in American life more than the presence of guns with regard to shootings:
- “Parents not paying enough attention to what is going on in their children’s lives” (83%);
- “Lack of effective treatment for mental illness” (82%);
- “The amount of media coverage of mass shootings” (67%);
- “Movies, television programs, and video games that portray violence and violent behavior” (62%).
“Assault and military-style firearms being legal to purchase … the availability of high capacity ammunition clips” clocked in at 59%.
In other words, Hollywood’s concept of human nature is directly at odds with that of the American public. They don’t see people as mechanistic tools in the hands of instruments of war. They see them as individual actors shaped by their environment, their personal choices, and their biology. Which is accurate.
But that hasn’t stopped the Democrats and Hollywood from casting their ire at guns rather than parents who fail to control their children, or lack of effective mental illness treatments, or, for that matter, violent games produced by the entertainment industry itself. More specifically, Democrats and Hollywood hate the National Rifle Association, which they see as the root of all evil. Even though the NRA is an interest group that receives no public funding, writes no legislation, and is not subject to the voting public, the left trots out the NRA as the organization most responsible for tragedies like Sandy Hook.
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show called the NRA “either an elaborate, avant-garde, Joaquin Phoenix-style joke, or a false flag operation run by Michael Moore in an attempt to discredit responsible gun owners.” David Boreanaz, star of Bones, said the NRA is “repugnant and cowardly.” Olivia Wilde of House labeled them “disgusting.” And Zach Braff, he of the supremely irritating face, criticized a recent NRA ad as an “SNL skit.”
But once again, Hollywood is out of touch. The American public blames Hollywood itself more than it blames the NRA for shooting incidents. According to that same NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, NRA approval clocked in at 41% after Sandy Hook. Hollywood? A paltry 24%. Perhaps that’s because the NRA stands up for its principles, while Hollywood hypocritically earns cash from lurid depictions of gun violence while standing on the side, condemning gun violence. Or perhaps it’s because Hollywood is filled with leftists convinced of their own moral rectitude, even as they cash their checks on the basis of exploiting moral degradation.
In any case, it’s clear that the culture gap between Hollywood and the rest of America is growing, not shrinking. And Hollywood implicitly knows that. That’s why despite their repeated protestations dating back to the 1960s that they will get film and television violence under control, they continue to produce violent content. They know intrinsically that the American people don’t see violence as an evil in and of itself; they know that violence is a tool to be used rarely and with great care, but a tool nonetheless. Hollywood makes the narrative distinction between good and evil on a regular basis, even though those who populate Hollywood pretend to believe in moral relativism.
In the end, Hollywood is destined to lose the fight against guns, because the American people don’t buy in. But that won’t stop Hollywood from mouthing of about guns, even as they buy Glocks by the case, fake blood by the barrel, and blanks by the ton.
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