Monday, July 23, 2012

Violence in the Movies and Gun Nuts

In the wake of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, I'm starting to reconsider how useful it is to support any movie that plays so much on gun violence.  That is: why see them in the first place?

As someone who used to despise what I called the "cowardice of the gun loving culture", where violence was easy and less risky to the person wielding handguns I have to look back at my journey.  In short, I felt that handguns make violence *easy* for the aggressor. They are at much less risk than, say, using a knife, a club, or your bare hands.  True, a handgun can be used to defend yourself from the imminent threat of grave bodily injury or death (grandmother against 200lb rapist).  I have no problem whatsoever in their use to equalize force and for defensive means.  Everyone, no matter who you are, has the right, the responsibility even, to defend themselves from violence.

I never was drawn to violence.  I was a target of it many times in my youth.  I became a skilled martial artist for many reasons, the first one being my own survival.  As my journey continued I became more and more competent at many types of non-firearm weapons.

It was during this time that I disliked guns intensely, though I was quite capable in their use from a layman's perspective.

Then I started thinking about defending others at being, dare I say it, a "professional" at it.  I became a police officer.  That meant I had to carry a firearm.  It was part of my profession.  I thought I'd make a good officer.  Actually, I did make a good officer.  At the same time, the corruption in my department was too much to bear.  I left.

Later, I brought those hard won skills to bear as a private security consultant (mercenary) in Iraq.  My job was to protect others from violence at the hands of insurgents.  If I could keep the bad guys away from the warehouses where all the trip flares, mortars, mines and grenades were stored, I might stop a few IED's from killing people.  I did a good job there too, before returning home.

But all through this journey, learning the way of competence with a firearm, I was never a gun nut.  I inherited my father's collection and, over the years, slowly disposed of it.  In retrospect, I should just have destroyed the things instead of selling them.

So, back to gun violence in our culture and specifically in the movies.

I see trailers for gun violent movies all the time and I've become less and less enamored of them.  Sure, there are movies where guns are part of the story but, here's the rub; they aren't the main character.

I think that I may start avoiding movies where firearms are basically the main characters, or main supporting characters.  I've done that with video games. Why not movies?

I'm not a gun nut and never wanted to be.  They are tools to me -- nothing more; used for specific purposes and situations.  I've never really 'liked' guns and I will confess to not totally understanding those that do.

And I'm OK with that.

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