Analysis: Controversy in Entertainment after Sandy Hook

This is an article I have been working on for awhile now, about subjects I have always felt passionate about. Before the article starts though, I want to point out that I will not be talking politics. People who know me, know how I feel about gun control and what should be done. If you want to have that talk with me, follow me on Twitter. I also what it to be known that I understand the magnitude of this tragedy. I understand that at this point in time America needs to do all it possibly can to make our country more safe and secure.

One pattern I noticed in my Twitter feed after the incident was a loss of hope for humanity. How can we possibly have hope in humanity now? After so many helpless young children suffered the most devastating of fates? Words simply cannot express how awful the situation is. Something has to be done because apparently the status quo is not working, at all and you can’t chalk this up to “Shit Happens,” no, not this time.

In the many discussions I’ve had about the incident since its occurrence, one of them brought up the point of the medias glorification of violence. This discussion was with my mother and father. My mother is the author of The Gifts of Community a book published and now available on amazon. In this book she discusses many issues with our society and the interior and exterior things we must do to create a more healthy community. Needless to say, my mother is a very smart woman and I rarely win a debate with her.

She brought up the discussion of medias glorification of violence in Movies and Video Games specifically. In middle school I did a successful Social Studies Project that was filed under the political science category. The title of the project was “Do Video Games rot your brain?” Ultimately there was a compromise in my conclusion where some aspects can hurt your brain while video games can also help your brain (something not many people talk about.)

My mother will often bring up Grand Theft Auto and its series, a series I love just like all Rockstar games. Anyone familiar with Grand Theft Auto knows it can be very violent, sexual and riddled with language. I often dispute my mother and tell her that she can’t knock something that she has never played or seen. I wasn’t allowed to own Mature rated games until a little later in my childhood, but my mother simply said no game titled Grand Theft Auto was allowed in her house. So I played those once I moved out.

When this debate comes up between us and good example I can put forward is my fiance, who had less strict rules with games as a child. She loves Grand Theft Auto and has played the series since she was a child. Needless to say she is not a violent person, actually I strongly believe she is a morally better person than myself.

One thing you’d have to know about my mother is that she worked in Public Relations where she helped with a lot of campaigns against child abuse and neglect. Also her company worked hand-in-hand with the Autism Services Center in Huntington, WV. She told me stories which I had never known about her encounters with people with severe autism, Aspergers and other mental disorders and how the families had to be extremely careful with them when they got violent.

This is an issue I think right and left are unanimous on. America has to do something more about mental health treatment. I had a friend in Huntington, not a best friend, but a very good friend who I was often at parties with and other sleepovers with. I knew that when he was not hanging out with me or my friends he was hanging out with some very bad crowds. After moving to Orlando and working on my education in Film I received a call from one of my best friends saying that my friend had shot someone point blank in the head.

I followed the stories for a long time, me and all my friends were stunned that he could commit such an action. I should’ve seen the signs earlier and maybe I could’ve done something for him, I think about that everyday. What drove him to commit such a crime? In later reports he had said that he was originally going to kill himself before the altercation. I believe it was a combination of things from the city we grew up ins crumbling society, to peer pressure, to blind depression. It’s unfortunate to say that I don’t know enough about the situation to dwell much more into it.

So is entertainment today a factor? Or are we getting ahead of ourselves. Even before the incident at Sandy Hook, the PTC (Parent Television Council) was going after The Walking Dead. When I read this headline I was like, Jesus Christ leave the show alone. I was allowed to watch horror films since I was 10-12. I continued to read the article and saw that the show was being given TV14 ratings which translates to PG13 in film. The violence in the show currently should definitely translate to a TVMA rating. But no, they will only get that if they say “Fuck.” What’s worse your kid getting the idea of bashing someones head in with a machete or getting the idea of saying “Fuck?”

The MPAA and other rating organizations welcome violence so much more than things with sex and cursing. That makes no sense considering violence is probably the worst of the bunch and the only thing that our Movies and Video Games are being accused of translating actions in society. Not doubting Sex and Language are good things, but just think they shouldn’t be the cause of mature ratings. Jersey Shore and Teen Mom should remain TV14 because sex can be glorified in those shows. And too much sex can lead to diseases that could kill you.

America is in a state right now where we need something or someone to blame for what happened. Most people are flocking to gun control. Which I will admittedly say we need more control. But there are a few saying that we need to reduce the amount of violence in our entertainment. Django Unchained had a couple premieres cancelled for its relentless violence. Now people are attacking Les Miserables for the death of a child by gunshot.

It really comes down to the parents, and I don’t believe a film or video game can influence such a detrimental act of terror unless a person literally lives and breathes it. Which that can easily be prevented by the parents. The parents have a responsibility to let children know that what they see is fiction, sets, computer graphics. I learned this about the age of 7, back then I would cry when I saw someone die in a movie because I thought it was real. My parents taught me that it wasn’t and from there I felt I could watch or play anything (they didn’t feel that just yet).

Many people may disagree with what I am trying to say, and that is fine this article is entirely opinion based. You could even break it down to a film, TV and Video Game fan not wanting to see his material censored or delayed. Ultimately, I just want to say that I don’t believe media is a problem, that somethings can be done with ratings and the parents can do things, but they are all art forms that are protected under the first amendment and any time to them causing an unfortunate incident is exaggerated. Time to focus on real issues and do what we can to fix this problem. Let’s start with mental health, then I’d like to see gun control, get rid of the automatic weapons. Whether or not you agree with me on that political issue, we can agree something has to be done.