Bruce Willis’ Simplistic Statement

Following is a ‘brief’ that was in today’s local newspaper:

Bruce Willis says he’s against new gun control laws that could infringe on Second Amendment rights. He dismissed any link between Hollywood shootouts and real-life gun violence in a recent interview while promoting his latest film. He believes “the real topic is diminished” when observers link Hollywood entertainment with high-profile mass shootings. “No one commits a crime because they saw a film. There’s nothing to support that,” he said.

It’s that last statement that sent me through the roof. Of course no one goes out and commits a crime just because they saw a film! It isn’t simply the movies, video games, or television programs that cause individuals to go out and murder innocent people. It’s what these forms of communication are frequently promoting, i.e., violence and disrespect for human life.

Watch practically any action movie or TV program and you’ll see this person killing that person (most frequently with a gun). Look over the shoulder of your teenager as he plays one of the popular video games and what is he doing? Shooting and killing.

Certainly not every person who is exposed to a violent movie or video game is going to go on a mass murdering spree. There are nearly always other factors involved. However, as Eugene V. Beresin, M.D., (Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital) writes in the following online article:

While the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children’s exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior.

Dr. Beresin goes on to say:

The “typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18.”

He adds:

“They may come to see violence as a fact of life and, over time, lose their ability to empathize with both the victim and the victimizer.”

I was particularly struck by this statement:

“The typical scenario of using violence for a righteous cause may translate in daily life into a justification for using violence to retaliate against perceived victimizers. Hence, vulnerable youth who have been victimized may be tempted to use violent means to solve problems.”

In my opinion, while Mr. Willis may support Second Amendment rights, his comment related to films and crime demonstrated a complete disconnect to the very real issue that is facing our nation today.