If gun control does come, bear in mind it will be just part of a program to prevent such massacres in the future. If you listen to the gaggle of experts and pundits interviewed in the wake of these slaughters, many don't even see gun control as the biggest piece of the puzzle. Other pieces one hears proposed:

1) An end to violent shoot-em-up video games. I hope you like The Sims, because if they have their way, no more Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.

2) More attention to mental illness, which threatens to catch people who are eccentric (or even "goth") in the same net as the true crazies. Concentration camps for schizophrenics and bipolars? Maybe not concentration camps but if the mentally ill suffer from public misperceptions now,  things won't get better for them.

3) Throttling the violence available to the public via TV and movies. Imagine a world with no Batman or James Bond movies and no crime/police movies on TV. Instead nothing but chick flicks and "uplifting" or "inspiring" TV shows.

4) Getting God back into our everyday lives, focusing on the schools and on promoting Christian-oriented television.

The lesson: be careful what you wish for, because you may get it along with a few other things you won't like nearly as much.

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I take you point, but I also think that everything needs to be kept in proportion and perspective, and I'm not sure that it is, at the moment.

Aggression and violence are as much a part of the human make-up as altruism & care. Simply banning the representation of these things isn't going to nullify them, or quell aggressive instincts in those that naturally have them in greater proportion than others. Perhaps it's even healthy that they are shown in a proprtionate and responsible way.

However, gratuitous over-representation, and even glorification of them in the media, arts, news, computer games, etc., may encourage aggressive people to express those tendencies. A huge proportion of Hollywood's output these days involves macho men, armed to the teeth and seemingly invulnerable. (I actually find this kind of movie really tiresome. If it has an explosion or shooting within the first minute, I tend to switch off now, it's become so cliched.) This output comes from within a nation that is demonstrating serious issues with gun violence.

Contrast this with European movie-making, and European societal violence. Considerably less, in both cases.

So - is art, etc. leading public behaviour, or merely reflecting it? The lack of realism in the violent movies suggests that maybe they are (sub-consciously, perhaps) creating a violent role model that some sections of society are (sub-consciously, perhaps) attempting to emulate. It's unreal and in many cases, somehow glorious. This is also true of much US TV drama, where police, guns, violent crime are almost routine. TV Drama in the UK is going somewhat in the same direction, sadly, but we aren't there yet, quite.

This may all be hot air, I guess, but the possible effects violence as reflected in the arts and media is quite worrying, and perhaps shouldn't be totally ignored.

(For what it's worth, and by way of example, I thought the graphic violence in the movie Kick Ass completely ruined it. It was unnecessary, and took any comic edge away from what was a potentally very funny film.)

You make my case that the difference between violence and attitudes toward guns is the difference between them and Americans. 

The argument that many people use video games and don't become violent can be used against gun control. Most people who own guns don't misuse them.

There is actually plenty of research showing a connection between violent video games and other entertainments and violent acting out, so if we are going to ban guns, doesn't it make sense to ban the other risk factors as well?

Well, I haven't seen much of the research, you're probably ahead of me on that, but you can bet that much of it will be conflicting, depending on the agendas of the people that are doing it or interpreting it.

The problem is the vested interest in the management of these things. They're all multi-billion dollar industries, which aren't going to take kindly to any form of regulation, much less bans. And as with the NRA, bless their little cotton ammo belts, they are politically powerful, so don't hold your breath.

Also, the public are very passive and tolerant of what's doled out to them by these industries. We seem to have a huge appetite for it. Don't understand it myself, but it sells by the truck-load. But not all consumers are psychopaths or murderer-in-waiting. It's just a tiny minority, but when they come out of their shell, they sure make their mark. It's a mental health issue as much as anything.

Banning guns as a first step, however difficult that may be, would at least remove one of the tools of the psychopath's trade, and make it much harder for them to commit the atrocities that they are easily able to do now.

When people start to suggest, seriously, that teachers should be armed, something is seriously wrong. Here in the UK, there has been much debate about arming our street-police, but it still hasn't happened. Arming teachers is a different kettle of fish altogether, and is a sign that a society has lost its grip on reality.

You make the point that most people who own guns don't misuse them. Two points: a) what use of a gun doesn't constitute misuse? (I guess you'll say self-defence, but there's a whole discussion to have about that), and b) The guns and ammunition used in the dreadful Connecticut massacre didn't belong to the murderer. They belonged to his mother, who evidently didn't misuse them herself, but she was amongst the victims.

I understand that she had 5 guns in her home. What is any person, much less a woman, doing with 5 guns in her home, including an assault rifle? Especially with a son who is known to have mental health issues?

I have no idea how this can be explained in a way that I'll understand.

From the highly-biased source, sciencedaily.com:

Scientists have known for years that playing violent video games causes players to become more aggressive. The findings of a new University of Missouri (MU) study provide one explanation for why this occurs: the brains of violent video game players become less responsive to violence, and this diminished brain response predicts an increase in aggression.

"Many researchers have believed that becoming desensitized to violence leads to increased human aggression. Until our study, however, this causal association had never been demonstrated experimentally," said Bruce Bartholow, associate professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science.

Read more here.

I think most of the debunking of the studies comes from either gamers or people who simply disbelieve the findings (without any facts to back up their disbelief).

Exactly - for every theory put forward, there will be those that agree, and those that don't. People will look for the argument that supports their pre-existing position, and that's the problem. The debates will rumble on, and nothing will change.

In the absence of a universally accepted set of evidence and outcomes, I'd suggest banning the weaponry for the moment, and let's see if the shootings stop. It's not going to happen though, because the US citizenry loves its guns, and they won't vote for anyone who wants the take them away. It's all about votes.

Apparently, Israel introduced armed teaching staff some time ago, but for obviously different reasons. Thailand introduced it in 2004, and Germany are reportedly considering it. Haven't read the background on these cases yet...

There will always be people who disbelieve science. We call them theists.

In the absence of a universally accepted set of evidence and outcomes, I'd suggest banning the weaponry for the moment, and let's see if the shootings stop.

All you can actually ban effectively are future legal sales by dealers. The guns already out there will remain (and become more valuable) and then there sales between private parties. Gun shows are an exception now. I'm not sure why, but if there is a legal reason why, they may continue to be legal ways to buy guns.

In some states (such as Colorado) sales at gun shows, even between private parties, require the parties to go through the background check rigamarole.

Closing the "gun show loophole" here didn't prevent the Aurora movie theater shooting.

It's always possible to change your "background" by shooting a bunch of helpless 6 and 7 year olds.


Measures such as this will never prevent gun sales to people who will become "prohibited possessors" once they have the gun in hand.  Nor will it do much to stop someone who is already a prohibited posessor from getting a gun anyway.  But it will add to the cost and inconvenience of all gun transfers, including between law abiding people.

"The guns already out there will remain (and become more valuable)". Although the U.S. is in a harder situation due to the number of guns, Australia had a scheme where we allowed people to hand in their guns for cash (Illegal or legal) as part of the ban.    

Ahh, statistics.  Don't you just love em?

I have played violent computer games, I am ex-armed forces and have fired weapons.  Neither of these two facts have ever caused violent tendencies,

My son is 19, he is in the armed forces as a marine engineer, he plays Call of Duty with his friends, one of which works in a shopping mall, another is hoping to start a medical degree in October as long as he achieves his predicted A* results.  They do not get into fights or cause any trouble at all.  They are the norm.

If I have my facts right, the last time someone was hanged, drawn and quartered in Britain was at the beginning of the 19th century, just over 200 years ago, with a crowd of over 20,000 spectators, several of whom scrambled for body parts for souvenirs.  And yet we are becoming more violent and computer games are causing it?  Really?

Sane, rational people can tell the difference between fiction and reality, insane, irrational people do not need TV or computer games to make them do insane, irrational things, violent or otherwise.  It's a mental health issue, plain and simple.

I don't think you're being fair to the researchers and psychologists. They will gladly admit, I'm sure, that video games don't make everyone more violent but that they desensitize some to violence and inspire others to act out violently. Not all of those affected that way are clinically insane.

But the problem is that of making the general public endure the lowest common denominator. Should the rest of us be deprived of our enjoyments because they affect others adversely? I prefer to maximize freedom.


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