From Cynthia Tucker comes this wonderful quote on America's misguided love affair with firearms:
"This folly will continue, fueled by a perplexing cultural ethos that worships individual gun ownership. A century from now, anthropologists will look back and wonder what in the world this was all about. They'll sift through the ruins of the historical record, in much the same way anthropologists today puzzle over cannibalism and the sacrifice of virgins in long-dead civilizations. they'll wonder how a highly advanced and sophisticated culture allowed unchecked personal gun ownership, despite the carnage."This article points out the increase in violent crime the past few years, especially gun related violence. The NRA has let us know that we would be foolish to think guns have anything to do with gun violence.
Of course, I am sure the increase since 2005 has nothing to do with daily images of Americans at war, dehumanization of our enemies, the approval of the destruction of those we disagree with and violent rhetoric from pundits and politicians (especially Cowboy Presidents)....
....coupled with entertainment bent on culturally conditioning us to accept any amount of blood and gore with no questions to our own sense of humanity loss. With television and film violence unparallelled in human history, whether it is the torture fantasies of 24 and The Sopranos or the gory spectacles of dismembered teenagers with large breasts and bulging biceps of sickening "entertainment" like Saw I, II and III and the films of talent waster supreme Quentin Tarantino or the bloody genius Mel Gibson, we are on the precipice inches from acceptance of snuff films and public death. Of course, I am sure first person shooter video games have had no affect upon millions of young adults and their love affair with violence.
Sure, I am sure I am just a prudish Nanny stater foolish enough to think these things are connected (well, besides the video games- I know the right wing hates those, as long as they are not War games or Left Behind killfests).
Sadly, just like divorce, dealing with poverty, plastic surgery and materialism Christian beliefs and behavior related to violence are no different from that of our non-Christian neighbors. How can we talk of a Prince of Peace when fighting for a Gun Culture, supporting the destruction of an entire race of people (Arabs) and justifying the embrace of extreme violence in entertainment because we are "'merican Christians?"
What will it take for Christians to embrace the teachings of Jesus and take our history seriously. Will it take violence against our own kind for us to see that violent culture is more damaging to a true "Culture of Life" -our Cowboy President's words- than those issues used by Dobson, The SBC and radio pundits to increase their coffers and attendance; knowing that speaking the truth on these issues would affect their bottom line and challenge their followers in a manner that would get less Amens and more people walking out because their toes are uncomfortable.
* I am sure many of us can try to justify the violence in anything we watch by stating something about the deeper meaning or that it really shows the impact of violence. While I believe this is true in many war films or westerns such as The Proposition and The Unforgiven, we cannot have it both ways with a shows like The Sopranos and 24 which no longer give viewers a lesson in morality concerning the consequences of the actions of the main characters, as they lose their humanity due to their actions (see Crimes and Misdemeanors or Matchpoint, both by Woody Allen, for such moral fables- or V for Vendetta, a violent film with a point).
When Jack Bauer kills innocent persons for the "greater good" he has lapsed into a new territory, like that of Tony Soprano when he strangles an enemy because of the opportunity in Season 1. At this point we can no longer say it is really about workplace politics. It is insulting to say such a thing.
BTW, I am not rooting for Tony Soprano to be murdered this year. I am hoping the creators have the guts to have him pay the consequences for his actions and rot in prison for the rest of his stinking life.