Every time any kind of unexpected and shocking violent act occurs in the USA or Europe, one of the first ports of call is popular media. What are the films, television shows, games of today teaching children? Is their violence making our populations more violent? Are they teaching abhorrent behaviour to the masses and desensitising its audiences to the point of a loss of clarity and reality?
For Chistopher Waltz, who is currently co-starring in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, it's the sensationalization that he finds most disturbing, which he says isn't the fault of movies. Speaking to CNN he said, "Movies don't sensationalize, they just tell. Who is it who sensationalizes it? It's the media." Adding that preventative measures could be taken by other methods: "I would also consider gun control indispensable. Rigorous gun control! Because a gun that you can't have, you don't use."
Jamie Foxx - who stars as the Django of the film's title, a slave fighting for his freedom by acting as a bounty hunter for the 'good german' (Waltz)- thinks quite the opposite. "Here's the thing - even if you get rid of all of the guns, I think that symptom will still be there," Foxx said. "How do we reach out to that person, how do we make that person feel like, you don't have to do this."
A comparable debate is raging in feminist communities in regard to rape and 'slut shaming'. When Canadian cops advised girls to dress more modestly to avoid rape, the backlash worldwide was enormous. Taking guns away may work similarly to forcing girls to wear skirts down to their ankles and roll neck sweaters, i.e. is firstly, unlikely to make much difference to the numbers of crimes, and secondly, wont stop the emotional undercurrents that fuel either rape or murder. What needs to change is attitudes to the value of life- in the case of gun crime and violence, and attitudes to women and their bodies- in the case of rape. Neither of these problems have quick fixes, very few things do and until there's some kind of cultural investment in alterations into the mindsets and attitudes towards either of these problems, in the knowledge that this may take a generation or more to make a marked difference, there will be no change for the better.