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Violence and Hollywood

Violence banAfter last week’s tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, it was only a matter of time before we heard pundits hop on CNN and MSNBC and tout the “Violence and Hollywood” angle as a possible motive.  A secondary thread to this is “Violence and Video Games,” and that is also another factor in this case.  Many folks want to take a look at MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) ratings, because PG-13 films have the same amount of violence, suggestive scenes, and language that a Rated R film did ten years ago.  Has violence in Hollywood movies escalated?  Sure.  I would hardly argue with that statement, as torture porn movies like Saw came in vogue and sophomoric sex humor encouraged by the success of the Judd Apatow movies grew.  I think we have become accustomed to tolerating more in our PG-13 movies as trends and social mores have changed.

A movie studio often finds an R rating slapped on its film to be the kiss of death, because it eliminates a younger moviegoing audience that would fuse a lot of cash into the box office.  They want that younger viewer to see the movie once and then love it so much that they pay the ten dollars (or fourteen dollars, if you are in a big city) to see it again.  Can you imagine putting an R rating on The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises?  Nope, it won’t ever happen. This is where it is up to parents to police what their kids are seeing and the games they are playing.  I imagine it is a constant struggle to figure out what is appropriate, given that new movies and games are released each week.

However, the real question circles us back to what happened last week in Colorado:  Did the gunman’s obsession with the Batman franchise inspire his violent acts?  Did his love for bloody video games take his roleplaying to another level?  While I know everyone loves to make Hollywood the scapegoat in these situations, I am actually going to have to defer to the fact that he clearly had massive psychological issues, and while he wanted to recreate a scene from fiction and make it reality, the real issue is gun control.  While our Second Amendment to the Constitution allows us “to keep and bear arms,” I think there has to be a limit.  Protecting your family with a handgun seems reasonable, especially after living in Hollywood with celebrities constantly dealing with stalkers.  If you are into hunting, I think owning a hunting rifle makes sense for your sport. (While I am not a fan, I get that some people want to participate in this centuries-old pastime.) Yet, not one person has been able to answer this question for me:  Why does someone need a semi-automatic weapon/assault rifle in their gun collection?  Why are weapons like this even accessible to us in the United States?  In 2004, Congress allowed the Federal Assault Weapons ban to expire.  Well, Congress, I hope you enjoyed the fruits of your labor . . . twelve innocent lives were lost last week.

Your turn to chime in on this hot topic.  I realize that politics play into this a bit.  I ask that you are respectful to people’s views, and let’s calmly and rationally discuss gun control, violence, and Hollywood.


Kristyn Burtt is a TV Host, Entertainment Reporter, and Former Couch Potato turned Mouse Potato living in Los Angeles.  For more Hollywood scoop, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and on her site, Red Carpet Closet



Kristyn Burtt



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