In reflecting on the VA Tech massacre, Americans should consider steps not only to curb unlawful use of guns but also the irresponsible entertainment that glamorizes such use.


NEW YORK (April 15, 2008) – Morality in Media President Robert Peters had the following comments regarding tomorrow’s first anniversary of the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

“Two of our nation’s leading newspapers, USA TODAY (“For families and survivors, grief becomes call to action,” 4/11/08) and the N.Y. Times (“At State Level, More Attempts To Limit Guns,” 4/11/15) have already chosen to remember the first anniversary of the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre with front page articles highlighting gun control efforts.

“Undoubtedly, there are loopholes in our nation’s gun control laws that need plugging, but in remembering that the Virginia Tech killer used guns to slaughter fellow students, we should also remember that the killer grew up in a culture that glamorizes and even celebrates gun mayhem.

“Along with reporting on loopholes in our nation’s gun laws, therefore, the media should also be reporting on the irresponsible TV shows, films, rap lyrics and video games released in the past year that wallow in deadly gun violence and that are popular among children and young adults.

“The media should also reconsider it’s blind adherence to modernistic Supreme Court decisions that have made it almost impossible to hold entertainment media companies responsible for harm caused by their reckless disregard for human life. Surely, this was not the intent of our nation’s founding fathers, which never meant for the Constitution to become a ‘suicide pact.’

“Set forth below are quotations that appeared in news publications following the horrible mass murder that took place one year ago at Virginia Tech. They merit the public’s consideration.”

“Equally important was an observation made by one of the CNN talking heads who pointed out that the killer who made a bloody wreck of Virginia Tech used the ‘weapon of choice’ seen in rap videos and action films. That was another indictment of the strutting, malicious violence that pollutes our popular culture and may have influenced the Virginia Tech killer who brandished two pistols…” [Stanley Crouch, “Society hits a dead end,” N.Y. Daily News, 4/23/07)

“The notion that ‘movies don’t kill people, lunatics kill people’ is liberating to us screenwriters because it permits us to give life to our most demented fantasies and put them up on the big screen without any anxious hand-wringing. We all know there’s a lot of money to be made in trafficking in blood and guts…[But can] we really in good conscience conclude that the violence saturating our popular culture has no impact? …As responsible Americans put their heads down on their desks and reflect, should the scribes of popular entertainment be excused to the playground? …Before cashing those big checks, shouldn’t we at least pause to consider what we are saying with our movies about the value of life and the pleasures of mayhem?” [Mike White, “Making a Killing,” N.Y. Times, 5/2/07]

“‘My first thought when I saw the newspaper picture of Cho holding two guns was this guy has seen too many Asian gun films…,’ Tom Weisser, Editor of Asian Cult Cinema magazine, told the Post yesterday. ‘Perhaps there has never been a better example of a pop-culture killer.’” [V.A. Musetto, “Erie link to blood soaked Korean film,” N.Y. Post, 4/20/07]

“Much has been made of the frightening similarity between ‘Oldboy,’ Park Chan Wook’s dark 2003 movie thriller, and the deeds of Cho Seung Hui, who shot to death 32 people…But there are problems as well. For one, ‘Oldboy’ wasn’t a gun picture…Many of Cho’s pictures – 11 out of 43 – featured guns. And when I look at them, another name struck me as far more relevant than Park Chan Wook. That’s John Woo. Woo almost redefined the action genre with a series of Hong Kong gangster movies…In at least three regards, Cho activities so closely reflect the Woo oeuvre that it seems somewhat fair to conclude that in his last moments, before he blew his brains out, he was shooting a John Woo movie in his head. First is the peculiar nature of the gun violence…Second is the nature of the guns themselves…The third…is thematic…” [Stephen Hunter, “Cinematic Clues To Understand The Slaughter,” Washington Post, 4/20/07]

“Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui plagiarized other school shooting psychos in a twisted show of one-upmanship. He used the Internet to research and learn from infamous school killers, including Columbine’s Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold…‘Cho was an empty vessel and he poured himself full from images off the Internet…,’ said Loren Coleman, an expert on school shootings and the author of ‘The Copycat Effect.’ ‘There’s a psychological process that these shooters appear to be competing for – the high body count.’” [Jill Culora, “Sick homages from a student of psychos,” N.Y. Post, 04/22/07]

Headquartered in New York City, MORALITY IN MEDIA works through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity.

Author: MIM   04/15/2008

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