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EDITORIAL: Moriarty grapples and debates the issues of violence and film as raised on 60 MINUTES!

Published at: April 26, 1999, 4:01 a.m. CST by staff

Alright, this is a change of pace folks. Yesterday, I gave Moriarty a call to ask whether he'd seen my SISKEL AND EBERT show yet, but... Our conversation turned to yesterday's 60 MINUTES, and... As commentators on film, and armed with the knowledge that Hollywood's studios are the biggest pack of spineless cowards the world has ever seen.... We decided, to address the issue. A tough one. Does Filmic Violence Influence Children To Kill? AND Should The Filmmakers Be Held Accountable?

A Short Story before I hand you over to Moriarty. My parents referred to me as the 'great experiment' growing up as a child. They decided to see what would happen if you inundated and raised a child on a massive influx of Violent and Subversive film, comics and games. As a result I grew up watching NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD over 40 times by the time I reached 8 years of age. I have seen with (and without) parental supervision since the dawn of memory Film Violence. I'm an Eagle Scout. I have a very strong sense of morality. I was chosen as one of the Future Young Leaders Of Tomorrow and sent to represent Texas in Washington D.C.

I harbored many violent thoughts about my mother when she divorced my Dad, became an alcoholic and began a strong abusive streak that lasted 6 years of my life. I wished her dead. It was film that had taught me that if I attempted to kill her myself, I'd be caught... and punished. When my mother dove into a pool drunk, I stood and watched her sink to the bottom. I was just gonna let her die, but I couldn't. I dove in, brought her out, performed CPR and brought her back to life. This.... From a child raised on Chainsaw Murders, Crossdressing Butcher Knife Wielders. A kid that could quote out loud all the dialogue to DAWN OF THE DEAD. But through all that horror and all that violence, I learned the true lesson of Horror and Violent films... And that is life is precious. Something to Fight For. Something I could never take away, lest I become the monster.

We live in a society today that has problems with children and parents communicating. A world where both parents are required to work, thus allowing a lot of time for unsupervised behavior. My father and mother worked. But they never minded coming home and reading FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND to me as a child. They involved themselves in everything I was fascinated in. We weren't rich monetarily, just rich in communication.

Now, read what our dear Professor must teach 60 MINUTES about journalism and the issues of violence in film and our lives...

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

Tonight I'm going to dispense with all the usual trappings of my spy reports to speak to you and our readers from my heart. What I'm going to discuss here is controversial, and I'm sure that just as many of you will disagree with me as agree. I'm sure the TALK BACK for this article will be heated. Before we get to any of that, though, I need to make my feelings on one subject very clear.

What happened to those kids in Littleton was a tragedy. There is no bright spot, no one redeeming note to the story. I am heartsick at the thought of what that community is going through. The families of the victims have my absolute empathy. They are purely victims, with no fault of their own. These feelings are also true for any of the families who have lost loved ones to this random madness in any of a dozen cities around the world. Whether it's Dunblane, Scotland, or here in the US in Oregon, these incidents are horrific and personally affecting.

Having said that, my sadness at this tragedy is being rapidly replaced by a pure and blinding anger. I am troubled by the rush to judgment that the media seems to be making. In particular, I'd like to address what I consider to be one of the most sensationalistic, irresponsible pieces of journalism I've ever seen. This is a call to the creative community, a call to an ideological war which is already being waged. We have suffered attacks on our free expression before, but the climate is shifting now. When other media rolls over and joins the assault, when the U.S. Supreme Court allows the lawsuit against TimeWarner and Oliver Stone to progress, when a show like 60 MINUTES makes the kinds of inflammatory statements they did tonight -- well, it's time to take a hard look at what's going on and say the unpopular things that need to be said. It may not be easy, and the truth might seem cruel, but we cannot simply allow these attacks to go unanswered.

"Is it too far-fetched to believe that a preoccupation with video games that deal in violence and movies that portray violence can turn a kid into a killer?" With this question, Mike Wallace began his introduction to tonight's lead story on what is considered by most to be the leader in integrity in TV journalism, CBS's 60 MINUTES. He continued by saying that they had interviewed 3 parents of kids killed in a previous school shooting, parents who had joined to file a lawsuit against the producers of the film THE BASKETBALL DIARIES, the makers of the game DOOM, and other entertainment companies. Wallace promised to bring on spokespeople for the game and movie industries, the lawyers for the parents, and a man who was hired by those parents as an expert witness in their court case.

The story began with that man, Lt. Col. David Grossman (ret.), who was singled out in a radio address by President Clinton this weekend as "someone we would all do well to listen to." Grossman is a former professor of psychology at West Point who now teaches seminars on the psychology of killing to Green Berets and the FBI. When Grossman was introduced in the segment, he immediately began talking about video games, which he has labeled "murder simulators." I've heard Grossman's theories before, and he makes some very persuasive arguments. Basically, what he says boils down to the idea that we are giving our children the same kind of immersive conditional training that is used to turn military recruits into killers. Grossman claims it's a two-step process. First, these games teach you to associate pleasure with death and killing. Second, they teach you the motor skills necessary to commit extraordinary acts of precision and marksmanship.

To back up his point, 60 MINUTES cut to footage of U.S. soldiers being trained on DOOM, using the game to "hone their shooting skills." Of course, combat isn't fought with a mouse, so I think the connection to this particular clip was tenuous at best, but I'm not saying that Grossman's entirely without a point.

When we fought WWI, military commanders noticed that soliders had trouble with direct face-to-face combat. So many soldiers found themselves unable to fire at another human being that our troops were being killed at a phenomenal rate. Years of research led to the entire endoctrination method we've all seen portrayed in films like FULL METAL JACKET and OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. It's an idea that works exceptionally well. The ego is broken down fully by humiliation, and the individual is devalued completely. That individual is rebuilt then, his ego and sense of worth tied to his performance as a soldier. That's when the training kicks in, and accomplishment is rewarded.

Grossman's theory leaves out the first step of that process, though. He doesn't account for what is breaking down the self-worth of these troubled kids. He forgets that the individual must be humiliated first, devalued... broken. These children are broken when they finally reach for a gun, looking for a solution. They are in pain, and they aren't equipped to handle what they're dealing with. In so many homes, parents see their children in trouble and they intercede. They take an active, participatory role in the pain that their child is going through, and hopefully they've already instilled the values in their kids that allows them to open a dialogue, to offer help. So many kids go through these same isolating experiences in the high school years and earlier, and they get the help they need. In some cases, though, these kids aren't getting that help anywhere. Parents, teachers, peers -- no one is helping them, and they find themselves stripped of what they view as viable options.

Ed Bradley goaded Grossman a bit, saying to him, "They're just games," and Grossman took the bait, firing back with a real sense of righteous indignation.

"They're more than games," he said. "It's a mechanism which equips a child to turn his fantasy into reality." He then brought up the case of Michael Carneal, the shooter in the Heath High School shootings in Paducah, Kentucky. He was a 14 year old freshman when he walked into his school and opened fire on a prayer meeting, killing three girls -- Nicole Hadley, 14, Kayce Steger, 15, and Jessica James, 17, and paralyzing Melissa Jenkins, 16. Two weeks ago, Sabrina Steger, Chuck and Jo Hadley, and Joe and Judy James -- the parents of the deceased girls -- filed a joint suit against 18 different video game companies, including the makers of DOOM.

Grossman is the expert witness they've hired to help them make their case. Again, he is a persuasive, if misguided, speaker. He cited the fact that Michael Carneal fired his .22 pistol eight times, landing all eight shots, each one on a different kid. Five of those were head shots, and the other three were in the upper torso. That's a startling exhibit of skill for a kid who reportedly had never picked up a real gun. The FBI claims that the average officer in the average engagment only lands one shot out of every five.

Then the parents of the girls spoke, and it was wrenching to listen to them. Their lives were destroyed by this boy, and they justifiably want answers. They're looking for something that can establish some sense of order in the universe again after the horror they've gone through. They're looking to blame, and that's completely understandable. When they talked about the desensitization that teens go through when exposed to violent imagery, their pain was palpable. Bradley seemed to be hands-off with the parents, afraid to offend. He asked one softball question about what role divorce, the dissolution of the family, peer pressure, abuse, and other issues play as contributing factors in these incidents, but the parents quickly turned the conversation back to games. One of them called the games "the straw that broke the camel's back."

Then Sabrina Steger, one of the parents, came on and made a point that I'm going to come back to later, one of the few lucid, coherent things said in the segment. She said that this is really all about responsibility, and that no one should have to dictate that to companies. If they choose to make games like these, that should be their right, as long as they're responsible for the images and ideas they distribute.

Bradley didn't pursue that line of questioning, though. Instead, the segment cut to Doug Mullenstein, a representative for the video game industry. He spoke with real eloquence about what a disservice this kind of discussion does to the national debate. He spoke about how narrow sighted it is to attack one factor and try to hang everything on it. Unlike many hired mouthpieces, Mullenstein seemed to be genuinely frustrated about this, and it seemed to be important to him to frame this discussion properly. He brought up the industry's voluntary ratings system, which he says is very descriptive and detailed, offering parents a valuable tool to help decide what software is appropriate.

Bradley and Grossman mocked this idea in the cutaway, as they walked through an arcade to look at the warning stickers posted on games like HOUSE OF THE DEAD. I think the stickers are very simple and well-written, detailing that there is lifelike simulated violence in the game. Grossman sputtered in what struck me as feigned outrage as he pointed out that any 5 or 6 year old can play the games without permission. Of course, he didn't explain what a 5 or 6 year old might be doing in an arcade without a parent, but maybe he's got different ideas about parental duties than I do.

When the segment cut back to Mullenstein, Bradley grilled him about the games, bringing up their use in military training to prove their danger. In response, Mullenstein brought up another word I'm going to return to later -- context. "Being trained to be a Marine is different than playing a game with your friends in the living room. Context does matter." 60 MINUTES proved Mullenstein's point by accident when they cut back to the Paducah parents, who are also suing the producers of THE BASKETBALL DIARIES.

As Bradley (erroneously) described the plot of THE BASKETBALL DIARIES, CBS showed that same clip which so many news sources have taken out of context in the last week, the footage of Leonardo Di Caprio on a rampage in his school, dressed in a long black trenchcoat, shooting students and teachers alike. Shame on CBS. Shame on each and every news source that has shown this clip this week. You are truly without any justification for your behavior, and if you have any inkling of conscience, you must not be sleeping well. Within the film, these images are part of a dream sequence, the fantasies of a troubled youth who is grappling with a drug addiction. He's at odds with his mother, unable to connect to anyone who might help him, and his persecution feelings are getting the best of him. There's no doubt whatsover in the film that Leo's fantasy is wrong, a cry for help. He can't fix himself, so he's looking to lash out. He doesn't, though. He makes the choice not to. Jim Carroll, the real person who is being portrayed in the film, isn't serving time in a prison for mass murder right now. He's an acclaimed poet and novelist who took those typical adolescent feelings of not belonging, of wanting to destroy himself and others, and he channelled them into art, into something creative, not destructive. In the context of the movie, that fantasy makes perfect sense. Outside the context of the movie, it's exploitative, cheap, and ugly, and that's how CBS used it. That's how you've all used it. I am disgusted by your actions. Bryan Goluboff, the author of the film, is a friend of mine. We both contributed plays to a couple of festivals in the early '90s, and I got a chance to see a fair sampling of Bryan's work and talk to him quite a bit, especially around the time the film was released. Bryan is attracted to the dark side of life. All of his work takes us to unpleasant, violent, and frightening places. The thing that redeems his work is that Bryan looks for the small bit of light that can be found even in those jet black moments, and he shows how that light can survive and even occasionally triumph. His work is about hope, but your use of that clip has cheapened it, tainted his name, made a disgrace of what he and the other filmmakers involved intended.

Bradley then proceeded to make things even worse, pushing the parents, asking them why they were holding the makers of the film responsible. One of the fathers answered, "They helped support what he wanted to do and led him down the path that violence is good, violence is great, and you'll be a hero if you're violent." I am not making light of this man's personal pain when I ask if he's watched the film he's discussing. If he's seen anything beyond that five minutes, then he'd know that the film places enormous value on the the healing power of a parent's unconditional love. That's hardly a message of hatred or murder. I can understand why he got it wrong, though. I have no doubt he was coached by the venal, irresponsible, ambulance chasers that Bradley introduced as the lawyers to the families.

Michael Green and Jack Thompson were introduced together, and Thompson launched right in, explaining their claim that the filmmakers were reckless. "Part of their recklessness is the depiction of the violence in that scene as something beautiful, almost approaching ballet. The slow-motion aspect of it makes it all the more mesmerizing. It stars Leonardo Di Caprio, who is now the number one teen idol in the world, appealing by his persona and his ability as an actor to adolescents who would seek to, as any role model would be, to be copied and emulated." That's a direct quote, folks. Can you make any sense out of it? Is he really saying that slow-motion made the kids in Colorado or Kentucky pick up a gun? Is he claiming they did it because Leo did? That's absurd. Leonardo also starred in TOTAL ECLIPSE, in which he enjoys rough gay sex with David Thewliss. I haven't seen a rise in rough trade encounters between high school students and ugly older Englishmen, so I think that undermines their argument a bit. Still, Thompson's comment pales in comparison to what his partner said.

Bradley asks, "Are you saying they knew this movie would cause harm?"

Without even a hint of irony, Green looked in the camera and said, "They know that these movies are going to cause harm. They do focus groups to calibrate these movies to get the maximum response and effect out of the audience. They want to do this because they know that sex and violence are what sells, and they also know that there are people out there who are going to act out on what they see in these movies." If that comment isn't legally actionable by the producers of the film, then we have truly lost our way in this country. That is an accusation with no foundation in fact, an opportunistic statement made by a shameless huckster who is profiting off the pain of the innocent. There's not one sentence of what he said that he could prove in any court on Earth, and I defy him to prove differently. His statement is part of the problem with any dialogue on this subject. With inflammatory lies like his being tossed into the discussion, the truth becomes obscured, and healing is impossible. He is chasing a payday, and he will say anything he feels is required to get his hands on money. The scary thing is, his thug tactics might just work. This case is so high-profile, and emotions around it are so volatile, that it appears MGM is already rolling over and trying to offer resolution. They ordered a recall of the film, even offering to buy back rental copies. I would appeal to MGM right now to stop what they're doing and stand tough. If you back down -- if you lend any credence to the wildly insane rantings of these filthy moneygrubbing legal vultures, you cheapen the memories of those poor girls who died, you rob the parents of those girls of real, informed closure, and you undermine the freedoms of every other production entity in this town. Don't do it.

Robert Venderette (his name wasn't shown, only said, so I apologize for any misspelling) was brought on next. He was introduced as a lawyer for the film industry, but no specifics were mentioned. He predictably tried to turn the whole issue back to free speech. When Ed Bradley brought up desensitization, Venderette agreed to an extent. He said our whole culture has been desensitized by news coverage of Vietnam, and by the modern parade of violence we call news. He brought up the nightly footage from Kosovo. He blamed the whole culture for making violence more widespread, more accepted. This kind of dodging the issue makes it look like all the film industry can do is point the finger elsewhere, when that's not the answer. He didn't tackle the issue head-on.

Before he could offer any other answers or arguments, the segment cut back to the two lawyers for the families. Bradley asked them what they had to say to charges that their lawsuit was frivolous, and a cheap shot against defendents with very deep pockets. Green gave a smarmy smile and said, "Hold on to your hat," and his partner added an equally slimy, "And your wallet." I think those comments are very telling... in any context.

They're also chilling when you consider that the U.S. Supreme Court decided two months ago to allow a lawsuit to move forward against TimeWarner and Oliver Stone. Filed by Betsy Ann Byers in Louisiana, the suit claims that NATURAL BORN KILLERS was responsible for making two teens go on a killing spree in 1995. Then, just to make sure you'd been innundated with enough violence for the evening, 60 MINUTES showed the end of the opening diner scene from NBK. Again, there was no attempt to set up what the scene was about, or what the film as a whole was about. Instead, they just show Mickey's POV during the "eenie, meenie, miney, mo" part of the scene. Lovely. Enlightening. Pointless.

Bradley cited claims that NBK has inspired over a dozen copycat killings. He pointed out that Sarah Edmonson, one of the teens arrested in Louisiana, discussed the movie at some length in her confession. He then asks Venderette about Edmonson's claim. Venderette responded, "People react aberrantly to all kinds of things -- the Bible, the Koran, a Beatles song. It's amazing what people will do violence in the name of." He went on to mention Mark David Chapman's claim that CATCHER IN THE RYE was his major influence. As much as Bradley tried to lead this part of the conversation, Venderette kept bringing it back to the 5 million people who have seen NBK who have not gone out and imitated the film.

Finally, the segment ended with Bradley talking to the parents again. He asked them what they really hoped to accomplish with the lawsuit, and Sabrina Steger got in the last word, saying winning isn't really important. The parents of the girls consider it a victory that they've created this discussion. She pointed out that ten years ago, no one was winning lawsuits against tobacco companies, but they're winning them routinely now. She says their suit just paves the way, and that more will follow.

Are you scared yet, Hollywood? You should be. If we continue to progress in our relationship with the audience the way we're going now, we are going to find ourselves handcuffed by people looking to protect the public. The easy thing to do here is point the finger back at the parents and say that it's their job to police everything their kids hear and read and see and play, but that's just as naive as the view that only games and movies are responsible.

Instead of discussing guilt and blame, why don't we shift the discourse by removing those words from the conversation? No one wants to take the blame. No one wants to be guilty. Why don't we just discuss the concept of responsibility instead?

For example, if I am a filmmaker who is making a film that contains violent images, then I am responsible for that film once I send it out into the world. If I make the film, then I should be willing to defend it, to stand behind it. If I think there's something in it that's going to be trouble, then I should weigh the merits of having it in the film. If I think it's integral to the artistic integrity of the piece, then I should leave it in and be prepared to answer any charges against it or questions about it. If it's not important... if it's just for kicks or to add fireworks... then maybe I need to consider the worth of such imagery. If we trust these filmmakers with these massive budgets, then we have to trust them with the ideas they're bringing to the screen as well. As a studio, if you greenlight a project and it makes it to the screen the same way it was written, then you can't later disown the film, claiming you didn't realize what it was about. That's your job.

And parents... the ultimate responsibility is yours. Let me tell you a little something about my parents. I was what you would call a problem kid. I mean, I grew up to be an Evil Genius, so what else would you expect? I did things that just plain mystified them, broke rules they never thought to establish. Through it all, though, my parents worked hard to establish values in me... not dogmatic religious values (although they are churchgoing, Godfearing people), and not cure-all moralistic values, either. They worked to instill in me a respect for myself and a respect for others. More than any other rule, they taught me to treat others as I expect to be treated. They taught me to be responsible for myself. When I screwed up (which was frequently), I had to face those mistakes and do something about them. Today, I think back on the lessons I was taught and I treasure my parents. I was taught all about gun safety by my father, and I was taught to use a gun very effectively. I was taught about the vaule of life and I was taught to search for solutions other than violence whenever faced with a problem. My parents were involved in my life, even when I didn't want them to be. If I'd tried to build 30 pipe bombs in my house, they would have known. Hell, I couldn't even hide my porn properly. When you have a child, you are responsible for turning that rough draft of a human being into an adult, a citizen who can be responsible to whatever community he becomes part of. If that means you have to be aware of their favorite films and games and TV shows and comic books, then be aware. Learn about these things. Use them to bond with your child. Discuss the ideas that these forms of entertainment set forth. Don't just blindly ban things because you hear someone say it's "bad." Investigate. Figure it out for yourself. You know what your child is equipped to handle. I was reading John Irving and Stephen King by the age of nine because my parents, having discussed my reading with me, knew that I comprehended what I was reading. They knew that I was taking it in and then filtering it, processing it, and not just blindly following anything.

I had a defining experience that has direct bearing on this entire article when I was in high school. At that time, I went to a fairly progressive Florida school with a TV studio built in. The studio broadcast to the entire school via closed circuit, and my writing partner and I were responsible for a daily morning show during homeroom. We did this every day for two years. One half of the show (10 minutes) was announcements for the school, and the other half was whatever feature we felt like. We experimented with a lot of things over those two years, and we did some really good work. One of our regular features was (surprise) a movie review that was part slapstick comedy, part review show. We featured cartoonish violence on a massive scale. During our second year doing the show, there was a rash of suicides in our school and a shooting. As a result, the administration of the school went nuts, looking for someone to place the blame on. If you've been reading carefully, you can guess how this turned out.

One morning, my partner and I were called into the guidance office, where there were deans, the principal, and several counsellors all seated. They told us that the suicides were our fault. They looked two 18 year old kids in the eye and told them that they were responsible for the deaths of their peers. They wanted so badly to make sense of this that they lashed out and attacked us. None of our reviews had anything to do with shootings, but that didn't matter. We were scapegoats. We fought for six weeks to go back on the air, but in the end, they took away my voice, ruining the end of my last year on the air. Nothing changed. None of the kids who were feeling disenfranchised in the school felt any better. Nothing was solved. But we were off the air, and they felt better for having done something, for having assigned some blame.

I swore then that I would always be responsible for everything I say, write, produce, direct, or in any way put in front of the public. It makes me furious when I see people look for the easy answer, but more than that, it makes me sad. We have a problem that we refuse to address in this country. Extremists like Grossman and alarmists like the lawyers who hired him are adding nothing but hate and fear to an already difficult debate. We need to take some time to recover from the shock of what has happened in Littleton. We need to finish examining the lives of the two shooters and their friends. We need to try to start some sort of healing in that community. And then we need to really begin to discuss these ideas as adults, without the spectre of nonsense lawsuits hanging over anyone. Only when we all accept our responsibilities as adults and citizens will we be able to effectively tackle the problems that have gripped our teens. Until then, all this arguing is only going to lead to more hate, more violence, and no solutions.

Peace to all those in pain tonight.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

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  • April 26, 1999, 4:21 a.m. CST

    better buy stock in Kevlar my friends

    by Elan Vitale

    Great article. You touched base on just about everything from murder to greed to corruption. Let me tell you something else. It's going to get a whole lot worse. I don't see gun manufacturers racing to get guns and rifles off the shelves, do you? And you know what? The next time some poor kid pulls out a AK-47 or 20 gauge shotgun, one of his targets might be strapped in too (many states have or are in the process of passing concealed weapons bills like here in Virginia where you can bring a concealed weapon into a bar or restaurant, for example), and you'll find yourself in one hell of a shitstorm. My new best friend is now a kevlar vest. And of course everyone knows the entertainment industry will get the shaft here, because it's a quick and easy solution. Christ, even when kids get blown away the bullshit STILL piles on faster than you can say "please don't kill me".

  • April 26, 1999, 4:25 a.m. CST

    State of the Country

    by Scar

    Your comments ring loud and true. Unfortunately, there isn't an industry in this country that hasn't been affected in exactly the same way. Freedom, true freedom that comes from responsibility, is dying.

  • April 26, 1999, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Thank you, Moriarity ...

    by Lennier

    Thank you for a moment of sanity and clear thinking. Thank you for a balanced viewpoint. Most of all, thank you for the intelligent commentary on an issue that frequently degenerates into adrenalin-induced shouting. For those of you who pray, please say an extra one for the folks in Littleton. For those of you who don't, that's OK, too; I'm sure your kind thoughts are just as deeply appreciated, too.

  • April 26, 1999, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Don't Blame Movies

    by Aggie_Ed

    I was watching MTV for some strange reason the other day, and they had done a one hour show called Warning Signs on Thursday. They talked with some Southern California kids on what to look for in their peers when it came to hate or anger. I didn't get to watch the special, but I did hear some commentary Friday night from one of their VJ's that the media was too quick to jump on the Matrix and Basketball Diaries. The VJ/Reporter was quick to point out that MTV was "with it" because they actually talked to the people who would most know what would influence someone to be violent: high school kids. Their program defined the "real" problems facing Teens without resorting to Baby Booming idiots who think that society is nothing but violent films and video games!

  • April 26, 1999, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Small error

    by Dutch Beast

    Very interesting read this was. I'm wondering how far these people will go to blame Hollywood for all the violence in the world. And BTW Dunblane is in Scotland, not Ireland. Scots really don't like being called Irish (Been there, done that, almost got my ass kicked by doing it too) Beast

  • April 26, 1999, 5:08 a.m. CST

    The worst influence...

    by Prankster

    As long as we're banning media sources that glamorize violence, why don't we turn to a book that has more violent imagery, and has provoked more insane violence, then any other: the Bible. Didn't hear a lot of people trying to ban that after David Koresh went down in flames, did ya?

  • April 26, 1999, 5:15 a.m. CST

    Congrats

    by Phazer

    Congratulations to both Harry and to Moriarty for quite possibly the most balanced piece of journalism I've seen in a long time. Both tales almost echo my own experiences and feelings. The thing that really hits home here is how Moriarty has admitted that it is maybe time that some filmakers accepted responsibilty. He has conceeded a tiny point which he feels strongly about. I don't see the media and other 'moral watchdogs' doing the same curtousy to us. That's really the telling sign of how we're all good people, and why we have a point.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:21 a.m. CST

    blame

    by Foster Zygote

    I'm reminded of an incident which I read about a few years back. A kid sprayed his neighbor with a Super Soaker water gun. The neighbor then went into his house and got a gun and shot the kid. Then some shit for brains polititian launched a campaign to ban not guns but Super Soakers! There are always people who look for the easiest solution to a problem, especially a disturbing problem, whether it's the real solution or not. I don't think that there are any easy answers anyway. On the one hand lots of normal, well adjusted folks see depictions of violence and don't feel compelled to act out what they see. On the other hand we live in a culture that sees violence as entertainment in a way not seen since the late Roman Empire. And speaking of violence as entertainment, how about the "news" shows that package human tragedy as eye candy? They pontificate so well while contributing to the problem in their own way.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:27 a.m. CST

    You Ask The Impossible, Moriarty

    by mrbeaks

    Charging these folks to delve into this issue with the kind of insight that you have is, unfortunately, too tall an order. Band-aid solutions have always been favored by our leaders and their consituants as a way to simply address the issue and then sweep it back under the rug, and the Hollywood bashing in the wake of this awful tragedy is no exception. I'm glad, though, that you singled out those ambulence-chasing assholes who've hijacked the pain of the parents in Paducah, Kentucky in an effort to jam their hands into Hollywood's deep pockets. Shades of Ian Holm in THE SWEET HEREAFTER, huh? And 60 Minutes, by paying lip-service to these profiteering weasels, is only helping to re-direct the national debate away from the real issue (how the parents were aloof of their children amassing a small arsenal of weapons) to good old, immoral Hollywood. Of course, devoting a twenty-minute segment to parenting wouldn't quite garner the ratings that I'm sure splashing Hollywood's greatest, immoral hits across the cathode ray did last night, but that's another argument for another time. Oh, what a mess. If only coming up with the answers was as easy as tuning in to Ed Bradley every Sunday night at seven. Maybe I'm on the wrong track. Perhaps, I should start tuning into Fox's World's Funniest for my weekly dose of morals. Come to think of it, watching some pot-bellied redneck's trousers unexpectedly drop to his ankles might be the most apropos comment on our society television can muster.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:31 a.m. CST

    by sputnik

    some good points made, but my concern (as always after these offerings) is that the 'valid' arguments are not made in the right places. what moriarty and harry and everyone else are saying is cool and valid but we aren't perhaps the best cross section of society to be putting the message to. we're generally young(ish!!), technically literate types with a tolerance born out of extended use of the 'net. the type of people who start these lawsuits (or support them) are not likely to be reading aicn are they? until the ideas that moriarty has put forward can be disseminated to a much wider (i'm talking 60 minutes type exposure) audience i'm not sure what good can come out of it... and why can people make the tenuous link between films/tv/games and murder whilst struggling to grasp this 'guns kill people' issue? surely tighter gun control would have helped in this kind of situation ('tho i admit to speaking in some degree of ignorance due to lack of guns here in the uk). personally i find it quite strange how i've managed to complete virtually every fps in existence (all the way back to wolfenstein 3d), watch horror/action flicks all the time and *still* haven't gone on a killing spree. must be something wrong with me eh? later...

  • April 26, 1999, 5:39 a.m. CST

    In the aftermath of a tragedy

    by Macbeth998

    For the past few days, every time I turn on a television I see something about Littleton. Whether it's a commentary like the 60 Minutes piece or just news about the investigation or the grief of the survivors, the story is everywhere. And every time I see what is going on, every time the newscasters say something, I get a chill, tears well up, and I have to leave the room. Allow me to explain. Two years ago, about seventy students from my high school "plugged up" a waterslide, causing it to collapse. They fell 40 feet to the ground. One girl died, the others graduated in wheelchairs. Two of the most seriously injured were wheeled up to the podium in hospital gurneys to receive their diplomas. Why does any of this matter? In the aftermath, the media swarmed over my high school, reporting on our grief, reporting on where the fingers were being pointed, and as often as not, taking part in it. The parents of the girl who died leveled a lawsuit against the waterpark, the waterpark tried to sue the high school. As far as I know, these issues are still unresolved. The point is that what the media says, and what the mourners say, doesn't have anything to do with the reality. When emotions run this high, nothing worth hearing is said, at least not by the people the media listens to. The "investigation" becomes a witch-hunt. The dialogue between the accusers and the accused becomes McCarthyan. I saw it happen two years ago, and I see it happening now. So do yourselves a favor, and take everything you hear coming out of the idiot box with a grain of salt. It may sound convincing, because it's designed to be, but it certainly isn't the truth. Its not even a reasonable facsimile. The truth is that entirely too many children are dead, and no amount of lawsuits or finger-pointing will change that. And nothing short of an act of God will prevent it form happening again. Don't buy into the witch-hunt. Look where listening to witches got me.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Public Relations

    by Dhigger

    I fear that peoples desire to do *something*, or maybe to be seen to do something (MGM) as a response may continue to lead to the uninformed, out of place responses. I hope your voice is heard, Moriarty.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:47 a.m. CST

    The Importance of Posting Here

    by Harry Knowles

    You know what folks, it's funny. One would think that this site is read only by youngish types, except I happen to know for a fact that many of the top leaders in Hollywood read it daily. Not only that, but according to the list of domain names with individual ISP registers... There are no less than 12 readers with White House addresses... around 70 Senate addresses and over a hundred House of Representative readers. Politicians love films (some of em even love to BAN them). When I was in D.C. I met several very influential politicians that read the site regularly. I know that Clinton's godson reads the site, and I know several Republican Leaders relatives read this. I know a ton of folks at MGM read this site. In all... Let me tell you folks something. I am never surprised who is reading. The number 5 city in the usa that hits the site is Washington D.C. You have more power here than you think. Plus the media reads. Don't sell your voice short... Make it count.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:47 a.m. CST

    But what now?

    by Tides

    The problem isn't necessariy who is right and who is wrong but what are we going to do about it? The Basketball Diaries didn't kill those kids, guns killed those kids. Aiming a mouse at a computer screen doesn't harm anyone, aiming a gun does. We don't know why those kids went ballistic and we probably never really will know. What we do know is that somehow they found a handgun and two shotguns AND had time to saw off the barrels of the guns AND make upwards of thirty bombs. What are we going to do about that? Unless Leo went around giving seminars when BB Diaries came out on how to properly level a classroom, then he and the movie company obviously had nothing to do with it. I know that, you know that, Leo knows that, MGM knows that and more than likely, both the lawyers and the parents know it deep down. But what are we going to do about it? Ban all violence on film or make tougher laws for gun control? Which makes more sense?

  • April 26, 1999, 5:54 a.m. CST

    Censorship and Violence

    by Jack Burton

    First off, I live in Denver. I have friends that graduated form Columbine years ago, and they knew people that were there. It is pretty much all that anyone is talking about here and rightly so. The tragedy is enormous and you only have to turn on the TV to see images of funerals, maps of the shooting, and that now famous scene of the kids running out of the school with their hands over their heads. However, the way the media has lathed on to this idea that movies, music, and videogames caused this tragedy is absurd and dangerous. Media Play here has pulled Marilyn Manson from their shelves, and the Mayor himself canceled a scheduled Manson concert that was supposed to be this Friday April 30. While I understand the thinking behind it, it seems dangerously close to censorship. The fact that everyone seems to be missing is that every bit of media that is being blamed for this (Basketball Diaries, Doom, Rammstein, Marilyn Manson) are all items that carry a Mature rating of one kind or another. They shouldn't have even been exposed to that material in the first place. However our society is so caught up on blaming anyone and everything except the perpetrators that the media has , as always, latched onto the idea of the easy scapegoat: entertainment. So now we give more fuel to Senator Lieberman's campaign against video games and the right wing is having a field day chastising the morality of our nation. And the real, underlying reasons for the massacre will go largely undiscovered and forgotten. Until, God forbid, it happens again. My heartfelt condolences and pryaers go out to everyone affected by the tragedy.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:57 a.m. CST

    MGM is no exception friends

    by Elan Vitale

    MGM doesn't own the rights to THE BASKETBALL DIARIES ( a movie that just HAD to be made, apparently). Polygram filmed entertainment does. Or did. MGM bought into Polygram, but they don't actually get their hands on DIARIES until later this year. It must have been a major embarrasment for MGM to recall a movie they don't own. Talk about posturing!

  • April 26, 1999, 6:08 a.m. CST

    Troublesome

    by Elan Vitale

    Here's a thought: In today's society, we might very well have to acknowledge that making a violent film MAY cause some person with deep troubles to go off the deep end - I mean, it is a possibility. There are some serious wacko's out there who own guns, not to mention the young people suffering emotional or physical problems, etc. Armed with this knowledge, doesn't that make YOU responsible for your violent film? I was watching IKWYDLS last night on HBO and I was thinking, yeah she got killed, but we know it (at least I know) it's fake - it's a laughable movie, you can laugh at the bad acting and the fake blood. Same with the evil dead movies and jason/freddy/michael movies. But do they really need to be made in the name of art/commerce? The world is changing, and maybe we should rethink our priorities. Murder is no laughing matter anymore, faked or not.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Blame

    by Welsh

    It seems that every time a tragedy like this happens the first reaction is to find someone to blame. The easiest people to blame are always those that cannot answer back and this is where films tend to lie. It's easy for a news program to show an out of contest clip of a film to tie it in there by making it seam that you have all evidence that is needed. Studios cannot speak out because they don't want to drive away buisness and anything a director says can be twisted to imply self-involvement in what has happened. Time after time something that people could never imagine happening does and a reason is needed. With Hungerford it was Rambo, After Jamie Buldger's death it was Childs Play and after Dunblaine it was NBK. In all of these events altough each was tragic to my knowledge to link was ever proved to any of the films.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Kids & Parents Today

    by MovieImp

    I've worked at a movie theater now for close to 4 years. I get to see a lot of the public. Now I live in a major metropolitan city in the burbs with an upper middle-class clientel. For example, this week....every night around 10:30 for our last shows we get kids 16 and younger coming in unsupervised to watch movies and some are on dates on school nights at these times. These movies get out at 1 a.m. Friday nights are the worst with 10 to 13 year olds dropped off at 6 p.m. and still there at 1 a.m. completely unsupervised. And you wouldn't believe what some of these kids are wearing well not wearing is more like it. This is every week for years. I'm a baby sitter and disciplinarian. I've watched a teenager throw a punch at a police officer because he told him to put out his cigarette because he was underage. The officer had to arrest him...the kids parents are sueing. I'm short, female, petite...I've had a 6 foot plus guy threaten to punch me in the face because I stopped him from breaking in line. He was serious, I had an usher come to my rescue but I had to get the kid out of there to protect us both. This man had two children under 6 with him and he told them that was how to do things when I backed out pulling the usher with me. I have had a kid who was 15 throw a screaming trantrum and had to be carried out by police officers because they were not allowed into an R rated movie. The parents said yet again -- not my child. The list is endless and varied. My bottom line, parents need to be involved and boundries need to be set and enforced. I'm old enough to be these kids parents and I'm doling out more discpline then their real parents are. It's sad.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Don't you know the REAL reason?

    by Pope Buck 1

    According to everyone's favorite sage, Charlton Heston, it was the parents' fault FOR ALLOWING THEIR KIDS TO WEAR BLACK TRENCHCOATS. Wake up, people! Guns don't kill people -- trenchcoats kill people!

  • April 26, 1999, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Of tragedies and scapegoats

    by Zcarstheme

    First off, as has already been said in this talkback, respect to Harry and Moriarty for the preceding piece. It was much needed amidst the media hysteria that accompanies any event as awful as this one. The hollow grabbing for easy answers by so many areas of the press turns my stomach now just as much as it always has. I live in the UK, where our press has pretty much got it down to a fine art. A few years ago over here, two young kids abducted a toddler from a shopping mall and murdered him. Rather than have to confront this heartbreaking crime on any sort of intelligent, human level, the press chose a horror film more or less at random, (Child's Play 3), and blamed that. Despite the children denying ever having even heard of it, and the investigating police team stating 'if you want to blame a film, you might as well blame The Railway Children'. Within a couple of days, one of our tabloids had a bucket of copies of Child's Play 3 ON FIRE on their frontpage, under the tagline 'For the sake of all our children, burn your video nasty'. Nothing like a bit of hysteria to bring out closet nazi in our press. An opportunistic politician, David Alton, grabbed the whole issue and used it to boost his profile massively by suggesting that ALL videos in the UK not suitable for family viewing should be banned. Goodbye Schindler's List, in other words. Here's the scary bit. I was a media student at the time, and wandered the streets of my town with a camcorder, interviewing the public about the issue, hoping to find some coherent points of view. What I got was, 'Those movies should be banned', 'Ban them all', 'The government doesn't do enough..', etc. It chilled my blood. Even when I asked 'Would you be happy to watch children's videos forever ?', I got a number of responses simply saying 'Yes'. There are no easy answers, but the press' choice of scapegoats actually seems to sit well with the public at large. And, when it comes to our future freedom, that strikes me as the scariest thing of all.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:48 a.m. CST

    Bravo to Moriarty

    by dtsipras

    I would like to thank Moriary (as we all should) for taking this sensationalized topic and attempting to lead it back to the realm of intelligent discussion. With each random act of violence that becomes a nationwide media feeding frenzy, this discussion is brought front and center. We really need to hold intelligent discussions in which facts are presented as they are, theories are backed up by evidence, and all parties are given equal chance to present their arguments. Sensationalized journalism (I never thought I'd use these words to describe "60 Minutes") with the sole purpose of playing off the public's emotions to drum up ratings is no context for this discussion. Thank you Moriarty for standing up to this nonsense. I think we all should make it a point to do the same.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Interesting...

    by Lancelot

    I think that it's rare to have a site such as this post such a extremely interesting and balence POV. I applaud the social responsibility you are demostrating. Frankly I'm frightend about where this is leading. Our lawsuit-crazy county seems to be continuing the trend of placing blame on everyone except the person(s) who committed the crimes. It's time that people take responsibility for their actions, or in this case, the actions of their children. Copying violent actions are nothing new, but still continue to be scary. It's time that we realize that the problems are not with the movie, but with the people that see these movies. I pray that no one dresses up in a devil costume and begin committe murders in the name of Darth Maul and Star Wars.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:50 a.m. CST

    movies and games and music, oh my!

    by Leviat

    Glad to see this post, Harry and Moriarty, it's nice to see SOMEONE not blaming things. I mean no offense to anyone in the Colorado area, so if you are from there, stop reading right now. ...... The Blame that has offshooted from this tragedy have almost turned it into a comedic experience, which is the worst thing anyone could ever do. FIrst we had the "evil goths", which is stupid because Goths are fairly quiet people who accept almost everyone for who they are and only ask the same thing. Yeah, they can be depressed, but they aren't killers. Then we had "Evil Musicians: Marylin Manson, KMFDM, Rammstein". OK, Marylin Manson is not music I like much of, but come on, people. KMFDM was so Anti-Violence that they had a peaceful breakup. THen we had the "Evil Movies: Matrix, TBD, NBK, Bambi", then the "Evil Games" The point I'm trying to get to is that if a person IS influenced by this type of media, then they obviously had problems of their own already. Where's the blame on the Kids that did it? Why are they all of a sudden "Victims"? When I heard that they were dead I had hoped that one of the SWAT teams had found them and had filled them with about 40 bullets in non-vital areas, and let them bleed to death. Call me an insensative bastard, but the BLAME needs to be on the two messed-up idiots that were sick enough to just go out and kill people. It's not like we've had sick people before who kill for no reason. I mean, wasn't Jack the Ripper around before TV and Games? Did Charles Manson ever play Quake? Wasn't Marylin Manson Timothy McVeigh's avorite artist? Speaking of music again, you wanna take a tally of what the ratio is of people who listen to country music that own guns versus people that listen to KMFDM? I think we'd better start watching out for crazed Garth Brooks fans with 9mms. This is the last I shall say on the issue: Let the souls of those who died rest by not dragging this whole thing on forever.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:54 a.m. CST

    DWD: Bad Situations

    by DwDunphy

    The kind of rampant finger-pointing that is going on right now is fairly common in such a tragedy. It's happened before, it will happen again. Remember the murder/suicides that prompted the lawsuits against metal group Judas Priest? In hindsight, it's awfully hard to see what was so frightening about this band, from their almost laughable "we wanna rock you hard" musical cliches to lead singer Rob Halford's receding hairline, effeminate stage presence and fetishistic garb. But there they were in court, fighting for their right to do what they do, trying to convince the stone-throwers they weren't in league with the devil, they were just doing what they do. I won't pass my judgment because I think time has done that well enough, but it begs the question: ten years from now, will audiences look at Basketball Diaries and Natural Born Killers and call them dangerous and threatening, or will they view them in entirely different ways? I, for one, believe that NBK will probably end up losing most of its lustre, primarily because of its disjointed stylishness. In other words, these sort of things rise and fall on its own merit, not boycotts, not lawsuits. Ice T had his biggest record sales with Body Count, especially under the controversy levelled at them, but neither he nor his revisitations of the BC concept have yielded much reward. On the contrary, one listens to BC and doesn't see much more than the usual rap / metal posturing. What was the fuss about? Bottom Line - Media may influence the "how" of the violence - trenchcoats and sawed-offs, bombs made of horse manure, stalkings - but saying that media is the "why" as well is foolish. And so we get rid of music, movies, books, even The Bible, arguably the most violent and misunderstood book of all (I confess this, and I'm a Christian, folks...) Then what? What do we blame when Cain kills Abel again and there is no TV or video game to blame it on? Love, understanding, communication... These things could change the course of these events rather than just searching for scapegoats, but these are also the hardest things to come by apparently.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:59 a.m. CST

    ...

    by =weezer=

    i think that was quite the well written arguement.... you see, the problem with not only the media but society as a whole is that we have this desperate need to pin the blame on something... one thing preferably... we prefer to make the blame as simple as possible, and what is easier to piss on for the media than itself? These boys obviously had complex problems, because they were HUMAN... it would be difficult to overestimate the complexity behind their psychological being, and to simplify it by finding one or two scapegoats is irresponsible, and does not solve anything.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Car Games

    by Dice Man

    If shooting games (and movies) makes killers out of people, does then car games produce speeding tickets? Coming from a country (Sweden)where it is really hard to get a gun, I have to say that a lot of the blame is there. And not the weapons industry, but the lobbyists who makes impossible to instigate laws against weapons at home. Why do you have a gun at home? Surely it is to shoot people!? Just for self defence? Thats right, to SHOOT PEOPLE. /DiceMan

  • April 26, 1999, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Violence in Entertainment

    by The Graduate

    Thank you, Harry and Moriarty, for providing such a balanced and informative piece. When something happens like the massacre in Littleton, there's a pressing need to find something, anything to explain why this could happen. What astonishes me, though, is the way the media seems to indicate that violence in entertainment is a new phenomenon. It's not. To the many people who point out violence in the Bible: kudos. The second story in there is about how Cain smashes his brother's head open with a rock. The Oresteia, a three-play cycle written by Aeschylus in the 5th century BC, includes a wife and her lover who kill her husband and his slave, then her son who kills his mother and her lover. Shakespeare is our most revered author, and his greatest plays are the tragedies. HAMLET, MACBETH, ROMEO AND JULIET (another DiCaprio film) are all filled with murders and suicides. My point is that violence in entertainment did not appear in the 90's, it's been around for centuries because violence is a part of human existence and this is one way of understanding it. Conversely, there have been millions of murders throughout history for which no motivation in entertainment can be found. Did Hitler hate the Jews because he saw THE MERCHANT OF VENICE? What video games did Pol Pot play to make him force two million people into starvation? Did the Inquisition have any inspiration outside of the Bible, a book which millions (rightfully) revere? Throughout history there have always been people who have felt lonely and alienated, and these people have acted out violently. There's no one to blame but the two boys.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Film Violence

    by W. Leach

    I'm twenty three years old. I've been a movie buff all my life, I guess since I was able to turn on the TV. Over the years I've seen my share of violent, or "ultraviolent films," if you will. And do you know what? I have never ONCE had the urge to copy a violent act I saw on screen. Even at the age of seven I knew movies and most TV shows were faked. Even at the age of seven I knew that murder was a heinous, punishable crime. Yes I continue to watch movies with excessive amounts of gore and violence, but something that I WILL NOT watch would be the FACES OF DEATH series. Hell, I don't even watch those WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK shows. Too real, man. No matter how shocking something may seem on the movie screen, I can rest assured that there is someone behind the scenes pulling the strings. But to watch something like FACES OF DEATH, which show actual deaths/murderes/mutilations, I would not have the stomach for it. I have never seen THE BASKETBALL DIARIES, but I think the clip that has been repeated on the news over and over again has been taken out of context. Just seeing that slow motion clip told me that this must be a dream sequence, since I had heard of Jim Carroll, and don't recall him being sent to prison for shooting his classmates. Movies are rated R for a reason. How underage kids get in today is beyond me. Before I was seventeen, I tried getting into R rated movies, and almost every time I was (a) either asked to produce an ID, or (b) show a parent or guardian. And the real kicker was that nine out of ten times, the movies I was trying to see weren't even violent! In 1990, I tried seeing the R-rated Bill Murray comedy QUICK CHANGE. I was refused a pass because I was underage. For QUICK CHANGE! A film that has some strong language, and that's about it. Flash forward to 1998. I go to the same theater to see the PSYCHO remake. Who are sitting in front of me, but three underage kids (they had to be at least twelve years old). An R-rated movie with blood and violence! Three twelve-year-olds?? And what about the teen slasher films? Most, if not all of them are rated R, but guess what? My thirteen-year-old cousin has seen 'em all in the theater with no problem. These movies are marketed for young adults, but they definetely contain catnip for the younger, pre-teen crowd. Some of these movies contain violent sequences that are played for laughs, and if you're mature enough, you'll laugh at the absurdity of it. You won't think "Aw, man, that's so cool. I'm gonna go try it on the kid down the block." One more thing, then I'll shut up. About a year ago, there was a scare on my college campus. It seems two local high school kids managed to get into a dorm (where I went to college, this was relatively easy). If I remember correctly, it was an all-girl's dorm. Anyway, these two smartasses had a portable phone with them, and proceeded to phone a poor, unsuspecting girl who had a room at the dorm. How they got the number I don't know, but they called her in her room, and spoke in a low, threatening voice, as seen in a certain popular horror film of recent years. The girl was near hysterics, and these two bastards kept terrorizing her with shit like, "What's your favorite scary movie" and "I'm gonna kill you." Finally, the two made their way up to her room, dressed in the costume of the killer in the horror film. They kept pounding on her door, still shouting they were going to kill her. Unfortunately, by the time the police got to the dorm, the creeps had vanished, but the poor student was in a frenzy. Eventually the two were caught when a local high school ID was found near a bush on the dorm grounds. Clearly these two were influenced by the movie, but who's to say they wouldn't have still tried anything had they not seen the film?

  • April 26, 1999, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Responsibility

    by TVGuy

    These were two young men who were old enough to know what they were doing. Either they were insane or they had let hatred consume their hearts. Maybe there parents didn't love them enough. Maybe their peers mocked them. Maybe the entertainment industry feed them violent images. However, they did what they did of their own free will. It is not only modern men who become monsters. We probably only notice them more since we have attained a sheen of civility. The games and movies and fellow students and their parents should not be held responsible. Anyone who tries to blame someone or something other than these two young men is merely looking for a scapegoat. I agree that our society has become too permissive regarding our children. We treat children as if they were simply short adults. We should remember that kids have not yet developed the moral sense of adults. Also, this moral sense is something we must teach them. Unfortunantly, discipline and respect is lacking in our society. This lack makes it easier for young men such as those in Colorado act upon their worst instincts. However, the blame resides in them. If we wish, we can reach out to others and help one another to resist the more violent and destructive urges we all feel at one point or another. However, I firmly believe that their is no final cure for tragedy in our world. Terrible things happen to us all. The best we can do is try to bring hope and love to those who lack it.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Tragedy

    by The Graduate

    As an addendum to my post about violence in entertainment: many people (including myself) refer to what happened in Littleton as a "tragedy". If you look the word "tragedy" up in the dictionary, though, you'll find that the FIRST definition is a literary one. From Webster's: "a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man" and "a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror." The SECOND definition is the one people are using: "a disastrous event." Therefore, even the words we use to describe the event come from ancient forms of entertainment. The media would do well to think of that first definition and the ancient theories of tragedy: the protagonist makes an unfortunate mistake which leads to his downfall and misery for those around him. As I've said before, the tragedy is Littleton is the result of individual actions by the shooters, and the misery they brought on us is their work alone.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Heston

    by W. Leach

    I wonder how this "macho" man would feel if one of his family or friends was murdered senselessly? We ought to send this guy back to the planet of the apes.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:28 a.m. CST

    ultimate responsiblity

    by SamIAm

    Okay people, I'm a bit of a prude. I hate guns... I hate alcohol... and I hate smoking. That said, I, in no way, feel the evil industries that manufacture those "products" are responsible for the tragedies their use results in. Violent games, violent movies do not produce killers. The makers of said entertainment are not responsible for the violent behavior of children exposed. Even the parents of the exposed kids are ultimately responsible. All the parent can do is guide, set an example, but ultimately, the individual is responsible. The child him/herself is responsible. I feel for those parents. I'm a parent myself, and I pray my two sons never fall into that cycle. Society today is obsessive with the desire to blame everything and everyone except the individual. Our desire for vengenence clouds our minds to the fact that no one forced those kids to kill. They did it themselves.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Frank Zappa said it best....

    by Bundren

    During the PMRC heyday in the 1980's, when he asked the question, (not his exact words, but the gist of it) "If music with themes of violence or anger can influence people to behave negatively, does this mean that a love song can cause or facilatate a person to fall in love who otherwise would not do so?" Of course not. So many people people don't seem to be realizing the utter futility of what they're saying when they call for these bans or "holding artists responsible". All they are really saying is that if all art were happy and full of peace and love, then the world would in turn become a perfect place. This is silly of course, and it's sad to see so many lawyers and "public figures" exploiting people's grief to promote their own simplistic agenda of how society should be represented. For instance, Jack Thompson, one of the lawyers interviewed, was also the guy who went on a crusade against 2 Live Crew, which history now looks back on as not only futile, but stupid and laughable. And what were Thompson's last words, his big threat to Hollywood? Not claims to making society a better place. Not sincere expression of grief or concern. No, it was, "Hold on to your wallets." Fucker.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:29 a.m. CST

    The case against Oliver Stone

    by schooob

    A small but crucial fact that is often overlooked in the case against Oliver Stone is this: He's not being sued because people emulated what Mickey and Mallory did in NBK, he's being sued because (they claim), he actually made NBK to *incite* people to emulate Mickey and Mallory. Basically, that means his whole artistic purpose in making the movie was not to make money, or get a point about violence in our society across, but to wind up young men and women into a violent frenzy and set them lose upon society. On the one hand, this *should* be a pretty easy charge to disprove. On the other hand, the fact that any judge could think this charge had enough merit to warrant going to trial is frightening! --schooob

  • April 26, 1999, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Guns and Youth

    by starbird

    One of the biggest problems facing America is its obession with guns. <P>If, for example, people could only buy .22 guns instead of the more lethal .9 you would probably reduce the carnage. <P>More importantly you've got to start sorting out the schools. Particularly this whole conformity thing. A student is more 15 times more likely to murder a fellow classmate in the US than in Europe (Sunday Independent newspaper). If you don't feel part of society, you don't care whether its members are alive or dead. <P>Over 3000 kids are killed by firearms in the US each year. <P>When you think that the president won't allow ground troops into Kosovo because an american soldier might be killed, it does suggest there's something wrong with the system if so many kids are allowed to die. <P>Personally I would suggest that students in the US pay more attention towards making their school outcasts feel more a part of the school than alienate them further by banning leathercoats.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Australia&America

    by The Consul

    I live in Australia. We are inundated with all of the violent images from America but gun violence in society is virtually non existant. In fact the police are responsible for the majority of shootings in Australia. You can count the number on one hand. So why such a harsh difference?. The reasons are two fold. First Australia has very tight gun laws. And secondly our country's seem to have different value systems. While America values blind nationalism and violent victories, Australia values self sacrifice, mateship and medical victories. I don't think Clinton's influence is helping things either. Weather or not you choose to admit it the citizens look to their leaders for inspiration. When their leaders fail to care for them, the citizens fail to care for their fellow human beings. When America does not care for its homeless or Clinton goes to war so He doesn't take the wrap for balling every woman he comes across, the American people act accordingly. I have seen this in My own country. As our government has become more and more self serving crime has increased. Americans need only look to Australia, Britain and any number of comparatively peaceful European countries who are inundated with American culture to see that Americas own "Gun Culture" is not caused by Media influences. Americans seem to be reluctant to acknowledge this. I can hold my head high and say that My Government is fucked, My Society is turning to shit and I can go out and do something (non violent) about it. When Americans can do the same I believe that the society will improve accordingly. Great article by the way.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Parental Responsibility

    by Librarygal

    I am in complete agreement with you, Moriarty, particularly the part about parental responsibility. I am a mom with a ten year old son who, yes, sometimes plays violent video games or once in a while sees a violent movie (Jackie Chan is a favorite at our house). However, we TALK about what we watch and we ask his opinion about things. We LISTEN to him; we make it a point to KNOW who his friends are and what he is doing. He is growing up to be a kind, intelligent, thinking person. I work at an elementary school, and you would be amazed at the number of parents who don't bother to really talk and listen to their children. It is both sad and scary! Parenting is the toughest job you will ever have; it is not for the faint of heart!! YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION. Time to stop pointing fingers elsewhere and ask ourselves what WE are doing about the problem. My prayers are with all in Littleton, and with families everywhere that have lost loved ones to violence.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Assigning Blame

    by Azure Tyger

    Assigning blame for problems has been a part of the human condition through our entire history. Since the ugliness of our past has been eloquently pointed out in earlier posts, I won't repeat it here. Moriarty's article delved deeper into the issue than any 'expert' opinion I've seen so far. However it can only scratch the surface. The deeper problems that we face, especially the nurture-rift between parents and children, are chilling. Putting it in a neat package is impossible (this is what makes the arguments presented in 60 Minutes so insipid.) The short-sigtedness of blaming the tragedy on video games or movies or news media or gun control does a grave injustice to the victims. It prevents us from seeking the true answers. This reaction is perfectly understandable from the devastated parents, but it is an unforgivable and disgraceful act on behalf of hate-baiting talking heads. IMHO, the family is still society's great safety net. The real failure is in the fact that the families of the kids involved didn't see any warning signs. There is simply no way that the parents wouldn't have sensed that something was wrong if they were communicating with their children. But we live in an age of drive-through parenting, and communication isn't stressed. Maybe its just wishful thinking, but I want to believe that there is some fundamental mistake we have made in our society. Either that or there is simply a prevelance of evil people being brought into the world. I guess I'll keep my door locked either way.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:37 a.m. CST

    Why not just...

    by Guido

    Ban guns. Get rid of them and we get rid of gun violence. It is yet another simple solution but this time in the opposite direction of the media.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Have We All Lost Our Minds?

    by Fixxxer

    I look at the people in America today, and the only thought that crosses my mind is that we have all lost ours. Seemingly everyone in America has such a distorted, narrow view of things and a heavy penchant to point the blame elsewhere that no one can do anything anymore without being misunderstood or chastised. How dare someone blame Hollywood or the music industry or the video game industry for the mental and social deviants of society. Have parenting skills reached such a low in our country that Oliver Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the Wachowski Brothers have to be held responsible for the dirty deeds of an entire nation? Ridiculous. I've been watching movies, listening to music, and playing video games all my life. Have I gone to prison? Have I killed anyone? Have I committed any horrible crimes? No. Listening to Marilyn Manson and Metallica didn't corrupt me, and neither did watching "The Matrix" or playing "Doom." I happen to be intelligent; I have more than half a brain, and I understand the ideas of right and wrong. How dare someone try to shift the responsibility away from parenting and personal development and onto an unrelated third party. Have we all gone mad??????

  • April 26, 1999, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Another bizarre thing.....

    by Bundren

    From this whole mess this last week, is the fact that in the media and with the general population, they have not only been very careful to direct any blame towards the parents of the gunmen, but also seem in indirect ways to SUPPORT the parents. Talking heads are careful to say "Our prayers are with the parents of the gunmen" and I even saw Tipper Gore actually say, "In a lot of ways, their loss is the greatest." And then there's the signs of support being put up in the town, with people trying to show they don't blame the parents for what happened even after the fact that GUNS WERE FOUND IN PLAIN SIGHT WHEN POLICE WENT INTO THE BEDROOMS. I guess that this capacity to forgive is very admirable, but this vacuum of blame should not be fulfilled by focusing instead on works of entertainment which the parents should have been aware of in the first place. Along with the blantanty out-of-context showings of the Basketball Diaries clip, there also the simple fact that this film was rated R. If you are allowing your fourteen year old to watch movies carte blanche but do not take the time to even see how they he/she reacts to it and to at the very least make sure he/she can distinguish fantasy from reality, there's going to be a problem. And then there the argument, "Hey, we can't monitor everything our children do!" That's absolutely right; and that's why it's your responsibility to instill the values you wish for your children to have when they do not have you monitoring them, and so that when they are bombarded by other influences, they will know the proper decisions to make.

  • April 26, 1999, 8 a.m. CST

    no reason

    by usagi

    Why is it when a kid kills someone there has to be some mitigating factor (is movies), something that influneced the kids and caused him to do what he did, but when an adult does something similar we dismiss them as simply being nuts? What, you mean to tell me kids can't be nuts? Also, guns aren't the problem. Parents letting their kids do whatever they want is the problem.

  • April 26, 1999, 8 a.m. CST

    Another thought. . .

    by Dolby1000

    First off, please remember that 60 Minutes and integrety do not, and have never, mixed. That said. . . Whenever tradgies like this occur, it is normal for humans to try and find out "why" and to look for "blame". But, the fact is, we cannot understand these actions because 99% of us cannot concieve of them. How do we explain when less than 1% of the normal population goes berserk? I do not think we can. Yes, we want to find blame, but, is there any to hand out? Maybe these just were bad people. Something (we will never know) pushed them over the edge, but, they were going in that direction to begin with. Can we accept the fact that, maybe, there is no one to blame? Conversley, if we want blame, then there may be many places to hand it out. We can begin in our own society. Are dual incomes really necessary in our lives? Do we "need" the $400,000 home, the BMW, the Jeep, the Pentium III computer, Internets, 50" screen TV's, and so on and so on. Why is that all new homes I see going up (I live in the suburbs of Chicago) are in the $250,000 - $400,000 range? Can you even buy a small newer home anymore? Of course not! We have two incomes now, we want the bigger, better lifestyle. What has this brought us? It brings us children left alone because mommy and daddy are too tired after a long day of work to involve themselves with their children. They believe that all they need to do is give them a bigger home, the most recent toys, and BINGO! their jobs are done. I will grant that this is a generalization, but, a pattern that is repeated, over, and over again. I'm sorry, but the government is not responsible for bringing up the baby, the parents are. How can two teenagers build bombs over the course of a year and the parents NOT know about it? I believe they were too busy paying for the house, the car, etc. to even notice what their child was doing, and hence, the root for the Littleton tradgedy. They are not bad people or really, bad parents, they just followed societies lead, and worked at providing the "things" as oppossed to being "parents". How come millions can see NBK or Dawn of the Dead and understand that they are movies, yet less than 1% cannot? Is the answer to prevent violent movies and games for all because less than 1% cannot handle them? This is not a simple question. Nor, is it a simple question of where the hate that is ever so prevalant in our society came from. I am a firm believer in free speech, and I do believe in restricing anyone's right to say what they believe. But, I listen to a lot the music today and I just do not understand where the hate came from. I belive it may be related to the "thing" society that we have become. The music of today expresses the "hate" the generation X'ers feel because we have abandoned them for more "things". That is the root problem that caused the Littelton tradgedy. We need to throw away the "things" and start involving ourselves with our children's lives. We need to understand that a 15' by 20' bedroom filled with phones, computers and TV's is not a subsitute for human and parental interaction. 60 Minutes missed the point entirely. All they did was point out (again) that lawyers are in it for the money and that the media is out of focus with the real problem. Dual incomes are not "necessary", but, it is the cost of believing that which is responsible for many of the problems we are experiencing, not the films. As for gun control and the fourth amendmant. Well, nobody said anything about the right to bear ammunition. Make all the guns you wants, stop making, and outlaw, the ammo. My father works in the tool and die industry and says he could easily make a homemade gun, but, the technology for making bullets is much harder to imitate. Protect the 4th amendment, but, stop making the damn bullets.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Reminded of an old Kubrick tale (rest in peace Stan)

    by Elan Vitale

    When CLOCKWORK ORANGE was released in the UK and shortly after a woman was raped by a gang of males who were copying the infamous "home" rape sequence - you know, singing in the rain and everything which led Kubrick to prevent the film from being shown in the UK. Here is my point - let's forget the blame/artist thing for a minute and examine this: - We acknowledge that our society has mentally unstable people - for whatever reasons - that prevent them from fitting in, finding friends, whatever you want to call it. Postal worker syndrome or some such. The point is such people exist, for whatever reasons- bad parenting, abuse, etc. - Such unstable people WILL be influenced by what they see. I'm happy for you if you played video games and watched violent movies and you knew it was fake - kudos to you, man. But this isnt about you! This is about people who desperatly need love. That's the only thing that will save humanity, is love. And if that means no more stupid zombie mass murderer movies or the most popular kids in school being forced to mentor a less popular classmate, I'm all for that. Lord knows the world could use a little more love. So the next time you have chance to give someone, ANYONE, some love, some feeling of self-worth, then do it. After all, this isn't about you or me. It's about helping others. Thanks for your time.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:02 a.m. CST

    The "influence" of Marilyn Manson and others

    by Bundren

    This is so tired it's ridiculous. First of all, Manson's last album bombed, falling off the top 100 charts after only a few weeks. Second, the top albums on the charts in the last six months have not been by shock rockers or gangsta rappers -- they've been by the ultra-G rated Backstreet Boys, NSync, Britney Spears, Shania Twain, , Cher, Will Smith, and Lauryn Hill. Does this mean they're to blame now??

  • April 26, 1999, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Film Violence

    by smilin'jackruby

    First of all, thank you, Moriarity, for that fine piece of editorial writing. An clear headed, eloquent piece of work that I certainly hope many, many people read. Personally, I am at a loss every time I hear something new about the shooting at Columbine. To think that these two young men could have people begging not to be killed and then execute them anyway is a stretch that my mind could never, ever make. Any of you who ever read my postings know that I am quite a fan of so-called 'ultra-violent' films, particularly the "Friday the 13th" movies and Hong Kong action pics as many of the other posters are as well. So what? We're not killing people. I have seen KMFDM three times in concert, so what? I am a graduate student at Indiana University! I saw "The Basketball Diaries" at a sneak preview at the University of Texas at Austin years ago and found it rather boring. It made me go to the library and check out Jim Carroll's work which I thought was great (I was an English major as an undergrad). I have played "Doom" and "Doom 2" extensively, yet I just won a prize for my writing from the National Society of Arts and Letters. Movies and television are too easy a target, though any sane person will probably admit that films such as "A Better Tomorrow" and "Pulp Fiction" make gun-toting look "cool" regardless of the "yep, Jules lived cause he quit while Vincent died by the sword"-message you might cull from the pic. It is NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT, the cut-and-dried issue that the media and various insundry folk from the legal profession would like to make people think it is. When there was some stink a few years ago about so many people smoking in movies making kids turn around and smoke, did that make any real sense? And the point made about "Total Eclipse" is important. If these people are going to make wild, inflammatory remarks about this and that merely to stir up a lot of hoopla and create their own angry mob mentality in the same vein that McCarthy did when he waved his lists and pounded his fists in '51, then I'm glad to know that people like Moriarity are out there as a calm, rational voice of reason. Long live the kind of reporting and talkback that goes on today. -Smilin' Jack Ruby

  • April 26, 1999, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Re ALIENATION

    by Charlie Oakley

    First of all: As always, Moriarty is quite brilliant!!! What a guy!!! He kind of singles out 3 (three) necessary conditions for a killer to be built, they are: ISOLATION, DESTRUCTION OF THE EGO and REBUILDING IT THROUGH THE

  • April 26, 1999, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Re ALIENATION

    by Charlie Oakley

    First of all: As always, Moriarty is quite brilliant!!! What a guy!!! He kind of singles out 3 (three) necessary conditions for a killer to be built, they are: ISOLATION, DESTRUCTION OF THE EGO and REBUILDING IT THROUGH THE

  • April 26, 1999, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Funny...

    by bruce le

    You know,it's funny because "Natural born killers" was supposed to be a denunciation of society's fascination with violence and a brilliant satire of the media and of people we watch everyday presenting the news who are supposed to be "honest and trustworthy". But what has the media done in response?They felt attacked by this movie so they went to great pain to attack it in return not being able to see the irony behind it all.I always assumed that NBK was a satire,a comedy-maybe black,but still a comedy-and there is absolutely no way anyone would take it seriously.In this sense,the violence is not real,but over-the-top,stylised. Now take "Reservoir Dogs",here is a movie that in my opinion could led people to violence,yet it never happened.Why is that?Because movies are FUCKING different from real life!!There is no way that anyone could predict people's reactions to a certain type of movie(if it was true,then the folks at the NRG would be able to give us the kind of movie they think we might like),there is no way that a filmmaker can predict how people will react to a particular scene.Therefore the whole idea of filmmaker's responsibility is stupid at the very least.In short:people's reactions are completely different from movies because movies are not real life.In real life,a thousand thoughts occur inside a person's head at any given instant.And my thoughts won't necessarily be the same as the thoughts of the person next to me.Our thoughts are not limited by a simplistic screenplay as is the case in films.Now some of you will say that these were children and their minds were still influencable and the media brainwashed them somehow and confused them to the point where they didn't know the difference between reality and fiction.To this I say only one word:EDUCATION.That's what school is supposed to do,that's what parents are supposed to do.That's not the role of the TV.The TV set is supposed to entertain,not educate.Why do some kids lack education?because some moronic parents put their children in front of the tv and expect them to make the right moral choices,because some idiotic teachers are more concerned about what parents may think if they decide to punish their children or give them way too hard homework.If people are not smart enough to make their own judgements,then they will become manipulated.School is the biggest brainwasher of children,not TV.AT least it was last time I was there.And then there is the issue of video games,to which I say:any video game becomes boring and pointless(and therefore detached from reality) once you have mastered its intricacies,but of course you will need to be an avid player to find out about that:-)

  • April 26, 1999, 8:12 a.m. CST

    One more thing....

    by Bundren

    Sorry, but I've got one more thing to get off my chest. When I keep hearing people say, "This should have NEVER happened in a place like Littleton" I just want to throw up. Where SHOULD it have happened? Also, there are a number of unspoken implications in a statement like this: 1) This kind of thing only happens in inner cities, which leads in turn to 2) This kind of thing only happens with non-white people, or 3)This doesn't happen to rich people, because if you're rich, everything must be okay. It's so sad how America's values and assumptions are so screwed up. The same thing happened with the Oklahoma City bombing -- in the intervening hours, almost no one thought it would be some white kid who was responsible, and nearly everyone imagined Middle Eastern terrorists.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:14 a.m. CST

    My Own Studies

    by Lizzybeth

    I have done some studies on the subject myself.. Through surveys and research, on the topic of the effect that media violence has on a person. First of all, I would naturally tend to agree with you, Moriarity, because I ***HATE*** censorship, and my parents taught me to think for myself, making my own decisions while keeping in mind their own preferences that they made known. However, I can't stand to watch violence. I was never shown violent movies as a kid, and now I simply cannot take any pleasure out of watching the committing of violent acts. I do not pass judgement on those who do, believe it or not. Most of the people I know, their favorite type of movie is where 'stuff blows up'. LOL. I can watch real operations, blood and injuries in real life, disaster footage, fine, where other people would be squeamish, but I can't watch violence. My own natural aversion. So I have an interesting perspective, and then I did this study... I discovered some interesting things. For one thing, if you sit down and simply COUNT the number of violent acts in a few movies, and then go out and ask folks on the street which movies are actually more violent.. the ones that SEEM more violent to the viewer are the ones in which they are treated seriously. There is an IMPACT, in a movie that has consequences to its violent actions, that the viewer is aware of. This type of movie makes a viewer far more uncomfortable than in a movie that has NO consequences shown. Some movies, when you actually look at them, are unbelievably violent, but you are not aware of it because of the way it is presented. Violence as comic relief, violence as quick advancement of plot, violence as generator of excitement/thrill.. But people don't remember the violence in movies, like in comedies.. the impact is unconscious. So WHY IS IT IN THERE? Hollywood, that's why. Violence is the international language- you don't need to translate it from one language to another (that's why Hong Kong action movies work well here as opposed to dramas -- no culture gap on a fist to the face, is there?). Hollywood is LAZY, and falls back on violence as an easy addition to any movie to make up for their own lack of creativity. The CUMULATIVE impact of this is astounding. It is the overall TREND of violence, not any individual film, that does cause harm. I am against censorship, but I see the impact that this does indeed make on your mind (that you are not even aware of) and I don't know what the answer is.. As far as VIDEO GAMES go, I am myself a video game junkie from way back.. As a kid, my brother and I played some unbelievably violent games. But when you think about it, what is this doing to us? We are training people, like in the army, to shoot people. To get over the natural inborn aversion to point a gun at someone, through the use of simulation. Again, interesting studies on this subject. I don't know what the answer is. I know that twisted individuals will use these influences to further their development and find a violent end.. while many perfectly normal people use them just fine, without becoming homicidal maniacs.. But is does something to our society as a whole, that maybe we can't see right now. I haven't read the other responses so I know I'm probably the extremely unpopular opinion but something has to be done. I don't know what. But we're destroying ourselves. Let the flaming begin!

  • April 26, 1999, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Leo and Mourning

    by The Consul

    What male child or teen would ever knowingly follow the influence of leonardo dicaprio? He's not the most masculine guy in the world. I would have thought his influence would be limited to pre-pubescent girls. Speaking for Myself I can say that I would have done my best NOT to be like Leonardo Dicaprio. HE LOOKS LIKE A GOD DAMN TWELVE YEAR OLD GIRL FOR CHRIST SAKE. On a slightly different topic maybe its not neccessarily healthy to mourn for every poor bastard who the Government encourages or everyone else appears to be mourning for. I am sorry that these people died but I do not mourn for them. They do not dominate or even feature in my dreams as would a deceased family member or friend. It seems to me that allot of people are tiptoing around in these talkbacks. Why do people seem to mourn or pretend to mourn for massacre victims. People are getting gunned down in America everyday, There is a war going on in which our countries are murdering innocent refugees in our name. We do not dwell on their deaths. THE PROBLEM IS WE MOURN WHEN THE GOVERNMENT OR THE MEDIA TELLS US TO MOURN AND WE FEEL GUILT ONLY WHEN THEY TELL US TO. Society did not teach those boys to feel pitty for their victims. THE POINT I AM TRYING TO MAKE IS THAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT LET OTHERS DICTATE WHAT THEIR EMOTIONS SHOULD BE AND WHEN THEY SHOULD FEEL THEM.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:24 a.m. CST

    the scenery is slowly changing

    by reni

    I can't but think of The Thin Red Line today, all those questions being asked about the root of evil, where does it all come from? It's really strange because over here in the U.K we've just been told that our most famous female television personality Jill Dando has been murdered. For the moment at least all suspicion points to a stalker she'd been victimised by last year. Certainly it's the most surreal news I'll hear for the rest of the day. I like to think that no matter what happens there's still enough of us 'good' people in the world to make things work. Honest.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:27 a.m. CST

    kudos moriarty

    by k.-

    something telling...watching one of the millions of reports on the shooting, a student at the school was interviewed about the trenchcoat mafia. "did you know them," he was asked. "no, they were just a group of weirdos." a girl responded, "we didn't really know them, they were just some kids we teased." i think this is what angers me the most about this situtation. in our misguided attempts to lay blame, we are trying desperately to deflect responsibility from ourselves. we are ignoring the fact that these were troubled kids who needed help. in the end, it doesn't really matter *what* influenced them. "it takes a village to raise a child." unless, of course, that child requires some work. "we are a strong community, a tight-knit group that will be there for our children." unless, of course, you are different from the ozzie and harriet ideal of what a child should be. we should stop blaming hollywood, and instead take a good long look at ourselves. we want more help from the schools in raising and policing our children, but we are unwillilng to give up any money for new buildings or teachers. high school counselors are not mental health professionals, and most schools don't have full-time nursing staff, if they have such staff at all. every day, children are sexually harrassed in school, and nothing is done about it. and yet we have the audacity to ask, "how could this happen? why was nothing done?" i sickens me that we have cheaped what happened at columbine to media circus, and it angers me that we try to make hollywood the scapegoat. any bets as to how long it will be before the franklin mint plate honoring the heroism of those involved, or the special edition beanie baby in the columbine high school colors, will go on sale? how many more copies of "my heart will go on" will be sold? radio stations have begun making their own special mixes of sarah maclachlan's "i will not forget you." and we, the hypocrites, will snap these items up at a record pace, all the while screaming for "tighter government control" and "more regulation." "hollywood knows people will act out these films..they have focus groups to tailor them to the audience." really, now, who needs a focus group, when we the public sit glued to our sets as the drama unfolds? when we buy the t-shirts, and ceramic statues, and official elton john recording commemorating those who died? those two boys were very sick, disturbed individuals, and those words feel so good rolling off the tongue. suing hollywood and demanding artistic censorship feels good, too. it does much to quell some of the outrage we feel, and helps bring "the closure" we seem to so desperately need. but we are ignoring the fact that we are *all* responsible for what happened in columnine, and we are all responsible for the madness that will continue for months to come. before we jump so quickly to condemn those boys and their "lifestyle" (which was created and fed by hollywood and was *obviously* what led them to kill), it would do well for us to remember what they say about people who live in glass houses.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:33 a.m. CST

    careful

    by Stauff42

    Several people have said that it is not right to blame the media for violence in one breath and in another blame guns and the Bible. I agree that you can't blame the media but I also believe that guns are not to blame either. Will gun control help? Doesn't Scotland have extremely tight gun control laws? Yet, 16 innocent lives were lost in the Dunblane massacre. Also, what about the 30 or so bombs those fuckers at Columbine had? Do you think by banning guns that it is going to stop these tragedies? With that logic we should ban drano and fertilizer because they can be used to make bombs that kill people. Or maybe we should start censoring the Internet so people can't get info on how to make bombs.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:36 a.m. CST

    60 Morons

    by Mister Miracle

    While it is not uncommon for journalists to blame the media (the media blaming the media-ironic eh?)for real life violence. My response? If you look throughout history, you will notice that before the dawn of the motion picture industry,and even since then, everyone has had access to books giving detailed accounts of the Marquis De Sad, Adolph Hitler, Ghengis Khan,Joseph Stalin, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and all the horrible, bloody history of mankind. The burning of Joan of Arc, the Crusades, the centuries long conflicts worldwide... all came about BEFORE movies. These days, you see more horrific things on the news than in the movies. I saw a news report last night about a cab driver who got shot in the face. Does that mean I am going to shoot a cab driver? No. I have been exposed to such violent movies as Evil Dead 2, Full Metal Jacket, Night of the Living Dead (all of them), Horror of Dracula, From Dusk Till Dawn and a multitude that are even more violent! That doesn't make me a killer and it doesnt make the movie industry a killer either, it only makes them a scapegoat. If these hive minded, Bible banging, Moral Majority drill seargeant suburbanites don't stop scapegoating the media to make up for their own incredibly lax parenting then the next thing along will be mass book burnings. It's good to know I can always count on John Carpenter to make sense of things. Mister Miracle PS- As far as the "Basketball Diaries"... the only thing Leonardo Di Caprio ever inspired me to do through one of his movies was drown girly-man teen idols.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Has nobody touched on

    by Bit

    the issue of mental health? Do we really believe that perfectly sane, healthy people take guns and explosives and plan the murder of as many of their peers as they can just because violent images told them to? I don't think so. I'd like to know why all the politicians, lawyers, gun advocates, reporters, television newsmagazine producers and such haven't touched on the importance of MENTAL HEALTH, the number one ailment in this country that goes untreated, unrecognized, ignored, etc. Fuck Bob Dole and "male erectile dysfunction". Why aren't we seeing advertisements for people suffering from mental illness, urging them to come forward and seek treatment? We're very quick to point fingers at Hollywood, at video game designers, etc., but what about ourselves? What about parents who ignore the signs of their child's discontent, disillusionment and unhappiness? What about the educators who have the opportunity to teach children AND adults to look after the mental health of themselves and others? To be able to recognize and talk about the warning signs? To be able to talk about the painful feelings we all experience, especially as adolescents? Where is all the money from the government to support mental health programs? Where is the support on behalf of IDIOT health insurance companies who cover mental health treatment only SUPERFICIALLY???? (i.e. you can get a couple sessions with a therapist and after that, you're cured). It makes me sick. I don't know what type of mental illness these kids suffered from. I suspect they were suffering from depression, among other things. And I'm not blaming the entirety of their actions on the mental illness i'm GUESSING they had. It was a combination of things.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Commercials, Sesame Street, and Violence

    by ChrisP

    First of all, there ain't no easy answers -- I don't want to see movies banned or edited by the government, I want to see Tarantino films, Romero films, etc. I want to be able to play Quake and Half-Life. But... To say that films, TV shows, and video games do not influence how kids think is *stupid*. If what you watch doesn't change your attitudes, the TV commercials and PBS shows are wasting their time. Are we saying that kids can learn good manners from Barney, but don't learn to kick and hit from watching Power Rangers? That watching a toy commercial makes a kid want the toy, but watching a Swartzenegger (sp?) film that shows guns and gunplay in an almost erotic fashion doesn't make kids want guns? That watching Sesame Street can teach a kid their alphabet, but watching an R-rated movie isn't going to teach them foul language, disrespect for women, or racist attitudes? The problem for most people is that they can handle it, but do not realize that some people can't.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:56 a.m. CST

    If watching violent films will help me become a more violent per

    by Bundren

    Didn't think so.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Playing the Blame Game

    by BadAshe

    Well, here we are as a country once again. Asking the same questions and searching, with absolute futility I might add, to find a quick-fix solution to the problem of teen violence. Let's look at the major players in the game: Republicans throw blame on the movies, games ,and internet content we view; while Democrats rally behind the old catch-all, guns. I got news for you folks, these items all may have been a contributing factor to this problem, but the fact remains that is the psychology of the person that views this material and uses a gun that we must look at. Blaming a movie or a gun for this horrible tragedy is akin to saying a car is responsible for a drunk-driving accident. We have become a country of whinning, blame-placing, self-absorbed cowards. If your coffee is too hot and you spill it on yourself like some moron, then it is ok to sue the person that sold you the coffee because it is their fault that the coffee was too hot. If you don't like the way someone looks at you, then it is alright to pick up a gun and blow them away. No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions anymore. From politicians to athletes, we constantly see people shirk responsibility in favor of saving their own asses. As far as the blame for this tragedy, I can understand that movies can have a profound effect on a person. Hell, I saw a drunk guy at a party shave his head because he wanted to look like Mickey from NBK. Let's just say that I kept a close eye on him for the rest of that party. While NBK may have painted image that stuck in his brain, but he still chose of his own free-will to emulate Mickey's looks. I wish I could offer up some solution so that something like this never happens again, but for anyone out there that reads this and is harboring similar thoughts: High school is only four years. It may feel like an eternity (believe me I know), but life does get better from there. This is a cornball statment, but it's the truth.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Nobody has blamed...

    by mjbok

    the victims. If anything pushed these kids to do these horrible things (and I do think it is a tragedy) it might be some of the people that were killed. Was listening to Marilyn Manson or playing Doom the deciding factor ? No. It might have been that these kids were tired of getting beat up and called names, and living in a tortuous existance. I don't think what happened is right, but I would imagine that some of the victims brought it upon themselves. Kids are mean, unrelenting bastards towards other kids. They find an exposed nerve and will not let it go. Maybe 'Friends' is to blame because they goof on each other in that show. Maybe 'Porkys' is to blame because they pick on a Jewish kid in that movie. I pick those two examples because you can make as much of a causal link between those and this tragedy as the things that have been cited. I also pick those two examples to show the stupidity of the whole association. If a kid sees one of the 'Scream' movies, and then dons a similar mask and kills someone does that mean that the movie made (or inspired) the individual to do this ? No. It just means that they found a more clever way to do it then just killing whoever normally. There were some underlying problems that brought the situation to a head, and it was not something from the entertainment industry. People want to find someone to blame, but never want to look at themselves or their kids as having any potential guilt. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but have you ever seen how mean the 'in' crowd is to other people ? These kids (the shooters) probably had some psychological shortcomings to start with, but the kids that continually picked on them stoked that rage until the whole thing boiled and we came to the point that we are now at.

  • April 26, 1999, 9 a.m. CST

    BLAME WHO????

    by chunkyd

    Good job on the article guys. I have read every single post and agree with everyone of them. i have to say one thing about the blame factor - Parents are in charge of there children.I wanna say when i was a child i snuck out and seen a movie that wasnt sutable for someone my age i seen the movie enjoyed it and came home and got actually got deservenly beaten for it (spanked).I notice today parents are not punishing the childern instead there are inafective "time outs" and go to your room (with a abundance of toys) or sit in the corner sooner or later the kid know he/she can get away with alomst anything..let face it most of avoid crime because of the coincequnces therefore learn about the coinqunces of your actions at a early age and you will have second thoughts about doing somethimg that will make you face them...Spanking a child with a belt is NOT abuse it teaches you to have a loving fear of disapointing your parents and others.To many people are blaming everything but parenting HOW IN THE HELL did the kids make that many pipe bombs ...people that takes time and thier parents should have been on them asking them what there doing whats going on and if they were properly disiplined in the past maybe we wouldnt have seen this happen. back in the day my parents would notice if i had a pocket knife hidden in the shed 2 miles away and they both worked 9 - 5 jobs. we need to start pressing lawsuits against parents for neglect of there children not film companies and even media because REMEBER if you dont wanna watch it then shut off the TV or dont go to the movies and see it. This whole thing about sueing everyone is getting really old and its just escilating. "You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances,man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Moriarty's Editorial on Violence in Films

    by Chiron

    This is a debate that will never end. Do violent movies create violent people, especially children? Personally, I love these type of films. High adventure, action, and sometimes gore are what attracts me to movies...and when I leave at the end of the film, I know that what I just saw, no matter how realistic or exciting, was a work of pure fiction. And that's the catch: do people know right from wrong? I know I do because that was how I was brought up. My parents had few rules in the house, I never had a curfew, and I began watching R-rated films when I was eight years old. But, I was taught to differentiate what is real and what is not, and what is good and what is bad. It didn't take long to make those realizations, and soon I did not need my parents to guide me along. No, Hollywood is not to blame, because this is all they know how to do. Are they, at times, irresponsible? Sure, but that is a matter of taste, not morals. What frightens and sickens me is the real violence that pervades society, like these school shootings and domestic terrorist acts. Do we ban violent movies? No. Do we ban firearms? Not if we want a real revolution. Do we teach our children right from wrong, and keep criminals incarcerated and Neo-Nazi klansmen out of our military? Yes. We'll never solve these problems, but at least we can try, and try hard.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:07 a.m. CST

    How about talking about solutions?

    by Icebird

    These incidents are fascinating for examining which issues the media focus on. Spree killings involving firearms are not unique to the States. High profile incidents have occurred in Britain, Australia and New Zealand over the last five to ten years. But the media focuses on very different issues - such as the state of mental health services and gun control. Everywhere but the US it seems, there is a knee-jerk reaction by the government to tighten gun laws. In the US, politicians suggest everything but. For example, cutting down after school programmes to reduce the time children spent in America's dangerous schools - despite evidence that children are far more at risk out of school than within it. (Most crime by children and teenagers is committed between 3 and 6 - after school but before parents get home). Some states have implemented "one gun a month" laws aimed at the illegal gun-market by preventing multiple gun purchases. Is there any convincing rationale why all states shouldn't have such laws? Just how many of America's morally upstanding God fearing citizens need to purchase more than 12 firearms a year? The United States must be one of the only countries that regards gun ownership as a right rather than a privilege. Now they're reaping the rewards of thier foresight. Given that even in the best of societies (and the media has decided that at this moment in time, the US is not that) there are going to be maladjusted people. The least you could do is limit the arsenals they can access. Chris "Guns don't kill people. People WITH GUNS kill people."

  • April 26, 1999, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Pleeeeaaasssseeee....

    by letseatcheese

    I think anyone who can sit there and try to make out that films cause violence really need to wake up! There was far more violence in the world (possibly everwhere except America anyway) before film was ever invented. Wars were much more gruesome, and people generally just killed each other for the hell of it, such as here in the UK where the king or queen could just behead a person for whatever the hell they want. The truth is. The world is less violent today than then and society si just trying to blame something. The truth is, there is no explanation. Some people are just Whacked in the head. At birth i'm sure. If you want to stop the violence, get rid of the fucking stupid gun laws you have in America!! I know we have violence in other countries too, but not half as much. GET RID OF THE GUNS, is probably the best start your going to get. Nothing else. These parents have to start blaming something else. i'm sure the parents of these teen killers all keep guns in there houses. That's where the blame lies. Apparently you have guns to "protect yourselves". But the only thing a gun's going to do is end one to many! p.s. to whoever mentioned it. in Scotland we don't generally mind the Irish. But you call us English and you've had it mate!!!

  • April 26, 1999, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Communication

    by Mexicomay

    I agree with Moriarity and Harry about communication being the key here. From the time I was six or seven, my dad and I talked about books and movies. We read Stephen King and Clive Barker together (and I did have closet monster issues thereafter) as well as Lewis, Wilder, Singer, and other more literary types. We also watched horror movies and musicals and cult films as well as the classics. He helped me understand irony and satire and crass commercialism. He taught me about Elmer Gantry and Lonesome Rhodes. He wasn't a perfect parent and wasn't always emotionally available for me, but our discussions about culture opened the door for other discussions and a relationship that has helped me through many tough times. There was a great editorial in the NY Times yesterday that points out that as a society we help children understand the nuances of literature and history in school, but we don't even try to help kids interpret music or movies that they are interested in (and that adult misinterpretations are even worse than those of the kids). Lots of folks do not get it that Marilyn Manson, Rush Limbaugh, 60 Mins., Alice Cooper, Bowie and Oliver Stone are all about the same thing - making a buck by presenting an image that appeals to their target audience. Literature, music and films that are less about making a buck can serve as a release valve for people who are troubled, but the artists who actually try to symbolically express the darkness that they feel (and is in every one of us) get blamed when others (who did not access a healthy outlet) act out. The film ,CRUMB, points out how art can save people - his obnoxious cartoons kept him sane. THE BASKETBALL DIARIES also points out how even the most fucked up people can be saved and find some bit of hope through connecting and art (which is all about connections). Still, during the last 30 years, Carroll, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop have been blamed for curious VU and Stooges fans shooting up heroin. Lots of other people, like me, can learn about hard earned life lessons through art without having to go out be so destructive. It is so scary to me when people assign blame for these tragedies on art. Art is a healthy way for a single person or small group of people to connect with others over great distance and spans of time. If we blame movies and games, then we are not only distracted from really facing the crises of communication but we are closing off the healthy release valve for a very stressed out society. If, as a society, we are not allowed to vent this stress through talking or art or other healthy outlets, then it will show up in more violent acts of aggression. Thanks for providing a forum for open venting and discussion of varying ideas.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Harry, one of those killed was one of us

    by aceves

    Just wanted to let you know, this kid was probably as excited about Episode I as any of us from CNN: Steven Curnow, 14, dreamed of being a Navy top gun, piloting an F-16. He watched the "Star Wars" movies so many times he would recite the dialogue along with the actors. <img src="http://www.cnn.com/US/9904/23/victims.list/steven.curnow.ap.jpg">

  • April 26, 1999, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Hell, why not go all the way?

    by Kamikaze

    Blaming movies, music, and games is Ludicrous. That's the end statement, and I can't think of any other way to say that more powerfully. But hell, why not blame everyone? How, for instance, did these kids learn to make bombs? Well, they must have gone to...the internet! Offhand, I can think of more than a few sites devoted to giving the public detailed information on how to build/use/maintain highly powerful weapons and explosives under the weak guises of "Y2K Protection Manuals". Now, I'm sure the list of violence catylists can go on and on, but this is completely INSANE! Lawsuits like those shouldn't even be considered. No one stops to think how many creditable citizens will be losing their freedom and rights if those witch-hunters are successful. I deserve my privileges; I want to make my own decisions about what things I expose myself to. If these choices are limited by a couple of psychotic juveniles and their ignorant, naive parents halfway across the country, it's a personal VIOLATION and Should Not be tolerated. It's outrageous and STUPID that people are actually blind to the obvious. Help the individuals, don't oppress the populace.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:27 a.m. CST

    60 Minutes

    by CornyCollins

    I cannot believe that 60 minutes blames movies and then shows the "incriminating" footage. Now is 60 minutes liable for anymore deaths that may happen? Maybe we need to teach children the meaning of "real" and "fake" more so than censorship. It makes me sick that all those old farts try and say they are the legitimate press. How can they say that and they are not even in tune with the youth culture or reality. If you give kids the chance the will put the blame on anyone or thing. Stop listening to parents that feel guilty and kids who got caught. I am sure they won't ever admit who the real people at fault are, them selves.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:28 a.m. CST

    The usual suspects...

    by Hiro Protagonist

    I watched most of the Columbine incident as it happened, and as the frightened students poured out of the building with their hands behind their heads I could smell a media witch hunt brewing. People would be looking for something to blame, and our fearless defenders of the truth at CNN, NBC, and so on would round up the usual suspects: NBK, video games, popular music, etc. Toss in some stock Marilyn Manson concert footage and you've got yourself a story. My roommate and I even bet on whether or not the "black trenchcoat gunfight" scene from The Matrix would be mentioned (I won). What's the point of all this? People like to blame everything but themselves. Things like gun culture, bad parenting, and teen social pressure are concepts far too abstract for many to handle. "Immoral" art and entertainment is something tangible: we can ban it, burn it, edit it--as long as we don't have to admit that the disease comes from within. If the media's cookie-cutter model for your run-of-the-mill teen sociopath is actually holy writ, then yours truly has flunked out of the Hannibal Lector School of Carnage & Mayhem. Many of the films I like happen to be a tad violent or sexual. I love KMFDM. While my taste in video/computer games may be more tame (all hail Squaresoft!), I too have dabbled in the darkside of deathmatches and decapitating zombies. Why haven't I gone postal? Simple: I can discern fantasy from reality. You say the two gunmen were picked on? So was I, viciously (try being the son of a middle school history teacher who's notorious for his heavy workload and rigid discipline). I spent five years as the proverbial punching bag for every jerk and burnout at school who felt "dissatisfied" with the way their academic career (or lack of it) was turning out. Why didn't I take a sawed-off with me to homeroom? My parents taught me that violence was not an acceptable means of resolving social conflicts. Good parenting, while not the only factor, is likely the most important deterrent for this kind of behavior. However, I don't think parents should meddle with every aspect of their offsprings' lives. From my observations, people who grew up in households that were too flexible (i.e. unattentive) and too rigid are both highly susceptible to heightened mental and social problems. I feel that my parents did a good job at finding just the right midpoint, which I applaud them for. Another thing to remember is the gunmen were insane, period. Unstable people are going to find an outlet for their instability no matter what we censor or try to sweep under the rug. I'm starting to ramble, so I'll just leave it at that. Hopefully I made some sort of coherent point. This is Hiro Protagonist, signing off...

  • April 26, 1999, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Tragedy?

    by Lemur Master

    "One death is tragedy. One million is statistics." So said Joseph Stalin. Let's face facts here folks. The media is obsessed with personalizing the mistreatment of the individual. You see it everywhere. Three american soldiers are captured...makes news for weeks. We hear from their parents, kids, friends, even their high school shop teacher's. Bombs and rockets kill over 10,000 in Serbia...where's the coverage? 15 people are shot dead by stupid, irresponsible boys, with either ignorant or evil parents, and the media decides that this is a great chance to make a story. Why these people, when young boys (and girls) have been kiling each oher on a semi-daily basis in inner city public schools? I guess the media doesn't care that another black boy was shot dead in a drive-by-shooting, or a knifing....doesn't make good news. We've all heard it before. When did news stop being significant, and attempts to get an emotional rush out of people become so commonplace? These deaths weren't tragedy. There is no such thing as tragedy anymore. These deaths are just a few, an incredibly minor fraction, of the deaths which make this world how it is. No amount of bickering, complaints, law-suits, or limiting of the film industry (or the gaming industry...if you can even call it that) are going to make any difference. This is not the 50's. People have definitely changed, and the problems arising now are not because of film and music and even T.V. People are demanding these things. The problem is the people, and perhaps more importantly...these people's parents.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:42 a.m. CST

    In my experience.....

    by plasticmonster

  • April 26, 1999, 9:53 a.m. CST

    The Overall Problem

    by NJFILM20

    As a Media Major student and a film lover I take it offensivly when film, TV, and now the internet, gets the blame when someone, especially a minor, goes on a killing spree. Now you say to yourself, who is to blame. That's simple. The parents of the kids who instead of taking them out to a ballgame or something, plop them in front of the TV. The modern babysitter is a TV, VCR and computer. If they did there job, they would not let there kids watch "R" rated movies, play game intended for a mature audience, or watch TV shows that have a mature rating. The reason there is ratings in the first place is so the parents can recognize that it is unsuitable for children. As an aspiring film maker, I think it is ridiculous that I'd have to worry "Hmmm mabye I shouldn't make this because a 10 year old might see this." Fuck that garbage. Let the everyone do their job, parents, theater owners who let kids into an "R" movie, and there wouldnt be the media hoopla about film cause kids to kill. One more point, you don't see kids in say Hong Kong for example going into a hospital ala HARD BOILED and shooting everything in sight. Why not??? And with that in your mind, thank you for reading.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:54 a.m. CST

    What are the differences between now and 50 years ago?

    by gunny

    I think that these shootings, though horribly tragic, are not the major social problems that the news media (which, as usual, are sensationalizing this for their own profit)make them out to be. One of the above posters is right,in-school violence is down. The only blame here lies with the two murderers, and any accomplices they may have had. The only blame. Not their classmates who teased them, not "gun culture", not violent movies, games, or music, not the Internet, not even their parents, not really. I, like a lot of people, have been subject to a lot of the same influences. I live in Texas, and grew up in a Texas that had a shotgun or rifle in every pickup truck, before about ten or fifteen years ago. I was raised on Judas Priest, Metallica, and all the other '80s scapegoats. I loved movies like Full metal jacket, shaft, Pulp Fiction, and all the others. I was teased mercilessly in school for being a geek until I got big enough to hit back. And I NEVER had the slightest urge to plan for a year to go on a killing rampage with shotguns and homemade explosives. NEVER. Not once. And I bet most of you can tell similar stories. No. The fault, the blame, and all the judgement should fall on these two sickos. Nobody else. And for one of the above posters, yes owning guns in America IS a right, not a priviledge, one guaranteed by the constitution. One of the ones that is fundamental.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:55 a.m. CST

    One Word Says It All

    by precode

    The next time someone tries to tell you that movies or music or whatever "made" someone do something bad, just tell them this one word: Canada. The Great White North gets exactly the same movies, music, TV shows, video games, et al, as we do, but they have a fraction of a fraction of the violence and murder we do. Why? 'Cause they don't have any goddamn guns, that's why. How successful do you think those little bastards would've been if they'd marched into the school and yelled, "All right, everybody! Line up and drink this strychnine!" You get rid ofthe guns, you get rid of the murder. It's just that simple. One other observation: A disturbed mind can find justification in almost anything--he could even see "The Sound of Music" and come out thinking, "Hey, them Nazis got some good ideas. Think I'll go kill me some nuns." If we allow the majority to become hostage to the few, we really will have ceased to be a democracy.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:59 a.m. CST

    A more appropriately ambiguous viewpoint

    by Milketoast

    I've honestly been amused by the reactions to the shooting, even as the actual incident deeply disturbs me. What amuses me is that everyone is acting extremely predictably to tyhe whole mess. A lot of people see it as a chance to promote their causes. anti-violence groups saying that they'd been predicting this for years. Child welfare groups saying we should all look after our children more. The very strong reactions by those who would be blamed. It doesn't surprise me in the least that a film-watcher as avid as the above would take the view-point that movies actually help, not hurt. The truly preposterous speech by Al Gore, dispensing platitudes in hopes of gaining a platform. The only one who has said anything that I really think is worth-while is President Clinton: "Maybe we should all just turn off our TVs." Exactly. It's time to think about this ourselves. We've heard all the viewpoints; it's time to really reach down and see what we really believe. Of course, I soon after realized that he was also directly advocating parental control and that this was nothing new. But I think the advice, in the message that I heard, is valid. Let's just all turn off our TVs for a bit. Stop reading the newspaper. Don't check the net about it. Just think. Think deeply. The causes for this are nebulous. I'm going to go into my thoughts, but all i really want to stress is that this is important to really consider in some way. Why did it happen? Why was I not shocked to hear that it happened? What should be changed? I hadn't thought about this at all for about two days. A shooting happened. Oh, okay. That's horrible. What should I eat for dinner. Then I had dinner with a friend who is heavily into the NY goth scene. She casually mocked the situation, "Can you believe they're blaming goth music for this?" I started laughing along a bit in that, "yeah, that's just silly." ironic sense. And then I started thinking about it. I'm no longer in the adolescent stage--I'm in college and have a fairly firm grasp on my beliefs. But I had my stage. 94 and 95 really. I didn't play DOOM more than once or twice, but I watched movies and listened to a lot of alternative. I remember the states those movies and that music drove me to. I watched the Crow, Matural Born Killers, and (though this may seem odd now) the movies of Jim Carrey, and just grew delerious. Crazed, violently so. I would listen to Foo Fighters, soundgarden, Jesus and Mary Chain and continue that aggression. And the few times I played DOOM, I remember shouting, "Die, Fuckers. Die, die die." Was this bad parenting? I don't think so. I have very good parents, and yet, they never knew what I was feeling. Was it good parenting that kept me from acting on those emotions? Probably. And those emotions, I definately had them in a small form before these experiences. Then my very agressive reaction--was this a furthering of these emotions? Did the entertainment make me more aggressive? Or did the entertainment provide a harmles vent to my frustrations? I don't know. I certainly enjoy those entertainments, and now, being a bit more content with myself, I feel good for having been in that place and come through, but I know a lot of people who had similar tastes that are not in such good shape. that goth friend is mixed up in some serious bad stuff. Other friends have moved on to such insanity as pit wrestling and violent theft. I don't think that the entertainment has been so good for these people. I agree to some extent about taking the selected scene from Basketball Diaries. That's irresponsible journalism. But maybe there's a point to be taken. Natural Born Killers has an obvious message--what was seen in the film was not good, was the product of media saturation, and should be stopped. As flawed as I believe that message to be, I can appreciate the intentions. But at the time, all I could remember is the mania I felt at the killings. How cool I felt during the scene where Julliette Lewis killed her father. Maybe that one scene of Basketball Diaries is all that came across. Maybe it is the responsibility of the filmmaker to make less visceral film? I have trouble believing that one. I unfortunately don't know exactly what to believe, except that maybe we should just turn the damned TV off for now.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:05 a.m. CST

    an opinion

    by GodBear

    You need to wonder about the societal circuit breakers that should have been tripped here. I don't know why these kids went off or whether it could have been prevented. One would think that the parents would have given them better guidance but maybe some of the posters are right and they were just whacko. What I want to know is how the parents didn't take an interest in why their kids were neo-nazis, how they could build 30 bombs and the parents not know. How the school didn't get a little worried about the little play they put together and the writing projects these kids supposedly produced playing out exactly what they were going to do. Apparently these bombs were tested in the yard and no neighbor did a thing. The safeguards are in place in our communities if we aren't too indifferent to act on them. But of course we need a more satisfying resolution than "Let's be better people." And in our society that means someone needs to get paid. And then the problems will go away.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:09 a.m. CST

    What is wrong with Catcher in the Rye ??

    by darius25

    Seriously folks, what is so damn controversial about this book ? I read this last year and found nothing wrong with it. Is it the fact that Holden left his school 2 days early and went to NYC (i think). I don't quite remember it, but I think he wrote some curse words in the halls of his school or something. I think it was "Fuck" or "Shit" or something like that. Somebody please explain. Oh, and also, to whoever is listening, it's not movies or literature, or music that create crime. It's the life and the media which overexposes crime in our culture, that enhances the level of crime. I bet somewhere, some kid is thinking that it is so cool to get a gun and kill all his schoolmates and teachers. All thanks to the 24-hour news coverage of the Littleton incident. I mean was the media created just to create fear and hostility in the society. I say, restrict the rights of the media and then the level of crime will decrease. Also, as Moriarty said, the ultimate responsibility of the children lies on the parents. Don't sue MGM or the basketball diaries. Sue the parents of the two students who went on a rampage.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:14 a.m. CST

    us vs. japan

    by xerxes

    If senseless sex and violence in the media leads to crime, then why is Japan's crime rate so much lower than ours? Cuz, let's face it, there's much more violent and sexual media content over there than there is here, and they don't seem to have the problems we do.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Hell Yeah!

    by Anton_Sirius

    I must admit, the lawsuits being levied against Hollywood have me confused. When people decided to sue over cigarette-related deaths and diseases did they target the advertisers that made cigarettes popular? No, they targeted the manufacturers. Not so here. One episode of The Practice aside, has anyone EVER launched a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer? Not that I think that's a solution, mind you, I'm just pointing out the discrepancy. The fact of the matter is, incidents like these are the price you pay for living in America. If you want to blame someone, blame the Constitution (or at least the Supreme Court's interpretation of it.) The U.S. is a country where everyone has easy access to firearms, and as a result people die when the guns are used. Dunblane is a red herring and an isolated incident- can anyone name ANOTHER spree shooting in Scotland? The UK? All of Europe? How about Canada (one in Montreal that I can think of, but that's it) or Australia? All countries that watch the same movies and play the same video games as the U.S. In those countries, the shootings are exceptions. In America, they are the rule. Rarely does nature offer such a perfect case study as this. Am I advocating gun control? No. I am simply pointing out that THIS IS THE PRICE YOU PAY for living in the U.S. If you don't like it, leave. Move to one of those other countries. You have that choice.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:19 a.m. CST

    gunnin'

    by sjmaatta

    Very thoughtful posts. If the posters are the future of America, then maybe it is not so bad afterall!! Another thing, the gun control thing. There seems to be doubts about its effectiveness in e.g. western European countries. One way to look at it is to turn to statistics. In relation to the population, US has far more violent crime, and far more violent incidents with guns than other culturally similar (=where individual rights are respected, NOT Russia or China for example)countries in Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand. That is a unfortunate fact; just like to point that out. I'm not making any sweeping statement about what is the greatest country in the world, because there is none, all the places have their good and bad points. Gun control can not stop every lunatic from killing; it can, however, stop some of violence from turning into deaths. Cultural differences play a part in a way, too: American culture (as expressed in movies, for example!)is tends to view violence as a more legitimate solution to problems than, say, Australian culture. Anyway, what good would gun control do in a situation that has gotten way out of hand; if there would be tighter gun laws, would the gun owners just turn in their cherised posessions? Anyway, I got rambling, thought just that the statistic angle should be expressed. In my opinion, the blame for the deed should be directed at the individuals, then perhaps the situations (especially parenting/the lack of) that caused them to lose their mental health (because they were crazy f**s, no doubt about it). In earlier posts there have been many good points and alarming observations concerning parenting practices (especially lack of borders). And as I said, if the posters of this forum repesent the future, hey, it's not so bad after all. Peace.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Blame spirals

    by tdibble

    Blame spirals to infinity, that's just a simple fact of life. A butterfly beating its wings mind bring on the next ice age, and playing Doom might make a kid a killer. Forgive me, I'm an engineer, so I tend to think in fairly mathematical terms, but it seems to me that if we're going to "assign blame" we have to put a Guassian distribution on it, centered on the guy that picked up the gun and shot. Right next to him, that which makes up his environment, or which should have: his parents, and his peers. Beyond that, his "outer environment", or society as a whole. Somewhere between those two circles is where violent games fits, and there's a hell of a lot of blame to place before we get to those. ---------------------------------- But that's not our problem. We might have a difficult time blaming the parents, and his friends -- they're people, who will look at us with big doe eyes and say it can't possibly be their fault -- look instead to the "faceless" or "slick" corporations! But, we mi9ght be able to do that, blame the parents. But even that would not be right. Ultimately, the blame falls on the individual, and that's the tragedy of it all. We don't really want to assign blame, that's only the first step. No, what we really want to do is see blood. We want to see someone get a real hurt for all this, and we're not going to stop until we do! The blame lies 90% at the feet of two boys who killed themselves already? UNACCEPTABLE! How can we give them a hurtin' if they's already dead?!?!? So we shift the blame. We glance at the parents, but they glance back, tears welling up in their eyes. Nah, can't blame them. Besides, if we gave them the hurtin' we're wanting to give to SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, we'd feel really guilty in the morning. After all, we can't possibly stop until *SOMEONE* has felt the pain that thos kids went through, and, dammit, that means dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead. Dead as a doornail, and we's ain't gonna stop until we see the last horrified flashes of cognition melt away from their eyes as their head falls in the bucket. ---------------------------------- Or, we could take money. yeah, I suppose money would do. That's how we can give the next guys out on our spiral of blame the herting. Take their money. Hell, death doesn't scare them. Those Godless bastards are in league with the devil as it is; they'd probably *like* to be roasting in Hell right now! No, take their money, that's what we's gotta do. ---------------------------------- Folks, this is just basic human nature. Assign the bl;ame where it's easiest. It's always easier to blame someone else besides ourselves. It is always easier to blame someone who doesn't look like us. It is always easier to blame some faceless entity - be that the media or religion. But it's not always right. In fact, it's almost always wrong. because, you know what it all boils down to? People do shitty things to other people. And yes, some day you might be at the shitty end of the stick. That's life. Those of us who have faith, who know God, know that there will be justice, even if not in this world, and that it is not our duty to exact the full measure of justice on those who have done wrong. Well, at least, that's what *my* religion teaches, although many peoples' actions appear to run to the contrary. But, again, these are individuals. You are the governments, you are the religions, you are the society. Accept your part of the blame, and do all you can to reduce the likelihood of the same thing happening again. But, above all else, accept that blame does not have to be assigned, and that full retribution can never be carried out, and, even if it could be, no amount of retribution will bring those lives back. Sometimes there just is not an answer.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:27 a.m. CST

    DOOM and the marines

    by Kurgan

    Well, the lawyers lied. Who is surprised? Not me. Yes, the Marines train with DOOM, but they do not 'hone their shooting skills'. They play co-operative multiplay and hone their teamwork and squad tactics. Yes, playing FPS games improves your hand-eye coordination thus making you more able to shoot people -- but you get the same effect by simply playing solitaire with a mouse!

  • April 26, 1999, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Huh...

    by Guld Korn

    Honestly I am so desensitized to violence that I barely even recall that scene in The Basketball Diaries. Yes, the movie industry is adept at making the fantasy seem real but thank God millions of people have the capacity to discern the difference. And thank God for movies themselves and freedom! On another note if you haven't read FAHRENHEIT 451, read it! In addition one might like to check out the novela Apt Pupil in the book Different Seasons. How to prevent another Littleton? Education...

  • April 26, 1999, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Your survey is skewed

    by Zaphod

    Moriarty, I totally agree with everything you said. This is one of the most reasonable essays I have seen or heard on this whole teen violence subject. I do, however, believe that violence, even cartoon violence, has an effect on us. First of all, it's been scientifically proven that it raises heartbeat, hormone levels, etc. Plus I have personally observed in myself, my spouse, and my kid, an increased level of agitation after viewing violence. This usually leads to nothing more harmful than a bit of wrestling or maybe some aggressive driving, but the effect is undeniably there. Am I saying that causes kids to build bombs? Of course not. You hit the nail on the head when you talked about the breaking down of the personality through humiliation. Those kids in Colorado went through daily humiliation and torture at the hands of other kids. Because the teachers and parents were apparently not there for these kids to go to, they turned to games, the internet, and anywhere else they could indulge their revenge fantasies. (Yes, a lot of us had those Leonardo-like fantasies of blasting our enemies in high school. Fortunately, we did not have access to violence-laden games, movies, and websites, nor did we have the wherewithall to buy guns and bombs. The incidents of my '70s era schooling, though, included knifings, riots, etc., which have turned into the shootings of today. The problems of high school kids are not by any means new. They've just been jacked up to a higher level.) I believe, first of all, that the parents need to accept primary responsibility for what happened, for not knowing what their kids were going through, and for not knowing what their kids were up to. Secondly, I believe the teachers and administrators should be horsewhipped for allowing kids to be tormented by other kids. And while I do believe that Hollywood and the gaming industry can share part of the "blame," I am also an advocate of personal responsibility and free speech. It is up to the parents to see that their 5-year-old is not spending several hours per day in a fantasy land of blood and mayhem. FINALLY, I believe your survey questions are skewed. None of them reflect the complexity of the issue, and they reveal your true bias. Next time try wording them in a more reasonable, fair manner.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:34 a.m. CST

    In my experience.....

    by plasticmonster

    I was raised by my parents, much the way Harry was. (I think it was Harry in the purlple lettering) I got to watch,under supervision, whatever I wanted. Being the seventies, film makers were stretching their wings in the arenas of sex and violence like never before. I saw it all, chaisaws, decapitaion, demon posession, etc, etc... Much of it was gratuitous crap. Some of it was masterful. I must admit that I have been thoroughly desensitized to filmed violence and death. Upon graduating high school, I entered the military, and a few years subsequntly, was sent to the Persian Gulf, where contrary to popular belief, a real war was fought, not just an exercise where we went around and collected those who surrendered. The degree of desensitzation that I had recieved as a result of my exposure to film and TV did nothing to cushion the blow of the horror, and sickness I experienced at the loss of REAL human life. In the years since, as a correctional officer, I have been exposed to murderers, rapists, and child molesters, and have only been able to notice one common thread between all of them. They do not accept total responsibility for their actions. Some blame drugs, some mental illness, some poverty, and yes, some even blame the atmosphere of violence in media, for their crimes. Ask yourself, if you were to kill another, what would your justification be? Other than self-defense, you probably don't have one. This lack of a viable excuse to murder is what separates those who are able to distinguish reality from those who cannot or will not. Sadly, those of us who can, are placed in the position of fearing, and defending ourselves, from those who don't. Images of violence, can't create violence on their own, they must reach a mind that is already prepared to do harm. In time, with or without outside stimulation, someone who wants to hurt others will find a way. Our time would be better spent indentifying troubled minds, rather than limiting artistic freedom, which if history has taught us anything, is impossible.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:38 a.m. CST

    World War One

    by MrNiceGuy

    Good article, Moriarty. I especially liked how consistently you demonstrated a natural need to blame someone or something, and tied that back to personal experience. Good writing. I agree with all your points, of course, and would like to emphasize the extent to which other sociological factors have been neglected by all the attention on movies and video-games. Sociological study has shown that the principal influence on a child's development is the family. The peer group is second. The school is third. And the media is a distant fourth. While these same studies have indeed shown that violence on-screen has a capacity to desensitize, responsibility for misguidedness almost always lies in familial dissatisfaction. That is not to say that we should blame the parents. They are probably not at fault, directly. But how it was that the family disfunctioned to allow such misguided development SHOULD be examined, without necessarily blaming anyone. The reality is, only the shooters themselves should be blamed. People have only looked to various media because the shooters killed themselves, and thus were no longer expected to justify their actions. And I must correct you, Moriarty, on one point: soldiers in World War One had no trouble whatsoever killing each other. You are sorely mistaken on that point. World War One soldiers were just as convinced that the other side was barbaric and deserving of death as they have ever been. Moreover, the battlefield's huge casualities were largely because of machine gun fire. Soldiers became entangled in impenetrable barbed wire, making them sitting ducks for a Vickers gun. A single gun would always take out at least a few hundred men in a single charge. In fact, soldiers were often so violently enraged that they shot, point-blank, enemy soldiers who were trying to surrender. They also preferred to use a bayonet, because they felt it made it more personal. So, to be honest, you're way off when it comes to both the causes of the huge casualties AND the mind-set of the soldiery. Regardless, good piece.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Last night, 60 minutes was the most biased irresponsible trash I

    by jvoorhees

    Bradshaw should be so ashamed of his actions in last night's show. There is NO evidence from any study suggestion that violent programming CAUSES actions. There have been a short elevation of violent thoughts in some, but those go away quick and they DON'T turn into actions. They are assuming causation where only a coorelation exists. Ever think that MAYBE VIOLENT PEOPLE SEEK OUT VIOLENT MATERIAL??? This should be a non issue. So did Jack the Ripper have a time machine that he could go into the future and watch violent movies so he could wreck mayhem onto his own time period? Did Hitler have an early beta version of Doom? Violent and sick people will do what they're going to do regardless of what they see in the movies or television. I too was like Harry. I was raised on horror movies. Harry speaks of being angry at his mother and wanting to kill her, but that's common for a child to blame their parent for a divorce and wish bad things on them. I haven't even received a speeding ticket (knock on wood). The human race is violent and always has been. The TRUTH of this whole situation is that 99.99% of people who watch Scream and play Doom will NEVER hurt anybody.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:45 a.m. CST

    what part of 'pure hell' DON'T you understand?

    by chuckles

    I just had to share my comments with everyone - as well-informed, balanced and diverse as the discussion has been, I think nearly everyone 'cept Moriarity is missing the 'real' point here... which is easy to do considering the smoke-screen 60 Minutes, the Gov. of Colorado, NRA, the Clinton Administration, the Columbine administration, et al. have generated to help cloud the real issue here... Moriarity said it best when he said: "The ego is broken down fully by humiliation, and the individual is devalued completely... Grossman's theory leaves out the first step of that process, though. He doesn't account for what is breaking down the self-worth of these troubled kids. He forgets that the individual must be humiliated first, devalued... broken. These children are broken when they finally reach for a gun, looking for a solution." Repeatedly, these kids spoke of 'revenge' for all the taunts they received. One of the boys' friends who actually DROPPED-OUT of school rather than continue to endure the on-going, day-to-day psychological abuse has even gone so far as to describe life there at Columbine High as 'hell... pure hell'. Repeatedly the conclusion that I keep coming back to - along with every single friend of mine that I've discussed this with independently - has been "Gee, maybe this will teach some of these idiots to actually leave the social misfits, the outcasts, the loners ALONE for a change - unless they want to take the chance of having their head blown off one day." And while obviously this wasn't the 'correct' way to deal with the pressure these boys felt they were under, at the same time, I think almost all of us can relate to what was probably going on in the halls of Columbine High, and how it might one day 'suddenly' have turned deadly. Is it so inconceivable to people that maybe one out of every 100,000 school-kids out there CAN'T handle such personal degradation on a daily basis, and eventually may wind-up turning to violence as a way of empowering themselves? We live in an era where any social slight in the workplace can be turned into a sexual harrassment lawsuit, and where 'political-correctness' is something we all are consciously going about paying lip-service to - whether we actually buy into it or not. So then why were these kids being shoved into lockers, being called 'faggot' and having rocks thrown at them all for 'not fitting in'? Sure, it happens to all of us - but does that make it right? Why was this abuse being tolerated? The parents don't control what the other kids in school are doing to warp their own kids minds or break-down their self-esteem... these kids are being left to fend for themselves, their parents can't fight every single battle for them - so where the hell were the teachers, counselors and principals during all this? Asleep in the teacher's lounge? Out finding some new 'shock-rock' group so they'll have someone to blame when they finally get caught for not doing their jobs? By their own admission, they said they'd never even HEARD of this so-called 'Trenchcoat Mafia' group, and yet this group had their own picture in the high-school year book - what the hell is THAT, if not turning a blind-eye, throwing up one's hands and claiming ignorance? How irresponsible is THAT?!? Plus, these kids even made a video for class project - which everyone including their classmates saw - acting out the very scenario which later took place... how much more obvious could they have been? Instead of turning the schools into prisons with armed guard all over the place and metal detectors at every entrance, or instead of blaming the gun-lobby, or the makers of violent video games or violent films - or worse still - blaming the parents, who by all accounts are fine, upstanding citizens, why don't we point the finger of blame squarely at the administration of the school who would allow such an obviously destructive social climate to develop within their own halls? The fact is, these boys WEREN'T that different from you or I or anyone else, other than where most of us would 'bend' rather than 'break' under such intense social pressure, they instead snapped like dry twigs. Remember - this was a 'suicide mission', by all accounts. These boys were already 'dead' before they even fired the first shot - so to me the real question is, "Who killed them?" I say it's an education system that mirrors society itself - if we live in a world where kids are being taught to not 'care' for anything, then it must be because that's what they see reflected back at them on a daily basis. No one cares about them obviously, so why should they care about anyone else? All the false sentiment - the public condemnation, the grieving, the supposed 'healing' and 'closure' that is taking place out there in Colorado right now is a joke... how can the Clinton Administration speak of non-violence when they're murdering Serbian civilians left and right in Kosovo? And how can Janet Reno speak of parental 'responsibility' and 'negligence' after what happened in Waco? What is the quantitative difference between a child playing a supposedly 'violent' videogame - and then acting out that simulated violence 'for real' - and U.S fighter pilots flying multi-million dollar jets, while playing a far deadlier, far more destructive 'videogame' of their own, 'accidentally' resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in a country we haven't even declared war upon??? Oh, I'm sorry... I mean, 'collateral damage'... so I guess THOSE deaths don't count. I guess when you put it in such euphemistic terms, it's not so bad. No, in fact, it's FAR worse. The fact is, nothing's going to change, no one's going to learn their lesson, and the killings will continue - thankfully for us, on a lesser scale here, but then again, considering the hypocrisy that so completely inundates every aspect of the American media, public opinion and the so-called American Way of Life, this is perhaps the least of what we deserve.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:48 a.m. CST

    And Now a Word from the Right...

    by Everett Robert

    OK, I'll admit it I'm a Republican, a memeber of the right wing, and I can be VERY outspoken when it comes to politics. I've studied political science, economics, Televison, radio, and print journalism, and drama. I have a degree in Radio and televison broadcasting and I'm a movie "geek", fan-boy, or whatever you want to call it. I own the B-Ball Daries on tape and to tell you the truth I didn't even remember the scene that the media has replayed and replayed and replayed. I had to go back and watch the movie AGAIN to find that scene. One little scene in a movie that I remembered as saying "drugs are bad, drugs lead to trouble. Good people screw up and it takes love and attention to strighten them out." The B-Ball Daires wasn't about a group of loners who looked to drugs for their escape, it was about a group of popular kids who used drugs as their escape. They were the stars of the basketball team and yet it was drugs and violence that led to their downfall. If anyone is influenced by that movie it should be the oppoiste way, they should be influenced NOT to kill. I find in most horror movies, which have been given a lot of attention, it's not the evil that wins, it's not the one who starts the cycle of violence who comes out victorious in the end, it's the ones who fought the evil and won. Even if it does spawn sequel after sequel after sequel. The problem comes from the fact that a lot of people have mentioned earlier, that these kids were disturbed. yes they got some ideas from the music of Manson and watching violent movies. But comeon blaming these "artists" for who someone is influenced is ludicrous. Littleton would have happened even if Manson didn't exist or "The Matrix" or "The B-Ball Diaries" or "Natural Born Killers" or any other thing you want to balme wasn't made. somewho somewhere they would have cracked and this would have happened. And don't blame the Bible for violence in today's society. The Bible is about love and the consequences of evil. Yes Cain killed Abel, but he was punished. yes the world was violent before the Flood. Yes David killed golith and Saul wnet after David. But Evil was punished. The most important commandent, according to the Bible is "Love one another" and the second is "Do onto others as you would have them do unto you" NOT "do unto others as they have done to you" but "do unto others as you would have them do to you" see the difference. I think most of us would like to think that we are basically good and honest people, but we're not. We get angry we get mad we take out of frustrations in different ways, but most of us have been taught that we don't do what's wrong becasue if we do we get punished for it. But then there are incidents like Pudach Kentuckay or Littleton Colorado where we can see that these kids were disturberd. Maybe Mom and Dad could have showed them a little bit of love, maybe the teens in the high school shold have made an effort to befriend them. Maybe we should look for the warning signs in our neighboorhoods. But we need to STOP blaming the Media for these actions. I'm going to end with a quote I heard while watching Court TV today during a recess from the Jenny Jones trial, "The media doesn't kill people, People kill people" Yes it's a varition on a tired cliche but it's true. Those kids pulled the triggers, and they are the ones to blame.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:48 a.m. CST

    And Now a Word from the Right...

    by Everett Robert

    OK, I'll admit it I'm a Republican, a memeber of the right wing, and I can be VERY outspoken when it comes to politics. I've studied political science, economics, Televison, radio, and print journalism, and drama. I have a degree in Radio and televison broadcasting and I'm a movie "geek", fan-boy, or whatever you want to call it. I own the B-Ball Daries on tape and to tell you the truth I didn't even remember the scene that the media has replayed and replayed and replayed. I had to go back and watch the movie AGAIN to find that scene. One little scene in a movie that I remembered as saying "drugs are bad, drugs lead to trouble. Good people screw up and it takes love and attention to strighten them out." The B-Ball Daires wasn't about a group of loners who looked to drugs for their escape, it was about a group of popular kids who used drugs as their escape. They were the stars of the basketball team and yet it was drugs and violence that led to their downfall. If anyone is influenced by that movie it should be the oppoiste way, they should be influenced NOT to kill. I find in most horror movies, which have been given a lot of attention, it's not the evil that wins, it's not the one who starts the cycle of violence who comes out victorious in the end, it's the ones who fought the evil and won. Even if it does spawn sequel after sequel after sequel. The problem comes from the fact that a lot of people have mentioned earlier, that these kids were disturbed. yes they got some ideas from the music of Manson and watching violent movies. But comeon blaming these "artists" for who someone is influenced is ludicrous. Littleton would have happened even if Manson didn't exist or "The Matrix" or "The B-Ball Diaries" or "Natural Born Killers" or any other thing you want to balme wasn't made. somewho somewhere they would have cracked and this would have happened. And don't blame the Bible for violence in today's society. The Bible is about love and the consequences of evil. Yes Cain killed Abel, but he was punished. yes the world was violent before the Flood. Yes David killed golith and Saul wnet after David. But Evil was punished. The most important commandent, according to the Bible is "Love one another" and the second is "Do onto others as you would have them do unto you" NOT "do unto others as they have done to you" but "do unto others as you would have them do to you" see the difference. I think most of us would like to think that we are basically good and honest people, but we're not. We get angry we get mad we take out of frustrations in different ways, but most of us have been taught that we don't do what's wrong becasue if we do we get punished for it. But then there are incidents like Pudach Kentuckay or Littleton Colorado where we can see that these kids were disturberd. Maybe Mom and Dad could have showed them a little bit of love, maybe the teens in the high school shold have made an effort to befriend them. Maybe we should look for the warning signs in our neighboorhoods. But we need to STOP blaming the Media for these actions. I'm going to end with a quote I heard while watching Court TV today during a recess from the Jenny Jones trial, "The media doesn't kill people, People kill people" Yes it's a varition on a tired cliche but it's true. Those kids pulled the triggers, and they are the ones to blame.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:50 a.m. CST

    a choice was made

    by HMcD

    when do we stop pointing the finger at everthing/everyone else instead of who is responsible...the 2 kids that made the decision to do what has happened in Columbine HS. I believe we are all capable of doing the same bad things but we have made the CHOICE not to ... for whatever reason (parents, guidence, morals). We need to all accept that it is a CHOICE that has to be made at various points in life. Now we just need to hope that the individuals in this world make the right CHOICE.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:52 a.m. CST

    The Blame Game

    by Equestrienne

    Everyone is so busy trying to blame someone or something else and unwilling to accept this tragedy as the act of two psychologically disturbed young men. Perhaps the media or entertainment industry did encourage or inspire their madness, but it was just that--their own madness, not the fault of television or music or film. Millions of people intake these images everyday without effect, yet an older generation feels the need to blame something that was not in existence in their youth. My parents, babyboomers, failed to grasp the satire of PULP FICTION or tragedy of CASINO. I sit and take in the lesson that crime doesn't pay. I'm an honor student at the top of my class, sitting now in a school in panic that we may be next. I only know that whatever may occur, it's not the result of entertainment. People are quick to blame and slow to accept responsibility for events. Maybe when everyone accepts some responsibilty for their own actions rather than blaming others, tragedies like this will cease without turning our country into a authoritarian nightmare of censorship.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Yes, something more...

    by Guld Korn

    Now wait a minute what is the deal here? People are still playing Doom? How pathetic! That game came out years ago and only now it is affecting young minds of this nation? Maybe that's not the point but it's Doom that is taking some heat. Not Postal, for example. Well also in my interpretation anyway the right to bear arms has become almost obsolete. I hunt, and safely I might add with conventional hunting guns, and so I am pleased that I can possess a gun...in a locked cabinet when not out in the field. However musket-type weapons were in use in those founding days and, which has already been pointed out, were in use against tyranny or along those lines. The same conditions do not apply in modern society. Still, without guns there's always bows and arrows.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:53 a.m. CST

    TO STARBIRD

    by plasticmonster

    FBI statistics state that more people are killed with .22 than any other caliber. Look for yourself at www.fbi.gov under uniform crime statistics. Shooting people with whatever caliber is not the issue, shooting at someone at all is.

  • April 26, 1999, 11 a.m. CST

    sorry

    by Everett Robert

    sory about the long double post

  • April 26, 1999, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Thoughtful Comments

    by Thea

    Moriarty, I'm a "regular" over at the forums, but until now had not been compelled to add my voice to "Talk Back"... Your excellent editorial has prompted me to post here for the first time. I agree completely with your comments, and only wish there were more editorials like it hitting the mainstream media, which in their rush to answer the "why's" of this tragedy will give voice to whatever politician/group/individual is looking to advance their agenda. I've already expressed my thoughts on this topic, (which continue to evolve) in the forums, but here is my take on this sad situation. Just from what I've read of the killers, and discussions I've had, (both in the forums and in conversations with friends), my feelings are that the decision they made to destroy their school, innocent lives, and themselves had nothing to do with any media influence. For whatever reason (intellectual frustration, emotional trauma, etc...), their actions (and the words and plans that have now been revealed leading up to them), indicate 2 individuals who determined that life was meaningless, and therefore their own lives and the lives of those around them held nothing. Once one reaches this point, there is no moral right or wrong to stop them. Some of the remarks they are quoted as saying during their rampage seem to support this, such as their questioning one victim's faith before gunning her down. Or the random way in which one teen was spared, while others around her were slaughtered. Maybe they said they were gunning for jocks, but their actions indicate that who they killed or didn't kill was a matter of blind luck. Besides somebody taking them seriously and realizing they were a real threat, I think another possible way their "final act" could have been stopped would have been for someone (teacher, parent, friend, clergy, etc...) to acknowledge and challenge their nihilistic philosophy. It wouldn't have been enough for someone to say to them, "of course life has meaning and individual lives have meaning" but to truly argue that point on an intellectual level... make a case for life so to speak. Getting back to the influence of films on all this, I think if anything movies/art do make a case for life, and for right versus wrong. If their ideas were supported by different media, it's only because they took that art and distorted it with their preconceived notions. So you cannot blame the art, but the individuals, (much like the agenda pushers after the fact), who either misinterpreted or misused it. While it appears they were intellegent, they were certainly capable of this type of misunderstanding. For instance, they celebrated Hitler and hated jocks, but Hitler himself was known to revere athletes. Perhaps there is an age/maturity level that one must reach in order to handle the violent images of our society. I'm certainly no expert... But lets face it, we live in a chaotic world. The answer isn't to censor on any grand scale, (though what is censored by parents in a home is their absolute right), but to be ready to discuss and answer questions about this violence with the people in our lives. Well, I suppose that's enough, (though I wouldn't claim that any of these thoughts even scratch the surface of this deep problem). Again, the article was very thoughtful. A real voice of reason in a sea of pointing fingers.

  • April 26, 1999, 11:04 a.m. CST

    I know this is long, but PLEASE read..

    by Black Angus

    Some people may be wondering why Jack thompson's name was so familiar when he popped up as one of the lawyers for the Kentuky families on 60 Minutes. Thompson is a nationally known zealot when it comes to censoring and profiting from entertainment he deems harmful. This is the same man who led the crusade against 2 Live Crew (and won), Madonna's "Justify My Love" video (which he got yanked off of MTV), and was also involved in trying to ban Tupac Shakur and Ice-T's music over the whole "Cop Killer" debate a few years ago. His "... hold onto your wallets" comment on 60 Minutes is only the beginnings of this oppourtunistic zealot's way of thinking. As for all the finger-pointing by the media and their for-hire talking heads and wind-bags (anyone notice some of the same people used as "experts" for the O.J. Simpson case and recently Clinton's impeachment debate are now used as "experts" for blaming the media? How very well read and thoughtful they must be.) No one's mentioned the live coverage of the events in Littleton by MSNBC or CNN. At any moment, there was the potential for the chaos in that school to spill out into the public area and we would have seen a bloodbath on live tv. Not that it's not happened before, anyone remember last summer when CNN carried a car chase live from L.A. that ended with the suspect setting his car on fire and then BLOWING HIS BRAINS OUT on live national television? Or the shootout police had with the bank robbers a few years ago that was also caried live? I, forgot, that wasn't the news media's fault, it was the movie "Heat". Afterall, the 24 hour news stations aren't so desparate to cover any tragedy live and then repeat it over and over with commentary from experts, they are just bringing us the news. Right? I really am thankful for Harry and Moriarty and this Talkback to show that there are people who do watch these movies, play video games, read books, etc. and able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not. Please don't take what I'm saying as preaching, but don't stop here at letting people know what you think. Next year is a an election year, a Presidential election year, and don't think for a minute that this will not be one of the major issues of the campaign. Al Gore made a special trip to Littleton this weekend for the memorial services and don't think he's above exploiting that image of himself consoling the victims' families to get elected. He used his own sister's battle against cancer to win sympathy in the 1992 election race. His wife Tipper (late of the PMRC campaign against rock music) is also making the talk show rounds like the "Today Show" and "Rosie O'Donnell" to tell Katie Couric and Rosie's soccer-mom audience how to go about blaming Hollywood rather than talking to their kids. Presidential canidates Dan Quayle (not a typo) and Gary Bauer (head of the American Families Council, or some such bible-thumping group) as well as everyone's favorite hate-mongering demague, Pat Buchannon are all jumping on the band wagon to lecture us on the fire and brimstone that awaits us all if we don't shut down Hollywood now. For those of you that actually read this, thank you.

  • April 26, 1999, 11:41 a.m. CST

    chuckles, thank you!

    by k.-

    you're post brilliantly summed up much of what i wanted and failed to ineloquently say. i was amazed to see interviews with the "jocks" these boys were supposedly gunning for, and in the aftermath of the bloodbath, they have the gall to call the gunmen losers and weirdos, and flippantly refer to the torment and humiliation they inflicted. things like this *will* happen again, because even those privvy to the ultimate lesson have shown they weren't paying attention in class. and as for our own hypocritical government: "enthic cleansing." what is that supposed to mean? i'm moving to canada.

  • April 26, 1999, 11:45 a.m. CST

    guns and US

    by Apple-Jack

    Thanks Harry for, informing us that we, in this forum, have the ear of so many influential people. That this internet talk back is a great hope for our continued democracy. In these years, the voting public has grown more and more despondent over the lack of choices during the elections - which is a further manifestation of the lack of voice many feel. In one sense, I feel overwhelmed by the amount feedback this particular thread has >>>>>. How can my voice be heard in this crowd? This country, the mighty U.S. of A., is the only industrialized nation that does not ban handguns. There was a very persuasive print ad put out years ago, simply stating the amount of people killed in several countries, for the U.K., for Japan, for Germany, all relatively small amounts, fewer than 3 digits, and some in the single digits. At the bottom, they listed the killings from handguns in the U.S. - several thousand. Perhaps it was 5 digits. The tag line reads "God Bless America" I don't know about you, but it's pretty persuasive. Simple and direct. No argument over "gun rights". Just the cold, simple fact that of all the industrialized nations, only the U.S. does not ban hand guns and here the rate of death via handguns is so much larger than anyone else. I've shot guns. I've shot semi-automatic weapons out in the desert with my friends at an old refridgerator. It was damn fun. No getting around it. And if they invited me again to go out and shoot, I'd do it. I don't own a gun, I don't want to own a gun, and I'll probably never will. I play Quake ALOT and I love John Woo. I love 'em both. They do not cause me to go out and kill anything. I there was any intiative for gun control place on the state and local ballot, cahnces are likely that I'd vote for it. I have so many friends that own and respect guns, I can't even shake a stick at them. And, I'd say they have a point. THEY respect guns. There's a whole lot of people that know how to use guns and use them as they should be. I can't argue with them - if everyone with a gun handled the responsibility as well as my friends, there would hardly be any problems. And there's they whole thing of "freedom". Basically, the citizens must be able to defend themselves from within and without - from the government, from criminals, from other nations that might try to force its will upon us. Militia groups across the U.S. use this arguement - in a scary way. From their point of view, our government is on the verge of removing our freedoms AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Apparently, this is at the heart of Timothy McVeigh's "reason' to blow up the Oklohoma Federal building - a cowardly and despicable act. Among others. Unfortunately, this fear of our government, fear of the removal of our rights does not seem to be completely unrealistic - witness the government invasion of Koresh's community in Waco. (I think Waco-The Rules of Engagement should almost be recquired viewing for all of our citizens - go rent it). So it's a complex issue. -If only humans would just get along, there would be no need for guns or anytype of weapons. =But we don't. There will almost certainly always be conflict -If only people with handguns and other weapons handled them responsibly, there would be no need for any gun controls and no limitations to who can have any number of weapons. =But they don't. Although there is a large marjority of gun owners that handle their weapons responsibly, there will always be those to abuse their "right". There will always those willing to make a profit from these people and there will always be accidents around those who handle guns responsibly, no matter how careful they may be. -If only we could pass legislation to ban all handguns and automatic weapons, we would never have this type of situation again. =But that will never happen. This is America and the voters will NEVER allow that to happen. They will never give up their right to own a gun. Not to mention the arguement of many that "that if guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns" - an arguement that is easily refuted by those figures given by the print ad I mentioned earlier. But that won't stop them from making it. Will this latest act in Littleton be enough to spur Gun control legislation across the nation? No. It won't. Just watch. In a year from now, gun laws will remain essentially the same. Will there be court battles won against entertainment companies of one sort or another? Will the rights of free speech be suppressed? Yep. Just watch. I can see that a year from now, Quake being banned from stores. I can see The Basketball Diaries and American History X - both fine, thought-provoking, HUMAN films, being banned from Blockbuster. I can see guns as common as they are now and censorship even more common. I'm scared.

  • April 26, 1999, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Hope...

    by Robroy

    I read all of the talk backs. It took awhile, but I read 'em. And I have a lot of hope that every single one of you who wrote will tell ten other people your thoughts, because they are all noble, thought provoking and vastly more intelligent than what is being crammed down our gullets by the nightly news. Check out the 40 developmental assets discussed by the Search Institute (www.search-institute.org and ask yourselves if our children have even half of them. Most have only 18. A little more love, please...

  • April 26, 1999, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Scared to death

    by serendip

    The quote from the person saying that this lawsuit over The Basketball Diaries would be like the first lawsuit against the tobacco companies, I got chills. How telling is this of the legal system in America today, when people who smoked for 30 years, knowing the whole time that it was bad for them, can successfully sue the tobacco companies when they develop cancer. Or when people can sue a production company claiming a film pushed someone to kill their kid when they don't know the first thing about the film or if the killer ever even saw it. The old phrase, "That would never stand up in a court of law" is becoming obsolete. Apparently, anything can. I have a lot of trouble feeling sorry for parents who lose their children and immediately sue the easiest scapegoat they can find for hundreds of millions of dollars. It cheapens the whole thing. Anyone with any decency would just try to get on with their lives, and if their cause is one they feel strongly enough about, try to influence legislation. But these people are just going for the quick money, trying to capitalize off of the death of their own children, and then say that it's the film community that's immoral and indecent and greedy. It's absolutely disgusting to me. All this talk about violence in film affecting kids, placing a blanket of blame on Hollywood, seems to leave out one very critical fact that somehow seems to have been forgotten. HOLLYWOOD HAS A RATINGS SYSTEM. IT IS THERE FOR A REASON. They don't give a film an R rating just for fun, you know. People talk about how Hollywood should be responsible, well that's exactly why there is a ratings system. That is taking responsibility. Why should Hollywood change their own product because the parents in America aren't taking responsibility themselves? One last thing. There are two amendments in the Bill of Rights, providing two different rights that are being called into question here. One is the right to free speech, and one is the right to bear arms, 1st and 2nd amendments, respectively. And, it scares me to death that people are willing to uphold the second amendment while trying to tear at the fabric of the first. Especially when considering that the 2nd amendment DOES NOT give the right to bear arms. The second amendment reads: A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the protection of a free state, the people's right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The NRA conveniently leaves off the first four words, "A well-regulated militia," because, being the subject of the sentence, it completely rules out their interpretation of the amendment. When it refers to a militia, it is talking about the military. The US didn't have a national army until after the War of 1812, and the country was defended by citizen militias. The 2nd Amendment was written to ensure that those militias could defend themselves and the country. After a national army and navy was formed, the militias remained until the Defense Act of 1916, which declared the National Guard to be the only militia. The 2nd Amendment was talking about the military, not the supreme right of Jimbo to have a gun to run his drunken neighbor off the yard. Why don't we try to keep the freedom that actually is granted in the consitution. And, lastly, I'd like to the probably the 1,000th person to congratulate you on a well-written post. If only we all could get together and discuss the topic as intelligently and eloquently. Moriarty, I salute you.

  • April 26, 1999, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Some small measure of faith restored

    by Zcarstheme

    In my post waaaay back up this Talkback, I mentioned that I once wandered the streets with a camcorder, interviewing the public, trying to determine how much of this twisted mass-media crap they actually swallowed wholesale without engaging any logic of their own. The results broke my heart. Reading this talkback has, to some degree, restored my faith that there are actually people still THINKING out there in the darkness. We may not all agree with each other, but we're still thinking. Good work, guys.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:11 p.m. CST

    responsibilty

    by Marshal Kane

    we're so quick to say that it's the parent's responsibilty toteach children the diffrence between right and wrong. why not look at it from the otherside. children (teens, adults, whoever) are responsible for LEARNING the diffrence between right and wrong. my parents never told me not to kill anybody. i just learned that murder was not a responsible choice to make. being a stable person, i understood that murder can not be justified, whether i've been picked on at school or my parents abused me(neither was the case). only individuals incapable of learning and understanding resposibilty make the choice to commit reprehensible acts upon their fellow man. blaming the media, parents, the victims, the NRA, or anyone else except those who commited the murders simply excuses the guilty parties from their actions. these two young men made the decision that killing their peers was acceptable. it would seem they didn't truly grasp the concept of resposibilty.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Media and Violence

    by Guineapig

    So this subject rears its ugly head again - and again I am amazed at how readily the TV and Paper media jumps to attach the movies. This thing happened in exactly the same way in the UK in a reaction to the Bulger case, where two young teenage boys kidnapped a toddler and murdered him. Here it was the CHILDS PLAY movies which were accused by the media as a way to understand it. Not the fact that they came from extremely broken homes, no no-one attacked that, it was the movies. It later quietly came out that there was no proof that they had actually seen the movie - the link was just a way for the media to make sense of it all without blaming individuals. Needless to say all copies of CHILD PLAY 3 were stripped from the shelves. To me the claim that films make people do an act of violence is laughable. Millions of people play violent computer games and watch violent movies, yet the streets aren't full of mindless killers. The most quoted reasons for a violent act by a killer (especially a serial killer) is the Bible - yet you don't see people diving into the family library to burn this. I think what many people miss about all of these horrible affairs is the individual who commits the crime - we try to understand their actions looking through our eyes, yet, as NATURAL BORN KILLERS tries to explain, they aren't the same. They are like another kind of person, who doesn't understand or create a similar vison of the world in which we live. We live by morals imposed by society through its ideologies etc., and this monitors our actions (our Id's wants) so that everyone in society lives by the same rules (bit of Freudian thought there sorry!) - these people don't seem to live by the same set of morals, and so their actions are therefore outside what the normal person feels. Blaming the movies is an excuse - there is something in them which doesn't quite click, or maybe hasn't been made to click. In some cases therefore the parents must take some form of responsibility. As far as this guy saying games deconstruct the individual like the American Army deconstruct their troops - why aren't we all zapping people into ash? I kill loads of Aliens in Duke Nukem, and yet in real life I am a sucker for a sick animal - I can't even kill a spider (which I hate most in the world). The American army deconstructs through an intense period of time - computer games are only part of peoples lives, and the rest of their time they live in a normal 'moral' world. Computer games and movies are also on a screen - there is no real direct connection as we are sitting observing, and after a while we get up and join the real world again. I don't mean to throw stones, but I think that something that really needs to be addressed from this is America's gun culture. How could kids of that age get hold of such weaponry, and who gave them the belief that they could use them to kill people? This is an actuality of American culture, something that people experience in their moral code. Taking films or more specifically scenes from films as a reason why people kill is not enough - films are entertainment and are viewed by most as this. It is when the barriers are merged that problems begin and this is what must be adjusted - it is an individual response not a mass, and must be treated as such. These kids were fans of Hitler (APT PUPIL anyone)- how can you blame films for this. The media are always too willing to jump on the back of movies and blame them for everything - TRAINSPOTTING was even attached in the UK by the press for promoting drug culture. If you've seen it you'll know how stupid a claim this is. Schools even now show it in their anti-drug campaigns. Gradually as more facts come out, the blame on the movies will disappear - it always does. Sorry for the long lecture - just one of my soapboxes!

  • April 26, 1999, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Movies and gun control...

    by darken

    The knee-jerk reaction to this tragedy should serve as a reminder as to why we do require both the 1st and 2nd ammendment. People can be easily lured into giving up freedom and the responsibilty that comes with it, for the sake of safety. The only solution proposed by the talking heads so far is that this tragedy occured because of too much free-speech. To many dangerous movies, evil music, violent video games, and don't forget all that dangerous free information on the internet. Now if only the government could protect the poor, ignorant masses from themselves a little easier we can all rest easy... If only a few media types would start suggesting that the nightly news should be regulated. You never know what type of violent incident they could telling little children about.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Solutions

    by L'Auteur

    We could make more movies like NBK, TBD, and Pulp Fiction NC-17...oh yeah, the studios and theaters are too gutless to support adult movies. So what do they say? All violent films are for kids! We could actually ENFORCE which theater kids walk into at the multiplex (when i was 14, i bought a ticket to RICHIE RICH but strolled straight into PULP FICTION), but oh yeah, the people who work at the theaters dont give a shit. We could do the best thing...erase the outdated second ammendment (in 1776, we were in fear of the british and guns were patheticly slow and inaccurate), but oh yeah, the NRA and gun industry controls the government. The whole blame-the-media idea is just a conspirasy, contrieved by the NRA and republican party, to distract from the real problem--guns. NO ONE EVER THINKS TO SUE A GUN MANUFACTURER!!! We could sue the parents of these killers for allowing them to listen to Manson and watch TBD and all, but oh yeah, most of the parents in the USA would then be "bad parents". Well, i guess there are no solutions... SEE YOU IN HELL, HYPOCRITES!!! i cant wait to be a filmmaker... im gonna make the most violent fucking movie this world has ever seen... its gonna be about a psycho killer who takes over a either a NRA convention or a Hollywood studio set and kills EVERYONE. HA HA HA HA HA HA! Eat shit, Heston!

  • April 26, 1999, 12:24 p.m. CST

    The Survey on the Main Page

    by DeeJay

    I respect Harry for his accomplishments, and I truly enjoy this site. In light of recent events, however, I feel compelled to comment on the survey on the main page. That is, by far, the most skewed, value-laden, misleading, insincere "survey" that I have seen in years (and with my background in education, that's saying a lot). I beleive that people are entitled to their views, but constructing an intentionally misleading survey does absolutely NOTHING to further a discussion of an issue. Perhaps this was done "tongue in cheek", although I seriously hope not...

  • April 26, 1999, 12:26 p.m. CST

    A Point Of View

    by John Shaft

    I ahve been asked by Lane Myers to put some comments on this subject. I am going home soon, so haven't read any of the above yet, but will do so on Wednesday, when I am back. Sorry if my opionions are a repeat of what has already been said. In the news today, here in England, a famous T.V. Presenter was found murdered outside her home. The person who did this hasn't been found yet, but presumably, one of the reasons she is dead is because she was on T.V. If she wasn't on the telly, she might be alive. That said, should she have never appeared on the telly? No. It is the career she wanted to do. It's like saying, should these children have not gone to school? No. This incedent is a rare occurance, thank god. The people who decide to do these terrible things do not need a reason. Anything, no matter how small, can start these things off. Some people have suddenly decided to shoot people for very minor reasons. The Boomtown Rats released a single in the seventies called "I Don't Like Mondays" This song was about an incident where a normal polite schoolgirl decided to take a gun to school and shoot people. The reason for her doing so was because she didn't like mondays. Not because she had seen The Basketball Diaries, or another voilent film. She didn't like mondays. I minor point causing such devestasting results. It is not the films that cause these things. The Jamie Bulger Murder, where some 11 year old children decided to murder another younger child, was blamed on the Childs Play Films. How many people have seen the Childs Play Films, and how many of those people wave killed someone else. It is possible that these films have a small impact on these events. They may trigger the events, but they didn't build the gun that fired the shot. Saying these films should be banned because of an incedent like this is like saying, once a child is born, it should be taken away from the parent, as it is in some way the parents fault, to some extent, that some of these incedents occur. My Point is, there are many different reasons that this incedent occured. We cannot take away all of the reasons, as we do not know what reason was primarily responsible for it occuring. If films cause this to occur, then everyone would be murderers. Some other incedent has caused this.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Don't forget that they were Neo-Nazis

    by Rusty Airwalk

    I have some things to say about the film/music/video game issue too, but I first want to say this. These kids were hate filled followers of Hitler who spoke German in the halls. I think to ignore that fact while scapegoating pop culture is an insult to anyone who has ever been the victim of a hate crime, an insult to the Ethnic Albanians that we are trying to save in Kosovo, and an insult to anyone who has ever looked at the Holocaust and said "Never again!" Neither Marilyn Manson nor The Basketball Diaries taught anything resembling the teachings of Hitler, and video games are even less likely to give that message, if any. The only place to learn such things is history books and school (or from other neonazis who at some point learned it from some form of history book.) Everything can influence people in ways it wasn't intended to. Some people are always going to be outcasts and fewer will feel the need to kill because of it. Don't blame the things that everyone shares, like movies and music. To find what caused this horrible tragedy, you must find what makes them different from other outcasts. It seems to me that it was Naziism. The overwhelming majority of video game players and film watchers are non-violent. I don't know that the same could be said for people who idolize Hitler. The films show violence, not hate. That must be learned elsewhere. The games, etc. also don't supply kids with guns. That happens elsewhere. If anything, these cultural things, music in particular, can be good for outcasts. When I was in HS, I wasn't cool and I resented the jocks and other popular people. Then Nirvana came out and I related to it. It made me feel better, less alone. Marilyn Manson can work the same way. I trust the kid who has something to relate to before I trust the kid who has nothing. And here is where the parents need to enter. Know what your kids are watching, reading, playing, listening to, but most importantly, know what they are doing, saying and feeling. If they are making bombs for a year, in your home, you must be aware of this. Leonardo DiCaprio did not arm your son. If they are spreading hate, talk to them. Duke Nukem did not show them how to draw a swastika. Most of all, you must be aware of this from the day you take your child home from the hospital. Like Harry's and Moriarty's parents, if you are there for them and communicate with them, your kids should be okay. And finally, let's play some six degrees of seperation. The NRA says "guns don't kill people, people kill people", but guns are at least two steps closer to the crime than any game/movie/song. Because this couldn't have happened without the guns, but it has happened without the other stuff. Hitler never heard a KMFDM song. Here's one last things about guns. 10 years ago, these kids may have fought after school, but they'd all go home, alive, at the end of the day. And most of them would grow up and grow out of it. With guns being so readily available, the kids don't get the chance to grow out of it. Of course if we (I'm in on this too) caught the problems before the kids used the guns, it'd be a moot point, but we're not perfect. Anyway, I've gone on long enough, lemme know what you think. rusty airwalk

  • April 26, 1999, 12:27 p.m. CST

    One looonnngg TalkBack...

    by PDaddy

    Wow, this is one massive Talkback, and the day is still young. Oh well, not that anyone is reading this post by now, but here's my two cents. I agree that there has been a rush to find something, someone to blame - we need to make sense of something senseless. Do the parents share in the blame? Certainly - but unless they did something especially egregious, I feel their responsibility should be a legal one and NOT a criminal one (come on now, I'm sure they are devastated just like many of the other families). Is the violence in movies and video games to blame? I think that their role MAY have faciliated the process in some disturbed individuals but they are obviously not the root cause. I found the guy's argument in the 60 min's segment to be very persuasive about associating "pleasure" w/ killing in the video games. However, millions of kids play these games over and over and don't go on shooting rampage. I think the point is - is there a point where we will draw the line? IMO, I think that it would be a good idea to tighten control for some of the extremely graphic arcade games. One idea that I had would be to have these games in a "room" just like the porn stuff at a video sales. But, the ultimate responsibility lies in all of us. These teens were responsible for their actions, don't get me wrong, but at some point the SYSTEM failed these kids. Their prents failed them, their peers failed them, their teachers and guidance counselers failed them. They were, as Moriarty pointed out, "humiliated" within society, and nothing was done to prevent this - and THAT was the genesis that lead these kids down the path of evil. Violence in video games, access to guns, etc - these were ALL components of the tragedy - but were minor, IMO. They were responsible, but society didn't stop them.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Thank You, Moriarty

    by Niks977

    Right on Moriarty. I totally agree with your point. As you were and I'm sure many others were, I was totally disgusted and exacerbated by the 60 Minutes report. Especially with a very prestigious and honorable show like (probably the most honorable and prestigious one on the air now) you would think they would do a more objective and ultimately intelligent show. When these type of tragedies happen, people automatically start scapegoating and looking for someone else to blame other than themselves. You have to blame the kids, they're parents, miscommunication and hate. That is what the problem is not Hollywood. Hollywood is based on creativity, movies are based on creativity, and this society is based on creativity. We cannot sanction our rights and infringe on our rights just because of two ssad, pathetic kids who went on a sshooting rampage in their high school. i'm tired of people always blaming movies and T.V. for everything that goes on. Art iimitates life and whatever Hollywood puts in the movies not matter how horrific or violent it iis, was not made up, it's part of reality. So before we start scapegoating and blaming Hollywood, lets solve the real problem first and correct it:ourselves. That's about all I have to say. Thank you. Nikki Onyedika

  • April 26, 1999, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Parents, Guns, Movies

    by Julilla

    There is plenty of blame to go around here, folks! First off the parents! I want to see them come out and tell the parents of the murdered children where the hell they were last weekend when their disenfranchised Nazi psychopaths were making schrapnel bombs in the garage! Where the hell were the parents when they were making friggin' NAPALM? No excuse is good enough for why they didn't pay attention to their own kids and what they were doing! If you don't have time to raise a child, don't have a child! These parents have 13 murders to answer for. Now guns! Charlton Heston, *You* are a damned dirty ape! You and all your NRA backwoods genetically inbred fools for thinking that guns and the availability of guns had nothing to do with this senseless slaughter! And to add insult to injury you continue with your Murder Machine Festival in Denver when they have told you they don't want you there! Shame on you! How do you sleep at night? Why don't you talk to the parents of the dead and give them platitudes about people and guns? I am sure they will be more than willing to listen to your spiel about how guns don't kill people. Check with the coroner in Littleton, Mr. Heston, check out some of those bullet wounds, you stupid idiot! Now, movies-why are we so interested in murder films in this country? How is a movie like "Scream" which shows teenagers murdering other teenagers considered 'entertainment'? Why and how do people find murder 'fun'? Why are we glossing up murder for teens and telling them it's good clean entertainment? What is wrong with our culture that we find violence and ultraviolence cool, slick, cutting edge and totally acceptable? I don't give a damn what Oliver Stone and Tarantino or anyone else *claim* their messages are. Let's face it, lots of people who watch this murdering rampage drek aren't thinking about the artsy, wry social commentary on current American culture. They're thinking "Cool! Look at that guys' brains!" Just like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold did when they shot Isaiah Shoels. Rant over.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:29 p.m. CST

    60 minutes

    by Powerslave

    Moral indignation from a show that aired a tape of Jack Kevorkian killing someone. Oh, the irony... This is so stupid it's almost funny. 60 Minutes and all the other news shows that are airing this stuff might think they are performing a public service, but in effect, they are cashing in on tragedy to boost their ratings. They're being just as sensationalistic as the mediums they are condemning.I wonder how many network execs were wishing that the shooters could have held off until the next sweeps period? Not to worry, though. I'm sure Fox is hard at work on "When Students Attack." Cynical? You bet. In the midst of all the hand-wringing and finger-pointing, no one has looked at the biggest culprits in this whole episode. No, not movies, not music, not Doom. I refer to the shooters themselves. These were two angry, bitter, twisted, SICK, individuals who wanted to kill, hurt, maim, and cause as much pain, sorrow, and grief as they possibly could. These shootings were suicide notes; the killers taking their lives at the end was the signature. What is it with society today? Everybody is so quick to play the blame game; passing the buck has become the national pastime. It's so easy to condemn movies and video games. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions anymore. Up here in Canada, I read the Toronto Star newspaper. Yesterday, they had a great big article on youth violence, where some researcher claimed that violent video games "trained" and "conditioned" kids to kill. What utter nonsense! I've been playing video games for nearly 2/3 's of my life (I'm 30). Not only do I play 'Doom' and plenty of other violent games, I've designed levels for many of these games, so that others could try them. I've watched violent cartoons since I was 3. I've seen many violent movies (I've even written a couple; unproduced :( ). I read "Midnight Express" when I was seven (yes, I was aware of what the book was about). I love heavy metal and hard rock music. And you know what? I'm not a seething cauldron of rage. I am not filled with hate and bloodlust. I do not want to hurt my fellow man. Seeing real violence bothers me. True story: the first time I got a blood test, I nearly passed out when I saw the needle. You know what I attribute this to? Good, solid PARENTS, who taught me the difference between right and wrong, the difference between real and make believe. PARENTS who cared about what I was doing and took an interest in it. The next time you want to stir up some moral outrage, people, don't look to movies. Don't look to video games. Don't look to music. Look to the parents. It all starts in the home...

  • April 26, 1999, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Charlton Heston

    by John Shaft

    I admire Charlton Hestons abilities as an actor. He has made some good films. I disagree with his comments on this incedent though. Saying "If there had just been one armed guard at that school, this incedent might not have occured" Is like saying, If The Kosovans had just one nuclear weppon, they the serbs might not have invaded. If no-one had a gun, no-one would have shot anybody. Granted, they might have used another weapon, but less people would have suffered in such a short amount of time. This incedent occured because these kids had access to guns. If there was an armed guard, he would have been shot first. Who would want to go to a school with an armed guard anyway. Everyone would be afraid to do anything because they might be shot by the guard for calling a girl a name. This incedent was caused by one thing, and one thing alone. These kids having guns. Charlton Heston doesn't think guns should be outlawed, but does think that Long Coats should. Where is the reason behind that?

  • April 26, 1999, 12:45 p.m. CST

    The Catcher in the Rye "controversy"

    by Bundren

    Someone above wanted to know what was "bad" about this book. People have tried to ban it from schools in the past simply because it used some very mild curse words (damn, hell, etc) but the really big thing that happened was that Mark David Chapman said he was inspired by the book to kill John Lennon. There is no real "connection" of course, and that's the point -- with seriously disturbed individuals, they don't need "ultra-violent" imagery to be set off -- they can find inspiration even in a piece of literature with no violence in it at all. Another famous example which finger-pointers might consider is the fact that Charles Manson claimed that "Helter Skelter" made him commit his murders. So maybe we should ban the Beatles, too, just to be safe.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Responsibility

    by gunny

    Darken got it right. With freedom must necessarily come RESPONSIBILTY, which is rapidly becoming a dirty word in today's culture. That is what we are lacking in this modern age. Responsibility for one's own actions. Ultimately the two gunmen are responsible. And nobody else. Screaming for gun control, censorship of movies, games, and music, and the like is most definitly NOT the answer. That would be treating the symptoms, not the cause. Like administering calamine to a rash on the face of a patient dying of cancer, instead of going in and finding and rooting out the cancer itself. It makes me SICK, BTW, that people are using this tragedy to advance their own political agendas.

  • April 26, 1999, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Beauracracy breeds the blame storm

    by rambo

    I'm a psychologist, and I believe, there's two factors at work. First, is the ability of the human being to establish cause and effect relationships between two factors. It's a great ability that leads to our survival as a species every day. Unfortunately, it can be fooled. For instance, how often have you been thinking of a friend, and they all of the sudden call on the phone? This situation usually screams for some kind of "I'm psychic and new they were calling" answer from your brain. You try and make sense of it, and it's hard. You add in a complex system like society and it scrambles the human capacity to perceive the enormous number of factors leading to an outcome. Second, Beauracracy is a large part of the problem. When an event happens, it triggers beauracrats to have answers to the beauracrats above them, and it snowballs. I think a large component of the extreme severity of reactions is built on this problem because a beauracracy can never have a short easy answer to a problem. It has to go up and down the communication pathway thousands of peopla long. And, from my personal experience, having an answer is the best thing to have as a beauracrat. It may not be the "right" one or even a good one. All that's important is having something to say. And if the big whigs above you do the same thing, a bogus easy answer like "stronger gun control" gets the lead. Especially when you can whip up some popular opinion by polling 2000 people and saying it represents 270 MILLION americans. So I think out communication patterns breed these half assed solutions to problems. Finally, I think Americans need to be educated more, and think for themselves. Honestly, on CNN the other day they had a poll of 2000 parents that asked "Do you feel your child is unsafe at school?" And 62% said yes. Small sample size, and biased audience feeding off media hype aside, this poll could be asked in dozens of other contexts. For example, say someone got punched after school, and it made some local news. You could ask this question. Also, a gas leak could be found in a school, and you could ask this question. What does "safe" mean and to what reference point are you using it? Americans need to think more about how the question is asked and what perceptions it is creating. Because percetion, unfortunately, is reality, not larger, more objective fact. And that is one of the HUGE problems with Journalistic sensationalism. Thanks

  • April 26, 1999, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Canadian perspective...

    by Dolfanar

    You know Canadians are a funny bunch, We watch US TV (to the detriment of our own TV artists), We watch US Movies (To the detriment of our own artists), we listen to the same music, we play and design the same games, we produce the same comic books. Yet for some reason we don't seem to kill each other at quite the impressive rate as you do down south... Are we smarter? holyer? I can tellyou from first hand experience that there are Canadian Assholes and dullards. Could it be that we have less than 1/20th the ratio of guns to people that you do? Naw, impossible, guns don't kill people right? A few years ago we had a shooting similar to the Littleton one. A deranged man stormed into a Montreal technical college and killed 14 innocent women (after having the men clear out). He used a legal semi-automatic rifle which he illegally converted to full automatic. Guess what after the tragedy the parents of the victims were outraged. Did they sue? No. They lobbied the Federal government to change gun laws. Today the kind of gun used in the shooting is illegal, and getting a gun permit is an extremely pain-staking process, and each and every gun must be registered with the federal government. And if you have ever had a tendancy towards violence you can pretty much forget it. After the scotland shootings, the British government went even further. I am 22 years old, and I have never seen a gun that wasn't in a museum. I feel NO hesitation in walking down Montreals main streets (Ste-Catherines, Sherbrooke etc...) at ANY hour. Sure there is crime, but the idea that I will be shot, just never occurs to me. What happened in Littleton was a tragedy. The idea that the parents are attempting to cash in on it shows that not only lives were lost on that fateful day, but a sense of dignity, and good sense as well...

  • April 26, 1999, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Re:Julilla

    by jvoorhees

    Please don't get into the blaming game. Who do you blame Jack the Ripper on? Or Hitler? Because Honda makes cars that go over a 100 miles an hour, do we blame them when somebody goes too fast, loses control, and dies? What about McDonalds? Too much fat could lead to a heart attack. And what about suing Budweiser for a drunk driver who kills somebody? The NRA makes some pretty absurd comments, but guns cannot be blamed for this. Neither can Doom, Jerry Springer, or Basketball Diaries. We don't know the full story with the parents either. Do you think they showed the bombs to the parents? Do you think parents should go through all of their sons and daughters things? These kids didn't sit at the dinner table and say Hail Hitler. Nobody could have imagined the kids would do this. No parent can moniter everything a kid does (I'm still waiting for more information to comment on these specific parents). They have been talking about it for awhile, and NOBODY...teachers or students took them seriously. Why? Because there are many kids who do the same thing. Maybe we should take them more seriously. This tragedy is OVER. All we can do now is see how to prevent it to the best of our abilities. We need not live in paranoia, because this is something that is so rare. 99.99% of kids are not going to do this type of thing. BUT, when somebody wants to blow up a building, shoot a mass number of people, or some other horrible act, it's almost impossible to stop. They will find a way to do it. We must protect ourselves in every realistic way we can, but lets not go overboard here.

  • April 26, 1999, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Waco

    by Schlock

    I'll try to keep it short, I could rant for days. Although I haven't thought about that Waco fiasco in over a year, this whole situation reminded me of it. Did the FBI and BATF play too much Doom and Quake or watch too many bad movies when they murdered (In my personal opinion)those Branch Dividians sp?, including I think dozens of children. Sorry I can not think of the correct numbers, its been a while. As to the movie industry, once the lawyers smell blood your in trouble. They damn nearly destroyed the small (General Aircraft Category) aircraft industry with idiotic lawsuits. Now there are more experimental (home built-literally) aircraft built every year by aviation enthusiasts than by companies like Piper, Maule, Cessna, Mooney put together. No kidding.

  • April 26, 1999, 1:18 p.m. CST

    On our way to a stupid new world

    by BraveNewSquirrel

    There is no way, I can explain shortly, or in simple words, how strongly I feel against efforts to take away creative expression from people. Amd for all the energy that I would outpour into it; it would be heard by only those people who already agreed with me. You can't change the ignorant no matter how hard you try. But to Moriarty and Harry. Thanks for speaking, powerful stuff, and it's a shame that the massive public will never hear it.

  • April 26, 1999, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Several thoughts

    by Brenna

    I take issue with those that say it's the school/teacher's responsibity to monitor these kids. Bullshit! I'm going to cast my "blame" vote with the parents. Teachers have taken on enough of your responsibilities as parents already without you laying one more on them. That's why I got out of education. I shouldn't be talking to your kids about sex, drugs, morals, and religion. THAT'S YOUR JOB!!!! You have what 1 or 2 kids at home? In a really big family you may even have 9 or 10. These teachers have a couple HUNDRED a DAY!! Let's face reality here. These teachers are over-worked and under-paid. They can't take on any more than we've already forced them to. Parents need to take back their responsibilities. I've got a much younger brother...a few years ago I told my parents they needed to talk to him about sex. My dad said "he's too young to need to know about sex" My reply "Dad there are girls in his class that are pregnant." His reply "well the school will talk to him about sex" My reply "Dad, the sex ed talk for girls was SPONSORED by tampax..you need to talk to him about sex" And that was the end of that conversation. My dad never did talk to my brother about sex...and as far as I know no one besides one of my friends and I ever did. Teenagers teaching teenagers about sex isn't a good thing. Teenagers teaching teenagers about the value of life is even worse. As for the gun control issue. I don't like that phrase....let's give it a better name...gun responsibility. I don't want to take away your right to own a gun, but you damn well better have a trigger lock on it or I'm going to sue your ass for being an irresponsible SOB if someone uses it to shoot one of my loved ones! And I don't care if you want to own sevaral guns, but I do care if you own more guns than my local police department. Fine, you want a gun for self defense. What tank do you need to stop with that assault rifle? Do you even care that you're several times more likely to be shot with your own weapon than you are by someone else? It's your god-given right to go out and hunt bambi? I never knew deer had kevlar-coated fur!! You have a gun and a child? Then you damn well better teach them gun safety. Your child better learn that you NEVER POINT A WEAPON AT SOMEONE UNLESS YOU INTEND TO SHOOT and that you ALWAYS ASSUME A GUN IS LOADED. Every few weeks we hear of another kid shot at home or at the neighbor's house because some little boy was showing off Daddy's gun. No, gun laws aren't going to stop determined psychos like those two kids in Littleton, but they will help stop the not-so-determined killers. The ones who do it on the spur of the moment, and the MANY accidental shootings.

  • April 26, 1999, 1:38 p.m. CST

    It's the parent's responsibility

    by angry

    If the parents aren't up to the task of teaching their children right from wrong, and aren't ready to do their JOB as parents, they shouldn't be parents in the first place.

  • April 26, 1999, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Trouble in Paradise....?

    by TomTomb

    I agree with a lot of people, that say that major gun control laws would definitely help, but isn't there more going on? I can't help but remembering when I saw Se7en thinking (and not for the first time either), this society is in deep trouble. It's like there is a desintegration taking place in the US of social structures which nobody seems willing to acknowledge. Instead all these excuses are being made and it scares the hell out of me, a non-American, since what happens in the US often to us Europeans is a foreboding of what's awaiting us here. America's history is etched in blood and I guess until it rids itself of its traditional inferiority complex (and think hard before you say there isn't one!), it will not learn the lessons offered by history. Don't get me wrong, there are many many things I love and are unique to American culture, but it's set a very dangerous course as a society and no censorships of any kind will help, because the root of the problem is much much deeper and more complex and symptomatic for the 20th century. Which makes it a worldwide problem, not just American, but in the US the signs are simply more visible than elsewhere, that's why I took it as an example, but it's everywhere. In our complex technological and information overloaded society we're lost, been split into a thousand pieces and being left adrift to figure out how to put the pieces together, if we're lucky with the help of others, but many do not have that luxury. Social and psychological structures are desintegrating and parents send four year old kids to shrinks to led them do their work for them. I remember that scene in se7en so vividly, when Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are in a bar and Pitt asks him, how he, Freeman, got to be so bitter, and he talks about our world having embraced 'apathy' and calling it a virtue and that hell yes, it's easier to steal then to work for it, it's easier to beat a child then to raise it etc. And he saids that love costs and is hard work, so it's easier to escape and even though Pitt refuses to agree with all this, you feel his desperation in denial, but he has to since otherwise his existence would be pointless, but isn't this the root of it all, that we simply real down to the bottom line don't care; we're upset about a massacre for a week, write an infuriated email maybe at best, and a week after that we talk about the new Star Wars movie coming out. Am I way too negative, please I very much hope so, I hope I'm utterly wrong, but as things stand, I'm pretty pessimistic. I'd like to quote the final line from Se7en: "Ernest Hemmingway once wrote 'The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for'. I agree with the second part."

  • April 26, 1999, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Ban the Bible!!!

    by primemover

    The Bible is one of the greatest instigators for intolerance and violence on this planet. Look at the war between Christians and Jews, Jews and Muslims, Ireland--even Kosovo. Very ugly text in many places. If they ever get serious about banning works that are deemed to be socially damaging--this work needs to be put at the top. Replace it with some Buddhist text . Hey, they certainly dont have the history of violence that the Cs, Js, and Ms do! :)

  • April 26, 1999, 2:16 p.m. CST

    R rated movies...

    by Dolfanar

    Some of your posts (and I read them all) reminded me of the day I went to see Starship Troopers. I have seen my fair share of violent movies (Robocop which is shown in Montreal at midnight uncensored, Rambo etc...) but after ST I had a headache from all the violence I saw. I could FEEL myself be desensitzed. On the way back from the movie, my friend joked that he was having flashbacks. In a way *I* was. Sitting in front of me at the movie was a father and his 12 year old daughter (The same age as my oldest niece). I was surprised to see her there, because I had heard that the movie was going to be pretty violent. I was *SHOCKED* to see her there when the movie ended. She was tearing up, and her dad had to practically carry her out of the theater. Why he stayed for the whole movie I CAN't understand. Responsibility IS important, one MUST play an *ACTIVE* role in raising a kid, *BUT* I affirm again, "No Guns, No dead." Or as it was BEST stated on this board, "People *WITH* GUNS kill people". (BTW some of us manged to escape British "Tyranny" without entrenching the right to bare arms in our respective constitutions)

  • April 26, 1999, 2:20 p.m. CST

    come together folks

    by GodBear

    Going home now. Harry and Moriarity, great job. Bet you never thought this web site would end up as a forum for this kind of stuff. But more and more I'm finding that there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who think and talk abou things and those who do not. Nearly every friend I have has not read a book,newspaper, or anything else in years. And too often these days I find myself, like others needing to listen and comment with people hundreds of miles away who I don't even know. Secondly, did these kids make a choice, were they abused into doing what they do? I don't know. For me it would be a choice, but I consider myself a strong, well-balanced person. Maybe other people don't have as much of a choice. There are bad parents out there. There are indifferent teachers and principals out there. As for the posting above, if it were up to me all the revenues for the NBA would go to paying teachers what they deserve. But when a student is making asignments in your class that are blatantly hate-filled and scream for attention, something must be done. Finally, I have learned something in the past few years that everyone needs to learn and this essay was a perfect lesson. The TV news is only out to keep your attention and sell product. There are hundreds of stories that America has been brainwashed into taking sides on simply due to the media coverage being the only source of info. We need to stop listening. Best wishes to the community of Littleton. It sickens me to even think of what they are going through. Don't let senseless evil kill the hope we are all entitled to.

  • April 26, 1999, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Shared anxiety

    by Foster Zygote

    Several others have also hit on what to me is the most serious implication of this latest blame game. The fact that the missguided assigners of guilt would rather have an America with even more guns and LESS freedom. The hypocracy of shouting about the "danger to freedom" of tougher gun control laws while crying out in self righteous indignation for sensorship makes me red in the face. Assholes like Pat Buchanan give me the shudders. This guy's political heroes include Francisco Franco and Sen. Joseph McCarthy for god's sake. And I'm sure we all remember the evidence of his ties to the American Nazi Party and the KKK. But he and others like him lobby for the hearts and minds of a minoritized but vocal and influential segment of the population by promising them what they want most. That being the ability to shove their values up our asses for our own good. And the NRA (supported heavily by the gun manufacturers) continues to claim that guns have a positive influence on American life. (Don't get me wrong, I have a shotgun that I like to shoot skeet with, but that's a far cry from handguns and assault weapons designed specificly for killing people.) These same gun advocates are closely tied with the movement to blame film and games for what people do with guns. (Gee, wouldn't it be great if everyone could carry a gun? Then every bar fight between two drunken assholes over which is better, Ford or Chevy trucks, could erupt into gunfire in a crowded public place.) Do I think that the entertainment industry is totally innocent? No. But let's be objective folks. After all, the people who would have you believe that the human mind is so easily programmed are the same people who brought you Reefer Madness.

  • April 26, 1999, 2:33 p.m. CST

    teachers vs. parents

    by chuckles

    In response to the post saying, quote: "I take issue with those that say it's the school/teacher's responsibity to monitor these kids. Bullshit! I'm going to cast my "blame" vote with the parents. Teachers have taken on enough of your responsibilities as parents already without you laying one more on them. That's why I got out of education. I shouldn't be talking to your kids about sex, drugs, morals, and religion. THAT'S YOUR JOB!!!!" Well, obviously, you're correct that a lot of the responsibility should rest with the parents, with regards to those specific issues. But that's not necessarily what drove these kids over the edge, and no parent controls what goes on in their kids lives once they leave home and go to school. And furthermore not one single conclusive piece of evidence has come out to indicate that the parents were in fact being negligent. They may have been, but that remains to be seen. As a matter of fact, even the friends of these two boys have said things like, "We never dreamed this would happen..." or "We're as shocked as anyone..." - and if their best friends didn't know, then how could the parents have known? These kids were 17 and 18-year olds - hardly young enough to NOT have a certain degree of personal privacy that would prevent their parents from randomly searching through their personal belongings. Ask yourself this - when YOU were a senior in high-school, did your parents still search through your room? I seriously doubt it - at least not without just cause, and according to the school, these kids weren't disciplinary head-cases that would've warranted such actions at home. And whatever 'obvious' evidence was left lying out in their rooms - well, since it was a 'suicide mission', why would they care who found out at that point? I don't think the parents were negligent - at least not without hearing further evidence to the contrary. Yet, it's all over the news that the parents should be the ones to blame, and it sounds like some people in the local community there already have them behind bars for being such 'rotten parents'. Just as it's all over the news that they worshipped Hitler and were racists supposedly out to kill minorities. Well, if that was their stated goal, they failed miserably. And we have yet to see any proof of these allegations that they subscribed to any sort of specifically racist beliefs, anymore than there's proof that they were into Marilyn Manson, 'German techno-music' or 'goth' culture. I put all these assertions on about the same level - they're all mere conjecture and innuendo for the time being. They may turn out to be true, but for the time being, let's stick with the facts: repeatedly, the motive for these killings has pointed directly towards the way these kids were harrassed by classmates, period, the end. If the problem had been at home, or elsewhere in the community - guess what? - they probably wouldn't have chosen the school and their classmates as their targets. I don't think teachers and school-administrators should be teaching 'morals per se', but if they're going to make it a crime to yank your kid out of school and teach them at home - which is the current status-quo - and the parents can't be there to monitor how their kids are being treated by the other students, then it's up to the people who are in-charge there at the school - the so-called 'authorities' - to make sure their school-day is a time of learning, not of constant, day-in, day-out psychological torment. And if you'd care to check out some rather 'interesting' first-person accounts of what's going on in a lot of kids' lives, check out: http://slashdot.org/articles/99/04/25/1438249.shtml. There's a surprising number of kids out there who are expressing a far different view on this whole matter than the rest of us 'adults'. I think anyone who's following this thread would find it well worth checking-out. But personally, I think that if all being a 'teacher' is about is making kids memorize parts of textbooks and regurgitate them on standardized tests, then the least they could do is provide them with a safe enviroment in which they can do just that. It sounds to me like these kids would've been safer walking through the worst part of town late at night than going to their high-school on a daily basis - no one would be calling them 'faggot', and if someone attacked them, they could at least run away. Just something to think about..

  • April 26, 1999, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Shared anxiety

    by Foster Zygote

    Several others have also hit on what to me is the most serious implication of this latest blame game. The fact that the missguided assigners of guilt would rather have an America with even more guns and LESS freedom. The hypocracy of shouting about the "danger to freedom" of tougher gun control laws while crying out in self righteous indignation for sensorship makes me red in the face. Assholes like Pat Buchanan give me the shudders. This guy's political heroes include Francisco Franco and Sen. Joseph McCarthy for god's sake. And I'm sure we all remember the evidence of his ties to the American Nazi Party and the KKK. But he and others like him lobby for the hearts and minds of a minoritized but vocal and influential segment of the population by promising them what they want most. That being the ability to shove their values up our asses for our own good. And the NRA (supported heavily by the gun manufacturers) continues to claim that guns have a positive influence on American life. (Don't get me wrong, I have a shotgun that I like to shoot skeet with, but that's a far cry from handguns and assault weapons designed specificly for killing people.) These same gun advocates are closely tied with the movement to blame film and games for what people do with guns. (Gee, wouldn't it be great if everyone could carry a gun? Then every bar fight between two drunken assholes over which is better, Ford or Chevy trucks, could erupt into gunfire in a crowded public place.) Do I think that the entertainment industry is totally innocent? No. But let's be objective folks. After all, the people who would have you believe that the human mind is so easily programmed are the same people who brought you Reefer Madness.

  • April 26, 1999, 2:54 p.m. CST

    A question for those seeking to ban guns

    by mrkrypto

    Most of the "make guns illegal and the problem will be solved" arguments seem to be based on one assumption. The problem is not people being killed, but rather how many. By the no-guns argument, it's a tragedy if someone shoots ten people, but if they stab just one, that's another story. Cutting down the death-toll doesn't fix the problem. As for the issue of "ok, own one gun, but you don't need a whole arsenal". Again, this speaks from ignorance. My father owns several hundred guns. Why? Because he happens to be a collector of WWI and WWII military rifles. The great majority of them he's never fired (nor would he as that would decrease their value) and many have never been fired at all. Having "an arsenal" has no effect on how many people you can kill. I gaurantee I could shoot more people more quickly with a single pistol and a bag full of magazines then anyone with a bag full of loaded guns could. It's just a knee-jerk reaction, "more guns means you can kill more people". If that were true then why do most soldiers go to war with a single rifle and lots of ammunition? I think that there do need to be some more gun laws, but not in terms of who can and can't own them. People need to be accounatable for what happens with their guns. If your kid takes your gun and shoots someone, accidentally or on purpose, it is in part your negligence that caused the shooting. Unfortunately, responsibility has gone down a perverted path in this country. Somehow it's the tobacco companies fault when a person chooses to smoke, it's a movies fault when a person chooses to kill, it's a sports team's fault when some drunk falls down the steps, it's a bar's fault if someone drinks to much and causes an accident, etc. etc. The truth is that every day we make choices and we have to be held accountable for those choices. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head saying "smoke this cigarette or I'll kill you", no one is forcing you to do anything. Even then, you have the choice to live against your principles or die for them. If there was a gun at my head and I was being told to kill someone else, I'd like to believe that I'd take the bullet.

  • April 26, 1999, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Most 1999 Summer films are PG13; DETOX is another matter

    by ABking

    Thank God most of the films of Summer 1999 are PG13 films: Episode One, Austin Powers 2, Big Daddy, South Park, Tarzan, The Mummy, Entrapment, Notting Hill, Wild Wild West, Deep Blue Sea... As you can see, alot of the films coming out this summer are kids friendly. Films in 2000 are another matter. One of the extremly violent films of next year will be Sylvester Stallone's return to the silver screen film, DETOX (from what I've heard, this film is keen on violence). I haven't read the script but I think Moriarty has and he would know. Some of the same people that worked on SEVEN are working on DETOX and it's from the director of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER so can can tell it will be a violent film. Thank god by time this movie comes out, some of the heat on Hollywood and violence would have blown over. I remember in the 80's and early part of the 90's, Stallone's films were always brought up when people talked about society and violence (mainly the RAMBO movies and COBRA). As if Sly had something to do with people blowing other people away. I'm glad Sly will be returning to his violent moviemaking. You have to be sick in the head to begin with if you can watch a movie and because of it, want to go commit a violent act. I'm certainly not one of those people

  • April 26, 1999, 3:40 p.m. CST

    parents's responsibility

    by Palhaco

    I agree with the idea that parents should be responsible for their children. But to blithely imply that that's ALL that needs to be done, is to assume several things: 1. Parents can know EVERYthing their children do/see/read/hear. 2. If parents do know these things, they can have a definite, positive effect, every time -- or at least, enough of the time. 3. There are things in society, in TV, movies, and video games, which have an effect -- or multiplied effects -- on children, negative or positive (which I certainly believe), and 4. If parents are responsible for their OWN children, it's irrelevant if other parents AREN'T responsible for their own. ------- But you cannot just rely on your own sense of responsibility, saying, "Well, as long as I am responsible for my own child, no other child with irresponsible parents will shoot my child," or, "If I am responsible, my child will be somehow magically shielded from all the other children out there." Parental responsibility? Of course. But just to say, "You parents be responsible out there," and think that's enough, is right up there with "Just say No", or "Just teach abstinence".

  • April 26, 1999, 3:42 p.m. CST

    thanks, moriarty and harry

    by tommy five-tone

    events like littleton leave me reeling and confused, and surrounded by the barrage of media disinformation and blame-laying, it's easy to forget that people actually are THINKING about it. thank you, moriarty, for your intelligent posting. thanks, harry, for your eloquent opening words. thank you all for restoring a little of my faith.

  • April 26, 1999, 3:45 p.m. CST

    20/20

    by Damitol

    Great article. I guess I'm sort of lucky that I missed it, or I would have been buying a new television today after tossing a brick through my old one. I was, however *lucky* enough to watch 20/20 earlier in the week. You know - the bodies hadn't been removed yet and ABC news went on the air to explain what happened and why. They threw the net a bit wider, blaming not only movies (The Matrix), music (Marilyn Manson) and games (Doom) - but also the Goth movement in general. Vomiting and laughing simultaneously is an experience that I hope to not experience again soon. Anyway - old news. The point of this is that in the middle of the report they broke away for commercials that included a promo for ABC's Sunday Night Movie - "Mr. Murder". Since I have a life, I didn't get to see it, but the preview led me to believe that a family had to deal with a psychotic killer who looked like Dad, or some such drivel. Then, the show came back on and 20/20 started back in with the finger pointing, "If a kid dresses in black and listens to Marilyn Manson and goes to see "The Matrix" - he WILL kill! And we have two murders in the entire history of Colorado to prove that." Oddly - they never mentioned that movies like...oh, I don't know..."Mr. Murder"?, fall into thier same simplistic soup of "what is wrong with society". The killers facination with Nazism, hatred of ethnic groups and their disgust with the elevation to "untouchable" of the jock class in most schools was ignored. Perhaps they had difficulty finding a game, movie or song to illustrate it. Sadly - within three weeks, America's short memory will have forgotten all about what happened in Colorado, and id software, MGM and whoever else will pony up a few mill to make the smarmy lawyers in the 60 Minutes piece go away. Politicians and the media will move on to other stories and issues, school administrators will return to cutting music, art and after school programs due to lean budgets and parents will go back to not being involved in what their kids do or think. And, sadly, this will all happen again. And as always - movies, music and games will be at the wrong end of the pointing finger. That is *so* much easier than trying to find the real cause.

  • April 26, 1999, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Guns make us safe?

    by Foster Zygote

    You're household gun is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder! And three out of four people killed by a gun are shot by a spouse, family member, friend, or acquaintance. Sort of makes the "What if a goon were going to kill you?" arguement weak doesn't it? Ask our Canadian, English, Australian, or Japanese friends if they feel unsafe without guns. Gun violence in those countries is rare. And how can you suggest that the point ISN'T to lower the body count? Are you seriously saying that it makes NO difference whether someone stabs one person or shoots a hundred???? When I have my first kid my skeet gun is going to my shooting buddies house 'cause his kids are grown and gone.

  • April 26, 1999, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Answer for Mrkrypto

    by Dolfanar

    It's all about attitudes. When Moses stands up and says that *GUNS GOOD*, *BLACK TRENCHCOATS BAD*, and Joe Billy Bob nods his head, Joe Jr. is watching. He sees a celebrity AND his father saying that guns are *GOOD* (they don't kill people afterall) and people are *BAD* (They kill people, remember). This fosters an attitude and an environment where guns are accepted, and are generally whithin reach. Throw in some movies which show kids how to handle a gun with *STYLE*, and you have an "tragedy" ready to happen. Suddenly the kid is put into a situation he CANNOT handle, while the dad is at the NRA meeting, and so the kid grabs dads gun (or worse, his own) and blows someones head off. Remove the gun from the equation, and what you have is a kid who get's into a fight. THere *ARE* problems that need to be dealt with ASIDE from guns, *BUT* reducing the bodycount seems like an EXCELLENT first step. In Canada, Britain, Australia and all around the industrialised world we've made that first step. Are our kids any healthier? No. Are they any happier? I'm not sure. But one thing I *AM* sure about is that they are a hell of alot safer. Remember there is no amount of love, NO amount of therapy, that will heal a corpse...

  • April 26, 1999, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Gun banners take easy way out. (cowards)

    by vultureman

    They say make more laws. FACT: those 2 kids broke 6+ anti-gun laws before they even went onto the high school campus. Insane people rarely worry over legality. They say ban all guns. FACT there are over 176 million guns in the US. And it is understood (never stated) that if a gun ban was implemented then revolution and assasination would be the result here in the US. (ask a senior BATF/FBI officer on this) They blame guns on school CAMPUS for the deaths. FACT: NRA had on-campus gun safety/firearms training in some public high schools back in the 70's. Kids brought guns to school one day a week and were taught proper care / marksmanship/ safety. It was stopped because of a shooting incident that did not involve a NRA class member. FACT: Shotguns and Rifles were routinely seen in the gun racks of kids cars at rural east Texas High Schools up till about '95 yet they had no schoool shootings. Why, cause most of these kids had hunting permits and went hunting before (deer)/ after (dove/squirrel) school. What happened: school officials got nervous but had no Texas incident to attach it to;unluckily the US Congress made it a felony to bring a gun to school. They blame the guns for DEATH. Just like those parents are blaming DOOM and the movies. FACT: Each school shooter in the '90s has been BY DEFINITION insane. Should we not worry about mental health instead of the tools. And if you don't think a car is a tool for killing then you haven't heard about the semi truck hitting the school bus yet. -- The Columbine killers had one year to plan this grisly event. Their death count did not even surpass the record for mass school death. FACT: A school official bombed his own school over a dispute back in the '20s and got 30+ deaths. Guess what, given a year to plan and make the tools of destruction, these 2 kids get a C for effort. Yeah they used guns and explosives. No real thought there , just some cookbook chemistry and illegal buys. You should worry about the ones who take a year to make poisons or do actual sabotage to the school itself. Lets just say if you ask any gaming/war strategists group, they can come up with a lot higher potential body count given a one year lead time. ----------- So stop blaming one thing as the problem and realize that our culture needs some corrections. Remember that premeditated murder is something humans do and only thinking humans can prevent. Therel Moore Who am I- Software professional, third generation peace officer family,and TX concealed handgun Intructor. And BTW my guns have SAVED lives, stopped rapes and because I acted thoughfully with my tools I am a free man. And no I am not a peace officer like the rest of my name sake.

  • Actually, not a bad essay, Moriarty, and many thanks to Harry for posting it up here for discussion. It gives food for thought, certainly. Though I have begun to take a dimmer view of the depiction of violence in the media (despite my taste for Tarantino, spaghetti westerns and Hong Kong action flicks), Moriazty is correct in identifying and decrying the current tendency to look for easy culprits to explain Littleton and its bloody predecessors - whether it be guns, violent movies, racism or...well, you fill in the blank. I'm heartened to se that most AICNers here seem to be in rough agreement on two points: 1) that the causes of incidents such as these are many, not so easy to pinpoint or even easy to solve - certainly not by censorship, a V-Chip or even a gun ban (or a propane tank ban, for that matter), and 2) that too many Americans are going to all lengths to avoid assessing individual responsibility. These boys were certainly sick, certainly in need of help, but they must ultimately assume responsibility for their actions - if not to us, than to whatever higher power waits in judgment on them. And, as Moriarty points out, the parents share certain amount of responsibility - certainly an awful abiding guilt, if they have any moral center at all. The degrading of individual responsibility is but part of the ongoing cultural corrosion at work in America, a corrosion which manifests itself in many ways, and for which Hollywood is hardly the Great Originator - merely an opportunistic (perhaps slightly complicit) profiteer. There are too many unfortunate trends at work, and the only defense against them is, in the end, a set of dedicated, loving parents (and yes, preferably two where possible, but not necessarily) willing and able to inculcate the right values and sense of responsibility in their children, and willing to take a very active role in their children's lives to that end - for however upstanding they might have otherwise been, it's obvious that the parents of the boys in questions weren't as...active as they could have been. Where does that leave us? I suppose it couldn't hurt for networks and studios to exercise a little more restraint where children are likely to be in the audience in great numbers; nor would it hurt to make it more difficult for kids to get guns; nor would it hurt to institute school uniforms to put a dent in cliquism; but we shouldn't have any illusions that any of it would make a difference in the absence of good parenting. And to Eternal: As C.S. Lewis once said, if Man has been this bad _with_ Christianity_, imagine how he would have been without it...and in any case, these boys hardly seemed saturated with Christian or other religious influences (unless you worship KMFDM). Have Faith - and wash your colors in cold.

  • April 26, 1999, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Cultural differences / Magic Bullet

    by Rozehead

    Ok, I think what the I'm hearing is this: Somewhere, carefully hidden in films and games is an element that once viewed or experienced will cause a sane and rational person to do something they might not have otherwise done. It is almost as if the film or game "made" them do it. A "magic bullet" was fired at them and directly caused them to perform actions that were against their nature. True, films give visualization to violence and games provide opportunity to pretend, but apparently there is something more. Apparently thare is a hynotising factor that indoctranates certain people into a web of violence so strongly that they must carry out what the game, film, book, web site, television show, music CD, radio, et al "tells" them to do. It won't affect everyone. In fact it doesn't affect 99.9 percent of those people that view it. But for that .1 percent it commands them to act. It doesn't seem to matter how the information is packaged, it is still effective. It can be as simple as a post the newsgroups or as complicated as a trilogy of books made into feature length films spanning decades. Free will then negated and therefore individual responsibility as well. I think this is the bottom line of the argument: Since certain people are not in full control of their bodies, then whatever put them in that state must be held accountable. Like I said, perhaps I'm missing something? I do a lot of traveling. I've seen films and played games in Britan, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Canada. These cultures seem to have similar pop culture to the US. I've seen waaaay more violent imagery in Hong Kong and Tokyo than I've ever seen in the US. But for some reason this "magic bullet" doesn't seem to affect people from those cities. I guess they have developed some sort of super mind control that allows them to easily deflect the attempts of Hollywood and Videogames that command them take human life. You just don't see children blowing away their classmates there. Same goes for Canada which is about as American as you can get. So barring other cultures' development of a secret Jedi mind trick that keep them from commiting mass murder (which I must confess as being an argument a bit tenous at best), we need to look at other cultural differences. Hmm, what about other cultures is different from the US. Well, lets see...these other cultures have gun laws. But it couldn't be that, could it? I mean certainly in other countries w/o guns, a child affected by the "magic bullet" would find some way to lash out. Perhaps they would use a knife or big stick? Sure they may not be able to take out as many people as they want, but what's the difference? A weapon is a weapon. It still happens, right? A person who has been shot by the "magic bullet" can still walk into a building and kill people without a gun. Sure not as many, but dammit, children have a right to bear arms. I read that in the Constitution. It's right there. They have a right to take out 13 people quickly and effectively with a gun as opposed to 2 or 3 slowly with something else. We can't control the media's infulence, so why try...? I'm being sarcastic. Gun laws will not work in America. Yes, everyone has the right to own one. I do agree with that. BUT, I also agree that an item made specifically to kill should not be allowed to be bought by just anyone. We make 16 year olds take a driving test before they can drive, but anyone can go and own a real live working shotgun. Videogames and films are rated barring certain people from them. Yet, anyone can buy a rifle without so much as waiting for a background check. That blows my mind. The point is that it is absolutly ridiculous to blame a "magic bullet" for killing anyone. Movies, TV, Games cannot cause anyone's death. Someone must pull the trigger. Even if "Magic Bullets" did exist they couldn't kill. Even real bullets don't kill. The person who loads the bullet into the gun and fires the weapon kills. The individual is responsible. If we subscribed to definitive causal relationships we'd sue the beer companies whenever there was a drunk driving accident. "Sure I killed that busload of children when I ran the red light Officer, but I was drunk. The beer is to blame, not me" How come I can't blame the film "Ronin" when I get a speeding ticket? The police officer never seems to let me go and arrest Robert DeNiro. The officer just laughs. "You chose to speed, you take the ticket" No, only the most gravest and seriuos incidents are blamed on films and games. Since these affected people didn't "choose" to commit the act, they get off the hook. No one in their right mind would massacre, would they? So now it's a whole chicken and the egg argument. Are deranged people watching films and commiting horrible acts of their own accord or are rational people being corrupted by a hidden "Magic Bullet"? I'm not into theories, but the "magic bullet" just doesn't seem to hold water. If I'm not already inclined to act a certain way, a film will not make me. I'm not an empty automatron ready to be programmed by remote control. Deep down every knows that this isn't a real argument. It just doesn't make sense and confounds logic. But no one wants to speak up. Much easier to believe that "innocent" children were made evil by an outside force. No home life or other factors need to be taken in account, after all they hit a little too close to home. Why condem the parent of child themselves when there is a mythical "Magic Bullet"? Oh great Hollywood please don't use your magic and make me go bad. I'll just shut my eyes and it'll all be ok. I'm gonna be safe an' all if'n we jus' blow up mean ole Hollywood. The world's ills will disappear if we deflate "The Basketball Diaries". Perhaps we should just get rid of ole Leonardo? Since everyone automatically imitates him it would behoove us to make damn sure acts appropriatly, don't cha think? Blame him, blame his film, but for God's sake don't blame the person who pulled the trigger. C'mon this is all stuff we know anyway. -allen

  • April 26, 1999, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Afterword

    by Dolfanar

    I'm not trying to insinuate that Canadian Gun Laws are *perfect*, in fact I think that they are a little lax on certain points, BUT the environment and attitudes ABOUT guns basically comes down to "Never trust a man with a gun". And what kid wants to grow up untrusted?

  • April 26, 1999, 4:16 p.m. CST

    The irony of holding NBK responsible

    by JSchmit

    If we are natural born killers, as the title of Oliver Stone's film suggests, if it's human nature to do evil things, what sense does it make to blame a movie for things that are inside of us? The central idea of NBK is positive, the idea that "Love beats the demon." So if kids miss the point, isn't it their own fault?

  • April 26, 1999, 4:16 p.m. CST

    The irony of holding NBK responsible

    by JSchmit

    If we are natural born killers, as the title of Oliver Stone's film suggests, if it's human nature to do evil things, what sense does it make to blame a movie for things that are inside of us? The central idea of NBK is positive, the idea that "Love beats the demon." So if kids miss the point, isn't it their own fault?

  • April 26, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    NBK was never meant to "incite" violence!

    by knute123

    First of all, thank you Moriarty. Brilliant article. I've been watching the footage in horror the past few days waiting for this inevitable shitstorm to reign down. But my point is...does anyone remember the original trailers for NBK??? It basically said, "Oliver Stone has a vision of the future, and you won't believe what he sees." Meaning, he doesn't condone it or crave criminals like M&M, but it's the future and will not be stopped unless the media, the prisons, the parenting all start getting it right. What is wrong w/ all these politicians and reporters anyway? Hello? Can't you sit through the film and analyze the significance for yourselves? I heard Pat Buchanan on MSNBC the other day talking to John Gibson. All he could say to prove his point that Hollywood puts out all this "cultural filth" and in his day..blah blah blah. No mention of the pictures of REAL dead bodies in Kosovo bleeding in the road I've been seeing on the front pages of the papers or on MSNBC. Apparently, it's all Hollywood's fault. Simple solutions and blame are what everyone looks for. My senior year in high school a freshman boy died in a car accident at lunch. There's no question it was the boy was at fault in the accident and had snuck off campus. BUT, the news media was there instantly and blamed the school for not having enough security. No mention of how this boy had simply made a tragic mistake and broken rules that exist for his own protection. No, the media placed the blame on the open campus policy. Simple solutions are never the right solutions. Thanks Moriarty for pointing it out once and for all.

  • April 26, 1999, 4:26 p.m. CST

    moriarty's responsibility

    by Palhaco

    Moriarty, I think it's great that you're going to take responsibility for any piece of work you create. But how, exactly, are you going to do that? Like Reagan "took full responsibility" for the 200+ Marines killed in Lebanon? Or like Clinton takes responsibility for his undisciplined bodily functions and lies? I really appreciate what you have written, even though I don't totally agree with you. But, what does taking responsibility mean in this sort of situation?

  • April 26, 1999, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Stop the madness! Ban the propane accessories!!

    by Oberon

    Foster Zygote has apparently got it all figured out: it's guns. I say you're wrong. Guns only accounted for part of the body count; Littleton clearly points, however, to the unchecked proliferation of propane tanks and plumbing accessories across the country. None of us should rest until hardware stores acorss the fruited plain institute a 15 day "cooling off" period before purchasing that lethal Hibachi or that dangerous sinktrap. They've figured this out in Australia and England, you know... you certainly haven't heard of any Aussie schools getting blasted to subatomic particles by a three-level rotisserie grill or a homemade hand grenade, now have you? And there's certainly no nonsense about allowing idiots to conceal carry a Sunbeam under their jacket like they're bloody Dirty Harry or the Frugal Gourmet. It's a literal timebomb we're sitting on. Stop the madness!

  • April 26, 1999, 4:41 p.m. CST

    To vultureman

    by Dolfanar

    Dear Mr. Gun Nut So if I get this straight, having kids bring guns to school, so they can be taught how BETTER use them is the answer? I am dumbfounded. Guns ARE NOT a sign of courage, verility or any other positve attribute. Guns are made to kill. Period. You DO NOT need 40 or 20 or 12 or even ONE gun to hunt. It takes LITTLE skill to hunt with a gun. Kill a bear or Dear or Caribou with a Bow or Spear and I'll be impressed. The self-defense argument doesn't hold water either, many more people get shot with their own gun then by ANY intruder. Guns are ALL about violence. Whether it is the THREAT of violence, or even the POTENTIAL for the threat of violence. It is a WEAPON. It is NOT like a knife (a tool) or a Car (a mode of transportation). It is a quick and easy means of dispatching as many humans as possible. And if Americans are SO attached to their guns that asking them to own LESS than 12 or to wait 3-10 days to own one, will cause them to REVOLT, then your society is more fucked up than I could possibly imagine.

  • April 26, 1999, 4:43 p.m. CST

    the sicko gun culture; sorry, Charleton

    by drasaid

    Sorry to disagree with Charleton Heston (who I have previously admired for his other work) but the gun culture in America is really sick. Just go to a gun show. At a gun show you won't see the large percentage of gun owners who own one or two guns for hunting or target practice or self defense. You'll see the nut bags, the ones you pray don't live next door, or down the street, or anywhere you ever go. I have lousy eyesight and probably never will use a gun. The vile thing about the NRA is its seeming faith in social darwinism; a desire and enjoyment of the crushing of the weak. This foul, sadistic deformation of what was a simple theory by a peaceful man is what is behind the NRA's insanity. The loonies that lurk behind the facade of the NRA (on top of which Charlton Heston stands glittering) believe, in what they have for hearts, that the weak, the kind, and the gentle are theirs to use and abuse. The truly awful part of this is that this same sadism is also what lies behind the worst of the violent films and vidio games. Guns kill people, and I wish the USA had the same laws as England; but if you enjoy the movies and the games, what part of you is enjoying it? I am not saying you are a sadist, but be aware. We all have a nasty dark place festering somewhere in our souls, and it is each person's duty to keep in in bounds. It is strong, and in Littleton it took over.

  • April 26, 1999, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Oberon you twerp

    by Dolfanar

    Without the guns they would NEVER have had the opportunity to use the bombs effectively. That's why infantrymen are given Grenades IN ADDITION to rifles. The idea is to get your prey running around the place, and causing a panic, then you throw a grenade to "clear the decks". Or even better, you fire enough rounds over a large area and hope your targets take cover, and when they are conveniently hidng in one place. BOOM. Nice try, clever writing, but WRONG!

  • April 26, 1999, 4:59 p.m. CST

    To Drasaid

    by Dolfanar

    I inderstand your point about those of us who live in countries with tough Gun laws. Yes we watch the same movies, and we enjoy them about as much as Americans do. But understand this, when *we* see a gun in a movie it has the same recognition factor as when *YOU* see a Sword. It is a dramatic element, a prop. Because we are not exposed guns NEARLY as much as Americans, guns become something imaginary and distant. I have as much exposure to guns as I do to catapults, siege engines, or lances, and because of this I am as likely to be horrified by Braveheart as I am by Natural Born Killers, and in fact I am. Ultra violent movies dont drum up as much controversy here because they aren't all that relavent to our society.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:10 p.m. CST

    thebrew

    by klickink

    last night my six-year-old son told me he wished he was dead. then he said he wanted to kill all his friends in school. then maybe just the girls he chased. my son is twenty-four hundred miles away from me and i could not give him what he needed most: a hug. something to make him feel good about himself, something to make him feel wanted. that's what he needed. as a forty-five year old father, i can recognize that much about kids. yet all i could do was tell him that was wrong, talk him down from his anger, then talk him back up to be good and respect others. i had less than ten minutes to do this 'cause his mother started his bath early to tempt him away from his father, to hurt me, and maybe even him. see, she is one of those mean angry people that didn't get love early in life, or was not taught to respect others, to have compassion. i lived with her just over four years, but i can't really understand her other than to say her 'actions' are 'evil'. as you can probably discern from these words there's a acrimonious divorce going on here. three kids are being damaged in its wake. i won't go into the particulars at this point. once during this struggle i'd posted it all on my website, looking to vent, to get the truth out. i may do that again, soon, in mid-june. but for now i'm more concerned getting my kids through this. i worry my son is not learning how to 'deal' with others, to recognize that someone's ridicule is not necessarily reality when it's about you. if you're different,if you're quiet, you're more than likely going to be a target and an outsider most of your life. the younger you learn to walk through your personal wall of despair and embarrasement, the better. i can only hope i have enough time left teach my kids that, but it's probably not going to happen. in three months i will more than likely be dead. you see, i'm a poor man. can't afford a lawyer. can't make the judges wake up. when i see things happen like in colorado, i really worry about my kids. i pray they won't pick on and ridicule others. i also pray they won't be bothered if others do the same to them. i want to tell them so bad to just live your life doing whatever it is makes you happy, as long as you don't harm others doing so. and ignore what others 'think' about you. those two kids that did the shooting are responsible for their actions. they were evil. they chose that path. but it is a path made for them by the ones that taunted them, that wouldn't allow them to express themselves by dressing and acting different. those jocks, or whoever did that, they are evil to. the teachers, the cops, the parents that did nothing...they too, are responsible. but someone who makes a film, no matter how gratuitious, are not. most films, no matter how violent, always try to end on positive, goodvsevil themes. while i know for a fact, and anyone with a shred of honesty does too, that oliver 'commie bastard' stone's NBK was an attempt to blame american society on creating monters like those two nuts in colo., i can't believe he'd actually want someone to go out and kill senselessly. NBK was a social criticisim of America. that's all it was. it is the parents who are responsible that must catch this behaviour and deal with it. sometimes it's too late. sometimes there is no help(poor? too bad, you're on your own in this society). sometimes a human being is going to end up down the dark path cause that is his/her essence and there's not much any of us can do about it but to deal with it swiftly and harshly when it happens. teh best parents in the world are hopeless against a born sociopath or pedophile. folks like that are born that way. it is not our society. it is our parents. while i won't argue about the reality that our present government is doing all it can(especially under the clintons - have your heard hillary's comments from yesterday????!! - the democratic darling is talking about 'controlling' our freedom of speech, folks - and hollywood embraced these folks, raised money to keep bill from getting kicked out of office!!!!), the parents have to stand fast and take responsibility. with my older kids, if they told me of a situation out of control at school, bet your ass i went down there to do something about it, to force the prinicpal to deal with it. not through violence, but in steadfast acknowledgement, forcing recognition and action. likewise, if one of my boys was a contributor to a conflict at school, i was also down there watching as the prinicpal did some ass-busting. the one thing that i realized too late with my older kids, i should have hugged them after being busted. i should have told them what they did was wrong, what they thought was wrong, but it didn't mean they were different or bad at heart. everyone, i mean everyone breathing, has bad, destructive thoughts. most control them. some better than others. very few do something life-threatening, when you figure in statistics. so with punishment, you show forgiveness. you make them feel good about themselves, that they are just as good as anyone else...but you have to respect the rights of others. i'm sorry, but my government frightens me. our press frightens me. incidents like in colo. gives 'reasons' for more control and less freedom in our life. hitler, milosovic, guys like him come into power using the fear of others. what our 'leaders' should have done was to point fingers at everyone, not just a select few(gunowners, film, media, white male replublicans). by pointing that finger at a select group, they've done nothing more than become that ones that tease, that exclude others, that ignites even more violence. things like this make you want to exlaim 'the end is nigh'...if only so all the suffering will stop, so the madness will go away . yet, in us all is that glimmer of hope. hope. a magic word, the mate of 'love'. god i hope things don't get worse. but, as yoda says, "matters are worse." mks http://rampages.onramp.net/~klickink

  • April 26, 1999, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Dunblane and blaming the wrong movies

    by MGP

    You can't censor for lunatics and children. You can never know what fantasy life they are leading that allows them to rationalise their actions. The American media have picked on "Basketball Diaries" for Littleton. Why not the more explicit messages of Heathers? 'cos the hairstyles are too 80s for 60 minutes? UK readers have noted Childs Play 3 taking the flak for the Bulger killing. There was never any proof the 9 year old killers had even seen it. For those who remember the unpleasant details of the murder itself (kid killed by being pelted with bricks and paint cans) a more direct comparison can be found in Home Alone 2 - released about the right time and, obviously, marketed right at every 9 year old in the country. My point being it is the alienation of these children or teenagers which sets them up - their moment of inspiration could be anything and you cannot legislate to prevent that "copycat" expression of their urges.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Relevance?

    by MrNiceGuy

    I've read all the Talkbacks up to this point. I posted earlier, adding a few points which Moriarty didn't address fully. As the day has progressed, it seems, the debate has increasing broadened itself and polarized. Given that people continue to mention NATO's bombing of Serbia, I'm going to expand my frame of reference to include world events and state the following truth: the Columbine massacre is unimportant. Irrelevant. In a year, it will be forgotten by all but the friends and families of the deceased. What DOES matter is NATO's bombing of Serbia. What we are witnessing is both a fumbling of American international dominance, and a preface to a future Cold War with regional challengers such as China. The Kosovo bombings, which use "stand-off" weaponry as a means of preventing continued Serbian military action, are completely ineffective. If anything, they have merely rallied the Serbians around Milosovich, and thus created another Saddam Hussein. What is required is a ground war. So far, American policy-makers have proven their unwillingness to deploy ground forces in opposition to the Serbian military. This stems from a fear of the political costs of casualties. America, the most dominant international hegemon since the Roman Empire, is eroding its own hegemony through inaction. A state cannot be the global hegemon if it is unwilling to fight a war to preserve its own dominance -- and Kosovo is demonstrating latent American isolationism. Americans cannot afford to isolate themselves. Their economic strength comes from their ability to make the rules, internationally, manipulating trade through the WTO to serve their own interests. That's why America is allowed to prevent Cuban goods, for example, from coming in, while disallowing any other state to erect barriers to trade, as the dispute with the EU over bananas indicates. Kosovo, while not significant as a challenge to American hegemony by itself, is significant as a situation comparable to that of the Taiwan Straits self-determination dispute. If America chooses to defend the Taiwanese as they have defended the Kosovars, they will face a massive, costly conflict. If they don't, it will signal an end to American global hegemony, as China becomes the regional hegemon. As I say, America cannot afford to be anything less than the sole superpower, otherwise their status will be relegated to that of present-day Britain -- a pawn of a superpower, a shadow of a former great power, and nothing more. That is why, in a year, Kosovo will be remembered, as the greatest foreign policy gaffe since Vietnam as we face a Cold War with China. Columbine will fade into oblivion. That is why all this media attention is so absurd. All the fools who pay attention to this situation as though it was important at all are being unbelievably blind. America is in crisis, and it is not because a few kids got killed in Bumfuck, Colorado. People should keep that in mind as they debate such a meaningless topic so furiously. And for what it's worth, only the culprits themselves should be held responsible, despite the sociological value of an inquiry into the nature of their family (refer to my prior comments for my reasons for this).

  • April 26, 1999, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Anyone realize...?

    by TinMan1176

    How come no one seems to hit on the fact that these "parents", along with their "lawyers", and a large amount of the "media" were all young too. During those days it was Rock n Roll that was corrupting youth. Fast cars were the death knell of society and going to Viet Nam was the hallmark of a well adjusted, productive member of society. Now they blame everything on the nearest scapegoat available, even though they protested big government telling them what they could watch, listen to, wear, and drive. It is really true the opressed become the opressors all in the name of the all-mighty dollar. Ask any of them if they were upset when the "Big Gov" legislated Hemis out of existence. I think they need a reality check. "But its different," they'll say. So did their parents. On the note of parental responsibility, one parent is quoted as saying something about the fact he had been complaining about these kids for TWO years. Pathetic school officials did nothing and allowed this tradgedy to occur. I notice his kid was still in the school too. So much for responsibility.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:32 p.m. CST

    admitting responsibility

    by Meatball

    First, my sincere condolences to the victims of this senseless act. Second, I wish every person on this planet were as smart and sensible as the persons who have contributed to this discussion today. In the midst of knee-jerk reactionists who would like to point blame at every source of influence from what they listened to, to what they watched, what they read and even what they wore, it's comforting to have individuals with responsible voices out there to contest these statements and stand up to personal freedoms. Influences in lives are as positive as negative; music, art, motion pictures, books, literature, speech, these are all outlets that contain in them the ability to enlighten, for better or for worse. In the end, the responsibility lies in the individual, and no other source can claim more responsibility. These act were performed by demented, desperate persons; not the trench coats they more, the musicians who made their music, not even the guns that fired the bullets. Thanks again for you time.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:40 p.m. CST

    The problem is the government!

    by Funmazer

    Star Wars is gonna be lame. That being said, you know what the real problem is in all this? The Government! Think of this. All of our missles and what not blowing away tons of people in Kosovo. It's not REAL to Clinton. They push a button, people die. JUST LIKE A VIDEO GAME. NATO couldn't work things out with Kosovo, so, what did they do? KILL! Those kids couldn't work things out in school, so what did they do? KILL! The government is setting the bad example here, if anyone, THEY are not responsible for their actions. Clinton (seems) to be able to get away with anything, so these KIDS think that too. If NATO accidently killed tons of refugees, "Sorry about that!" and that's it. Also, yes, the media. Do they NEED to show all the dead bodies? They are the ones glamourizing it! Also, about movies. Just about EVERY movie containing violence also has a MOTIVATION for it. Is there REALLY a motivation for war? Besides greed or religion? At least the MOVIES put it in context. The BAD GUYS get shot. The GOOD GUYS win. Maybe these kids in Colorado thought the other kids were the BAD GUYS. Well, that's THEIR problem for being insane. Yes, insane. It's quite possible that people can be insane, you know. Also, many of you gave examples of violence before TV or movies. Well, heck, even WITH movies, people have been getting shot for decades. But then, those kids a few years back shoot up a school, and THAT'S what started the copycat school killings. BY THE WAY! The things you killed in DOOM didn't look like kids, did they? Maybe those lawyer should PLAY Doom and see you are fighting BAD GUYS! Argh! (and PS Saving Private Ryan was possibly the most violent film ever, has it even been MENTIONED? I think it even contained trenchcoats!)

  • April 26, 1999, 5:47 p.m. CST

    RE: GUIDO

    by Lex Blank

    Guido, you are the biggest idiot. Banning guns is about as effective of a solution as banning violent films. Use your head man.

  • April 26, 1999, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Breaking People

    by LastAvatar

    Moriarty brilliantly pointed out the heart of the whole issue here. "He [Grossman] doesn't account for what is breaking down the self-worth of these troubled kids. He forgets that the individual must be humiliated first, devalued... broken." The high school society is tuned just for that. An elite are maintained by ensuring the inferiority of other students. But its not that simple. Once students identify with the "outcast" group (notice how much that word has been used in reporting this story) they reinforce it. That alienation becomes a source of strength, which only increases the tensions. Are "jocks" to blame? Yeah I guess in part, its more like everyone is to blame. The schools glorify those athletes and model students, who often enough are at the absolute bottom of the decency scale. Individuality is suppressed and god forbid anyone try and break out of the system. I wonder just how many kids have snapped because of the fucked up prisons we call highschool. A few people get it, but in the wake of this event they are overshadowed by the warranted grief and unwarranted blame on movies, games and alternative music. Here's a kicker: study after study shows that anyone under the proper stresses can become a killer and actually enjoy it. The irony of that statement is that Tuesday, the afternoon of this horrible event that was stated by a psychology professor of mine. When I turned on CNN later on and saw Columbine HS I started shaking. Not to mention having a family member a current student of the school. It was like a message was being shouted to me that we don't get it yet. The fault is with the society that humiliates, devalues, and breaks people. What can we expect if that continues to happen? In the military Grossman admits that's HOW they get people to kill, but if that same process exists in our schools and society that's ok? It doesn't matter how many guns are banned, people will use knives or make more bombs (which can't be banned unless you close all the hardware stores in the country.) Sure less guns will reduce the body count, but not enough, and certainly not forever. We all need to make a really hard choice of we want to end these violent episodes. We need to confront our darker natures, which is impossible to do if you are banned from even seeing the truth of what can be inside us. Denying a wound in the heart will not heal it. If we confront that nature and our ability to hate so easily and to destroy others so easily, then there's hope we can turn away from it.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Not just ONE movie

    by LBMAYER

    It's not just one movie or TV show responsible for desensitizing all of us to violence. It's the never ending barrage of violent images one after another, after another, after another, done more and more erotically all the time. Raising the bar with every summer season. Ultimately, it has to be making an imprint on the entire world's psyche in some fashion.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:31 p.m. CST

    To that feel-good hoplophobe Dolfanar

    by vultureman

    Missing point I can understand but evading is another matter. -------- Those kids bringing their guns to school for NRA training respected their guns and the law and thus they did not turn them on their classmates. --------- Dolfanar says you don't even need guns to hunt, course he never has done so himself and does not understand that some people still hunt for meat here in the US and it is quicker to use a gun than to stalk with bow and arrow. The fact that these same hunters routinely brought their guns to school escapes Dolfanar on the point that guns and school are not usually a recipe for murder. ------------ Next he states that guns are about violence, sorry guns are about death. Death of animals (human or not) and there are 176 million of them in the US. The threat of death by using a gun is used daily in the US to stop violence upon the weak. Failing to understand that w/o that threat there would be many more deaths from knives and cars here in the US(check FBI stats/history) ------------ Next comes the feel good measure, Dolfanar tries to says that somehow introducing more gun restrictions would somehow stop the mass killings that happened at Columbine High school. He wants to limit gun purchases to one per month. Of course those 2 wackos planned this for over a year and could not have legally purchased even one gun. But by his logic they could have got 24 guns instead of the 4 they used. Dolfanar also wants to limit the total number of guns any one person can own. Even though FBI stats show that those who own more than 10 guns are less likely to commit any violent crime than the average citizen (this one takes some cross references to look up). --------- And how about waiting periods yeah that would've helped those poor kids since the wackos waited one year before actualy committing mass murder. And for every case of someone getting a gun legally then turning around and murdering (not killing in self-defense) I can post one of someone buying a gun to protect them and their family from an immediate threat. ------- And as for REVOLT , I stated that would be the most likely result to a US total gun ban. ------- Dolfanar mentioned autos as a method for transprotation yet left off that it is also an excellent killing tool. You can get real high body counts too thanks to school buses. ------ (re the name of "Mr. Gun Nut" Sorry I take off my gun daily and enjoy my life, so calling me a GUN NUT is a bit extreme. Yet it seems that Dolfanar obsesses about guns and that they do "violent things". Please tell that to the hundreds of thousands of peace officers who carry them on their hips, tell them they have VIOLENCE riding in that holster. (hopefully they won't lock you up and will explain what a gun is for) ------------ Sure some people should be allowed to own a gun, just like some people should not be allowed cars. It still the nut behind the wheel/trigger that bothers me. **** Welcome to the violence inherent in the system. Our society is not that healthy and that is what we need to fix. **** =========== Therel Moore --Yes I teach Firearms Safety =========== And BTW you don't see any swiss high school kids going on shoot rampages with their father's full auto guns ( over 70% of households in Switzerland have at least one fully automatic submachine gun/assault rifle. Most of those in unlocked cabinets with 1000 rounds of ammo).

  • April 26, 1999, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Does this surprise you.....

    by 20th Century Fox

    Weve taken god, morals. right and wrong out of the schools over the last thirty years and look at what we replaced it with. Self-esteem gobely gook, outcome base education, no concept of personal responiblitly and the attiutude that you can do what you want and no one can judge you....Its easy to blame the NRA and the"gun culture" but if you want to ban guns (And more than likely these lpsycho's bought them ILEGALLY any way so the gun control laws mean nothing...) then ban gasloine, glass, nails, propane tanks, metal pipes, marylin manson, BMW's, black trenchcoats, metal pipes, vcr's, wood, matches, clocks, camcorders, marylin manson, computers, cd's and anything gothic..Those who are holding up signs that we should "Stop the NRA" are missing the point...We should take a long look at the parents who seemed to sit idely by while their sons were making bombs.... More later

  • April 26, 1999, 6:50 p.m. CST

    At least they can't blame drugs...!!!!

    by ChodaRagu

    Toxicology reports showed that neither boy responsible for the murders had any trace of alcohol or illegal drugs in their system. Just thought that was interesting to hear.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:55 p.m. CST

    HELP! HELP! Come see the violence inherent in the system!

    by Dolfanar

    Why is it that every time I hear an NRA Nut speak I think of Monty Python? The violence ISN't "inherent in the "system", vultureman, it is inherent in the people who NEED guns ("hopefully they won't lock you up and will explain what a gun is for"). The threat of violence IS ALL the NRA is about. the threat of violence is ALL guns are about. I could go on all day trying to get you americans to stop killing each other, but I won't bother. We have problems in my country which fortunately WILL NOT result in millions dead but which need addressing none-the-less. If you ever decide that life is more important than guns, I will be delighted, ESPECIALLY for your kids. Call me a coward, call me a proponent of "feel good" solutions, But *I* don't ever have to fear getting shot over a drunken argument in a bar, and nor do I feel the need to keep a gun in the house to sleep soundly. Good Luck, and take the advice of the very first post on this board, make sure you become *VERY* good friends with a kevlar vest...

  • April 26, 1999, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Impressive

    by lame

    Like has been said, I thought the article was quite well balanced (although with a predictable point of view) but what got to me the most was the feeling and sincerity the posters put into their comments. AICN sometimes seems to be visited by 12 year olds who make bets during the day to see who can get the word FUCK into as many posts as possible. Im an Australian, and as you may or may not know, Americans around the world are regarded as an ignorant and arrogant lot. You guys have shown that you're not all the same. Like I said, Im impressed. PS. A guy from Oz said earlier that shootings are virtually non-existant in Australia, well, compared to the USA, maybe, but we did have an incident in Port Arthur Tasmania recently that not many would consider "virtually non-existent". However, since then, gun control is tighter and I dont feel my civil liberties threatened at all. Cheers guys.

  • April 26, 1999, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Impressive

    by lame

    Like has been said, I thought the article was quite well balanced (although with a predictable point of view) but what got to me the most was the feeling and sincerity the posters put into their comments. AICN sometimes seems to be visited by 12 year olds who make bets during the day to see who can get the word FUCK into as many posts as possible. Im an Australian, and as you may or may not know, Americans around the world are regarded as an ignorant and arrogant lot. You guys have shown that you're not all the same. Like I said, Im impressed. PS. A guy from Oz said earlier that shootings are virtually non-existant in Australia, well, compared to the USA, maybe, but we did have an incident in Port Arthur Tasmania recently that not many would consider "virtually non-existent". However, since then, gun control is tighter and I dont feel my civil liberties threatened at all. Cheers guys.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:05 p.m. CST

    Lack of respect for each other and authority.

    by Uncapie

    How can we, as Americans, have respect for one another when our so called "heroes" like sports players that kill their wives, take drugs, movie stars that do the same and even the highest honor in the nation, the president, gets away with adultery? Where money can buy your innocence or guilt. Where attorneys can poison the laws in a spin doctor fashion that make the innocent party the one who is guilty. Where money can buy the freedom of a guilty man. Where we teach kids to sue each other and their elders instead of trying to teach them how to get along with each other and be responsible for their actions instead of dodging them in a make-believe scenario. Games and movies are not to blame, lack of parental guidence is. We're so busy trying to make the next buck, to outdo the neighbor with the biggest and the best SUV while talking nonsense on the cellphone that we never pay attention to the kids. They grow up by themseleves without anyone to look up and guide them. We had Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, John Wayne good people that did the right thing. What do the kids of today have to look up to? Overpaid actors that hate the public. Sports figures that will give you an autograph for a huge fee. Drug dealers that have all the "toys" because they know how to make a fast buck. Clinton, an embarassment to this country, who is a hyprocrite saying that what had happened in Denver was an abomination, yet he allows the bombing of innocent Kosovo civillians. We'd better buckle up as a nation and learn to help and respect one another. Be responsible for our actions and pay the consequences for what we do or else we're headed for a major downfall.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Posting the E-mail I sent Harry...

    by Dolfanar

    Hey Harry, I've been as tough on you as anybody on the AICN TALKBACKS ('though I never resorted to name calling...), but I must say that the editorial you put up was simply the most important and substantive thing I've ever seen on the net. I congratulate you. You should send the Article, your forward, and the Talkbacks, uncensored, and unabridged to 60 MINUTES. Let's see if they have the integrity to answer to their shoddy reporting, and IMO their COMPLETE avoidance of the gun issue in this whole debacle. Or what about the fact that the lawsuit was filed before the kids had even been properly buried? If it wasn't such an incensitive thing to say, I would catogarize the family as having "Jumped the Gun" on this one... George "like having a mouthfull of sand" Neocleous AKA Dolfanar

  • April 26, 1999, 7:17 p.m. CST

    People make fun of you and the way you are deal with it...

    by 20th Century Fox

    This is in reposnse to the poster who felt that in a way the jocks had it comming...LIFE IS HARSH. If you are going a dress and act certain way then expect people to rag on you for it...Now I can hear the cries but kev they were wearing black people were making fun of thier goth looks etc...True but hey when i was at college (91-94) I was a total conservative/repulbican/prep (and yes I STILL AM) and a good 80% of the student body were into goth/grunge/freakness/liberalisim i have to be democart. And I was blasted every day by students 9I would get swatizaks drwn on my door etc. With RA telling me it was my fault) I was blamed for the fact that they were poor becaiuuse of me etc... Yeah it was great but I went on to have a great life and even greater things left to come. So this attiute "Oh these jocks and preps had it comming becuase they harrased them does ring trure. Particualrlyy when MTV/and Movies repeatly says that being weird normal and gotic is cool and hip and you will have a great future...It was these two psycho gunman who should take thier full responsibiltiy for thier actions (along with thier parents) ...More later

  • April 26, 1999, 7:24 p.m. CST

    ONE LAST THING- 'BASKETBALL DIARIES' WAS A BOOK FIRST!

    by Uncapie

    I read it when I was in high school and we never had any shoot outs. AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, WHY DON'T YOU PULL LINDSAY ANDERSON'S "IF" OFF THE SHELF TOO!That was a great film and it also had a ENDING WHERE THE STUDENTS SHOT IT OUT WITH THEIR PEERS AND AUTHORITY FIGURES! I DON'T SEE THIS FILMED CAUSING ANY COMMOTION! M-G-M IS IN DIRE STRAIGHTS AND IT WAS JUST A MARKETING PLOY TO GET THEIR NAME IN THE MEDIA. M-G-M ALSO OWNS THE BOND FILMS AND THSOE ARE PRETTY VIOLENT TOO. PULL THEM OFF THE SHELVES, YOU HYPOCRITES!

  • April 26, 1999, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Everything Inspires

    by 60091

    Everything around us in this society will inspire anyone to kill. It depends on the type of person. The only ones to blame are the two "Losers" who pulled the triggers.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:29 p.m. CST

    A slightly different perspective

    by Jeff Harris

    Hi, For Five years I worked for Wizards of the Coast/TSR. As many of you probably know, this is the company that makes the Games "Dungeons and Dragons" and "Magic:the Gathering". During my time there I was the person designated to deal with any situation that involved our games being accussed of being harmful. I'm sure that you have all heard the Urban Legends about D&D leading players to kill each other or worship the Devil. One thing that I learned is that when something goes wrong, people want to blame something or someone. The easiest target is usually what ever the blamer understands the least about. It the old "fear what you don't understand, hate what you fear" reaction. I still have a lot of friends in the adventure game industry, and they have told me that this has been a rough week. White Wolf Games (the maker of Vampire the Masqurade) has had to issue a public statement basically denying any link between the tragedy in Littleton, and their game. Part of the problem is easy to identify, once the news media finds something strange it can latch onto,something that can be made into a sound byte, they drive it into the ground. As soon as I heard the terms "Goth" and "Trench Coat" used in regard to this story, I knew wild accusations could not be far behind. What bothers me is that out there, some innocent kid, doing something that he enjoys, is going to take flack due to some persons off target perception. All of caused because some news director found a "Sexy" angle. well that's my rant.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Hollywood is hypocritical..

    by 20th Century Fox

    Yep I said it heres why... In late 1997 Peter Bart wrote a colum in variety right aftyer the Timothy McVeigh Trial recounting how Timothy mcVeigh watched the movie RED DAWN. He mentioned on how that inspired him to "Hate" the goverment and by extention participate in the OKC bombing...Peter bart then said how "we as industry had better start acting responibly" then going going on to blame the producers of that film for causiong the OKC bombing.----------------------In I'm sure well soon hear pepter bart and many a hollywood liberal exlaim its not our fault. See==When a pro-lifer kills a abortion dotcor there a rush from hollywood to monitor all right wing groups, regulate or ban rush limbaugh (Who's NEVER condoned a murder of a abortion doctor by the way neither has the catholic church for that metter...) and make any republican take a limtus test.... But when the fingers are pointed to Marylin Manson or NBK were told to chill out and lighten up.... This is hypocrsy of the hollywood left. Just watch them rush to judgement to Disband the NRA but wrap them selves in the 1st Ademment when their stuff is questioned... Now before all of you start throwing hate mail my way I do NOT beilieve we should sensor Marylin Manson or NBK or even Kevin Smith in fact we should let the FREE MARKET decide. In fact it has already MM last piece of crap Mechaical Aniamls did poorly his tour is fighting bankruptcy and Look NBK could not break even during its ENTIRE theatrical run...

  • April 26, 1999, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Gun control is not the answer

    by gunny

    Dolfanar, do you even know any NRA members? How do you know they are all nuts? I am not one myself, I don't even own a gun myself, but I live in SE Texas, where there is one of the highest number of gun-owners in the country. I know many NRA members, and they are law-abiding people. Guns are readily available to adult non-felons here. There is even a concealed weapon law, allowing people with the right permit to carry. Do we live in fear? No. Are there rampant school shootings? No. Are there accidents in the household? Very rarely. Because here, gun education is also readily available. We are taught to respect weapons, not to get hysterical about them. And we are hardly "killing each other" at a prodigous rate here in the states. More people are killed on the highway each year. I can forgive you, Dolf, that misstatement because its obvious you gather all your information off what you see on TV, instead of personal experience. I can understand your concern, and I appreciate it, I really do, but it is profoundly misplaced.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Uh, Oberon

    by Foster Zygote

    Your post was so stupid that I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were joking. But your mention of the number of guns in the USA has caused me to make an addendum. The problem is not gun control laws, it's the gun manufacturers. And how can anyone claim that we need a gun in the house to protect us from an intruder when New England Journal of Medicine statistics show that for every intruder that is defended against, FOURTY THREE family members are killed. Or as Al Franken said "You are three times more likely to shoot a Japanese exchange student who has knocked on your door by mistake than a Sweedish exchange student who is trick or treating on the wrong night" and "The odds are slightly better that a neighbor's kid will accidentally blow your kids face off, than the other way around". Of course my childhood friend didn't accidentally shoot another kid in the face with his (police officer) fathers gun. He accidentally shot him in the heart.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Guns and violence

    by awill

    It seems that most of the victims of the Littleton massacre were killed by the two sawed-off shotguns the murderers wielded; this is unsurprising, as shotguns at close range are far more lethal than handguns. The point I'd like to raise about this is that the shotguns in question, one a double-barrel, the other pump-operated (I get this technical information from the Wall Street Journal of 4/26/99) were not high-tech "assault weapons," but ordinary sporting guns more than thirty years old. Breech-loading double-barreled shotguns have been around since right after the Civil War, and pump shotguns since the 1890's. Revolvers are a 19th century invention, and semi-auto pistols have been common since about WWI. It's not until the current generation, though, that we see these horrific school shootings. Cleary, some new factor or factors are now in operation. What exactly these factors are I leave to wiser heads to define, but it's clear that they're cultural. Furthermore, I believe that cultural factors, rather than questions of access to hardware, account for diffences in violence in various countries. Most Western European countries do have strict gun laws, but the homicide rates in those countries vary widely among themselves. If the presence of guns explains why the U.S.'s homicide rate is about twice as high as Spain's (8 as opposed to 4 per 100,000), why is that Spain's is about three times higher than England's? Within the United States, homicide rates vary widely between cultural or ethnic groups; for example, northern whites (including those from gun-rich, frontiersy states like Montana and Wyoming) not only have a lower homicide rate than southern whites, their homicide rate is pretty much the same as that of the Canadians and the English. Japanese-Americans, for all their access to guns, have a lower homicide rate than the Japanese themselves. And keep in mind that as low as the British murder rate is compared with the U.S.'s, it is several times higher than it was 100 years ago, when guns, even handguns, were more easily bought than in 1990's America. If we do decide that a gun ban is necessary for our domestic security, let's not delude ourselves into thinking that we're ridding ourselves of an ancient curse, or maturing as a nation to the point that we can leave such instruments of violence behind us. We will in fact be admitting that we've degenerated; that we can no longer be trusted with this (and who knows what other) rights; and that we are less strong, less capable, and less responsible than Americans 200 or 100 or even 30 years ago.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:52 p.m. CST

    Gun Control HA!!!

    by 20th Century Fox

  • April 26, 1999, 7:53 p.m. CST

    firearm freaks

    by 60091

    I just don't get it. What is the big fascination with things that go boom. I hate guns. I knew a person who loves guns and would even make his own bullets. When his gun buddies would get together they would try to to get me to come along and go shooting. One time I went with them just to see their 'world' and I was bored to the point of falling asleep in the waiting area.

  • April 26, 1999, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Gun Control HA!!!

    by 20th Century Fox

    FBI crime satticts will show that in states where right to carry laws exist gun crime dropped siginifigantly...See its because criminals are less likly to commit crimes when they think you are armed...Hey look at DC they have the scritict gun control law in the nation yet they have the highest murder rate....HMMMMMM. Yes people like al fraken (a bucked tooth moron if there ever was one) will distort fact to make thier case all the while they hire a phlanax of ARMED security guards for thier protection....

  • April 26, 1999, 7:58 p.m. CST

    by 20th Century Fox

    Also if one of the facutly was armed they could have ened this quicly or stopped it all togetherI mean if these two losers knew the school was armed would they have hit it i doubt it. And for those of you who say "ah thats bs" then why didnt these guys attack the police station?

  • April 26, 1999, 8:04 p.m. CST

    news media

    by hammer66

    I find it rather ironic that it's the news media who is leading the charge at blaming the teen violence on movies and such. They seem to be the ones who constantly bombard us with violent images, and this recent tradgedy is not any different. When a copycat school massacre occurs, I know who I am pointing a finger at. But then maybe its my paranoia about them wanting this to happen again so we'll yet again be glued to our seats while they make a virtual ratings killing. Maybe a moratorium should be addressed on how long a news show can talk about something.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Warning: LONG. I have not read any previous statements, this is

    by Mandana

    As a 17 year old senior in high school, I was very disturbed by the news of the Columbine High shooting. In fact I watched it unfold, on television, in my school's library in 6th period on Tuesday. For the rest of the day I was numb, scared and sad. I cannot understand any acts against human life, maybe because I have never felt whatever it is killers feel. I agree that the media has been irresponsible in its swiftness to place blame. As stated, people need scapegoats and someone to blame. But I do not think that it is Hollywood or the Game industry that deserve that blame. Yes, the world is saturated with violent images, but I believe that it is also saturated with the message that the people who commit violence of that kind are wrong or evil, and that it is not a behavior that is acceptable no matter what the reason behind it. I did not see the 60 Minutes show that was written about. But I was intrigued by the description of the context of violent footage. It seemed to me that the show was in more fault, for what they themselves were combatting, than the movies themselves. By continually running clips of gleeful violence "out of context" they were contributing to the desensitization that they so claim to abhor! The movies themselves probably do less damage than those clips, if you believe that any images like that are actually to blame. Since I believe that people's characters are not predetermined, I have to conceed that society shapes our behavior and ideas. But it does not dictate it. We have free will, which for me is what it all comes down to. That is why bad things happen. And it is not right to blame God, the media or society. The responsibilty is the individual's. This might be out of context, but we discussed a comment made by a newsman, in one of my classes, that "the parents await to see who God has smiled on today." Implying that the survivors were somehow more in favor in God's eye than the victims or their families. This is a horrible and insensitive statement to make. Like I said above, it is free will that allowed these events to happen. God had nothing to do with it, nor with who was killed/injured or unharmed. I have much more to say, and I welcome a response. But for now I think this Talk Back is long enough.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:17 p.m. CST

    NRA members

    by 60091

    I say again. "What is it about a GUN that is so fascinating?" And I don't want to hear any of that 'bullshit' YES "BULLSHIT" about the fucking 'right to bear arms'. Thats a lame excuse.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:21 p.m. CST

    The pathetic, the sick, and the proud.

    by haywire

    The entire episode in Colorado has left me sickened and concerned for both the victims and for the continued propagnation of the species. The actual event itself and the aftermath that ensued with the media frenzy of finger pointing should signal that we are entering into a new era of humanity. This of course is not the first time that the pattern of event,frenzy,event has taken place, as this has been occuring since the dawn of human existence. It is, however, thanks to new advances in communications mediums that even now I utilize to spread the very message that I am typing, quite possibly on the largest scale the world has ever known. To blame art media for the woes of society is nothing new, but to look at it as your first recourse is a bit irresponsible of an ever-changing medium known as journalsim. Unfortunately this incident is the climax of what we should all have prepared ourselves for after other such frenzies plagued our consciousness, starting with one particular white Ford Bronco and propelled even to more near-intolerable lengths with another particular blue dress. This is simply the climax of a change that is unfortunately naturally occuring as we learn how to deal with the fact that it takes less then mere seconds to witness second hand the fruits of our tax dollars spent on new and interesting ways to blow things up in a remote place that most people would be unable to spell the name of without Dan Rather's help. To blame the music is also unintellegent as most people do not competently identify the satire and allegory that Marilyn Manson's music actually is. I personally am a Manson fan, listen with curiosity to Rammstien, and am capable of reciting to near certianty the first 45 minutes of Full Metal Jacket and have sat through an uncountable number of showings of Night Of The Living Dead and its ilk before age 10. I, too like Harry am an Eagle Scout. I enjoy a good exhilarating video game weather its pumping quarters into an old beat up Frogger or playing Quake II with the lights out and the Surround Sound on. There is a real difference to simulation and reality and has a great deal to do with context. Unfortunately, that is not what society in today's day and age want to hear. The people who grew up just fine with Tom & Jerry cartoons would rather boycott Disney of all things because they have someone on the payroll who has something to say that somebody somewhere is actually willing to listen to. I have an immense number of feelings on the subject at hand, but oh how space can be limiting and the human attention span is waning. Ah, screw it. I'm gonna go play Half-Life.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Banning Guns Just another scape goat

    by AjaxSerix

    I am concerned, When I look at this tradgedy I see fingers getting pointed in every direction. Of course the biggest finger as always is pointed toward the movie industry. (I almost threw something when I saw MGM's attempt to recall Basketball Diaries, it is one of my favorite films...I havent killed anyone) Of course this being a movie site we all come here to defend the industry. But in doing so alot of these posters have just looked for another scape goat now its guns. The only ones to blame for this sick shit are the people living around these boys. For more than a year they less than quietly planned this escapade, telling everyone they were going to do it. They were basically screaming for someone to stop them. But a whole town ignored them. Hell in one class they made a video for the class of them doing just this. They ran a website thats entire purpose was to shout this psychotic rhetoric. They made bombs and the police knew about it. NOBODY DID ANYTHING. These two spent a year giving way more obvious signals then expected and noone stopped them, No one looked into it.The parents are to blame the teachers are to blame the police are to blame everyone who dropped the ball on these boys ARE TO BLAME. That is the trouble with our media and populace rather than say they fucked up they want to blame everything elsewhere, Now here we are blaming this on guns. I guarantee you these kids did not just walk into a shop and by these. Some sick fuck helped out. This is our villian not the inanimate object but the person behind it. Myself I am afraid of guns, I can't stand having them near me I have an aversion to them. BUT, I do believe in the right to bear arms. This is one our consitutions most important rights. Self protection being the #1 reason of course. But, most reports I have seen out there concerning warfare with america point out that we have never been invaded...NOT FOR FEAR OF OUR ARMY, it is because everyone in this country owns a gun and are ready to defend thier homes from all enemies "foriegn or Domestic." Pointing the blame on guns is just like pointing the blame on movies & Music its just a scapegoat. There are no laws you can pass to undo what has been done keep this tradgedy from happening again.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:47 p.m. CST

    To 20th Century Fox- Quite simply the most innane post I've ever

    by Dolfanar

    Gun Crimes went down - BECAUSE CARRYING GUNS WAS MADE LEGAL! Hello? anybody home? If carrying guns is illegal one year, and made legal the next, don't you EXPECT a decrease in Gun crimes? I can see the headlines now "America declares victory on the War on Drugs - Drug crimes plumet after LSD, Cocaine and Pot are legalized." Like I said, I won't argue your right to butcher your fellow citizens, but use your head before quoting such SILLY "facts". *sigh* Like I said they're like a freaking Monty Python skit. As for the NRA, they came up to Canada to campaign for looser gun laws. Gathered a bunch of goons, and gathered outside our parliament. Luckily MOST Canadians are smart enough to ignore ol' Charlie. PS We have our own version of the NRA, I happen to know a couple who do competition shooting. Nice people, but when it comes to guns, YES they *are* nuts (And I told them as much). Ofcourse THEIR prime concern is the $10 per gun fee they have to pay to register their guns, NOT the right to own an AK-47 with mounted grenade launcher. They also keep their guns and ammo seperate and under lock and key. And as long as i've known them I've NEVER seen a gun. Finally as for Al franken - Thank you for reminding me of an American with a little common sense (Dennis Miller and George Carlan also Qualify)...

  • April 26, 1999, 8:49 p.m. CST

    To 20th Century Fox

    by TomTomb

    You're absolutely right, there are way to few guns in the US. Why not give everybody an obligatory Magnum .44 when they become 12, build schools with wired fences, booby traps, guard towers. Hand out grenates to college kids, put machine guns on every street corner. That will show those punks!!!

  • April 26, 1999, 8:50 p.m. CST

    For shame

    by nether

    Those who would place blame on the "media" have no idea. They are the self-same entities who choose to plaster the images of bloody clothing and the aftermath of many events, including the Columbine massacre. Everyone here knows full well that if 60 minutes had a clip of the shooting in progress, they would be promo-insane, trying desperately to get their share of the "must see" pie. They want Neilsen ratings. They have no care nor concern for the children or parents involved in Colorado. They'd show it, folks. They'd talk about how vicious it is...they would disclaimer it "not for the weak of stomach"...but they would show it. They are so quick to point the fingers and seem utterly oblivious that they are members of that "media" that they seem so eager to denounce, so happy to crucify. 60 Minutes and 20/20 ought to be ashamed...and ought to take a long look in the mirror. That face you see...it might look familiar. You might want it to be clean and pure, but we all know. Legislators, educated persons, and even you know...it's a shotgun barrel, dirty, black, cold, and ready to be held by children. Look at yourselves, "media" types. You eat this stuff up. Jon Benet, O.J. Simpson...I didn't see you all boycotting coverage. You stuffed it down our throats. It isn't enough that you DIRECTLY caused Diana's death. It isn't enough that you make us all ill with every car-crash. You HAVE to make the next sale. You HAVE to push it. I will go blind on footage from the Columbine massacre and you will smile and laugh and rest on beds of money and hypocritical poison, telling everyone that YOU CARE. I do not think that the media has anything to do with it...at the fundamental level. I agree with most everyone who has posted here (of those I read...there's so many). But if you must do this. If you are THAT greedy for money or ratings...turn around. You know the enemy. It's you.

  • April 26, 1999, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Schools shouldn't even stop at prohibiting goth wear...

    by mcarbone

    Well, some schools have decided to ban trenchcoats. Well, I have a few more suggestions to protect our children: 1) Ban jeans - many child killers were wearing them when they committed their crime. 2) Ban Catcher in the Rye - the guy who shot Lennon was holding it at the time. 3) Ban Carnival Ring Toss games - they give you target practice and make you skilled in hitting a target. 4) Ban the Bible - It depicts scenes of violence, such as the slavery of the Jews in Europe. This can cause anger among children and make them want to kill. 5) Ban clothing made in America - America was responsible for the wrongful killing of many Native Americans and the interrment of Japanese in concentration camps in the past. Wearing American clothes is a statement in support of violence. There must be more. Anyone else have any suggestions?

  • April 26, 1999, 9:09 p.m. CST

    They had it coming.

    by ArgoStud55

    After this shooting they kept putting the Littleton highschoolers on and the one thing that really struck me was how proud so many of them were for having taunted and teased and treated the two shooters as outcasts, as losers. They were proud of tormenting them all these years, never once thinking that maybe their cruelty towards them might have caused this to happen in the first place. People want to blame hollywood and the media and video games and what not, but to be honest the thought of those 2 kids growing up in an environment as hostile as that, always being picked on and made to feel like they have no worth as people, it comes as no surprise that one day they crack and act out violently. These days when a nazi skinhead calls an african american a nigger we are outraged at a person being so rascist, or when, say, a christian calls a jew a 'kike'(sp?), etc, etc. But when these kids keep tormenting each other and hurting each other, and yes words do hurt, we tolerate it and say it's just kids being kids. If anything being cruel to your classmates is cool, it's a whole part of the caste system, who's a cool kid, who's a geek loser. We act like it's ok to be that way. It's just kids 'finding their way'. I am a highly religious person and I take the saying of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" very seriously. And many of those Littleton kids don't seem to have been taught that, and they ultimately have paid the price of their own actions. Please understand that I'm not justifying what those 2 kids did, because it was obviously very wrong and very tragic. It's just that we shouldn't be so surprised it's happening more and more in our schools when cruelty between kids is 'hip', when it's a way of being 'cool', when they can insult and degrade each other to the point where the victim of those verbal(and sometimes physical hazing) assaults becomes suicidal or homicidal. On the one hand I feel sorry for the victims, but on the other hand I do feel that many of those students were responsible. That it was their own fault for causing this to happen. These children think it's ok to be cruel to others, that it's ok to treat the 'uncool' kids as if they're lower than whale dung, just because they're 'uncool'. And yes, some movies, and some areas of the media, do promote that way of thinking, so they are not totally clean in this situation either. Just the same as parents and school teachers who allow this behavior to continue are guilty too. In many ways we are a society of abusers, and we tolerate it. Seeing violence in movies and games doesn't turn us into bad violent people, but being in a society that is permissive when it comes to cruelty between kids, it's no surprise that many have problems and a few act out in a horifically violent manner. When you constantly beat a person down they'll either run away, let it destroy them, or fight back violently even if it's wrong(as it most definitely was here). Abused wives do it, slaves do it, tormented high school kids do it. It's like a never ending cycle, and people have to be willing to stop it. Just my 2 cents, er, ok it was more like a buck fifty, but who's counting.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:13 p.m. CST

    If film has no effect on me, then why is so much spent on Advert

    by LugnutGuy

    First, I'm not a gun nut. Yes, I was born and raised in a hunter's paradise, and Hunter Safety was required by my school district in the 7th grade. However, due to a problem with my eyesight I can't hit the broadside of a barn. SO guns don't mean much to me. However, they should not be banned. On to the media. It's a proven fact that media does have an effect on you. Every government in the world knows this. All governments use film media to spread their propaganda, especially during wartime. Anyone who says that violence in film doesn't have any effect on viewers is ignoring this fact. they are accepting the strange dichotomy(sp) of hollywood spending millions of dollars on one hand to convince you to do something, (like see their product) while hollywood claims that they really have no effect on the viewer. However, this does not mean this stuff has to be banned or regulated. The problem is that parents have delegated their responsibilities totally to outsiders who really don't care about the children. I suspect the reason that Moriarity doesn't go out and kill people is because he had parents that helped him to understand the difference between fantasy vs. reality, right vs. wrong and good vs. evil. Too many parents don't do this. Yes, guns are dangerous, so is film. However, neither should be banned. Both should be handled with care and RESPECT!!!

  • April 26, 1999, 9:29 p.m. CST

    In days gone by...

    by Dolfanar

    I address this to *everybody* regardless of *where* you live. I am TIRED of this revisionism towards past era's which are being depicted as "the good old days". Life in the 50's WERE great... if you were a white male. Less people got shot in the 19th century. But people lived on farms with one weeks walk to their nearest neighbours. I now study film, but I used to study history (among other things), and trust me in all my research NEVER did I find an Era which was problem free. Things now ARE better then they were 20, 30, 50, or a hundred years ago, THAT's progress. The idea is to CONTINUE progressing, NOT to regress back. BTW Guns don't kill people. People don't kill people. Americans with guns kill people.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:53 p.m. CST

    shooting

    by abersteve

    I thought the Brady law was supposed to fix everything. I thought the so-called "assault weapons" ban was supposed to prevent this. I thought ratings on film and music and videogames were supposed to end this. I'm so sick of people using this for politcal purposes. I'm so sick of ABC bragging to their advertisers about their increased ratings (source: DRUDGE.) Look, this is symptomatic of a cultural shift, and will take a cultural shift to fix. Trampling on the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution will not prevent it from happening again. Teaching kids the difference between right and wrong, instead of hand-wringing about 'self-esteem', will. You can ban guns. Australia did a couple of years ago and violent crime is through the roof. You can seek to restrict speech. The courts will slam-dunk you. You cannot stop it when they're 18. You must stop it when they're two-years old. You must teach them that what the police will do to them is nothing compared to what their father will do when they get home. I know far too many people who are amoral. There is no right and no wrong for them, and anybody who tells them otherwise is 'judgemental.' Well, brother, somebody has to be.

  • April 26, 1999, 9:53 p.m. CST

    The good guys

    by Dolfanar

    As for the person who brought up how "the good guys usually win" as a reason why these violent movies do not affect people to commit violence. In fact, even though I am AGAINST censorship, I think that if anything the "good guys always win" philosophy is what makes these films even MORE dangerous. The problem is that NO ONE considers themselves the "bad guys". I'm sure these kids considered themselves "heroes". Maybe if once in awhile if the "good guy's" got their asses kicked it would atleast give these kids a little perspective about the CONSEQUENCES of violence. That's why I *LOVE* the Outer Limits. A show where every action has a consequence. For example; ACTION: Angry person buy's gun CONSEQUENCE: People die

  • April 26, 1999, 10 p.m. CST

    To abersteve

    by Dolfanar

    You are welcome to your opinion, but where do you get your assertion that banning guns created a rise in violent crimes in Australia. Are you even talking about gun related crimes? When will Americans realize that guns DO NOT help fight violence. Guns help to commit it.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:10 p.m. CST

    20th Century Fox responds to Dolfanar and Vlassss

    by 20th Century Fox

    Hey its me again 20th Century Fox (See you do noe post to tell the truth and look at the resposes i get...) in response to Dolfanar and Vlass: In 1987 I believe Florida was the first state to pass a right to carry a concealed weapon law...And right after it passed all the Gun Control advocates squeled to high heaven that a slaughter of unimanigable proportions was going to ooccur but guess what just the oppistite occured crime went down because THE CRIMINALS WERE SCARED THAT THEIR NEXT VICTIM MIGHT BE ARMED several other states have follwed suit and guess what crime went down for the same reson. Dolfanar you seem to do a lot of research look this stuff up its there. And hey while your at it look at Washington DC where it is totally illegal for a law abiding citizen to own a firearm it has the HIGHEST murder rate in the nation. I'll bet you dollors to doughnouts that these two Littletion psyscho's bought them ILLEGALLY meraning all the guncontroll laws in the world would not have stopped them. Yeah thats right. It did not stop colin furgeson (The bigot who killed 11 prople on a LIRR trian in december '93 and NY has strict gun control laws also...)----------------------------The thing i noticed about gun control is that it takes away my right to defend myself yet it somehow leaves all the crimals armed to the teeth. If you think that stricter gun control would have stopped Littelton then you must also heavily regulate these items: Gasoline, Propane tanks, Gass, Nails, Metal pipes,amoina,plastic,baking soda,Matches,BMW's,VCR's,Camcoder TrenchCoats,Duffelbags...Yes Dolfanar the two littleion psycho's used these items to kill people but I do not see you or the gun control lobby trying to regulate these things, I ask you this question why? All of these items clearly are now deadly weapons why no sgins claiming STOP THE MATCHES LOBBY or STOP THE AMOINIA LOBBY? You could have banned all firearms last year and I doubt it would have stopped these two. Now in respose to Vlass criminals (These two psyscho's included) go for esy targerts they know have little chance to defend them selves. If there were armed facultly or armed guards at the school at least a dterrent would be in place...Or they might have been shot dead befopre they killed to many people...I know you think I'm off my rocker but a few school shooting (I know one that happened in Penn is an example) were mercifully cut short due to the fact that there were law abiding citizens who were armed...Yes ARMED...I mean hey Al fraken wants to take the right (and yes it is a right...) to defend our selves so HE can feel good yet i do not see him runnig down to the local gang and trying to disarm them....Now THAT would make a good monty python skit.More later...

  • April 26, 1999, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Of Guns and Violence

    by admiral

    We should all be glad that poster LaneMyers has been kind enough to grace us with his inane comments about the sacro-sanct right to bear arms. Once again the gun fanatics prove their lack of connection with reality. "Guns don't kill people, they're inanimate objects!" "Do you blame a piece of glass when you cut yourself?" Funny how these people have a tendency to just open their mouth and put their feet in it. Is anyone on this board retarded enough to believe this stuff? Unlike a piece of glass that can potentially cut you, but serves another role, the gun has no other purpose than to shoot bullets into the flesh of another living being. Guns have been designed to kill and they do kill. The number of yearly accidental shootings in the US is a proof of this. The right to bear arms, a constitutional right? Most people seem to forget that this specific amendment of the constitution was created to reflect the context of a long-gone era, in an almost lawless territory. The fact that it is an outdated segment of the constitution, a dinosaur that should have long ago been extinct, does not seem to reach those blinded by the 'sanctity' of their constitution. A society where many value the right to bear arms above hthe safety of human life is very disturbed indeed. The fact that no other civilized country reaches the same peak of firearm violence as the US does is also shamelessly ignored by gun advocates. When a great fraction of the population have guns in their homes, they can only suffer deeply from the consequences. For safety you say? It's more likely that you'll be killed by a gun than saved by one. Am I using the guns issue as an all-encompassing scapegoat for all this violence? No, I certainly acknowledge the impact of cultural influence on impressionable youngsters. But in a society where one can easily arm themselves with multiple automatic weapons, you've got to wonder... If I had to make a list of the main factors allowing killings such as the Littleton one to happen, it would go like this: 1) Easy access to firearms. Guns make it so easy to kill. If a mass murderer had to perform his carnage with a kitchen knife, he probably wouldn't have bothered. The easier it is to kill, the more likely unstable and violent people will do it. There is no sane argument that can refute that. 2) Direct peer and family influence and conditioning. One cannot escape the fact that the main actors in the upbringing of a human should be the parents. Where were the killers' parents as their kids became consumed in a delirium of violence, white supremacy and other destructive thoughts? It seems that in their absence, the kids attached themselves to those dark ideals. 3) Cultural influence. Music, movies, television. It would be irresponsible to ignore the effect of violence in the media over youngsters. My generation is one that has been desensitized to violence by years of watching horror movies and listening to violent music. Most of us will not turn into murderers, but violence does not frighten us the way it should. Take a few unstable individuals and see how an hyper-violent medium can bring them closer and closer to the edge. A teenager who finds himself an outsider in reality, can so easily let himself drown into a world of dark Mansonian lyrics and Tarantino-esque violence. So how do we avoid tragedies such as the Littleton one? Have tighter gun control laws. And I don't give a fuck about Charlton Heston and his mindless NRA zombies. Protection of human life should precedes the right to own guns. If it was up to me, only law enforcement official would be allowed to bear arms. As for the rest, it's up to those kids parents to ensure that their offspring can be raised in a positive environment. And it's also their job to see that their kids never fall into the traps of weighing fiction above reality.

  • April 26, 1999, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Admiral youre just wrong....

    by 20th Century Fox

    in saying the 2nd Admendment is outdated. Just the oppistie it was desgined to keep citizens from relying on goverment. Look at the critizsim the Littleton PD are getting for thier supposed slwow response time...youre telling me if a law banning all citienes expect law enforcement would have stopped this? I mean thats at best naieve....Hey in DC no private citizen is allowed to carry a weapon and look at the crime rates there. I remembered when I went to school in Boston on how we were all informed NO ONE could carry mace because they were illegal. So we had to walk the streets at night always wrorried so some feel-ggod liberal could feel-ggod he/she made the street safer for some criminals...

  • April 26, 1999, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Dolfanar the hoplophobe misses again

    by vultureman

    You keep claiming that it is guns that cause the violence. Well since you conveniently ignore my comments about all those full auto guns in swizterland and their lack of violence; just what is your proof? --------- Also by your arguments all peace officers in the US should be disarmed since their job is to stop violence and you keep saying GUNS=Violence. Bet that will go over really well. ------- And oh yeah, 20th century said gun crime went down when in truth it was VIOLENT crime that decreased after the concelead carry laws went into effect. Easy to make that mistake with your ranting about Guns=Violence. Of course there are no stats to back you up on showing that on a individual basis that more guns per person means more likely to commit violent crimes. In fact the opposite it true. ------- I am begining to think you consider yourself one of those "detached" historians who judges society. Yep a canadian liberal who has never had a violent crime commited against him, so does not know the value of self defense. ------- Sorry the violence is inherent in the system, the societal ethics in the US do allow free expression even when it damages another. People point to Japan for the low violence rate but miss the fact that in Nippon the national mantra is "The nail that sticks out, gets nailed down". So nipponese society as a whole discourages violence. Yet they still have all those suicides. Other countries have other reasons and have their own little crime abnormalities. Britain has 10+ times higher male rapes than the US. Germany has an usually high per captia of assault s with a blunt weapon. And yes the US has a higher gun violence rate because guns are available unlike Germany/UK/etc. Care to come up with a plan to remove 170,000,000 guns (most in hiding if confiscation occurs) from our shores? -------- "Why can't we all just get along" Do we have to tease/abuse the outcasts? Do we have to hate that which is different (And there is a lot of different here in ole' melting pot call the United States)? ----- Yet Dolfanar misses again cause he CAN'T see (hoplophobia) that a gun is used to save lives many times a day here in th US (FBI law enforcements stats). And just like the media, he points to the one thing that is different (canadians being of British descent legally have never had much to do with guns especiually pistols) and says that GUNS killed all those people not the 2 wackos who spent a year planning this event. ----------- Therel Moore --And yes I teach people how to defend themselves with a firearm; it's just one of my hobbies. Why, cause I have used one to stay alive and save other peoples lives. Just like my medical training, I use a gun to save lives. --

  • April 27, 1999, 1:23 a.m. CST

    A solution to pontificate about

    by me2

    What those 2 killers needed was to get laid. If they'd gotten their rocks off they wouldn't have had so much pent up anger and hostility. To quote a robin williams joke about americans, "if we can't fuck it, we kill it." Very true comment about us. Maybe if the world was having one big hot and oily orgy there'd be no violence. Then we could all be happy and watch only disney movies all day long. I love everyone.

  • April 27, 1999, 2:06 a.m. CST

    Degeneration

    by Platinum Dragon

    It's wonderful to see this Talkback has rapidly degenerated from a relatively thoughtful discussion about the points Moriarity so eloquently established in his editorial, to a squabble over guns. Makes me feel real good about my species right now - more proof that we're masters at missing the point. So, a few thoughts of my one. ***FIRST*** - the massacre in Littleton was not caused by Quake. It was not caused by The Basketball Diaries (a good movie, btw - strong anti-drugs message delivered with style). It sure as hell wasn't caused by Marilyn Manson. And it wasn't caused by the presence of a gun. It was caused by a group of teenagers who hit bottom, couldn't find a way out, and went about expressing their hate in the wrong way. By extension, it was also caused by the people who tormented them and dumped on them to an extent that caused them to hit bottom. Neo-Nazi leanings aside, these kids were no different from thousands of other "outcasts" at schools across North America, and those outcasts are VERY LUCKY if they get support from people within school. I was one of the lucky geeks who developed a strong support system. It's a sad, sad tale of people who hit bottom, and the way it played out could only happen in 1990's North America (c'mon, you mean to tell me their parents managed to miss the gathering of weapons for over a year???) ***SECOND*** - Slashdot.org slashdotted itself by posting a compilation of e-mails from some "outcasts" expressing their anger and fear. Many of the comments posted by slashdot regulars recounted memories of long, painful high school careers dominated by bullying, conformity, and a lack of respect for individuality and intelligence. Sounded familiar to me, being barely a year out of that place. ***THIRD*** - A few people, including Tipper Gore of all people, have noticed the lack of responsibility the parents of the TCM took in watching over their children. This neglect didn't just happen in the year preceding - the laissez-faire attitude evident must have developed over several years. I hope I'm able to take care of my future children a bit better than that. ***FOURTH*** - On the subject of guns, it should be kept in mind that guns have no other purpose than to injure, frighten, and kill. Even a knife has uses outside of injury. Pro-gun advocates constantly recite the Second Amendment. I wonder - is there a clause in the Constitution guaranteeing all people the right to an education? Is freedom and civility better maintained by words, or weapons? The First Amendment is not threatened, because no one can deny that free speech and opinion is important to a democratic, free society. That argument cannot be made for the possession of weapons - you can have all the handguns and shotguns you want, but if the US Government suddenly decided to go '1984', you can bet all the handguns in America couldn't stop the military from walking all over almost every town and city in the nation. The Second is the only amendment not repealed by a later one that can be described as antiquated; the rest, especially and above all the First, can be applied to any age. ***END*** - what a mess we can make when we really want to, eh?

  • April 27, 1999, 2:15 a.m. CST

    RE: PARK ROW

    by The Consul

    America is not a democracy

  • April 27, 1999, 2:19 a.m. CST

    RE: ???

    by The Consul

    Does it bother you that all of your favourite dystopian Science fiction movies are coming true?

  • April 27, 1999, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Stomp Out Censorship

    by TOMMY TERROR

    I was aghast when I learned MGM was actually recalling THE BASKETBALL DIARIES because of this tragic incident. I hate that all video games are only violent killing contests, but you know, I remember when I was growing up, back when video games weren't available and ratings were much more strict for sex and violence, what do you think all the children played? WAR! Nonstop! every day - bang bang you're dead. We'd throw rocks as bombs and pine cones as grenades. Little boys obsessed with death. And I've heard my dad talk with his childhood friends who all played cowboys and indians, and one of my uncles shot another in the head with a real arrow playing their little games. Some people are psycho, some people are not, and sadly some people are victims. You think censorship is gonna stop anything? It never has before ever in any point in history and it has been tried many many times. When people sue the tobacco industry it is because there is hard proof that there were massive cover-ups, massive illegal activity devoted to protecting fat cat's pockets. But to sue an artist because someone went fucking crazy off his work? With all the shoot-em-up movies Hollywood churns out- why not sue Stallone and Schwarzenneger... but just wear a black trench coat and the black trench coat movie is liable. Its just fucking insane. Thank you for your rationality, Moriarty, I'm sorry you were censored in high school - that is outrageous. To me, THAT is a true offense to sue against.

  • April 27, 1999, 3:29 a.m. CST

    CARING ADULTS

    by DAVE LECTER

    I love'd horror movies and heavy metal music as I was growing up(still do).I owned a shotgun and a 22 when I was 10(no more I hate guns). I had a couple of friends who owned books on how to construct bombs and yeah I was called a fag and had my ass kicked quite a few times in jr. high. I also had two parents who cared a great deal for me. I know that sounds simplistic but I find it hard to believe that any kid with parents or even one parent or gaurdian who truly ,truly give's a damn about him/her could degenerate into someone who could so casually take another persons life.

  • April 27, 1999, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Ban stupidity

    by Kane

    Well, I waded my way through all these postings, and I'm suspicious that no one will end up even reading this, but what the hell - I'll pop my two cents into the machine and play. Obviously, this horrible event in Colorado has inspired a back-and-forth on the issue of gun control. First off, I should point out that I don't like guns. I had a friend who collected them, was fascinated by their history, and liked to 'plink' at local landfills (with permission). I went along with him occasionally. I've fired .44 Magnums, a Desert Eagle, and a Steyr AUG, to name a few. These are POWERFUL GODDAMN GUNS. I've fired a .22 as well. All can kill a person. I started feeling sick from firing these things, even if it was at cans on ledges and at televisions with blown tubes. I thought about how fucked it is that occasionally, these things get into the hands of people who have nothing to live for and just DO NOT CARE about the lives of others. This has formed my opinion that as much as I hate the 'idea' of guns, banning them is a fruitless act. Thousands upon thousands of guns are out there. Banning them serves no purpose other than for politicians to sleep well knowing that they "did their part to end violence" or whatever. Do you thing that if the two kids in Littleton were living in a world where guns were illegal, they wouldn't have been able to acquire them? I'd guess that it wouldn't have mattered in the slightest. They commited terrible CRIMINAL acts, and a criminal will have no qualms about 'breaking the law' in a society where possessing a gun is a crime. Sad but true. If all guns were to magically disappear, it would take about one minute for someone to start fashioning a slingshot... If you took the time to read this, thanks.

  • April 27, 1999, 5:10 a.m. CST

    UK Matrix developments

    by Gie Feil Lonn

    Just as a postscript to all the above. The situation in the UK for the Matrix ain't looking good. Seems like Warners are now seriously considering removing Marylin Manson from the soundtrack. Absurd!

  • April 27, 1999, 5:20 a.m. CST

    Are you people mental

    by BadWisdom

    Hello everyone, this is my first post here after a few weeks of lurking so please bear with me, im going to be a bit blunt. As a non US citizen, i am just amazed and scared of the fact that no one in the US seems concious of the fact that Guns are the problem... You can try and find all the excuses you want : 'its my right as a US citizen to defend myself against the oppressors of colonial domination' like one guy on the forum said HINT -> THOSE DAYS ARE OVER... URE THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE BLOODY WORLD, NOT BECAUSE OF THE FREE GUN LAWS !!!!sheeshh... i mean how difficult can it be to understand ??? Idiot with a gruge + gun = DEATHS ; Idiot with a gruge - gun = maybe a fist fight or two.... HELLO?? CAN U SEE THE DIFFERENCE ??? I mean, ure the only freaking country on EARTH with this kind of idiotic law, ure the country with the highest death count, and ure wondering why ???? Everyone else sees the same movies u do, plays the same games and listens to the same music !!!! Yet you dont see our kids go on a school shooting rampage !! It really pisses me off that u americans are so eggocentric individuals that u put forward ure own little self and ure RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN to carry a gun BECAUSE 'U never know', over the general safety of your own children ???? Are you insane ???? I could go on for hours, telling you how scared i would be to know that my children were living in the States and walking home from work at late hours, or living next to a gun enthusiast in their neighbourhood.... Anyway, do whatever, its ure country, its your people...Im sure that if a friend/relative of yours gets killed by a firearm, ull be able to ignore the fact that if guns had been outlawed, then maybe he/she wouldnt have been shot ? Isnt that MAYBE worth sacrificing your precious little right of owning a gun ??? im sure glad my ancestors gave up that right in my country a long time ago !

  • April 27, 1999, 5:29 a.m. CST

    Looking for Easy Answers

    by Colleen

    Whenever there is a tragedy, people try to make sense of it by affixing blame. Two teenagers go on a killing spree, so it must be their movies, or their black clothing, or even their parents' fault. I think the truth of the matter is that two mentally ill kids had too easy access to guns. Unless guns are strickly controlled, or banned all together, and health care is available for mental illness inexpensively and without stigma, incidents like this will reoccur, as they have in the past. People with problems can be triggered by many things to commit violence to either others or themselves. I must admit, watching Keanu Reeves shooting with his black trenchcoat was disturbing, but it was a coincidence. After any tragedy images that remind one of the tragedy are disturbing, whether it's a shooting or a car accident, etc. Yesterday a 12 year old boy wearing a blue trenchcoat was suspended from a Toronto school because another student asked if he was a member of the trenchcoat mafia, and he joked, "Yeah, so leave me alone or I'll kill you." People are overreacting because they feel powerless in the face of tragedy, but irrationality is not going to save anyone.

  • April 27, 1999, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Violent Tendencys

    by Bean Bag

    Anyone seen any feel good movies lately? They make me feel violent!! Next time I see a feel good movie with Sandra Bullock in it or any female star that has recently adored the cover or cosmo or what ever you fancy I think I will kill someone! Has anyone seen A Clockwork Orange? Isnt that a brillant piece of filmaking? How about the Matrix that blew me away..it made me feel so happy to see a movie done right for once. Anyone played Doom? Its great to have a bit of a timeout of stress for a couple of hours. I havent seen Basketball Diaries..so I cant comment on that. Just some feelings I wanted to share..and about this issue..Im an Aussie too and have the opionion that Gun Laws restrictions etc would be a nice answer. Though guns is social acceptable and ingrained in that society it wont happen. But the gun people are right its not guns that kill people its people. But can i make this point. If those kids were one bullet less or had a gun that held one less bullet so one person survived then that would be GREAT! Someone made the point that there are regular knife killings etc. That is true but who is to say that if that person was holding a automatic gun instead how many would of died then! Because of the number of people living around the world the law of averages suggest that there will be crazy people doing these things. And its been happening since the dawn of time..anyone seen 2001?(of course thats not a factual movie but you may get my point) But if gun laws can prevent a massacare to a few deaths then thats how it ought to be. It shouldnt be easy for criminals to commit crimes. Oh and by the way why are people in America using guns to kill animals for meat? What year is this? 1999? right? or are we still in the dark ages? Why are civilians using guns anyway? And another person talked about people in texas all having guns and being educated about them and accidental deaths rarely happen. Rarely so they DO happen? Oh thats fine people get killed because you keep a gun in the house..its like being killed for keeping a Lion in the house its utterly pointless.

  • April 27, 1999, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Violent Tendencys(cont)

    by Bean Bag

    oops i hate premature post pressing. One more thing thanks for letting me post my subjective and disjointed argument. Freedom of speech is one thing freedom to carry something that can take a life away in a split second is another.

  • April 27, 1999, 7:22 a.m. CST

    I got it...

    by Guld Korn

    Yeah why don't we just ban human nature? As much as we don't like to think about it, man has an odd attraction to blood. He is a predator/murderer in his darkest of hearts. Inherently, people like the power of a gun which in turn is also the ability to kill. Without guns something else will be ever ready to take its place. Compromise, people! Education!

  • April 27, 1999, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Seing clearly...

    by Dolfanar

    Y'know gun availability hasen't changed all that drastically in quite a while in Canada. It's gotten gradually tighter, but nothing drastic. Crime has been declining gradually over the last 2 decades (ironically ever since we abbandoned Capital Punishment (I thought I'd throw that in, to REALLY piss off you right wingers). For some reason youth crime has been on the rise of late, is it because of a lack of guns? no. is it because of a proliferation of guns? no. Is it because of a drastic decrease in spending on Social programs (to almost american levels), and a drastic INCREASE in the number of two income families? Probably. **********************************I am not blind, and I am not a "dispassioned historian". I can see 2 nephews and a niece who live with a single mother getting by on the welfare dime (and it IS a dime). I can see my other nephew and niece who are being raised by a 13 year old (my oldest nephew, a good kid who was lucky enough to have his mom around during HIS early childhood) and the behavioral problems they are developing. ********************************** I have two stories to tell. Both are true, and the second is *very* personal. I hope you bare with me. ********************************** A couple of weeks ago my sisters (the one with 3 kids) appartment was broken into. They took anything with any remote value, and left. My sister was shooken up pretty good. No one was home but the thieves COULD not have been gone long before my sister returned. Would a gun have helped, other than to arm a bunch of criminals? no. In this case as in most, a gun would have made a *very* bad situation WORSE. ********************************** When I was ten years old my parents were going through a... rough time (I often paraphrase Frasier Crane when describing my youth "When I was 10 my parents got divorced, which was... very painful. When I was 15 my parents got back together, which was *excrutiating*." I used to play street hockey 6-10 hours a day during the summer. One day, my buddies were bugging me pretty good, they did what ALL kids do, they latched on to weekness and they never let go. They were being kids, they were my friends, BUT I was in a *very* fragile emotional state. I lost my temper. I ran home angry as hell, and looking for someway to get even, someway to HURT them as much as they HURT me. My parents were at work. I found a shovel, a big heavy metal snow shovel, and returned to where my FRIENDS were continuing to play. I took a swing at my lifelong friend, a guy I was like a brother to since birth (No exageration, we grew up together). Luckily I missed, I was in such histerics that I could really not get much behind the swing. I learned a terrible lesson that day about anger. I alienated my best friend in the whole world. Both our parents talked to us about what happened. And we eventually reconciled, but it was never the same, a bond was broken. I haven't spoken to him once since I was 16. The question I ask you is what would my life be like if there was the presence of a gun in my home, or in theirs? Would I be parapalegic? Or a young offender, well on his way to a life as a criminal? That was the last time I ever lost my temper in that way. ********************************** You might say that, that was the day I learned that violence is NEVER an answer to a problem. Later experience taught me that words can be FAR more effective as weapons. I am *not* NAIVE. Banning guns is NOT the WHOLE answer. But it *IS* the BEGINNING. As I said you CANNOT talk sense or offer comfort to a *CORPSE*. Until you take that first step, EVERYTHING else is a wasted ('though certainly noble) effort. Or as a Pink Floyd song once said "You can't have your pudding 'til you eat your meat!"

  • April 27, 1999, 7:41 a.m. CST

    One Question

    by hilt

    If violence in movies leads to violence ala Colorado, then why in Hong Kong, the most stylistic of violent movie makers, we have not seen atrocities like this?

  • April 27, 1999, 7:48 a.m. CST

    breaking down

    by SPE111

    Now, you say that they never demonstrated the breaking down of the ego with the kids. well, I would have to say the emotional cracks came from being the so called losers and outcasts of the school. Being ripped into and just all around not liked by people and made fun of is enough to do the trick.

  • April 27, 1999, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Guns = ?

    by Zaphod

    To all the people whose knee-jerk reaction is to ban guns in the US: First, it will never happen. Second, if it did, we'd have a bloody civil war. Third, it wouldn't stop the killing, any more than Prohibition stopped the drinking. So what do we do? First and foremost, we love our children, and we teach them to love themselves and others. Part of that love extends not only to our biological children but also to all the children who come within our sphere of influence -- those in our neighborhoods and our children's schools. A facet of caring is that we become involved with the schools and communities, helping in any way we can. THIS IS NOT AN EASY OR QUICK FIX so of course nobody's talking about it. If those Trenchcoat Mafia kids had found even one caring adult in their lives who listened to them and sympathized with their pain, maybe the shootings wouldn't have happened. They were SCREAMING for help -- making written death threats, spewing Nazi hate propoganda, making a movie about killing their classmates as a school project -- and yet nobody thought to stop and listen. The cops were told months ago about these kids building and testing bombs -- nobody went to even speak to them, to ask them, Hey, Buddy, what's going on in your life? ------- There are plenty of kids who grow up in a household full of guns who never kill anyone. Access to guns is NOT the problem. My brother has several guns (he's a trained police officer/firefighter/paramedic) in his home. He has a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old. When his eldest was 4 he started teaching her about guns. He showed his pistol to her, the bullets, took it apart and cleaned it, took it out and put a few rounds into a watermelon to show her what it would do to somebody if you shot them. Then he made her promise she'd never touch one without him there, and if she ever saw a gun she was to tell an adult right away. Finally, he said if she ever got curious and wanted to see a gun or touch one, to tell him and he would help her. Then he locked it away. THAT'S responsible gun ownership and responsible parenting. The other part of the equation is that he loves his kids and makes sure they know it. Now how likely is it that they'll go shoot up their school? Zero chance. ------ One thing the non-USA (and some USA) people don't get about the NRA and "gun nuts" is this: the Second Amendment is sacred to a lot of people because it guarantees that our people will always be free. Nobody can take over the military in a coup and run this country, because the citizens are armed. If the people of Kosovo had as many guns per capita as we do here in Texas, Milosovic and his buddies would be cold in the ground by now. Sure, guns are made to kill people -- the bad guys. ------ We have plenty of gun laws in this country that, if enforced, would preclude the need for more control. It's just that they're not enforced. QUIT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT. Get involved in kids' lives, and help them to know what love and happiness is. Then you can sleep better at night.

  • April 27, 1999, 7:55 a.m. CST

    The Source Of More Violence Than ANYTHING Else!

    by DeathStalker

    I didn't think anyone would really have the guts to voice it - thank you "BLAH BLAH" for touching on it (don't expect to hear any of this kind of talk in the "mainstream" media - you won't). Let's face it, Blah Blah's comments ... "As long as we're banning media sources that glamorize violence, why don't we turn to a book that has more violent imagery, and has provoked more insane violence, then any other: the Bible. Didn't hear a lot of people trying to ban that after David Koresh went down in flames, did ya?" ... hit a nail right on the head. I'm not a Bible-basher, but those "thumpers" are many of the ones behind anything Anti-Hollywood. These are the same types that saw Catcher In The Rye as being the downfall of moden civilization. If it ain't one thing, it'd be another. It's time people (parents included!) started taking responsibility for their OWN actions. Bottom line: these parents obviously weren't very involved in their kids' lives - I'm in agreement with Moriarty: when I was a kid, I couldn't hide a Playboy from my parents, let alone guns and pipebombs!

  • April 27, 1999, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Guns DO NOT "guarentee freedom", they oppress free thought.

    by Dolfanar

  • April 27, 1999, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Guns DO NOT "guarentee freedom", they oppress free thought.

    by Dolfanar

    Ever have an argument with an armed man? Did the presence of guns proliferate the message of Martin Luther King? Guns are tools of oppressors, always have been, always will be. And to all the Bible Thumpers, remember this: "Christ NEVER lashed out at his enemies. He NEVER felt the need to take up sword and shield." Remember that... Man, worship him or not, but that Jesus sure was one smart Jew...

  • April 27, 1999, 8:56 a.m. CST

    UTTERLY BEAUTIFUL, MORIARTY. I COULDN'T HAVE PUT IT BETTER MYSEL

    by quentin2

    Moriarty, you have put into words what I have been feeling for many years now. And you have done a wonderful job at that. My real name is Damion Graff. I am the webmaster of "Prequel Spoilers" http://fly.to/prequel-spoilers We have recently bought the rights to our own domain name, and we will soon be http://www.prequel-spoilers.com I would very much like to copy your document here, and post it on my website. Can I do that? I think that you have written something EVERYONE should see, and I would like the oppurtunity to "spread the word". If you would give me permission to repost this document, I would be eternally greatful. Now... Read my next post, and I will try to address this subject myself.

  • April 27, 1999, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Fuck it, this Talk Back is too goddamned long.....

    by quentin2

    Damn. Actually, I was planning to write a really huge essay in the Talk Back about violence and censorship..... But, nope. Nobody's gonna scroll all the way down here to read something like that anyway. I seriously doubt that Moriarty will even read my above post. Ah well.... I actually wrote a 2,000 word essay in High School called "Censorship". I mainly focused on Bob Dole and his use of the term "Nightmares of depravity" when describing modern movies. I do not believe in the modern parenting methods of today. I do not believe for one second that a five-year-old shouldn't be able to watch a movie like "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" for example. My father made documentaries in College, and he knew alot about film. In fact, he taught me about film and cinema all my life. I have been watching R-rated movies for as long as i can remember. I saw everything from nudity to sex to drug-use to violence and death. But I am not a worse person for it. Why is the teen-birth rate going up? I'll bet you a million fucking dollars that these same teens had parents who didn't allow them to watch R-rated movies in their pre-teen years. Parents try to pretend that sex and violence don't exist. They never tell little children about these things. They snatch away playboys and question the content of the movies they watch. WHY????? The kids are out on the street smoking pot and fucking other teens anyway!!!! Does keeping your kid from watching something with sex in it prevent him from screwing another girl the next day????? If parents tell their kids about these things early in life, then maybve children will understand the world first.

  • April 27, 1999, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Gun "education"

    by Dolfanar

    This will probably be my last post since I doubt wether anyone is still reading the talkbacks... To the gun nuts (you know who you are) who are advocates of teaching kids on how to use guns in school, as a tactic in reducing Gun-releated violence... this will be about as effective as the tactic of teaching kids how to have sex has been on reducing Teenage (and younger) sexual activity. Now Don't get me wrong I'm an advocate of sexual education, that is teaching kids how to have sex SAFELY, but there is NO way to teach kids KILL "safely". Or more to the point you can teach a kid to kill with as little danger to himself as possible, BUT anyone he choses to target is quite simply FUCKED (hence the previous example). All bringing guns in the school will accomplish is to make guns even MORE acceptable to kids, and teaching marksmanship, will make the next crazed gunman even MORE efficient and MORE difficult to stop. Remember, Guns don't kill people, people WITH guns kill people. So lets keep people and guns as far away from each other as possible.

  • April 27, 1999, 9:45 a.m. CST

    blaming people

    by Marshal Kane

    Blame the companies that make pipes! Hell, blame everybody you see! We're all to blame, except those poor, picked on, sick individuals that did this this horrible act. Banning Guns won't solve the problem folks, nor will banning films, music, books, video games or anything else for the matter. the only thing that will stop people from killing each other is if we ban the human race. And you see how stupid that sounds.

  • April 27, 1999, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Please think about this

    by Foster Zygote

    While the media shits all over itself in delight at how much advertising this is going to sell, today thirteen kids in the U.S. will die from gunshot wounds. THIRTEEN!!! And tomorrow thirteen more will die, and the day after that and so on... And many more will be maimed. Every year in the U.S. gunshot wounds cost an average of 14 BILLION dollars in medical costs. 80% of that cost is covered by the taxpayer. Can it really be argued that more guns will make us safe? No. We've got more guns than any first world nation and we are by far the most violent. This is not a point of view or an oppinion, it is a FACT. Can the U.S. get rid of guns? I doubt it. Even if we shut down the manufacturers now there would still enough guns to keep us killing one another for generations to come. And then there's the fact that Americans LOVE guns, obviously much more than human life. I really wish that the NRA was what it claimed to be, a representative of the sportsman. But the NRA is now a political tool of the multi-billion dollar arms industry. They spend all their time convincing people to buy guns so they can be safe. Some people actually believe this myth about making America safer by having EVERYONE carry a gun at all times. Why do I suspect that this plays into their fantasies about shooting the "bad guys" and saving the day? I'm a historian, and I know propaganda when I see it.

  • April 27, 1999, 10:14 a.m. CST

    7 Million Guns

    by DeeJay

    To chime in with some others... guns are offensive (NOT defensive) and lethal weapons. Further arming of the citizenry (such as high school security guards) does not provide any additional defense. It provides a counter-offense under the ASSUMPTION that this will deter or disrupt a criminal act. This has often proven to be a false assumption, as we have seen numerous instances of security guards who run for shelter and protect themselves in crisis situations. It is unfortunate that we don't yet have the technology for truly defensive weapons (except in the movies), as that would be a somewhat viable solution. On Waco... let's remember that the arming of the Branch Davidian compound was the MAIN reason why the attrocity had occured. David Koresh had already run around and shot at least one person (another member of the compound) to death. The authorities would have been fools not to have approached that situation (aggressively arresting a criminal) without their own offense. As far as the title of this talkback post... I recently saw a responsibile gun ownership advocate state that there are 7 million new guns sold in America each year. Its one thing to have guns available, but how can people possibly justify the amount of weapons that we are putting out there?

  • April 27, 1999, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Next on Dolfanar's ban list: steak knives!

    by Oberon

    Dolfanar...let's see, ah yes, your point, stripped of the ad hominem attacks, was: "Without the guns they would NEVER have had the opportunity to use the bombs effectively." It might have escaped your attention while you were slavering over the evil of gun nuts, but police now believe many of the boms were pre-positioned within the school, especially the propane superbomb in the kitchen - they certainly couldn't have lugged it in during the shooting spree (and I think we all know how easy it would be to get something like that into a school at your leisure). Which leaves us thankful they didn't simply set the timer, detonate the bomb and skip the shooting spree, leveling half the school and killing hundreds. Which, of course, is exactly what Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma City. Would a gun ban have stopped McVeigh? Or the Unabomber? The point is that is that the culture itself is sick, and a few specific subcultures out there (the militias, the gangs, etc.) are very sick. I think it's worth pointing out that for generations, kids in rural high schools around the country brought guns in their trucks to school during hunting season, with nary a school massacre heard of. Which begs the question: why are these things happening now, in the late 1990's? What's changed? I'll gladly join you, Dolfanar, in making it more difficult for kids to get hold of guns. We could broaden the category of who's not allowed to own guns. Hell, ban ALL guns (good luck collecting them) - it might make the next massacre a little more difficult to pull off. But it's not that hard to make a bomb or sneak it in to a school or other public place. As long as we have a culture which values human life or individual responsibility so little, that refuses to raise its children in a loving and disciplined atmosphere, the killing WILL continue. And I will demand - DEMAND - the right to defend my family against them. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • April 27, 1999, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Protecting YOUR children

    by Dolfanar

    I have spoken my piece about guns. I have listened to your responses. I have learned something; Americans do not value society all that much do you? All I hear are "MY right to carry guns", "MY right to defend MY children", "MY right to hunt", "MY right to collect guns". Don't ANY of you CARE what happens to your neighbours? If saving only a *few* lives means giving up your guns, isn't that a GOOD thing? Are you all as self-obssessed and selfish as you sound? I do not suggest ANYONE gives up their right to live life, speak their mind, lobby politicaly, or any other infringent on personal liberties. All I suggest is that you eliminate an object whose SOLE purpose is to kill. An object which kills EVERY day.

  • April 27, 1999, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Dolfanar stop evading the question

    by vultureman

    How do you get rid of 170 million guns when an estimated (BATF) 70% of them will be not turned in voluntarily? --- Oh and how about those million plus figure of guns possessed by peace officers? --- Clinton is yabbering away today about more magazine limits and bans even though most of the kids killed at Columbine were done in from 2 25yrold shotguns that his bills would not even cover. yep more of that feel good legislation. --- It takes a ignorant liberal to post a simple solution, it takes a realist to see the problem. --Therel Moore-- -As posted above my gun is defend my self and to protect others; like I have done my entire adult life.- --My gun has saved lives, did that snow shovel of yours save anybodies Dolfanar?--

  • April 27, 1999, 12:07 p.m. CST

    we should strictly enforce the Ratings of these movies (PG, PG-1

    by mckracken

    why should you even bother listening? Lane Myers just typed a damn essy on the school shooting. I for one am very concerned for Lane Myers after making that comment "I have more guns than the NRA groupies have in their wettest dreams" and the comment "I havent killed anybody!". Oh well what if your angst filled life gets too much to bear and you feel like unloading some of what your keeping under lock and key? Just a thought. ......<new paragraph> now for some answers, yes the blame first falls on Eric and Dylan, the kids who pulled the trigger. But they are dead so lets blame the parents. Lane was it you that was criticizing the parents of the victims for hiring lawyers and getting ready to sue for damages? Yes thats tragic, yes thats sick, yes thats Morbid and yes thats the american way. WE SUE PEOPLE LANE! thats what we do. We cannot bring the dead back to life, therefore we sue for damages. Get a grip Lane. Did you expect these parents to grieve and forgive and forget? Thats absurd. No, we sue people, thats our nature.<next paragraph> on how we can control this ever growing situation, well hell it'll continue to happen no matter what but each of us as parents and ADULTS CAN do some basic things to prevent [a little less] violence from entering into our kids heads. 1) when a movie is rated "R" (under 17 not admitted without parent) I say Hollywood ditches that last little part. under 17 not admitted period. I was watching "The Matrix" and there were NO LESS than 10 screaming babies in the theater!! Parents take their kids to see these ultra violent movies. "Under 17" not admitted SHOULD MEAN ***PERIOD*** Movies given the "R" rating should be strictly enforced from the movies release date to all the days its waiting to be rented as a video or DVD to the department stores that SELL the rated "R" movies!! It should be harder for underage kids to see an "R" rated movie than it is to buy cigarettes. I saw 2 underage kids BUYING "Pulp Fiction" the video...the store clerk didnt care that they were 10 years old. its true the media is not to blame for the high school massacre, but we can take some steps to prevent it. Its ture that "The Matrix" or "Basketball Diaries" didnt CAUSE this tragedy from happening, but these movies didnt help PREVENT it either. These are STILL VIOLENT movies. If we actually enforced ALL the ratings on these movies VERY strictly, then we wouldnt NEED to police Hollywood and resort to censorship. -McK

  • April 27, 1999, 12:10 p.m. CST

    "Violence is NEVER the solution?" Tell that to Korean shopowners

    by Oberon

    To Dolfanar: Your post was so brilliant that I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were channeling Chomsky (or perhaps it was that bad vegamite last night). But your mention of the number of guns in the USA has caused me to make an addendum. The problem is not gun control laws, it's the gun manufacturers, who as we know are raking in billions of dollars by dumping endless amounts of weaponry into high crime areas, despite absolutely NO evidence to support this quaint notion. Handgun Control, Inc., says it's true, therefore it must be. And this bit of solipsistic nonsense: "...how can anyone claim that we need a gun in the house to protect us from an intruder when New England Journal ofMedicine statistics show that for every intruder that is defended against, FOURTY THREE family members are killed? (You forgot the question mark.) Simple: The NEJM relies on a badly flawed methodology, which I'll be happy to discuss by e-mail. There is, of course, the anecdotal experience of many posters here, including myself: my family, my friends, and myself, none of us are what you might call gun fanatics (few of us even hunt), but most of us have that one or two guns in the house for decades without a single incident - because we respect firearms and handle and store them properly, and teach succeeding generations to do likewise. And yet your solution is to take the guns away from the millions of lawa-abiding citizens, leaving measures extreme and pervasive enough to make a significant dent in the illegal gun pool, which is of course responsible for the overwhelming majority of crimes. As for your inexplicable comment that "violence is NEVER the solution to the problem," you might try suggesting that to the 54 nations, resistance fighters, and ghetto Jews who took up arms to defeat Nazi (and Japanese) tyranny, or perhaps, more recently, to the Korean shopowners who would almost certainly be DEAD now had they not patrolled their stores and homes with guns during the LA riots (and coninue to do so today), and...well, the list goes on. But it might be lost on them. Violence is RARELY the solution to problems, but so long as human nature - be it Australian, American, or German - remains what it is, controlled violence, horrible as it is, must remain an option of last resort when lives - or liberty - are at stake. You are free to decide otherwise for yourself - but not for the rest of us.

  • April 27, 1999, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Who to blame.....

    by cj

    I sincerely believe this whole controversy, comes down to a simple question: "Who to Blame?" to cut through All the other bullshit, its that, and only that. Is it the media? NO Is it society? NO Is it Judas Priest, Marilyn Manson, or the boogie man? F*&K NO! All of these are scapegoats, designed by parents pointing their finger at anyone else they can find to take away the responsibilty that they didn't do their fucking job as a parent. Put it into perspective. 1. How could those little bastards aquire the ARSENAL that they had WITHOUT their parents noticing. Answer: THEY DIDN'T, or more disturbing. THEY DIDN'T NOTICE BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT THEIR KIDS TO BE INTERESTED IN THEIR LIVES!! All the other idea's about society, and music, and film, and the media, is all window dressing bullshit. Take an interest in what your kids do, and what their thoughts and dreams are. Its not media's fault UNLESS YOU LEAVE IT TO THE MEDIA TO RAISE YOUR CHILDREN FOR YOU!!! Even then, can you blame the media for your own failure? I don't think so, but then I am not some asshole trying to sue the makers of a video game because my kid picked up a rifle. You people want to point a finger??? Point it in the Mirror FIRST...Then work your way out to the rest of the world. a very pissed off, CJ. p.s. Please respond to this, especially you self righteous F(*&#kups!!!!

  • April 27, 1999, 12:56 p.m. CST

    on outsiders looking in...

    by Meatball

    To all advocates of gun rights; Have you ever known two people who were in a relationship that just didn't make sense? Two people who bickered constantly and who just didn't seem to belong together? And all you could do was sit there and think how bad these two were together, but you can't tell them because they're convinced they're made for each other? O.K.(if you listened to all that, thank you), well, America, this is what the world thinks about you and guns. It simply defies the logic of most observers outside this country who watch as we defend this arcane notion that guns 'protect' us from 'the bad guys'. This is the tendency of American thinking, to harbor an 'Us vs. Them' attitude which puts a faceless shape to an enemy. The people you are defending yourself against are your neighbors, and no one else. Mexico is not going to attack you. Canada is not going to attack you. The Japanese nor the Russians nor the European nations will rise up and attack your home in the dead of night. Only your fellow Americans. The very people you work with, the very people you pass on the street every day. The very people you go to a baseball game with, and root for the same team with. And you know what? You are the "They" to them. Perhaps if we practiced understanding more than quick drawing, we could learn to at least see the other side, and not so quick to blow a hole in our own neighbors. Part of my rights as a citizen is the right to walk down the street and NOT have to carry a piece of hardware to insure I'll get from point A to point B. I think the greatest minds in human history would either laugh uncontrollably or puke with revolt when reviewing the sense of logic we created whereby we think it is wiser to 'fight fire with fire'; blindly bear arms in defense than open our eyes to what we are killing, which is another American, another PERSON, for goodness sakes. This logic speaks volumes about the inability of the average American to see the world as more than THEIR space to control and dominate, like it or not. Sorry if I pissed anybody off, please don't come after me with your guns blazing...

  • April 27, 1999, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Scapegoat

    by Ziggo

    The only responsibility and blame should go to the two kids that committed this act. Nobody in the media, or anyone else taking the "popular" stance on this issue, is putting blame on these two kids. Think about it: These kids consciously committed this act, by themselves (or with whoever was involved). They wanted to do this, whether it was for revenge, fun, or a simple means of releasing agression, they made a choice. The television, computer, movie screen, etc. did not make them do this. While their parents may not have noticed the warning signs (if any), I can not believe that they told their kids to go out and kill people in their school. The only people responsible for this act are the two people that that lay dead by their own two hands and the weapons they chose to use to make it that way.

  • April 27, 1999, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Brilliant article, but...

    by Essemtee

    ...the sad truth is, it's only falling on the ears of the people who've posted above me! No Hollywood players, no parents of the victims, no glib lawyers. Now that's tragic! Now just watch 'Entertainment Tonight' to hear various celebrity thoughts on this tragedy. Thank god the majority of them are merely saying how senseless it truly is, and NOT pulling a 'Diana' by trying to point the finger at the rest of the media. (This is one helluva debate, especially when you feel compelled to press Ctrl Alt Delete, when downloading the Talkback page almost freezes your machine!)

  • April 27, 1999, 1:28 p.m. CST

    My bad.

    by Essemtee

    I just read Harry's post, the one about who visits this site. I'm impressed!

  • April 27, 1999, 1:31 p.m. CST

    media violence

    by johnnymarvel

    I have always been the type of person that said that media violence had absolutely nothing to do with violence in the real world. In fact I believed that sick and disturbed people would merely have to be more creative instead of imitating movies, music, etc. I don't feel this way anymore.Don't get me wrong. I don't want censorship of any medium that would serve to alter creative visions. I think that there is a time and a place for this in our world. I don't think that children should be subject to sex and violence as an everyday part of their lives. I myself grew up watching sex and violence in movies since a very tender age. I do not have a criminal record or a penchant for physical violence. This probably sounds very similar to other people reading this. So why have so many of us not turned to sub-machine guns to end disputes? My theory is that some people can take it and some simply can't. One child may be able to determine fact from fiction while the other can't. Some children are 'desensitized' at an early age to not value life. But whether you can distinguish or not you should have parents around to monitor what you watch or listen to. Parents should be able to explain to their kids what something means when they see it on tv or hear it in their headphones. I started listening to rap music at the age of 11. I am still a listener and my current favorites are the new discs from DMX and Nas. DMX, Method Man, and Nas all starred in the movie Belly which was just released on video. I didn't catch the theatrical release but caught the video as soon as it was available. After watching the movie I had to think about it and let it sink in. My first thoughts lingered on the fact that the movie showed a large amount of violence, some sexual situations, and a great deal of cursing. I should also mention that I saw this movie after hearing about the tragedy in Littleton which made me extra concious of what I was watching. At first this movie seems like exactly what is wrong with Hollywood. Rap music is always under fire for the content on many records. Belly gives these rappers a chance to act out their music in a way. Almost like a 90 min rap video. But hold on. If you don't listen to much rap music then you wouldn't know that many artists actually preach against violence. Many have seen violence ruin other people's lives and don't want to see the situation repeated. Even the infamous Notorious B.I.G. was anti-violence. Many of his songs which sound pro-violence are actually songs in which he places himself in the role of gunmen and toward the end of the songs he finds that violence wasn't the answer before he is killed by someone else. The message is subtle but effective. The same could be said about Natural Born Killers. Although NBK could never be accused of being subtle. The movie is actually about how we as a society glorify violence and whip ourselves up in a frenzy whenever it is presented to us. The movie doesn't condone violence. Mickey and Mallory are a couple of shit-for-brains that don't know right or wrong but are worshipped by a blood-starved society. It's social commentary for Christ's sake. Much as a lot of rap music is. Granted there are songs and movies and shows that do glorify violence, we should not lump all of it together to be crucified. And by the way, I had forgotten about that scene in the Basketball Diaries where Leo dreams of going gangster on all of his enemies in rage of black trench coats and shotguns. I honestly didn't remember that scene right away after seeing it on television. For me the most vivid image in the movie was the basketball team stumbling around in an intoxicated stupor. For me that was an obvious knock on drugs. It screams "DO DRUGS AND YOU CAN LOOK LIKE A DUMB S.O.B. JUST LIKE THESE GUYS"! Anyway, the movie is a testament to how a man can pull himself out of a path of self-destruction in order to make something of his life. If anyone wants to sue the makers of the film they should damn well see the movie first. Parents have made television, VCRs, and CD players the babysitters of a whole generation. Now that kids are going bad the answer seems to be "shoot the baby-sitter"! We need to start educating our children about what they see and hear. If you think your kid can't handle something then keep your child away from it. Parents need to put in the work necessary in order to teach their kids right and wrong. Too many times its more important to parents that kids have Tommy Hilfiger labels on the ass of their jeans and blazed across their chests. Kids should never take a back seat to a job. If a job becomes more important to you than your child then it is time to quit your job. The shooters in Colorado didn't come from families that were just scraping by with enough money to eat. The parents had obviously provided enough for their children. What they forgot to provide was love and attention. Maybe if they had we would not be in the mess that we are now. I've tons more to say but I really know that I should cut it right there. There's still time to change this world folks. Let's do it together. peace.

  • April 27, 1999, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Basketball diaries

    by Rokur Gepta

    OK so the Leo's charachter is having a tough time in life, turns to drugs and has this dream where he wears a trenchcoat and blows kids away at school. His charachter is a jock. A basketball player. Is this a movie the "trenchcoat mafia" would have even watched? I do believe that they hate jocks, so I don't think they would have watched the movie. On another subject what's that bullshit about aiming with a mouse gives you good aim with a gun. and then saying that in an engagement an officer hits 1 out of 5 targets? Well in a f#@king engagment both the officers and the bad guys have guns. If an officer walks into a shooting gallery he probably shoots 100%. If you've got somone shooting back of course you're gonna be shooting 20% you have do aim quickly and duck so you don't get shot. Also you can't learn to aim well with a video arcade game. Sure with the plastic gun in a game you can get good accuracy, but do the guns have kick? Are they as heavy as a real gun. NOPE! They are just cheap pieces of plastic. one more thing if there is something that is bad for you on TV it's the freaking media. They use things out of context and sometimes even outright lie. Most people take the media as fact, but someone's opinion is not fact. Down with the Gestapo!

  • April 27, 1999, 2:43 p.m. CST

    war and murder

    by creamy goodness

    First of all, congratulations on an excellent and well thought-out piece Moriarty. I have only read a handful of the above posts, so I hope what I say doesn't sound repetitive; but I feel I must add my two cents in. Like many others who have posted, I find myself getting very angry at the knee-jerk and all-too-predictable response that news organizations, media outlets, pundits, and politicians have latched on to. Thre is something deeply ironic in all the pious indignation these people profess at the violence in Colorado, while they daily approve of launching high-tech death onto the people of Serbia. Ordinary people working in TV studios, riding the train, eating dinner at home; or even young kids who believed the lies that every politician in every country tells their subjects - that joining the army is the highest call of duty. These people are being slaughtered as we read and write on this site. The sickening hypocricy is even more apparent when we look to Iraq. As our benevolent leaders ask us to pray to end violence, the UN sanctions against Iraq kill upwards of 5,000 people every month because their food is scarce and not fresh, their sewers are broken, their water is unclean, and their hospitals have no clean instruments. The UN itself says that Iraq has lost 10% of its pre-Gulf War population. This my friends is violence on a scale unfathomable. Closer to home, we regularly hear news stories about murders and violence, but would it shock you to hear that more people are killed on the job than are killed by guns? Or that more die in car accidents? Around the world, 30,000 people - most of them children - die of hunger every single day, while there is more than enough food in existence to feed us all several times over. (Bertold Brecht - another artist vilified in his time - declared that "famines no longer occur, they are organized by the grain trade.") In all, it takes an enormous amount of callousness and cold-heartedness and desensitisation to even claim that the world - and the country - that we live in is a just and good one. Violence is sewn into the very fabric of our current system. Is it so very shocking that some are violent in turn? Rather, I find no end of hope in the fact that the vast majority of ordinary people are decent and kind people - some more than others, and some not at all. To sum up, I think we should recognize this as a heartbreaking situation - there is no question about that - all the more so because there was no purpose to it all. But if we truly want to change the world for the better, who is the real proponent of violence? Filmmakers and video game makers? Musicians with a penchant for brightly colored clothes? Or the rich and powerful who run this world in their interests and for their own profit at the expense of all else? Thank you for reading. - CG

  • April 27, 1999, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Dolf makes a point

    by gunny

    This will be my last post here, I think, cause its getting pretty difficult for me to access this page. Anyway. Dolf makes a good point that people should spend less time thinking about their own pleasures or whatever and more about society as a whole. But one of the principles that founded America is that what is good for the individual IS good for the whole. Individual rights in this country are getting eroded to the point that sooner rather than later, we are going to have the kind of quasi-socialist state that Canada, U.K., and others have. We don't want that. At least I don't. Individual rights, property rights, civil liberties are all being torn down. And all you international posters who say "I don't feel my liberties are infringed" Well, you can't miss what you never had. The first and second amendments to the constitiution are vitally important. The second is not archaic or outdated, anymore than the first amendment is. All of them are what makes the U.S. different from the rest of the world, and what propelled us to the top of the heap. As far as gun control, it is necessary. Education, registration, and licensing of firearm is necessary. But banning them altogether? Never.

  • April 27, 1999, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Bipartisan Attack on Organized Religion! V-chip for all Religio

    by SirenSong

    In a stunning announcement, a joint house and senate task force has summarily condemned organized religeon for its "...Wanton portrayals of hatred and violence, which have caused more death and destruction throughout history than all other psychological agents combined." In this highly charged political climate, comment flew fast and furious. Said Vice-President and November hopeful Al Gore, "I think it would be disingenuous to deny that the crusades to retake the 'holy land' were wholly fomented by the church and related institutions." Gore went on to state that the geopolitical aims of the crusaders would not have received the support of the people "...Without the manipulative efforts of the church to polarize the masses against an ethnic and philosophical outgroup." In an even more surprising statement, Gore's wife Tipper,the renowned anti-music-written-after-1952 activist, paraphrased longtime antagonist Tori Amos. "We're talking about the church. You know, the one that cut off all those women's heads." The bipartisan proclaimation targeted both religeous precepts and spiritual texts. "These so-called 'scriptures' are nothing but self-indulgent glorifications of race- and gender-based violence. And we all know how I feel about imagery that is not morally right." This from Captain of the Morality Guard, Sen. Jesse Helms. When confronted with his past record, Helms shot back "...Context, schmontext. How else can you take it. I had my intern read several pages of the Old Testament to me, and it was nothing but ceaseless 'begettings', polygamy, and stonings-to-death." The stonings were the focus of many in Washington. After a Democratic campaign fundraiser, President Clinton stumped for more effective stone-control policy. "If the Pharasees didn't have access to stones, especially high-capacity stone clips, then it logically follows that there would be fewer acts of hostility against harlots, and a lot more prophets would have survived." Amidst all these recriminations and condemnations, the raging debate over the role of the entertainment industry's role in our violent culture has been largely muted. Said Dianne Feinstein, D-NY, "I am proposing federal legislation that will mandate filmgoing on sundays for any child under the age of eighteen. After all, the influence of film upon violent behavior is debatable, while the effects of religeon have been apparent for three thousand years." When asked about the role of parents in making these decisions, she went on to say "We realize that parents have completely abdicated their responsibilities to their children. We also feel that this is a good thing, as most parents are not qualified to perform this role. In addition, parents have no time. Between work, social life, going to the gym, and weekly therapy sessions, it is difficult at best to address a low-priority task such as monitoring the progress of their children through life. That is why we in Congress feel that it is our solemn duty to become the de facto omniparent, especially because we are broad minded, which means we know what is best for everybody." While the dust settles from this outpouring of wisdom, interim measures are already going into effect. All religeous texts will be retrofitted with a device that will prevent readers under the age of eighteen to read them without the presence of a federal chaperone. All pastors, ministers, rabbis, et.al. must clearly post a rating as to the appropriateness of their message for the young and weak-minded. And, in a landmark decision, a class-action suit on behalf of all women and Jewish peoples will be filed against the estates and reputations of both Mohammed, for the Islam thing, and King James, whose version of the Bible has resulted in the deaths of millions.

  • April 27, 1999, 2:58 p.m. CST

    A few more words ...

    by DeathStalker

    Okay, I'm going to try not to go into a pro-gun rights diatribe, so stay with me.*****There's been a see-saw commentary back and forth here from one extreme to the other (on a number of issues) - starting with guns: criminals will ALWAYS find a way to get what they want - that's one of the reasons they are CRIMINALS. The ONLY thing that gun laws do, is make it more difficult for a LAW_ABIDING citizen to get a firearm. Criminals proliferate because they know that the populace (as a whole) is relatively unarmed. I can't speak for the laws in most other contries, but I'm willing to bet that the courts are pretty damn hard on criminals - look at Singapore; kids don't vandalize because they KNOW that they'll be severely penalized for it. Yes, I know the argument that penalties don't stop "crimes of passion", that's not what they're designed to do. I think it's pretty safe to say that *NO* law(s) would have stopped these two teens from killing as many as possible, in any manner possible. Remember, this was planned for over a YEAR! Although I said I am a gun advocate, I still think that there needs to be COMMON SENSE used - not all or nothing. CARS kill and maim FAR more people each year than guns do, but are we banning cars? Do the families of the victims of drunk drivers sue the alcohol companies or the car manufacturers? No, and as well they should not. One of the reasons that other countries have DIFFERENT crime statistics, is the difference in culture and values - several people have pointed to Japan for it's anti-handgun laws -- those laws didn't stop that "death cult" from releasing Sarin gas in a subway, did it (I'm pretty sure that Sarin gas is also illegal there.) I didn't see the 60 Minutes show, but I think I'm gonna write a letter to them about the out-of-context issues. I haven't seen BBD, so I can't make any comments on it (haven't seen NBK either, for that matter) - but I can speak to the issue of blaming musicians. I don't happen to be a big MM fan (I like metal, just not his style), I also think he looks like a freak (and I'll admit tht I wouldn't want my kids - I have 2 - to be emulating him), but I'll defend his right (along with rappers' - I *hate* rap) to write what they want/feel. If the public doesn't like it, the public doesn't buy it. If the public doesn't buy it, the record companies don't bother with it - period. This is nothing more than a re-hash of the Ozzy and Judas Priest debacle years back - the irony there (when Ozzy's lyrics from SUICIDE SOLUTION, "Evil thoughts and evil doings / Cold, alone you hang in ruins / Thought you'd escape the reaper / You can't escape the master keeper" were taken out of context and labeled as a decry to teens to commit suicide. The fact is, the song is utterly ANTI-suicide. If one reads the entire lyrics, it even asks the question "Don't you know what it's really about?" If things are so bad that suicide's the only way out [that you see], then there's a REAL problem. ANYTHING can be twisted by taking words or visuals out-of-context. What would have happened if, when Clinton was speaking out about the Lewinsky issues, the media only broadcast "... had sexual relations with this woman." That sure could be interpreted as an admission of the occurance, not a denial. It also boils down to the fact that "blaming" the parents isn't exciting, it doesn't get headlines - blaming someone with MONEY gets headlines. I also agree completely, that if ANY TV show had had footage of the shootings in progress, they would have definitly showed it - over, and over, and over again (a la another Stone flick, JFK) - [no, I'm not denouncing Stone, either - I happen to like a few of his films - again, to each his own).****It all comes down to this: do we have to lower ALL societal standards and expectations to the lowest common denominator??? Because SOME wackos listen to a certain band or watch a certain movie, should that mean that NONE of us can listen to that band or watch that movie??? Where do we draw the line? Nowhere - anything else is censorship - period. Just because something is in poor taste, does not mean the creator does not have the right to create it. There IS NO gray area here. EVERY generation has had the preceeding one saying that something new is going to be the end of all - in the 20s it was Prohibition, in the 50s it was Rock & Roll (and Elvis was the Devil), in the 60s it was drugs & flower-power, now in the 90s it's Marylin Manson and Hollywood movies - give me a break!!! Guess I've ranted long enogh [for now] ...

  • April 27, 1999, 3:03 p.m. CST

    SirenSong - you ROCK!!!

    by DeathStalker

    Brilliant! .... Simply brilliant!!! ' Nuff said. : )

  • April 27, 1999, 3:09 p.m. CST

    I think the parents chose not to notice because of "fear".

    by mckracken

    in his post CJ said "1. How could those little bastards aquire the ARSENAL that they had WITHOUT their parents noticing. Answer: THEY DIDN'T, or more disturbing. THEY DIDN'T NOTICE BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT THEIR KIDS TO BE INTERESTED IN THEIR LIVES!!" well CJ, the parents most certainly would like everyone to believe they were oblivious and clueless and of course are completely innocent and knew nothing was wrong. Am I the only one in this ENTIRE post that thinks these parents chose to ignore their children simply out of FEAR? One of the parents walked in on the son, and there was a loaded shotgun on the table. Some parents are responcible adults, others would be too freaked out to confront the children directly or to go get help for their own safety. I am willing to wager that the parents failed to act because they were worried that any confrontation would lead to a bloody shootout! I know I'd be fearful of my life if I had kids like that in my house(and after seeing the Melendez brothers gun down their parents!!). Has anyone given any thought to what I said earlier about NOT taking your underage kids to "R" rated movies? What about Hollywood Video/ Blockbuster Video/ Suncoast employees enforcing the "R" rating for movie rentals and purchases?? -McK

  • April 27, 1999, 4:04 p.m. CST

    in addition

    by bzlotucha

    why does everybody think that the most crucial aspect in modern reporting is being at he exact site where something occured? It instead generates more of the hysteria that is distancing americans from important issues. When you have reporters reporting on the fact that reporters are creating a media zoo, shouldn't somebody just be looking in the mirror and saying, "Gosh, I'm an asshole"?

  • April 27, 1999, 4:50 p.m. CST

    McKracken, are you saying.....

    by cj

    PLEASE, PLEASE Don't tell me that you believe these kids did it, because of being able to rent 'R' Rated movies at the video store? And as far as being fearful of their kids. Who should take responsibility for a breakdown in discipline? Oh, now I get it. Its Bart Simpsons fault. Obviously HE has no respect for his parents. He's on TV. Kids watch him. It MUST be his fault. We are talking about a difference between kids who rebel against their parents, and kids who PLOT FOR OVER A YEAR TO KILL 500 people, and Hijack a JET!! If you kid can be pushed over the edge by ANYTHING Marilyn Manson has to say, then your kid needs FAR more help than you gave him. And its a case of neglect. Either 1. You didn't get the kid the treatment he needed or, 2. You weren't involved enough to realize he needed it. You can't use 'I was afraid of my kid' as an excuse. Thats just BULLSHIT. If you are afraid of what your kid could do to YOU, what about what he could do to a total stanger. If you are in a position to observe he needs help GET HIM HELP! Who was it that turned in the unibomber? Hmmm, his brother!!!! He probably saved even MORE lives by doing it. Like I said, and I stand by it. Its all a question of WHO TO BLAME. You are responsible for your children, until they reach adulthood.

  • April 27, 1999, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Nattering Nabobs

    by Hans

    Thanks Moriarty ! Yours cannot be the only voice of reason out there, but watching the reports of the Colorado high school tragedy, I had hoped there'd be more. I am encouraged by the responses I've read that put the blame for yet another senseless tragedy on those who committed the acts. I didn't grow up with monster mags, and always thought the gory "zombie eat-'em-ups" were pretty dumb (still do) ... but some folks like them and there has to be room in the world for us both. I did grow up on a steady diet of Warner Brothers cartoons, stories of cowboys, crooks and soldiers banging away at each other some of whom killed or died snarling something memorable. Despite the influence of dime novels, radio, B-movies, and video games I have somehow always managed to keep from starting stampedes, running numbers, tossing satchel-charges, dropping an anvils on someones' head, or creating an Alludium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator to "get" those screwing around with my life. My Dad, who routinely scolded me for drooling over such tripe, was a career Marine with extensive combat service in WWII and Korea. He and his fellow Marines NEVER spoke well of the idea of folks shooting at each other no matter what the reason. As children we were force-fed a couple of lesson that seem to have been lost on a generation or two since; (1)it's always "Hollywood" (not reality) when the hero's gun never gets empty or misses or when the targets don't shoot back. (2)We were going to get REAL CLOSE to the idea of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY for our actions. The "Bugs Bunny made me do it" defense was a sure loser with Dad. I'm glad he passed on before he had to see legions ofquasi-educated adults managing to use it, and others giving such Milosevic any merit at all. Later during my own career in the service I was fortunate to have spent a tour as a Drill Instructor. Basic Military Training ("Boot Camp")is NOT designed to be as hard as possible - simply as hard as necessary. Like generations of DI's before me and since, we passed on the ideas of Honor, Courage, Commitment, and personal accountability to folks with varying degrees of aptitude. Some were quick learners, others less so. Invariably when I met one of the parents on graduation they asked me how I'd managed to get their child "on track" in just the 12 weeks I was allowed. I always answered, "I told them that their best wasn't good enough - they had to do what was required of them. And I made sure they knew what their limits were, and held them accountable." Only a few of those parents understood what I said. This country desparately needs serious, meaningful dialog about accepting the responsibility for the causes of the disease that is killing us all. Not just our youth - but each other. Being held accountable is not just something our youth needs. Our national leaders should not be have to threaten its' adult citzensinto taking simple, reasonable precautions in managing the care of and access to dangerous weapons. Or to properly SUPERVISE their children. But it absolutely MUST hold them accountable for their failure to do so. Our national judiciary has failed to make clear that those who commit these cowardly acts against their fellow citizens have nobody to blame but themselves: not "the Media", not the firearms companies, or makers of chocolate-frosted-sugar-snacks. It's long since past time that the judiciary look in the mirror. I can remember a time not too long ago when lawyers wouldn't tolerate being called "Ambulance Chaser". I admire the even handed, mature views I've read here about this "hot-button" topic. I only hope many others will make the time to think this ALL the way through as you and your many readers seem to have.

  • April 27, 1999, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Dolfanar's final words - First I post an E-mail I sent to Vultur

    by Dolfanar

    The Paradox is that if you teach gun safety at school, you make guns acceptable. Trust me, I went to a rural high school as well. In 30 years (of it's existence), not a single shooting. In fact shootings, and death in general is virtually inexistent in ANY of our schools. The big scandal this winter was "taxing". Gangs of inter-city kids effectively "stealing kids lunch money". No one was ever seriously injured, but we have such an INTOLERENCE of violence, a HUGE matter was made of it. The police got involved, the local press did several EXCELLENT reports (not sensational at all), and a couple national tv news mags did special reports on "taxing". It's all about what you consider an "acceptable" level of violence. In Canada ANY violence is unacceptable, and ONE kid dying from a gun related injury will raise the debate on gun control. In the US, 15 kids get shot, and people are still pounding there chests about their "Right to bare arms". Think about it George "Dolfanar" Neocleous PS I don't know if it was you, but someone brought up the issue of people using this to further political ends. I can *assure* you that I, and the other Canadians, Brits, Australians, and the Irish gentleman, have NO political interest in this. We have nothing to gain. We speak only from genuine concern for YOUR safety and well being. Remember that before calling us "cowards".

  • April 27, 1999, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Colonial Domination

    by AjaxSerix

    The perverbial what if? to those of you outside of the US debating why I want us to have a right to bear arms. Yo can sit there all day long and say we are playing good guy bad guy I could give a fuck. Watch a movie called Seven Days In May or its remake The Enemy Within, More than an invasion I could easily see this occuring. I don't trust government, any government POWER CORRUPTS ITS A FACT! I don't believe in big government, I guess that makes me a right winger. I believe that when I have kids I will raise them on my own and police them on my own. If they get fucked up, and turn violent its because I SCREWED UP. I believe in freedom IF i wanted to own a gun, which in reality I don't I want to be able to, If I want to run naked in a field throwing jello into the trees I want to be able to. As much as I think there is just plain stupid about the NRA there slogan I do not find assine in any way. Guns don't kill people, people do. If someone wants to kill someone they will find away. LAWS SOLVE NOTHING, Laws can not solve racism, laws cannot stop murder, laws cannot prevent crime. They can only help to deter it by punishing those who have done it before. If two kids decide to go on a rampage and kill them selves in the process they are not going to be worried in the least about the extended jail time they could get for owning a firearm. BUT WAIT WHAT IF THEY HAD NO GUNS, shit then they just would have blown the whole damn place up. And dont't tell me you want to ban fertilizer because thats all it would take. These kids screwed up and everyone saw it coming but NOBODY IN THIS STUPID TOWN DID A THING! It wasn't a secret they spent over a year dropping it as thier big plan did anyone look into it NO and no the scum sucking lawyers are getting into it The aftermath is becoming as sick as the tragedy. The police who were tipped off about these boys should be fired, the teachers in the school should be fired the parents of these boys should be arrested for Criminal Neglance and in my opinion unintentional manslaughter it was thier responsibility to look after thier children. If you are not ready to raise a child then for god sake use a condom or get an abortion do not bring a lif in top this world only to ignore it and then blame others when things dont turn out right. You people blaming guns they have nothing to do with this, They would have just found some other way THESE PARENTS MAKE ME SICK THE LAWYERS MAKE ME SICK, and if it is not just the lawyers brainwashing the parents who filed these suits make me sick for trying to profit from thier childs death. Film can effect u yes but a good parent instills a bit of basic morality in thier child and a good sense of right and wrong, I have seen every screwed up movie from Natural Born Killers to Faces of Death, to Traces of Death (really sick shit mind you)I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson but do yyou see me chasing cub scouts? no. I wear a black trenchcoat just about everywhere I go am I going to blow everyone in my office away?? NO! Why!?? Because my parents, My teachers DID THIER JOB!!!!???? My parents My Teachers CARED!!?? but these kids parents should blame themselves daily for the lives of 14 children and 1 adult I hope the spend thier entire lives riddled in guilt and cannot bring themselves to step into the light of day again. And for the record I don't care if they are the only ones about to show the entire Episode one film 4 weeks early or if they were the sole coverage of the end of the world I will NEVER watch a single minute of 60 minutes again in my life, neither will my future children!

  • April 27, 1999, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Dolf wraps things up...

    by Dolfanar

    To the ignoramus who claims that Canada, Britain, and Australia have less freedom than the good ol' US of A. I think I can speak for my commonwealth cousins, when I say, ARE YOU INSANE? Little violence, TOTAL religious freedom (no right wing nuts shoving christianity down your throat), FAR greater acceptence for gays, 80% political involvment in a system that the average joe ACTUALLY has a shot at influencing. Close to 15 Official parties (in canada at least) running the gamut from the Extreme Right like the Christian Heritage party, to the Green Party (an environmental group). Hell in Canada you even have the right to form a party that wishes to break up the country (the Bloc Quebecois). When Americans talk about Canadian "socialism", you know what they talk about HIGH TAXES! TAXES THAT CANADIANS AGREE ARE A NECESSARY EVIL. Taxes which fund programs to keep bums off the street, who put a *little* cash in single mothers pockets, SO THAT THERE KIDS DONT STARVE. finally and most damning of all FREE and WIDELY AVAILABLE Health Care and College Education. Wow, comunist China *WATCH OUT*. Also I can have an argument in a bar, and be *reasonably* sure I wont get *SHOT*. The ONLY "right", Canucks, Brits, and Ozzies DO NOT HAVE, or WANT, is the "right" to own a fucking arsenal.************ To those who have thrown my painful and personal story back in my face eg. "the *murder* comments". You are scum.********** Finally, Mckraken to answer your question. If gun owners REFUSE to accept a government decree to ban all guns, then it sorta dispells the myth of the "Law-abiding" gun owner don't it?******************* Time and again the Canadian courts have upheld ONE value, Canadians may excersise virtual "carte blanche" in living our lives, UNLESS if in exersising our Rights and Privilges we *infringe* on anothers inalienable rights (Basically the right to Life, and free thought). Basically we can do what we want with our life, as long as OUR actions do not deprive another to live his. Responsiblity and Society are NOT dirty words. To Canadians they are life itself. THE END.

  • April 27, 1999, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Blame, United states culture, and Santayana

    by Proph JE

    I like the piece guys. Very well done. The problem is not this dark sub-culture, or the cheap exploits of video games, but rather, it is American Culture that is to blame. Not this part or that part, but the whole stinking culture. How difficult would it be for kids to be nice, or adults try to be decent. No, we prefer violence and death, and always have. I make a prediciton folks. As terrible as this is, and however much we work to make certain it never happens again, I am willing to bet we will not only see it again, hut it will increase. Now I would love to be proven wrong. But I doubt it. It is easier to go through finger pointing, than really try to solve it. If you want to solve it, I recommend you start by trying to be nice to everyone. See things from there prespective. And the place to start is Adam Sandler. I am not blaming him. But listen to his skit called Tollbooth Willy. Most people just listen, and enjoy the humor. And I admit I do to. but I have started wondering, why are all these people being mean? Granted, it is just a skit, ment to make you laugh, but it is all to common to just be mean for no reason. It is easier to say "It is movies faults," or "it is the parents fault" or other such crap. No It is everyone in the fucking United States of Americas fault, because we find it much easier to point fingers at people than say, "hmmm, They teased that poor kid, and he lashed out. I wonder if that is how other people feel when I tease and laugh at them?" Ultimatly, it is Santayana "Those who do not study the past are condemned to repeat it" Why do we do this all the friggin time?

  • April 27, 1999, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Censorship

    by MelCaramel

    Right-wing extremists have used this state of national mourning to twist the first amendment. To quote a rather bad movie "Movies don't make psychos, movies make pyschos more creative," I think the quote would perfectly describe any copycat killing. Movies themselves do not bring upon violence, they may just suggest the costuming to the already incredibly disturbed. They would have killed anyway, now they're just killing in the style of that film. This brings upon the topic of responsibility. We have to teach a sense of morals to every person, not just the potentially dangerous. The parents of the killers needed morals to realize that they should take some part in their children's lives. The killers themselves needed morals. And the kids that made the killers' lives hell needed morals. In the aftermath of this tragedy is when you truly see the absence of morals in teens take place. Teens wearing black are now harassed even more by popular students. I myself fall victim to this. With my pale skin and dark hair, I can be confused for a Goth when wearing black. Social groups, music, and movies have nothing to do with violence. It is this awful alienation that teens feel that is responsible for this. These kids were not only harassed by classmates, but teachers did not heed warning signs, and parents obviously were rather distant from their children's lives, or else they would have noticed the growing tendencies for violence. No one thing can be accountable for random acts of violence. The saddest thing is to open a Newsweek and to see Charlton Heston's ads for the NRA. Movies do not provide any means with which to kill people. Guns do. Another Issue. I can say that the violence in TBD was warranted because it was part of the movie's message. What can I say of movies in which violence is just their for pure adrenaline-rush action? I say that they are still expression that is warranted. I did not come out of The Matrix ready to kill all men in sunglasses and suits. I came out of what I thought was a pretty cool movie. The world would be no safer if the only movies had Barney as the main character, Celine Dion was the only singer, and all trenchcoats were yellow. It would be pretty damn boring though.

  • April 27, 1999, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Harry, can we continue this Talk Back? Can you make another one?

    by quentin2

    Seriously, I think we've all got alot to say bout this subject. I really think it would be cool if you (Harry) made a part 2 to this Talk Back, because it took me like 5 minutes to load this goddamned thing.

  • April 27, 1999, 7:35 p.m. CST

    .........a question..........

    by quentin2

    We get PROFFESSIONAL people here at AICN???? US Senators??? Government officials???? WOW. That blows me back a bit. You know, I'd really like to see a show of hands here. Are these people actually in the Talk Back??? I thought Talk Back was just for people obsessed with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and movie geeks, and others like that... hmmm... Well, I'm a 23 year old film student in Buffalo NY. I don't know what the rest of you guys do.... I do know that Lane Myers has a corny life-size Robocop in his bedroom (or something like that). That guy certainly fits here, and so do I. How about the rest of you?

  • April 27, 1999, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Lost in the masses

    by IAM~CastorTroy

    Hi all, With such a heated and much debated response to the issue its hard to say wether its worth typing an opinion that already may have been voiced and will probably be lost in the mass of posts but how can any FREE THINKING person with any sense of reason resist posting their meager opinion. I've seen it mentioned a few times on the news, in the online news, in newsgroups, and in the original post by Moriarty that the responsbility lies with the parents. Unfortunately there has not been enough mention of this. The responsibility issue, which is at the heart of this tragedy now, has been placed on every concievable thing that exists on this planet. However it seems that this blame is misplaced. Anyone who believes that the parents are not primarily responsible in this case need to be able to give one reasonable, well thought and proofed reason why they arent or why someone else is. The Movie industry places ratings on their product when there is violence, language, and sexual content. This is their attempt at being responsible for their product. This rating is for parents to gauge wether to let their kids see the film right? Video games are now showing up with MA stickers on them. This is the game industry taking responsibility for their product and giving the parents some idea of weather their kid should be playing the game right? The United States has created laws restricting the sale of firearms in an attempt at responsibility for what guns are in whos hands right? The list could go on but why should it. There are reams of laws and policies etc, etc that are out there attempting to be responsible for everything that has been deemed dangerous or possibly morally questionable. So are you telling me there is more that can be done? Maybe....but why should there be? The real responsibility lies with the PARENTS. 18-19 yrs ago two couples decided to take on the responsibility of starting a family. Are you telling me that bringing children into this world holds no responsibility? It may seem that way at times but if you are ranting about the Basketball Diaries, Gun Control, Natural Born Killers, Doom or any other form of entertainment and you dont think that having kids is a responsibility of the parents who decide to create these lives then you are seriously narrow sighted and deluded. When two people bring a child into this crazy world they are taking on the responsibility to love, nurture and raise the child to become a responsible adult. When the child becomes an adult in mind and body then the parents responsibility is ended as far as the raising is concerned. So...if two sick kids walk into a High School and kill 15 people who's responsibility is it that these two kids were able to follow through with a year long plan? A Movie? Video Game? how about the gun? Any one of these three things could have been taken out of the reach of these kids. How? By responsible parents who actually attempt to know and raise their kids in a manner fitting for the childs proper development as a healthy citizen of the world. It seems pretty simple to me and I didnt have to rate my post R for language and violence. However I'm sure my reasoning is just to simple and to easy to be an acceptable answer. Its too hard to keep track of the children and it's too hard too watch what they're into all the time so why even try right? Its definitely alot easier to say "That movie caused this...." while a microphone is in front of your face than it is to raise your child for an entire 18-20 yrs. I can see that. Its also easier to get rich by being a lawyer who can convince vulnerable people to sue wealthy corporations over issues of responsibility....isn't it? Well now I digress....so its time for me to call up my parents and thank them for raising me to know right from wrong and to become a responsible citizen of this world...... .....now go CastorTroy

  • April 27, 1999, 9:16 p.m. CST

    Colorado tragedy..

    by Johnny B.

    Mr. Moriarty`s piece on the tragedy in Colorado was very well writen, and his article should appear in every major newspaper on the continent. Here in Canada, the news people commented how this was a "typical" American problem. Only a week or two before the events in Littleton, a disgruntled ex-employee of the Ottawa Bus company walked into his old workplace and killed 4 of his former workmates! And we have much tougher gun control laws in this country!

  • April 27, 1999, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Guns N Mo Guns

    by Day4Night

    Just a few observations about some previous posts: Admiral - I salute you, sir. Amen to everything, brother. Gunny - you wax poetic about how you folk in Texas love your guns, everyone owns one, yet "we're not killing each other at a prodigious rate." Hell if you aren't. Y'all good ol boys in TX strap your citizens to the death cot and executing em at a rate that no gun violence can match. Call a spade a spade. Killing is killing. The there is AICN's own whipping boy, Lane Meyers. According to the always poorly misguided Lane and his NRA members' twisted logic, those two boys would've never been able to inflict that kind of damage had everyone else in the school been packing. Yeah, that's why both the SWAT team and police officer - all PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED to handle firearms, mind you - ALL missed that little opportunity when they tried shooting back at the boys. The boys simply continued into the library and wreaked the heaviest damage. It IS about guns, people. Those poor sick bastards wouldn't have inflicted the same damage with a baseball bat, now would they? Guns are designed to kill. Period. I don't give a rats ass if the changing laws make it harder for some power-hungry NRA member to spend the weekend down at the shooting range popping off rounds into a piece of cardboard. If it means that much to them, then regulations designed to save lives shouldn't realy matter much, should they? But it's not about that for these folk. They are so afraid that once the regulation ball gets rolling, its just a matter of time before the guns themselves will be outlawed, and we'll all be subjected to possible invasions, raiding of homes, you know, your usual plundering and pillaging that inevitably will come when the guns are taken away. I guess we're just supposed to put up with these senseless killings because gun ownership is more important than a human life. You know what? Cars can kill too. But you have to prove you can handle one, get and maintain a license, and keep updated records of your ownership to even be given the privilege and responsibility to have one. Yet I don't see people getting their panties in a wad over those regulations. (well, maybe when you're standing in one of those long-ass lines at the DMV, but I digress...) Have our "rights" over car ownership been stripped away with the government's intervention? If a car is used to commit a crime, is it not that much easier to track down because of the paper trail it leaves behind? What is so damn wrong with similar regulation of guns? I was shocked and humbled to learn that in 1993 Japan had a total of only 43 gun-related deaths. 43. And this in a country of 124 million people living in an area smaller than California. FORTY THREE. I may be wrong, but I sure don't see that the lack of available guns to defend their country has put Japan at any risk of any possible invasions, etc., either. Seems to me that we here in the good ol' US of A have become a people fixated on the omnipitant power, control, and "freedom" that come from possessing firearms. What we seem to overlook is that it is only this way because we have wrongly chosen to make it so. That choice is now a matter of social habit - a habit we should be more than willing to break. We tell ourselves that owning a gun is our constitutional right, and that right has made us the land of the free. If only we were also the land of the living. -Day4Night

  • April 27, 1999, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Some stuff

    by MrKearns

    I haven't bothered to read all the other TalkBacks before mine, but as soon as I saw this article's headline, I'd thought I'd chip in. Ok... so, this happens every 6 months or so. A few hick insane fucking maniacs decide to go shoot up half their school because "They didn't like the jocks" or "She done gone did me wrong." And, of course, to sound like they actually care, the government puts up a big bullshit stench about it for a month or so, then they go back to their business of lying and fellatio. Don't get me wrong, I really do sincerely feel sorry for the families in Littleton, but I don't believe that the government, as a whole, does. They blame us young people, those hellions who are trying to scheme and connive all those rich old bastards running the country, for all the evils of the world. And then, after they're done blaming the youth of America, they blame our entertainment. Dammit, if I see one more TV special on violence with "Mortal Kombat" in it, I'm gonna puke. See, You know who's really to blame for the tragedy in Colorado? The crazy motherfuckers who did it. If I got shot while I was sittin eating my lunch, the first person I'd blame would be the guy who shot me, not the violent movie he just saw. But, what can I say, the government sucks. Censorship sucks. Political correctness *SUCKS*. You know, if those British guys who didn't like the rules of the king hadn't been "politically incorrect" a few hundred years ago, America would have never been formed.

  • April 27, 1999, 10:31 p.m. CST

    let this talkback section stand awhile

    by zooty

    i've been absorbed by the editorial and the reactions to it. i've sat reading far longer than i had time to and still haven't seen more than 1/16 of what people have had to say. please don't remove this part of AICN anytime soon. i'd really like to be able to finish it. aside from all the careful, thoughtful, insightful things being drawn out of this, it's so refreshing to read an AICN talkback section for over half an hour and not have the word "sucks" show up even once!!! and if the blame-layers want another target...why hasn't anyone been concerned about all the movies with stupid people and "dumbing-down" themes causing the dumbing of young society? not enough money for lawsuits in that? ...or just maybe people are too dumb now to notice. anyway, please, please leave this section awhile longer than usual. it's stuff that needs to be said...and read. thanks, moriarty, and to those you inspire.

  • April 27, 1999, 10:48 p.m. CST

    As for the role of Christianity - it cost Cassie Bernall her lif

    by Oberon

    A final point I would like to make here in this longest of Talk Backs, the gun debate aside, is the concern that I have that some misguided folks here have attempted to take this episode as a license to declare open season on Christianity and organized religion in general. What hasn't been addressed - amazingly, considering the number of posts and the level of vitriol - is who was targeted in Littleton. Jocks? Yes. Blacks? Only one was among the victims, fortunately. At least three of the 12 killed, however, were targeted for their Christian faith: Cassie Bernall, Rachel Scott, and John Tomlin. Bernall responded, unflinchingly, "Yes" when asked by Harris if she believed in God, an answer that was greeted with a bullet. Those here who have been so eager here to dump on Christianity or place it in the dock for most of the evils of human history, including what these two young cretins did, would do well to acknowledge that in today's America Christians are not embodied in a political action committee, a flock of televangelists, or some other hobgoblin of unpleasant memory, but rather, most often, by the quiet faith of people like Cassie Bernall, who try to live a decent life, to bring a little light into the lives around them, and sometimes ensure the scorn of many - in this case, a fatal scorn.

  • April 28, 1999, 12:21 a.m. CST

    The Ultimate Quick Fix

    by DeeJay

    The ultimate quick fix to a problem isn't to pass legislation, it's to go get a gun and shoot it. As a society, we are currently rethinking the limitations of the 2nd amendment, which is good. All of the other amendments come with limitations (no film "geek" can legally yell "fire" in a crowded theatre), so I don't see why the 2nd should be above further evolution. Next... anyone who claims that gun control and responsible gun ownership both equate to "banning" guns either is not paying attention or is not sincere. As such, it would help if they actually entertained that someone else could be right about at least some aspect of this issue. Oberon... the Korean store owners in LA were protecting their businesses, and not their persons. What was more poignant was a video tape of one particular store owner who shot a young woman in the back of the head after (after she slapped the store owner). None of that equates to protection. Also... guns don't protect us from an internal uprising. Anyone with the clout to mobilize or defeat all 4 branches of the armed forces, the reserves, and all police precincts would take over the entire country with little resistance. Additionally... we sometimes misrepresent the mentality of criminals. Anyone who thinks that "criminals would stop commiting crimes if the citizens had more guns" not only reveals that they themselves are not criminals, but that they also don't understand law-breakers' various motives. Last... there is no bigger insult than seeing numerous gun store owners on TV further confusing this issue by talking about their "rights". The 2nd amendment applies to ownership--- NOT selling.

  • April 28, 1999, 1:06 a.m. CST

    slight change of direction...

    by garumphul

    Can we talk about ickle fwuffy wuffy bunny wabbits for a bit? Much less horrible than all this _gun_ nonsense. Anyway... I like my ickle fwuffy wuffy bunny wabbits grilled. How 'bout you?

  • April 28, 1999, 2 a.m. CST

    Inside Edition

    by Reed Rothchild

    By far the most insulting program segment about Littleton was Inside Edition's investigation into the "Goth underworld" that spawned these sociopaths. They intercut footage of Marilyn Manson, a Goth shop, and footage of BRANDON LEE IN THE CROW! WTF?! Let's just piss on poor Brandon's grave why don't we. The kicker came when they said "Goth experts caution that wearing black trench coats does not neccessarily make someone a killer." That is a direct quote.

  • April 28, 1999, 4:02 a.m. CST

    a thought off the subject

    by sjmaatta

    As a person who has lived both in the U.S. and in Europe and done a fair share of travelling, let me assure that there is plenty of freedom for everybody in both places - yes, even in the "quasi-socialistic" places. Reading of the posts also reminded me of the fact that the quality of American news-type programming most of the time left me speechless... while I was living there I remember sometimes feeling like I lost contact with the rest of the world (or even other states)... anyway, looks like there has not been much improvement in the quality of the news shows. And peace, take it easy.

  • April 28, 1999, 4:19 a.m. CST

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer

    by claymoore

    Moriarty brings up an interesting point about artists being responsible for their actions. Earlier this evening I tuned in to watch Buffy and there was an interesting statement preceding the show, something to the effect of: 'Due to the tragedy in Littleton the episode originally scheduled to air this evening has been rescheduled for a later time.' I suppose I should give credit to the producers for having some taste if the content was that bad, but what was it about? Why couldn't a somewhat normal, educated person such as myself watch it? Why hasn't the WB apologized about the content of some of their other shows?

  • April 28, 1999, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Religion is the answer

    by Meridian

    Anyone who knows me at all is at this moment wondering if I've flipped. No, I haven't. I'm still sane and I'm still an athiest. Fact of the matter is, though, that religion is all about control. It is a dictating force telling people what to do, what not to do, and what the penalties are for them breaking with what their "god" (through mortal, fallable, and greedy interpreters of course) tells them to do. Personally, that's why I hate it. I don't need someone with a collar or braids or silly makeup telling me what to do. I know what I'm going to do,I know what I feel is right, and I know that I will do what the hell I like when the hell I like. Am I a sociopath? No. I was raised in a lower-middle class one-parent family. My mother worked a good sixty hours a week or so and my father was someone I saw every six months or so. Somehow, however, I turned out allright. Maybe it was the neighbor who helped raise me and taught me right from wrong. So, what does this have to do with the the whole Colorado issue? To put it simply, as many have said, the issue shouldn't be blame, (hint to parents: if your child is a mass murderer you probably didn't raise them right) but responsibility. Whose responsiblity? Well, that's what it's all about, isn't it? I don't own a gun, though I could legally do so. Legalities aren't an issue (even if they were, it wouldn't be at all difficult to get ahold of the firearm of my choice) and neither is money. Fact of the matter is that if I did own a gun I am certain I would have used it by now. Not for "sporting purposes", not for "home defense", but more along the lines of a "that's the last time that fucker will ever cut me off and nearly slam me into a pylon" use. So I don't have a gun. Personally, I think that everyone should have one or nobody should have one. Seeing as how the latter will *never* come true I guess the former is preferable. But that will never happen either. Ah, but back to "God". I have my morality hardwired in. I don't know where it came from, but it's there. My only serious encounter with police was when a couple friends and I hospitalized a rapist (and eight of his friends who decided to defend him). I am not against violence as you may gather from the above. It is a tool like anything else. As is becoming more apparent every day, however, far too many people do *not* have morality or principles ingrained in them. It doesn't matter if it's someone in the inner city pushing granny down a flight of stairs for her Social Security check or a couple hate-filled teenagers on a rampage through their high school. It all stems from the same thing. That's why religion is so important. Not for me, not for many of my friends, and not for those who are actually capable of controlling themselves and being responsible for their actions. Except for its occasional excesses (which were, of course, totally inexcusable) religion has keep many a person's negative urges in check. The more that religion has fled from the cities of America the more wild, depraved, and dangerous people have become. Religion has controlled people for millenia - maybe it's time for the cattle of the world to find it again. People obviously can't find their own moral compass anymore. Not enough of them, anyways. It has become obvious that people MUST be told what to think and they MUST be told what is right and they MUST be told what is wrong and they MUST be told that they'll go to hell if they transgress. I don't need it, but it looks to me like the majority do. It looks like humanity hasn't come as far as some had hoped.

  • April 29, 1999, 3:11 a.m. CST

    by METHOS

    The sleep of reason gives birth to DEMONS.

  • May 1, 1999, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Film and Game Violence = Real Life Violence?

    by motu

    First I must credit Moriarty's rhetorical skills. Bravo. I'm a huge fan of id software. The makers of Doom & Quake. I spend an inordinate amount of time on-line in a murderous rampage playing Quake2. Sometimes I even get together with friends to set up a LAN so that we may mercilessly thrash each other all night. Despite this, I am going to medical school because I wish to make a difference on this twisted planet and I believe that people can make a difference. Further I have close, loving relation ships with the aforementioned friends. Without much effort or thought I manage to keep my real life free from homicidal rampages. I find a real camaraderie too, amongst those people I meet for a goming session on-line. As another writer had mentioned, the lawsuit "investigated" by 60 Minutes smacks of Atom Egoyan's great film The Sweet Hereafter. Here the lawyer attempting to file a class-action lawsuit is compared to the Pied Piper of Hamlin. We all remember that tale. The behavior of the parents Ed Bradley questioned is opprobrious. Then again...it may be merely misguided. They search for some form of closure and probably have no clue as how to find this. There may be no closure for them. I don't think they are profiteers; the loss of a child may be the most painful experience in life. But how dare they besmirch the death of these children by filing a suit. HOW DARE THEY! I wonder if the lawyers pursued these people or if the people pursued the lawyers. I assume the former. They are the true profiteers. But before we castigate them with great severity we should realize that they are but a reflection of us. We give them the opportuniy to exploit. They are the mirror into which we gaze, denying the image beheld is or own. The recent prominence of Stone's Natural Born Killers is also worthy of comment. NBK is an indictment of the news media. NBK proffers the point of view that the media affords such prominence to acts of violence and their perpetrators that they become celebrities. This further desensitizes us to violence. Rather than be shocked by what we see, we accept it. Hell I could have saved my time and, hopefully, yours by mentioning the one salient fact: some people just don't get it. --Slake

  • July 22, 2006, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Fucked up people keep lawyers in business.

    by Wolfpack

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