By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hollywood Violence Not a Cause But Cannot Help Matters

The overnight events in Boston--the wild violent chase and resistance by two brothers --is surreal. A few weeks ago I was on a treadmill in a local gym. I never watch TV, but the inevitable TV screens were on in the gym. What I saw was part of a 2010 movie about two friends and their gang terrorizing Boston in an astoundingly violent chase sequence in which they murdered police and rammed police cars with abandon. The scenes were intended to shock, and they did.

Snippets of news reports that I read today sound eerily like that TV series. When nuts decide to engage in violence, they are apparently looking for a sick thrill. When TV celebrates that violence and perversely makes it seem glorious, it can't help matters. TV or movies did not cause this disaster. But these and similar depictions could have given these fanatical psychotics an additional strange and twisted confirmation of the thrill involved in their fantasies. Extremely violent TV and movie scenes make such actions seem even more plausible, demonically glorious, and doable to committed fanatics.

But that realization implies that Hollywood must put commonsense restraint over profit. That won't happen as long as there is a public willing to pay plenty of money for extreme depictions of violence. Maybe, out of respect for all of the real victims, the public will experience a change of heart, a change in consumer preferences.