There is no one answer to gun violence – editorial in Globe and Mail July 22, 2012
From a VOW member,
Submitted by: Rose A. Dyson Ed.D.
17 Glen Road, Toronto Ontario M4W 2W8
Re: There is no one answer to gun violence
Of course, there is no one answer to gun violence but to dismiss the similarities between the tragic mass shootings in Toronto and Colorado this week is to cling ONLY to the obvious. It is true that the United States has a politicized gun culture that is not yet matched in Canada and that this frequently plays into the hands of disaffected, angry people who see carnage as a means of vengeance or self-expression. It is also true that we have known for decades that young men in black and immigrant communities often associate carrying and using guns with their sense of masculinity and status among peers. But we also know from countless studies that violent entertainment in popular culture fuels these problems. The interactive nature of violent video games in particular, one of the fastest growing forms of electronic arts, is frequently identified as dangerous and dysfunctional play when rewards involve points for blowing off the heads of fictional characters. It really does not require much in the way of mental gymnastics to see both shootings as manifestations of a growing culture of violence where our collective ability to separate reality from illusion is rapidly dissipating.
In Colorado, an intelligent, highly educated gunman with no criminal record crossed the line between reality and fantasy when he joined the Batman face-painted look alikes in a theatre premiere of the latest film in the series and began shooting into the crowd. This should be a wake-up call for policy makers, law enforcement personnel, educators and anyone else purporting to be in search of solutions to the growing culture of violence on both sides of the border. The McGuinty Government might want to reconsider the $2 million subsidy they have just awarded Rockstar Productions to relocate from Vancouver to
Toronto to give us more games like Grand Theft Auto, Bully and L.A.
Noire. More discretion on how our tax dollars are used to fund electronic arts, in particular, is long overdue and as urgently needed as additional funding for community centres and other social services in at risk communities. The academic call for more research must not be used as a smoke screen for inaction and an excuse for reverting back to business as usual. It is time the cultural industries were also held accountable for contributing to social breakdown and mitigating the value of more responsible educational objectives.