Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Colorado Shooting. Shouldn't US Have Stricter Gun Laws?

Many of you have read with horror about the Colorado shooting. A gunman entered the theatre and shot innocent popcorn-munching theatre film viewers of "The Dark Knight Rises" without provocation. Imagine the movie theatre at that few crazy minutes: the panic, the screams, the thunderous sound from the speakers, the blood. The shooter was dressed in the costume of The Joker who was the villain of the the earlier Dark Knight movie, which was acted by Heath Ledger and which fetched him a posthumous oscar. Soon, the shooting will be made into a film and we will forget all about it, having paid lip tribute, and all such. To summarise our diatribe, the US will remain a violent society because of the easy availability of guns.

Now what we are waffling towards is this: The Joker - as shown in the prequel (The Dark Knight) - commits violence for the sake of violence. He doesn't do it for money. In a scene he is shown burning all the millions of dollars that is offered to him and not feeling a thing about it. His agenda is different, which is: commit violence for the sake of violence. It has given birth to a new genre of villainy which has been copied by many subsequent films, and has inspired this youth to violence of a similar nature. His preoccupation is committing something unprecedented so that he can shock the world. Violence for the sake of violence, not for money or fame. He also happens to be a Ph. D. student. Which complicates the real-life plot even further. How can a student doing Ph.D. be so sick in the mind?

We have always maintained that violence in films engender and incite violence in real life. Well, this is the result. Most films are built on the theme of revenge, and revenge incites violent feelings. When you see violence on the screen it inspires you to violence towards unsuspecting humans: women, children, and popcorn-munching theatre audience. Much of India's violence against women and children originates with the gruesomeness of the violence of our movies.

Practitioners of cinema say violence is part of life, so they are showing life as it is. No. We don't agree. The sort of gratuitous violence and shooting shown in Sholay doesn't happen in real life. The violence shown in a recent film Rajneeti doesn't happen in real life. In fact, when their talents fails in the portrayal of real life they take the shortcut by resolving things with violence. We have not seen Gangs of Waseypur but we are told it is full of violence. See any movies: Hollywood, Bollywood, or, the Hong Kong kung-fu capers. They all have the background of gory violence splashed all over it.

That the shooter - one James Holmes (what an innocent name) - bought all his guns openly is another dreaded fact that US citizens have to live with. Why isn't there any gun control? Why isn't there a licence required for owning a gun? India has strict gun licencing. We don't mean to say India has less violence. However, for a minute, imagine what it would have been if guns were easily available off the shelf. Our cities would have turned to lawless Waseypurs and more.

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