Heroes without guns

Another mass shooting today, and the debate rages on. What do we do about it?

Every time this happens (which is almost literally every day) there are the same arguments, and in the past I’ve always ignored it, not wanting to get into debates with people who’s minds aren’t going to change. But I’ve decided to add my voice to the crowd now, at least so I can feel like I’m doing anything at all.

The evidence is right in our face. Look at Europe, look at Australia. Less guns clearly and unarguably equals less crime and violence, but people here in America refuse to accept it and thus, refuse to vote sensible, reasonable restrictions and regulations into place.

The belief is that the real culprit is actually the few gun regulations we do have, that if only people could carry guns everywhere, there would be a goodguy with a gun to shoot the badguys before they can do any harm.

This is such a childish way to view the world, that at first I thought it was rhetoric, but, I think people in America really believe this. They honestly and sincerely believe that there are good people at the scenes of these shootings, who just wished they could have saved the day, but couldn’t because their guns were at home locked in a safe because of these crazy regulations.

And it’s not their fault that they have this view of the world, it’s ours.

The problem is with our culture, and it is our fault as writers, directors, actors, and creators. It is us, who have rammed it into the brains of everyone who has ever watched a TV show or movie or read a crime novel or mystery–the hero solves their problems with a gun.

We need to change our culture before we can change our laws. When every day of their life, people watching TV or movies see the enemy thwarted by Joe Hero, who scoops up a gun at the last minute to shoot the villain in the head, how can they help but imagine such scenarios in the real world? How can they help but think, ‘if only a hero was there with a gun, just like in all the movies and stories and shows I watch.’ How can they help but think that what paltry gun control we do have, is only holding all those heroes back?

If we want our laws to change, then we need the perspective of the people to change. And that is, in part, up to us, as creators of entertainment. We need less movies and stories where every problem is solved by shooting it or blowing it up, and then any guilt or psychological after effects are just shrugged off the morning after. We need more stories that show the futility of an arms race, and the danger of a weapon in the wrong hands. And the repercussions of actually using that weapon, even if it is to save yourself or someone else.

Maybe if the next generation could grow up in a world where only the villain would try to shoot anyone–or even want to own a weapon–and heroes avoided deadly weapons and resisted until they were absolutely forced to use them, and then suffered consequences afterward. Then maybe we’d have a chance to get our gun problem under control.

So if you’re a writer, like me, don’t give your heroes guns anymore. Don’t have them kill people in ‘cool’ ways then shrug it off. Because that shouldn’t be something heroes do. It shouldn’t be something to look up to.

Let’s have some  heroes without guns for once.





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