There’s an article at The Good Men Project worth reading called “Not a Joke: Why Do Our Boys Keep Up the Mass Shootings?” in light of the mass murder this morning in Colorado. I left a comment there that I wanted to explore some more here.
This is a risky comment, because it is perhaps too early to theorize. For starters, I live in Colorado and I’m stunned. I also love the Batman movies for the same reasons lots of other boys and men love them. I get a rise out of violence in my entertainment, gun-related or otherwise, and I’m not sure yet what that says about me or my conception of masculinity.
At the risk of being too politically charged, I would like to offer this idea: gun/violence culture. Not guns and violence themselves; the world has had both for eons. I’m talking about the culture thereof, which I believe is different.
I work for a military-tech company. We design products that integrate into soldier systems and weaponry. One of our employees was touring his kid through the plant recently and the kid’s eyes went wide when he saw one of the assault rifles sitting on an engineer’s desk. We were conducting testing on a new design, and the kid was ecstatic. I didn’t know (and can’t remember) the model of the gun; he knew it cold and could tell me how many rounds per second it fired. I asked the kid how he knew so much about it (you know where this is going): Modern Warfare 7 (or whatever version we have now).
Again, I am not talking about the video games themselves, or the guns themselves. We have always had these with us. I’m merely talking about the culture that has arisen around that stuff that I think matters more. The culture celebrates weaponry and violence to a level never seen before, where the protagonist hero can rampage without any consequence — in fact, he is rewarded for doing so.
Just some scrambled thoughts on an emotionally cloudy Friday morning.