The American gun

The Americans have a gun problem, and Europe is getting infected with the same disease. Not a month goes by wihtout another mass shooting, and now we have just had the attacks on Krudttoenden in Copenhagen, and the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. Like Obama said, enough is enough.

Obama got it wrong. Enough is enough, but its not the guns that are causing these issues, its the way we portray them, the way they are used in plots in popular culture. Enough with the mindless hero solving his problems by causing countless trategies, as he kills scores of bad guys, with his trusted gun.

The American movie hero is an inhumane disaster, a psychopathic egoist, wielding a gun to solve his problems.

Hollywood is the problem. Try watching a Danish thriller (The Bridge, The Killing), a Swedish one (The girl with the dragon tattoo, Wallander) and notice the difference on guns. Not which guns are featured, but how they progress the story. In European culture, guns cause problems, the villans have them and they cause tragedies. In American culture, guns solve problems, the heroes have them. Europeans have guns, Canadians have guns, but our heroes do not.

The problem is the idea of the american man, solving his problems with his guns. It is an old story, told and retold untill it became so accepted that we do not even identify it any longer. The american man, the man who gets things done, the man who fixes the problems, rids the good of the bad, the man who changes the world. He is The Godfather of the western man. He is Rambo, The Terminator, he lives in Pulp Fiction and he is The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

This is what society teaches every young man growing up today. To be a real man, you have to act, and the greater the problem, the greater the gun. The way you solve your problems is by taking matters into your own hands and reshape the world around you one shot at a time. We do teach our children that this is all make believe, this is all just fun and games. But what happens when that is not tought? What happens when you lose faith in your parents, or the rules of society and take the story of the american man to be gospel?

That is when “a young man breaks away. He buys a gun, he steals a car. He tries to run, but he don’t get far.”(Elvis Presley - In The Ghetto)

This is not a new debate. It has come and gone in many forms. People have pointed the finger at the media before. Individual artists have felt persecuted. Ice Cube said “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It”, Eminem went head on and adressed his persecutors in “White America” and of course rap music didn’t cause the american man to be the psychopathic egoist, neither did violent movies or games, or other violent media. Works of art, like novels, movies and games will always be a reflection of our society.

As a culture we need to get over the story of the american man, the movie hero.

How can we be surprised when a young man reacts in frustration? How can we be surprised of his reaction when the cultural story teaches him to take up arms, fight your problems with bullets and brute force. These men are doing what they have seen their heroes do. The villains they are trying to fight, are civilians, who have brought them their frustrations. But we keep blaiming the gun.

Written by Vincens Riber Mink on 28 November 2015