Frank Wolf (R-VA) agrees that easy access to firearms is one of the problems that must be confronted when addressing the issue of gun violence, but expressed disappointment that President Obama’s SOTU address did not also address mental illness and media violence.
“While I recognize the potential constitutional issues involved in tackling media violence, mental health parity and gun control, I am disappointed that mental health issues and media violence were left out of the president’s address,” Wolf said. “The president said that the victims of mass shootings, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the college students at Virginia Tech, the children at Sandy Hook, the high school students at Columbine, and the movie-goers in Aurora all deserve a vote for gun control proposals. How can he in good conscience call for that, but not acknowledge the fact that each one of the shooters in those events was mentally disturbed? How could he not acknowledge the role that violent media played in some of their lives? The president has failed the American people and the families of the victims by remaining frustratingly silent on these crucial issues and ignoring the other central factors related to mass violence of this kind.”
Wolf has in hand a National Science Foundation report called “Youth Violence: What We Need To Know,” that he believes raises issues worthy of discussion.
In a release, Wolf brought up a list of media with violent content which included video games, movies, television, apps, music and comic books.
He mentioned one prescription, a new ratings system that applies uniformly to all popular media. He cited a report in the study which claimed that reducing exposure to violent media would be one of the easiest risk factors to mitigate.
News coverage of mass shooting incidents was also brought up for consideration, particularly its possible creation of copycat shooters.
Wolf said another thing to consider is depriving video games of a level of realism – he specifically mentioned using blue- rather than red-colored blood, a technique already adopted in Europe.
RBR-TVBR observation: We note that once again, the media violence comments veer more toward video games than scripted entertainment. But we would argue that while media may be the easiest of the three areas of concern to address, it is also the least impactful of the three in our humble opinion, and further, it may not be as easy to address as they think.
There’s a little thing called the First Amendment. There is also the inescapable fact that millions upon millions of people are subjected to the content in question with no problem.
It is also almost foolish to suggest that the press should ignore mass shootings – it just cannot.
We certainly do not mind having media content involved in the discussion – but it should not be used as an excuse to deal strongly and intelligently with the access to guns and mental health elements of this problem, which are far weightier.