February 8, 2013

Letters to the editor: Movies fuel 'acceptance of gun violence'

So, a few weeks after Bob Costas got into so much trouble with gun rights advocates for saying America has a "gun culture," I took a look at the Jan. 31 edition of GO, the "arts and culture" insert in the Portland Press Herald, and this is what I saw.

Sylvester Stallone brandishes a gun in “Bullet to the Head,” a movie reviewed in the Jan. 31 edition of GO. Several photos in the Jan. 31 GO portray actors wielding guns, notes a reader who believes that violent entertainment desensitizes people to real-life shootings.

Warner Bros.

On Page E13, two pictures -- one of Sylvester Stallone and one of Sung Kang; both men are wielding a gun ("Movie preview: Stallone back with a BANG").

On Page E14, Kris Kristofferson aiming a handgun pretty much at the reader ("Indie Film: Let's pray the Blu-ray gods smile on deserving masterpieces").

On Page E30 ("At the Movies"), Christopher Walken and Al Pacino, both with a gun in each hand. (Also, on Page E26, we're treated to a picture of Stallone threatening someone with -- not a gun, but a pair of pliers.)

I don't think the picture on Page E15, of Sam Rockwell with a puppy, quite balances out those images ("DVD Releases").

Sure. There's a huge distinction between reality and the movies. But we have a casual acceptance of guns and gun violence that we need to change if we want the slaughter of innocent people to slow down and, hopefully, eventually stop.

We don't want to take away your hunting rifles and handguns, but we need sensible gun legislation now and maybe a little less casual acceptance of gun violence in our popular entertainment.

Rick Hautala

Westbrook

Without opportunity for all, nation's future is bleak

It occurs to me that the right wing of the Republican Party has thoroughly botched the intent of free-market capitalism, which is to provide an opportunity for most, not just a few.

In his first term in office, soon after the assassination of his predecessor, William McKinley, President Teddy Roosevelt looked out upon the land and saw that robber baron capitalism was oppressing the work force through back-breaking hours, terrible working conditions and meager wages.

In this environment, the lower and emerging middle classes in America had virtually no hope for the future and thus the rise of unions and progressively minded politicians to right the situation.

Most of us believe that hard work and sacrifice are the key elements of success.

But I believe that what President Obama and the progressive politicians of our own time are responding to is a stacked deck where too many Americans are falling behind while the few move ahead.

We seem not to realize that, in the end, this is a destructive force to the future of our country.

To be totally self-serving about it, those of us approaching retirement should hardly feel confident in the future if those coming behind haven't the means to support themselves, let alone the cost of Social Security and Medicare.

While the concept of transferring wealth through our tax system may not be ideal, until we find a way to re-establish opportunity for a larger segment of the population, I don't see what else we can do.

If those of us who are better off don't like the increasing financial sacrifice, then I suggest that we put our shoulders to the wheel and right this situation rather than complaining as to the unfairness of it all.

John Ross

Edgecomb

Climate-change claims raise credibility concerns

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