Violence, Hollywood, and Hypocrisy


Newtown, Connecticut


I’m very pleased and proud to be associated with the Deseret News, which, in my view, is steadily becoming a more and more intellectually substantive, significant, and interesting newspaper — and certainly so on its editorial pages.  (This is not altogether surprising, given the journalistically unusual background of the paper’s editor, Paul Edwards.)


Here are three recent items from the Deseret News — a column and two editorials — on a very important issue in American popular culture:



"Treasures in earthen vessels"
"The Supreme Court Ratifies a New Civic Religion that is Incompatible with Christianity"
On judging people
"Yes, Gay Marriage Hurts Me Personally"
  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    The anger against law abiding firearms ownership that the news media and politicians are whipping up is fundamentally a THREAT of VIOLENCE against everyone who does not want to surrender their guns. It is hypocritical for two reasons: (1) Top government officials have armed guards to protect them, with metal detectors and x-ray machines used to guard their offices at the White House, the Pentagon, the Capitol, and the courts, they control armed forces which would retaliate against anyone attacking them, and they create laws which add punishment for anyone who attacks a government official. The daughters of the President have armed Secret Service agents guarding them at school. (2) Top media leaders employ armed security even as they make money by selling violence in the news (“If it bleeds, it leads”) and in their movies, TV programming, and electronic games. They make money from stories like the Newtown attack.

    The hypocrisy of the attackers against law abiding gun owners is the fact that the solution to preventing attacks on schools is OBVIOUS. It is the same one that government officials use to protect themselves: Armed guards, aided by metal detectors and x-ray devices. When we CARE about protecting people in a place, we use these measures to do it. We know how to do it. The ONLY reason armed attacks succeed is because the government officials in charge of schools and universities CHOOSE not to spend the money to install and maintain a REAL security system that will catch an armed attacker before he goes in. But for some reason, the government officials and people who make money in the media NEVER point to the direct responsibility that school boards have for CHOOSING to forego simple security measures, because they don’t think it is worth the cost of protecting students!

    School officials choose NOT to install and maintain real security because (1) it costs REAL money, which they would rather spend on other things (the teacher unions want more teachers, not more security!), (2) the risk of an attack on any particular school during the term of a school board member or district superintendent is extremely small, and (3) the law of sovereign immunity protects them from being sued over those kinds of decisions. You may recall that even the negligent sheriff in the Columbine High School incident was held to be immune from liability even though he failed to enter the school for hours while victims were bleeding to death AND HE KNEW IT. At least police have abandoned that example and now respond rapidly, as they did to the Trolley Square shooter in Utah several years ago, ending his attack within five minutes of its start.

    The anger of Americans about armed attacks on unarmed students and shoppers and theater patrons should be directed against the people in charge of those establishments. Putting up signs asking law abiding citizens to not carry firearms is just an invitation to killers to attack the defenseless. If the schools boards will not allow armed citizens (including teachers) to defend themselves, they should step up and provide real defense for them.

    Eight years ago, the University of Utah sued the state to prevent students and faculty from carrying lawful concealed weapons on campus. They lost in court. That did NOT result in any gun violence on campus. All the while, the offices of the senior university officials were protected by standard security measures, including armed guards, metal detectors and x-ray machines.

    • Lucy Mcgee

      Excellent comment.