What prompted that Gun Violence Trends In Movies study I reported on yesterday? The one in which American and Dutch university researchers discovered that over a 20-year period gun violence in PG-13 films has more than tripled and that in 2012, there was more violence in PG-13 films than in R movies, which often gets that rating because of depictions of sex and nudity?
Here’s a closer look.
Co-author of the study, Dan Romer, a psychologist at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, tells me his team initiated its research after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last year, which unfortunately has been several massacres ago. The study predicts that “youth will be more interested in acquiring and using guns after exposure to gun violence in films.” I grew up in New Jersey and had my fair share of exposure to guns, but there aren’t as many guns here. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t seen incidents in Europe: in Norway in 2011, a gunman killed 69 people at a summer camp on the island of Utøya, and in 2010 in Britain a lone gunman killed a dozen people before turning the gun on himself. Last year in Toulouse, France, a lone perpetrator killed seven people in a series of three attacks. Meanwhile, in Marseille, the death toll in what is seen as an ongoing battle between drug dealing gangs, has just this week reached 18. Still, that is a pittance compared with the U.S., where semi-automatic weapons are so prevalent. According to reports, there have been 9,900 gunshot deaths since the Sandy Hook massacre. (more…)