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  • Our Violent Society...

    So, in one of the recent threads I stated our Society is so violent because of movies and video games. Then this past Saturday morning I was looking through the myriad of "new" cable channels that deal mostly in old black and white TV shows and other shows from the 60's. In no order, I remembered Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel. Tombstone Territory, Texas Rangers, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Rebel, Branded, Yancy Deringer, Maverick, The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train Cheyenne, Daniel Boone, Rawhide, Wild Wild West Kung Fu, etc

    I figure with just a few hours of viewing a night, if that, I saw plenty of people shot dead and many arguments settled with bullets. So why were there very few shootings back then? There were semi-automatic shotguns, there were pistols, why so many more shootings now? That was before any type of gun control, didnt Lee Harvey Oswald get his rifle by mail order? I was wrong, entertainment wise we were much more violent then

    Why were not schools and offices riddled with bullets then, what has changed?

  • #2
    I dunno, great question. We had fist fights not gun fights back then.

    Fist fights on the bus, in school, in the neighborhood, at scouts, everywhere except church where the nuns hit us

    Anger needs an outlet or a quick release?

    Another $0.02,


    • #3
      The difference is those old westerns celebrated rugged individualism. Well so long as you got past all the Native American stereotyping. Much different than Saw, Hostel, or any of the other torture-porn that passes for entertainment these days.

      Add to that pushing God away...making basic (dare I say "common sense") morality quaint...fewer fathers...more acceptance of perversion.

      Sports heroes aren't heroes any more, they're common thugs. Just catch an open mike on an NFL sideline.

      There's another thread about the Boy Scouts being the last bastion of anti-gay bigotry. I would argue they are the last bastion of traditional morality, and we see how our membership is in a death spiral.

      The apple rots from the inside out and we are rotten, rotten, rotten to the core.


      • #4
        OGE, I'm not at all sure I have an answer, but it seems to me that all societies have had stories of violence. The Heroes of all ages have all engaged in violence, and we have always reveled in their tales, around the campfires, at the feet of the elders, from actors on stage, now in movies. I also remember those Westerns, tales of bygone days. But, while violent, it was somewhat sanitized, no? Today, the violence in film, on TV, and in games is graphically intense, and often WE are the perpetrators, as in 1st person shooter games. I find that substantially different from the 1960s. Although it would probably take a Sociology dissertation to make the point stick.


        • #5
          The actual gore was not allowed to be seen, and it was usually pretty obvious who were the bad guys and what happened to them when they were bad. Even many of the bad guys were still polite to women, and kids were still expected to be respectful to adults, or they were punished and parents were still held accountable for their kids' actions.

          Of course, you left out the other things playing as well then, such as Ozzie and Harriet, Andy Griffin, Leave it to Beaver, Hazel, Dennis the Menace; all of them had some type of moral to the story. How many of these are now seen on modern TV. Parents are either not there, are idiots, are held up as models when they represent what was once considered to be anomalous in society, or allow the kids to get away with anything because they do not want to hurt the child's fragile ego. Husbands are often portrayed in similar manner. People that show what was once considered common courtesy and positive responses to others' troubles are now made fun of as being foolish or worse, and sometimes even called "a boy scout".

          As an aside on the cowboys and Indians; the NRA needed to take them in and give them training, as most of them could not hit the broad side of the barn unless they were having a draw down in the street. Of course shooting a revolver or trying to aim a rifle while on a running horse, often twisting backwards as well, was not the best way of being a successful shooter. Of course, the horses seldom stumbled either, even thought supposedly running at full gallop over rough terrain. Of course, we also all knew that Indians always said "How" when greeting you, and generally they always either sneaked up on you in ambush, or ran in large groups in circles without fear of being shot by the beleaguered white men.

          Maybe the ridiculous simplicity of the plots, and the awful acting lent itself to not being taken seriously.


          • #6
            I got sent to the principal's office more than 25 times for just the fights on the bus... and that was just for the elementary school years...and those were just the ones for which I got caught!

            I never even SAW a pistol, other than on television or on a policeman, until I was a teen and I remember the first time I ever saw an auto-loading 22 rifle. It was incredibly exotic. Pump shotguns were also considered luxuries. I had a bolt-action shotgun. I still have double-barrels - I'm with Beavah, if you can't hit it with two shots....
            Someone stole the bolt-action one though. I still have the magazine for it...and the firing pin, heh, heh. By now that thing is probably part of a rebar somewhere.

            Yes, back then if a fight expanded to use of a knife, that was a really big deal. And everyone had knives at school, everyone. But I can tell you that I firmly believe that certain of my classmates...if they had been able to get their hands on pistols...things would have been very different. Their behaviors as it was, indicated to me that had no regard for life - theirs or anyone else's.

            But back then, they didn't...have guns so easily available...EVERYWHERE.


            • #7
              The best part of the forum experience is to realize how different everything is for others

              In my neighborhood, all the dads had guns, I knew where my fathers shotgun was and where the 30-06 was and where the shells were kept as did the other kidsfor the guns in their homes. THis is suburban CHicago, we didnt shoot each other although we saw people shot every night (I forgot to mention Combat)

              So, if people could mail order guns then, and today we have so many more gun control laws and the feeling is access to guns is greater now than ever

              WHat did the gun control laws accomplish?


              • #8
                violence is part of our DNA.

                Back when we were monkeys on the branch, the biggest TOOK the food of the smallest and breed the females. So we were breed to be aggressive.

                First is was just muscle power

                Then an animal bone, as in 2001 space odyssey

                Then wooden clubs, Clubs with attachments, slings and stones, bows and arrows, fire arms, and on and on.

                I think shiff hit it on the head. As a young man fist fights were pretty common.


                • #9
                  Perhaps the difference was, back then (50s-60s for me), most of us had two parents home every night to teach us right from wrong. If we did wrong, we paid the price, usually twice...once at school and again when Dad got home from work.


                  • #10
                    I quickly learned that the goody-goodies who listened to their parents got the s*** beat out of them next day at school. You learned about reality during those fights, not in parents' illusions.

                    OGE, I would say that there are fewer gun controls today than there were back then, with perhaps the exception of purchasing through the mail. Today you can purchase over the internet and all you have to do is arrange it through an FFL dealer and you can purchase ammo with just a credit card number, no controls at all, I do it all the time.
                    More importantly, today I can put an ad in the paper and get a dozen calls with various offers to sell, no questions asked. Back then, the guns simply weren't out THERE to sell. Today I can drive a few minutes several times any week and be at a flea market where I can purchase almost anything I want, no questions asked. There is no gun control as far as I can tell.


                    • #11
                      Yeah pack, I know about the beatings received by those to listened to their parents as I was beat many times. Once because I believed my father when he said the best way to show up a bully was to punch him in the nose, he did forget to mention he might punch back, repeatedly, daily


                      • #12
                        Loss of community.

                        Divorce, decline in social/Church, generation gap, neighborhood decline, latch-key kids, etc. are all symptoms of the disconnect people are increasing experiencing over the past several years.

                        It's only going to get worse with the electronic disconnect of iPhones, internet, etc.

                        It's a lot easier to harm someone that is not "connected" to you in any ways. It's a lot easier to drop a bomb (or pull the trigger on a drone missile) from miles away than it is to strangle someone with their bare hands. Guns offer the maximum comfort distance and is still affordable/attainable for most people.

                        So how does one survive in as an individual vs. community member? You're on your own and the world revolves around you and your survival. No one has your back. You naturally are more prone to violent actions because survival is closer to the surface.

                        Used to be when bullies were in school, parents, teachers, etc. handled it. You were never alone.

                        You dated, one-on-one, none of the group date thing or internet dating or power dating, or any of the other quick fix solutions to finding a mate to base a family on.

                        Divorce? The rates speak for themselves. Family? Kids raised by daycare personnel/nannies.

                        So where are the communities? Gangs, clubs, bars, places one hangs out generally without the others of significance in your life. Not many really offer a positive community setting.

                        So, when you read the newspapers and the mass-murderer is identified as "a loner", "kept to himself", "quiet", "didn't have any friends", you will realize that there's a ton of these people out there.

                        It's a lot easier to kill someone when they are socially/emotionally disconnected from oneself.

                        Yes, the world was more violent "back then". But if one wished to do community violence it usually took a lot of effort to raise an army before moving on one's enemies. In an individualistic society, it only takes a gun.



                        • #13
                          I've thought about this and I'm going to reject the notion that we are more violent than in the past and instead suggest that are more deadly, and that yes, movies and video games played a role in that but not in the "they're more violent" sense but more in the different equipment sense. Veterans have played a role as well.

                          I loved watching The Rifleman. What were the opening credits? Chuck Connors advancing on someone rapidly firing his rifle. Would it surprise anyone to make a connection between The Rifleman TV show and Ralphies dreaming of a Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas (Christmas Story)? The guns certainly looked similar, and who didn't want to be the Rifleman? When that similarity hit me, I realized something - the types of guns shown on TV and in the movies back then were pretty similar to the types of guns you could buy, except for Thompson Submachine Guns, which to this day are still illegal for most people to own.

                          In the 50's, 60's and 70's, we had school shootings - and the shooters were armed with rifles and shotguns, the kinds of guns they saw on TV and in movies - and while they're deadly, you just couldn't get the same kind of mass casualties as you can get with some of todays guns. Where do Veterans come into the equation? Consider the veterans of the day - what were shooting while in the service? Guns like the M-1 Garand. If you're a veteran and want to take up shooting, or hunting, or just want a gun around for protection, what are you going to gravitate to? The kind of guns you used in service.

                          By the mid-60's and 1970's, our military folks were using things like the M-14 and the M-16. When they got out of the sertvice, what was waiting for them? A gun just like the one they had in the military - the AR-15. Weapons on TV and in the movies changed too, especially in the 1980's. In the 1970's, Clint Eastwood was running around as Dirty Harry, and those movies helped push .357 Magnum sales. In the 80's, you had folks like Arnold, Chuck and Sly running around carrying multiple guns that looked like military-style weapons - and people wanted them.

                          Violent Society? Every society has violence - the difference is what do we have available to arm ourselves with.


                          • #14
                            I have been watching some of the old TV shows from the 70's, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, etc. While not violent, obviously, there are references to promiscuity and homosexuality that I swear I never got the first time. In one Mary finds the perfect guy but he turns out to be gay. And the old Dean Martin roasts got kinda raunchy.


                            • #15
                              "Why were not schools and offices riddled with bullets then, what has changed?"

                              I don't believe personally that violence in movies and video games has much to do with it. One of the main reasons we didn't have those problems back then is that guys like the ones in Sandy Hook and Aurora were locked up back then. Same reason you didn't have a lot of homeless people wandering around mumbling to themselves. But they got rights and we got shooters.