Ben is on jury duty, he was chosen as an alternate, which, I guess, makes him the 13th angry man. He can’t talk about the case, but we already know which one it is. It’s the double rape & homicide that has been in the papers up here. Two young men raped & murdered two girls. Girls, mind you, not women, but coming from my perspective, they were boys that did it. Early twenties & what not.

The entire thing has people in a bit of an uproar, opinion wise. As does the seemingly endless rash of violence that has gripped America in recent years & hasn’t seemed to let up.

You know, the violence that makes news when there is a stabbing at a school & not another shooting. A shooting wouldn’t be original, that happens every day, now a stabbing, well that’s just novel.

And then there was the fascist that killed two Methodists & a Catholic in an effort to kill Jews. I guess, you know, he didn’t do the check. You know, the check. Being raised by a Jewish father, I’m supposed to be extra sensitive about it.

I know dad is: “they’re killing us again. Climb in the oven they’ll never look there.”

He hides his…he hides his everything with a thin guise of humor. Still, it’s easy to tell he’s worried. He watches the news, the growing right-wing militancy in America has him worried. This is unique, because when I was in high school, he wasn’t afraid because he was Jewish, he was afraid about what the Zionists were doing to his religion. Under Clinton, his big fear was the way that the Jews in Israel were committing, well, genocide.

“Never again means never again, especially if you are the one doing it.” And my favorite “A Zionist isn’t a real Jew, it’s a murderer.” It wasn’t so much that he is really pro Palestinian, he has just always been extremely anti-murder.

That’s not really a Jewish stance. It’s a human stance. Which stands in contrast with mom who has taken a strong side in the Troubles, despite the fact that her husband & eldest child have always been militantly pro-peace talks. It doesn’t really matter the conflict.

So dad is worried that America is drawing a racial & religious line in the sand along political lines & he blames the media for that. For dad, politics has everything to do with it.

The people at work are jaded in the other direction. They blame pornography & violent movies & video games. And yes, some of them blame race. The people standing trial are Black, so there is a bit of “the criminal element” attached to the case. The victims were Latino so there is a bit of the “they were asking for it” mentality as well.

But despite the race thing, the vast majority of the blame has been transferred to violent movies, violent video games, & pornography.

What ever happened to blaming the killer?

I just can’t buy into the violent movies create violent people shtick. We had HBO when I was a little kid & my parents never cared what I watched.

It warped me. I turned into a Quentin Tarantino fan. Watching some horribly violent movies as a child made me a fan of violent movies as an adult. This is doubled if the violent movies have a sense of humor attached to it.

That scene in Pulp Fiction where the kid gets accidentally shot in the head, I laughed at that. The thing is, the last thing I would do is shoot someone in the face. The last thing I’d do is shoot someone. In fact, the only potential I would have to shoot someone is if I where duck hunting & the vice president.

Well remembered.

Even then, the few times I went hunting, I missed. I’m actually a really good shot, especially with a rifle, but I somehow always manage to aim incredibly high whenever dad & grandpa took me hunting. Not so high that it would be obvious, but high enough where I had no chance of actually hitting an animal.

I can’t exactly kill. There is something that blocks me from actually killing things. And did I mention that I love watching people get shot in movies? I love playing video games that allow me to kill my friends too.

Sure, when I was a kid, well, Zelda ruled, but come high school we had Goldeneye & I spent a fair amount of time in high school & college killing my best friends. We had Grand Theft Auto & that game had the perfect combination of violence & humor. I spent a lot of time picking up whores in sunny Vice City & then beating them to death with a baseball bat.

Yet, I can’t kill an animal even when I know how good it’s going to taste when I get it home.

Sometimes when you use your own experience with violent media to argue the point, people round it on you. “Well, everyone is not like you.”

That’s true, everyone is NOT like me. But I’m also not THAT abnormal. I can shoot up my friends in Halo & not think twice about it & to top it all off, the thought of shooting up work would never cross my mind. There is a clear divide between the two.

Let’s face it, if there were a link between the two, with how popular violent games are & how popular violent movies have always been, there would be a lot of killings dating back to the advent of cinema.

Instead, it’s only a recent thing.

Let’s not shift the guilt.

Pornography is the other end of the argument. You have some people say that “I’d rather have my kids watch two people make love than two people kill each other.” I’m against that for reasons of entertainment. Steamy & erotic movies were never as much fun as Reservoir Dogs was.

But we aren’t talking about 91/2 Weeks. We are talking about hardcore pornography being to blame. In this case, we have to look a Japan, a country infamous for really fun giant homicidal lizards & pornography. In fact, Japan has just about every type of pornographic fetish imaginable, for sale, all over the place.

I’ve been there, it’s everywhere, it really is. A lot of Puritanical westerners complain about it. I don’t judge. I’m a historian, it’s still nowhere near the debauchery of Rome or even Berlin in the 1920s.

Japan also has 1/24 of the incidents of rape as we do here in the US. 1/20 as in the UK. The Japanese are very open about sex & pornography & have a tiny fraction of the occurrences of rape in their society.

Did I mention that Japan was a country completely open about pornography? It’s everywhere there & they have 1/24 the amount of sexual assaults we have.

If pornography was to blame, Japan would be the rape capital of the globe. Instead, I think it’s currently Dubai which has zero tolerance for pornography, & Dublin, which makes you wonder if the recent exchange of bars for Starbucks has anything to do with it.

The bottom line is, the evidence isn’t there to back the statements up. It’s just not. What that is doing is shifting the blame to the media rather than actually looking for the cause. It’s shifting the blame away from the people that committed the crime.

We are no longer…some states in the US are no longer of the impression that the victim caused it, but rather than blaming her, we’re blaming Hollywood.


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