Is It Gun Control or Crime Reduction?

Prompted by mass shootings, Obama's reforms could take on new meaning for cities beset by violence.

At a January 2013 press conference, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls for stricter gun regulations. (Getty Images)


In his announcement on Wednesday, the president gave a shoulder brush to the NRA chieftain’s cheap shot on popular culture by barely mentioning video games.

Both in the real and virtual worlds, video games — and the two other whipping boys for guys who just want to play with their guns, Hollywood and rap music — don’t stop at America’s borders. Our violence-loaded popular culture is constantly consumed by youth around the globe.

One of the most popular video games here, Call of Duty, Black Ops 2, was last year’s best-selling game in the U.K. Assassin’s Creed 3 and Hitman: Absolution were two other shooter games in England’s top-five best-sellers.

Opponents of gun reform also point their fingers at Hollywood but fail to acknowledge that American action movies do blockbuster box office at home and abroad without leaving foreign soil littered by bullet-riddled bodies from drive-bys or spray shootings.

There are 300 million guns in America — nearly as many personal weapons of destruction as there are people. There are 32 murders a day in the land of the brave, home of the free. Last year, 9,146 people were shot to death in America. That’s three 9/11s over one year’s time.

Long before video games, and even before Sam Peckinpah began shooting big-screen shootouts in slow-mo with gallons of fake blood bursting out of actors’ bodies, there were real-life mass shootings in America. On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman, an engineering student and former Marine, climbed up to the 28th floor of the Observation Tower at the University of Texas in Austin and opened fire. Before Austin police killed him, Whitman had killed 14 people and wounded 32 others.

Then, like last month’s Sandy Hook mass shooting, the nation mourned. In inner cities and small towns across the land, there is lots of mourning. Even though he admits it’s a long shot, hopefully this time the president’s actions, supported by all of us who’d rather mourn no more, will lead to a good morning in America.

Cybercolumnist Monroe Anderson is a veteran Chicago journalist who has written signed op-ed-page columns for both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times and executive-produced and hosted his own local CBS TV show. He was also the editor of Savoy Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.