Thursday, May 8, 2014

No, it's not hypocritical for an actor who plays with guns onscreen to support gun control

Every time an actor has the audacity to voice his or her opinion that maybe, just maybe, a nation with more gun-related deaths since 1968 than in all American wars combined needs to take a look at how criminals have such an easy time of getting their hands on guns, the typical hysteria follows.

He/she glorifies guns in his/her movies (by using them), and he/she wants to take my guns away?! God damned un-American, leftist, hollywood elitist hypocrites! 

No, they don't have to advocate anything like taking guns away; yes, that's how it's filtered through the right-wing spin machine anyway. Seriously, pick a celebrity who has dared to speak about guns, and google their name along with "hypocrite" and "guns". Sylvester Stallone's a good example. Or, heck, just type in "hollywood hypocrites guns". You get article after article from the screeching mouthpieces on the right, alleging that playing with a gun onscreen disqualifies you from having an opinion on gun control. Indeed, a mere mention that you support gun control (notably stripped of all context and specifics) is enough to justify accusations that you hate the second amendment.

Now, I'm not saying that some people who demand gun control are not hypocrites. If you think that no one should ever own a gun, and yet you own guns, you're a hypocrite; if you think that no one should depict gun use or ownership, while doing it yourself, you're a hypocrite. But suggesting stricter gun control laws, while complying with what you're suggesting? Sorry, right wingers, that's not hypocrisy.

Of course, my saying so isn't going to convince anyone whose rage censor kicked off at the dreaded words "gun control". So let me illustrate by way of example.
I own and drive a vehicle.
I believe there should be limitations on who can and cannot drive.
Do those declarations render me an elitist, America hating, freedom-destroying car-hater? Or can we all agree that it's not a good idea to permit six year olds behind the wheel? What about those with significant visual or mental impairment, impaired to such a degree that they would present a hazard to other drivers and pedestrians? What about drunk drivers?

I'm pretty sure most people -- including most car owning, driving people -- can agree that those are reasonable limitations. I'm further fairly certain that agreeing that drunks should not be behind the wheel, while being a sober driver, does not render one a freedom-hating hypocrite. (On the other hand, if one rails about drunk driving while driving drunk, one is, of course, a hypocrite; but that's not what we're talking about here: we're talking about people who comply with the law they're advocating [be it driving sober, or refraining from bazooka ownership]).

So, just as calling for reasonable limitations on driving while being a driver yourself is not hypocritical, no more is it hypocritical to own (or play with onscreen) a gun while supporting reasonable regulations on gun ownership.

Furthermore, the notion that depicting something onscreen is an embrace of that thing is frankly ludicrous. Actors routinely depict evil, unsavory characters -- be they murderers, corrupt cops, gangsters, thugs, terrorists, pimps, drug lords, dark lords, evil sorcerers, wicked wizards, twisted Uruk-hai & ring wraiths, etc. Actors depict persons down on their luck, misguided, fallen and/or in desperate straits -- homeless, runaways, prostitutes, junkies, Smeagol/Gollum, etc. The magic of cinema would quickly diminish if everyone was a Mary Sue with a perfect life. And yet who would declare that an actor who portrays a violent gangster can have no opinion of gangs? That someone who plays a terrorist cannot speak out against terrorism? That Andy Serkis cannot warn of the dangers of the Precious? (Seriously, not even meth compares to *that* addiction...) It's an absurd proposition, and one that does not hold true under even the slightest scrutiny. Actors and actresses routinely address a host of issues, from body image to genocide, particularly as it is relevant to their work. Mentioning guns is not a magic portal into anti-Americanism, where all who cross over loathe the second amendment ever after. Frankly, the idea is beyond absurd.

In short, if it's not hypocritical to pretend onscreen to be a killer, but oppose killing; to pretend onscreen to deal drugs, while opposing drug traffickers; to pretend onscreen to destroy cities in dragon fire, while not being a dragon; then it isn't hypocritical to oppose guns in the hands of dangerous psychopaths while holding a gun and not being a psychopath. Whatever the right-wing screechosphere might say to the contrary, it is not hypocritical for an actor who plays with guns onscreen, or owns them, to support limitations to gun ownership, so long as his or her actions fall within those parameters.


  1. Gun control is a feel good but not a solution to control crime. Illegal gun possession should be stop because most of the crimes are committed with illegal guns. I don't really think strict gun laws will really help. Those people who abide by the gun laws and have permits to carry generally not involved in the violent crimes.
    MA firearms license.

    1. But legal gun sellers will not sell to those who should not have them, if, for instance, universal background checks are implemented -- making it harder for some and impossible for others (who should not own them) to get their hands on guns. Gun control can mean many things...sensible solutions should be implemented, others shouldn't.