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Thread: media suggestions to screen writers on dealing with guns

  1. #1
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    Kingsport Tennessee

    media suggestions to screen writers on dealing with guns

    Hey, any one out there need proof of media bias against guns?

    This is all hideous negativity. Not a single suggestion for portraying normal, typical, lawful, traditional use of firearms, or portrayal of typical self-defense scenarios.

    Nope, the theme song is:
    "Accentuate the negative
    "Eliminate the postive,
    "Latch on negativity,
    "Don't you mess with Mister In-between."

    Guns in my life were: plinking tin cans with my Dad and Uncle at the old home place; hunting with Uncle Ed and his dog Henry; civilian military prep training (my military service basic training was 4 hours class, 10 rounds sighting in, 60 rounds for marksmanship badge, really? serious? as my dad told me, he learned more growing up on a farm around guns than the Army taught him in WWII basic). Later going on hunting trip with my older son; attending target matches with my younger son; plinking sessions with daughter, son-in-law, grandson; going shooting with cousins at the old homeplace after visiting the graves of my father, brother, uncles at the family cemetery. Nothing in common with the media suggestions to screen writers about guns.

    As for self-defense: four incidents in my family all involving women, two using their own guns, one using an employer's gun, and one using a boy friend's gun). Nothing in common with the media suggestions to screen writers. Four involved use against home invader and accomplice (who were arrested, tried and convicted), two against son-to-be-ex-spouses who brought along drinking buddies on confrontations, and one angry boyfriend, all sent running by brandishment-only. There was a fifth incident where the gun was not even displayed, but gave the woman courage to confront and back off the intruder (who was later arrested for a different robbery).

    As far as making me sleep with a cell phone, maglight, fire extinguisher, .38 and 12ga by the bedside goes, are the local murderers who stabbed a woman to death in a boarding house one block from my apartment, killed a couple with a baseball bat in their home, killed an Iraq War vet with hammer and knife in his home, and druggies who beat a suspected snitch friend to death with a rock.

    Very little of that reality of my life is reflected in the media suggestions to screen writers on dealing with guns.
    Entertainment Industries Council

    Encouraging the Art of Making a Difference

    Gun Violence, Firearms Safety & Injury Prevention

    Depiction Suggestions

    The following points for consideration were created as a resource for entertainment development and production. They are not intended to limit the creative process.

    o Attempt to highlight alternative resolutions to conflict rather than relying on gunplay as the only or automatic means of settling confrontations. Clashes can be resolved by other less lethal means, perhaps by characters using their wits and cunning to overcome opponents.

    [CNB: Jeez. I am armed in self-defense but as a last resort. But two city detectives convinced my hippie-dippie peace-luv-dove 1969 self that I had a duty to save the next victim even if I was not willing to defend myself.]

    o Consider highlighting the emotional consequences for the shooter, such as feelings of guilt, remorse, personal angst, and so on.

    [CNB: Yep, PTSD and survivors' guilt is a beach, but it beats being dead, with people willing to kill me free to go on to victimize the innocent.]

    o Consider incorporating such real-life scenarios as:
    - The shooter or possessor of a gun being accidently injured by it.
    - A gun accidentally misfiring while being loaded or unloaded by a criminal or other user.
    - A gun misfiring and injuring someone after being accidentally dropped.

    [CNB: I once had a defective gun discharge while being unloaded and destroyed a box of christmas balls; but I was following the muzzle in safe direction rule.]

    o Consider the story potential that may exist in a family filing suit against a gun manufacturer for injuries or death sustained by a defective firearm that misfired.

    [CNB: The defective guns I have encountered more often were the result of neglect or abuse by owners. Maybe I shudda sued Ford because I did not keep the brakes up to snuff on my wife's Taurus and hydroplaned into a tree.]

    o Try emphasizing the fact that introducing a gun into an argument lethalizes anger: What could have been resolved with just harsh words, or even cuts and bruises, may end up with a death. Guns don't allow for cooling off or reconciling once the momentary or situational anger subsides.

    [CNB: My family experience has been that attackers retreated at the production of a gun: the prospect of being shot made the abusers leave the premises.]

    o Consider reflecting the reality that homeowners often freeze up or tremble so badly when trying to use a gun in self-defense that they are unable to deploy it. Or show them as being too frozen in fear to even get the gun.

    [CNB: Whoa. My sister ran off a home invader by producing a .357 and held his accomplice for arrest by responding officers; the accomplice was immediately arrested and the home invader later arrested, both stood trial and went to jail. How about that as a scenario? Hunh?]

    o Where appropriate to the story, consider portraying a teenage girl threatening to break up with her boyfriend unless he gets rid of his gun -- or a boy doing the same with a gun-owning girlfriend.

    [CNB: How about the scenario of the gunless boyfriend or girlfriend being eaten alive by zombie chupacabras or abducted by space aliens? Just as imaginary, right?]

    o Explore depiction of legal prosecution or civil action taken against parents for negligently leaving a gun available to a child who then uses it to either intentionally or unintentionally harm themselves or others.

    [CNB: Really refreshing: how about exploring people held accountable for their actions?]

    o Attempt to provide a positive role model by showing parents making gun safety inquiries of other households where children visit, asking about storage, accessibility, and so on.

    [CNB: How about "rabidly anti-gun" freakonomicist Steven Levitt pointing out that the family that wanted their kid to shun family X who owned guns in favor of family Y who owned a swimming pool actually put their kid at greater risk of accidental death by a factor of 1 to 100 based on statistics on gun accidents versus drownings?

    o Consider depicting the reality that women are far more likely to be shot by husbands or lovers than by an intruder. Odds are that a gun in her home will be used against her rather than in her defense.

    [CNB: How abou depicting the reality that deaths among "domestic partners" are likely "mutual combat" among abberant people, not ordinary people? Or that 91% of murder victims in Baltimore MD had arrest records?]

    o Consider showing bartenders or bar owners being prosecuted or held civilly liable for gun injuries caused by a drunken patron who is known by them to carry a weapon (akin to the prosecution of bar owners for traffic deaths caused by drunk drivers).

    [CNB: Any real life cases? Somebody break the silence of the chirping crickets. Please? May happen in many or even most jurisdictions in regards to serving oviously blotto people whether armed or not. Why the obsession with guns?]

    o When appropriate, incorporate parents having heart-to-heart talks with their children, especially teenagers, about guns not being an acceptable resolution to the problems they face with schoolyard bullies or anything else.

    [CNB: "parents having heart-to-heart talks with their children" on any subject would be a nice plot point for Science Fiction Theatre: perhaps that is the problem, not guns?]

    o Emphasize, where possible, the legal penalties invoked against "straw purchasers" who act as intermediaries between gun dealers and persons who are legally restricted from buying guns themselves.

    [CNB: "straw purchase" was threatened against me when I bought a revolver and shotgun for my wife in one day, and was threatened against my son for buying matching rifles for himself and for me for father's day in one visit. But if you are Uriel Patino buying 723 guns for a drug cartel as part of Operation Fast and Furious, you get a free pass since that bolsters Obama admin claims in support of a gun ban.]

    o Consider showing someone who is attempting to use a gun in self-defense being overpowered by the attacker who then uses the gun against him or her.

    [CNB: Again, real life cases. I have seen multiple reports in local papers where homeowners detained burglars for arrest.
    Not. One. Case. Where. Attacker. Shot. Victom. With. Victim's. Gun. Not one.]

    o Attempt to show safe ways school kids can tip off the police or school authorities that a fellow student has a gun, and show that this action can bring about a positive outcome.

    [CNB: Ref George Orwell, 1984. How about the recent case of the kid reported for having a flashlight on the bus?]

    o Consider showing that even so-called "toy" guns, like pellet or BB guns or prop guns, can cause real injuries and even death.

    [CNB: Injuries or death at the hands of over-zealous cops in anti-gun jurisdictions.]

    o Give thought to starting the story after any gun violence has already occurred, and confine the plot line to the aftermath -- detection, prosecution, coping of survivors, and so on.

    [CNB: Try the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility Report 10 June 1994 on the Ruby Ridge Incident or Jesse Walter's "Ruby Ridge" aka "Every Knee Shall Bow" or the TV miniseries based on them "An American Tragedy" aka "Siege at Ruby Rudge".]

    o Consider occasionally having "junk" guns misfiring or jamming at critical times, as these guns are prone to do so after a period of use.

    [CNB: I would encourage bad guys have "junk guns", myself.]

    o Consider depicting people as feeling less safe, rather than more safe, when they find their neighbors becoming increasingly armed.

    [CNB: Yeah. A gun version of Twilight Zone "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street " or "Paranoia runs deep, into your life it will creep...."]

    o Try incorporating statistics on gun usage into scripts by having appropriate characters, like law enforcement personnel, DA's and teachers cite them. For instance most people don't know that guns are more often used for suicide than homicide. (54% of gun deaths were suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1999)

    [CNB: Since most gun deaths are suicides (rather than homicide or accident), doesn't that undercut the average citizen's fear of being the victim of gun violence? And haven't the entertainment media effectively undercut authority figures like police, prosecutors, teachers, etc. in the eyes of the public anyway?]

    o Consider highlighting the fact that teenagers often act impulsively and the presense of guns may increase the likelihood that a transient emotion may turn into a fatal event.

    [CNB: Since the media pander to the impulsiveness and irresponsibility of youth, isn't that, well, duh, MTV Jackass?]

    o Consider having characters criminally charged for simply brandishing a firearm.

    [CNB: If the situation is not in response to a threat of death or serious bodily harm, then displaying a firearm as a threat is treated as a crime in most jurisdictions. Locally, if the situation is in response to a threat of death or serious bodily harm, any use of a lethal weapon or lethal force is justifiable, including brandishing w/o firing.]

    o Try to emphasize that offenders get stiffer sentences if they use a gun in the commission of their crimes.

    [CNB: OK. We had a local case where an employer shot and killed an employee who punched him after he fired the employee. He planted a knife and claimed self defense. He got two years for voluntary manslaughter, two years for altering a crime scene, six years for use of a gun in a felony. But if you emphasize that bad acts with guns are already punished extra, doesn't that undercut the call for more gun restrictions?]

    o Consider pointing out the inadvertant injuries caused by bullets shot into the air by holiday celebrants. What goes up must come down, sometimes with lethal force.

    [CNB: About as frequently as lightning strikes. Or less. And when the NRA posted instructions on using/making blanks for such celebrations, NRA was trashed by anti-gunners.]

    o If appropriate to the story, consider exploring a gun dealer's or a gun supplier's remorse about the harm done by someone to whom he or she furnished a firearm.

    [CNB: 85% of crime guns are obtained from illegal suppliers, including drug dealers, smugglers, fences, thieves, burglars, etc., and having them express remorse might be good for comic relief.]

    o Consider having a character use a gun in what he/she believes is self-defense only to be charged with murder or manslaughter because it's determined that excessive or unjustified lethal force was deployed.

    [CNB: Happens frequently. Not the majority of cases. But media fixate on the exception, not the rule.]

    o Consider having characters successfully use alternatives to guns for self-defense, such as pepper spray or mace.

    [CNB: Been there, done that, promoted non-gun options to others. Did not totally dismiss guns as an option, but as last resort, in a be killed or kill scenario.]

    o When appropriate, try to depict parents, teachers, counselors, and even peers giving advice to young people about alternate forms of conflict resolution.

    [CNB: Ditto above: Been there, done that, promoted options to others, including shunning or avoiding bullies, don't be a proactive killer yourself, but if it is die or kill, do not leave your would-be killer alive to go after other innocents.]

    o Try to provide role modeling behavior by showing friends trying to dissuade a character from arming him/herself after the gun death of a friend or family member.

    [CNB: I was re-affirmed in what detectives Lane and Brown told me about guns for self defense after knife, gun and baseball bat murders of folks in their residences or places of business. Not just in response to gun deaths, but be prepared to defend yourself against attack, Period.]

    o Consider portraying a gun manufacturer making the right decisions in choosing to design a safer firearm.

    [CNB: Jeez. My complaint is that gun manufacturers (including Marlin, Taurus and Rossi) have added unncessary counter-productive extra "lawyer mandate" safeties to their current models.]

    o Try making the point that having guns in the house may actually increase the possibility of home invasion robbery since firearms are an attractive target for theft.

    [CNB: How the h-- is the robber supposed to know that 3508 is more likely to have a gun than 3504 next door or 3509 across the street? Oh, right, they can search the newspaper database of carry permit holders.]

    o Consider having characters successfully use alternatives to guns for self-defense, such as pepper spray or mace.

    [CNB: Been there, done that, gave pepper spray to gal who had an abusive ex. But if all else fails...]

    o Consider showing a parent chastising his or her spouse for leaving a gun where their children can find it.

    [CNB: Been there. Done that. Also advised folks about 5 gallon mop buckets, especially those left filled with household cleaners, which kill more kids under 5 each year than guns do.]
    Each year 2,500,000 ways to die in the USA. The anti-gunners obsess about less than (currently) 30,000 gun deaths, mostly suicides which students of suicide concede are not caused by means, and criminologist Marvin "I Hate Guns" Wolfgang conceded that the dynamics of murder indicated that Motive and Opportunity were more important than Means.

    Statisticly, stress from worryng about things beyond your control is more likely to kill you than a gun.
    Cogito me cogitare; ergo, cogito me esse.

  2. #2
    Senior Member  
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    Linn County, Iowa
    This has been going on for a very long time. I realized as an adult how much my childhood TV watching was giving me the "guns are bad" message.

    Some examples, in no particular order:
    - Batman: Carries no gun, villains don't use guns, comical contraptions are used instead.
    - MASH: Main character hates guns, gun-loving foil shoots himself in the foot.
    - A-Team: Won't use guns, contrives contraptions instead.
    - MacGuyver: A one man A-Team, or less comical Batman, that had a childhood friend killed by a gun.
    - Knight Rider: No gun, but uses "science" and nearly Batman level comical contraptions instead.
    - Dukes of Hazzard: No guns, excuse being that having been convicted of rum running they are prohibited from owning guns.

    There's all kinds of other shows that are equally anti-gun that I don't recall the names and are too numerous to mention. These would be shown during prime time and after school. Shows where guns were used were shown later in the evening, such as cop shows and whodunit shows. Even then we'd see police making impossible shots to shoulders, hands, or the gun itself, to keep the bad guys from hurting someone. Bad guys were just bad shots to avoid having to show anyone get shot.

    I also recall TV "news" doing segments on "cop killer" bullets, nearly magical technology that could match guns or bullets to a murderer, and other excrement right out of the National Council to Control Handguns playbook.

    What is really killing this anti-gun sentiment are, IMHO, shows like Mythbusters, Hot Shot, and other shows that show what real firearms do in the real world. No more shots from a six-shooter throwing a cattle rustler through a saloon window, or a rifle shot blowing up a house.
    You can have free speech or you can have income taxes but you cannot have both.

  3. #3
    Senior Member  
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    North Carolina
    CBS is one of the worst, used to watch CSI but stopped when Ted Danson spouted that the AR15 is one of the most powerful guns on the streets.
    When and how did I become a senior member? Remember don't drink the Kool-aid!!


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