There’s a billboard in Idaho that reminds us that we are free to hate. The billboard compares President Obama to James Holmes, the accused Colorado movie shooter.
The billboard displays side-by-side images of Obama and Holmes. Associated with the picture of the accused shooter are the words: “Kills 12 in a movie theater with an assault rifle, everyone freaks out.” Next to the picture of President Obama are the words:
“Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize.”
The Ralph Smeed Foundation, which is responsible for the billboard, is making a statement about the outrage over the killings in a movie theater and the lack of outrage over soldiers killed in the war in Afghanistan. It’s sad and unfortunate that soldiers give their lives in war, but let’s remember there is a difference between a “war zone” and a movie theater.
In my opinion, the billboard is despicable for two reasons. It not only advances the growing disrespect for the office of the presidency, but more importantly, it shows callous disrespect for the victims of the Colorado movie shooting and their families.
The idea of using such a tragic event to promote a political message is appalling. Maybe we should compare the Ralph Smeed Foundation to Nazis? We do have a right to freedom of hate speech, but we also have a right to condemn hate speech.
Why have guns sales skyrocketed in Colorado since the movie theater massacre last week? Are people arming themselves to go to movies now? Are people concerned that suddenly their right to own a gun will be taken away?
There is no logical reason for gun sales to have dramatically increased since the shooting in a movie theater in a suburb of Denver last Friday. The tragedy, like so many tragedies, was an isolated incident and there is no reason to believe that there is now an increased threat to our safety. The person who commits such an atrocity only represents his own maniacal tendencies and is never part of a growing movement that threaten all of us. I’m curious why someone who didn’t feel the need to own a gun before now feels compelled to be armed?
Let’s set the record straight: Regardless of what New York Mayor Bloomberg and others threaten, your 2nd amendment rights are not about to be taken away. This is not the first tragedy where guns were used and today we still have the right to own a gun. After the ban on the sale of assault weapons expired 8 years ago, neither party has embarked on a campaign to ban guns in America.
The sudden increase in the sale of guns following the movie shooting is just another example of a ‘hysterical’ America overreacting. While reaction to such a horrific moment should never be apathy, let’s realize that we, as a nation, have an instinctive tendency to overreact in ways that will not make us any safer.
If you have seen the 4D movie at the WWII Museum or if you have been to Disney and seen movies with special effects in the theater, it’s not surprising that movie-goers at the newest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” initially thought the tear gas and the shooting in the theater were part of the movie they were watching. But when people started falling and bleeding - everyone knew it was real.
The tragic shooting at a movie theater in a suburb of Denver, CO early this morning will lead to more debate about violence in movies. There will also be immediate comparisons with the shootings at Columbine High School, in another suburb of Denver.
The violence in “The Dark Knight Rises” or any movie is not to blame for violence in the real world, regardless of the striking parallels. There is no research that directly links violence in movies to real acts of violence. A movie can’t make you do something you are not predisposed to do.
While there may seem to be haunting similarities between the movie theater tragedy and the Columbine shootings, both in suburbs of Denver, there are things about the Denver area that are not obvious to the outsider. I did a talk radio show in Denver for a few years and lived there longer than any other city, except my home, New Orleans.
Denver is a city with a very diverse culture. There is a large and active goth scene in the city. It’s fair to say that Denver has a dark side. But that dark side does not, in any way, promote violence. Denver is a peaceful city where people just want to enjoy life. But when I hear about bizarre behavior and bizarre characters in that area, I think of many of the things I witnessed while living there. It’s not fair to blame Denver for the deviant characters who commit horrific crimes, but I do understand how certain people would feel at home in Denver and the surrounding areas.
Your children will hear about this shooting. They will talk about it. That’s why it is imperative for you to talk to your children about this tragedy and let them know that the world is still a safe place and they should not be afraid to go to a movie.
The nature of ‘news’ is to attract the attention of an audience. ‘News’ is entertainment, therefore the ‘news’ is driven by the principles that contribute to the compelling nature of any form of entertainment. This is a manifestation of human nature. The coverage of the shooting outside of Denver is disproportionate to the actual threat it presents to each of us and your children.
7.12.12 - As the clock ticks toward the Monday afternoon deadline for signing a long-term contract with the Saints, I would tell Drew Brees that he should be one of, if not THE, highest paid players in the NFL. But I would also tell Drew that as the clock ticks toward the deadline, there may a risk that fans will view him as being too selfish.
The negotiations between Drew Brees and the Saints are a high-stakes game. While both sides have kept the details of the talks mostly private, enough has been presented to the public for fans to pick a side. Neither side wants to appear as if they “lost” in the negotiations.
If Brees signs for an amount lower than he’s demanding, fans may think he settled for less. If the Saints don’t offer Brees what he’s demanding, then the team might look like it is mistreating the team and the city’s most valuable player. It’s inevitable that ego stands in the way of two sides coming together in high-stakes negotiations.
I would tell Drew that the public loves an underdog. If the Saints are offering an average of $19.25 million a year, and he is asking for an average of $20.5 million, that’s close enough to sign an agreement. From an overall image standpoint, the asset of being seen as the more agreeable party would be worth the small difference in the contract.
Let’s face it, life isn’t always fair. The best performer on the field, or in the office, does not always get what he/she deserves based on performance. But there is always value in being the “underdog” rather than the “bully.”
Brees and the Saints remind me of the Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Neither side seems willing to do what’s in the best interest of the fans.
7.11.2 - What’s one of the most memorable TV moments to you? A newly released survey shows that the #1 most memorable TV moment was the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The #2 most memorable event--coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Rounding out the top 5: #3 the O.J. Simpson verdict, #4 the Challenger exploding and #5 the Death of Osama bin Laden.
What interests me most about the top 20 most memorable TV moments is that they are all coverage of actual events. TV fiction, like the final episode of “M.A.S.H.,” “Who Shot J.R.,” the final episode of “Friends” did not make the top 20 list.
Throughout my career I have paid attention to the media and its relationship with society (the audience) and I’ve often discussed the concept that “real” events, though less graphic than the violence or drama we see from Hollywood, always have a greater impact on us. And isn’t that an indication that we, the audience, have not been desensitized by graphic Hollywood violence?
7.12.12 - There were a number of reasons why I hated my school years. Attending all-boys schools…one private and one public…from 1st through 12th grade was one of the reasons!
There’s a new report that shows a growing trend of gender separation in schools. Nationwide, over 500 schools have become single-sex schools. Because of my personal experience, I seem to only understand the opposition.
Okay, maybe there’s less distraction in a school void of the opposite sex, but I think the greater advantage is “interaction” between the sexes. When I went to East Jefferson High School it was all-boys. Grace King and Riverdale were the all-girls schools. The boys at E.J. were rough. I always thought the presence of girls in the school would have made some of the crudest members of the student body more civilized.
In talking to female friends, who went to all-girls schools, I understand the argument that less time was spent making oneself presentable for school, but isn’t the idea that we “dress” for the opposite sex a civilizing function?
And as a shy, introverted student throughout my school years I was at a complete disadvantage when it came to meeting members of the opposite sex. How was I expected to meet girls? One option was to join the youth group at my church, which did yield a few girlfriends. But, I always wondered what it would have been like to have girls in the classroom!
Every trend attracts support and opposition. Those who support the trend point out that single-sex schools are less distracting for the students, because the instinctive activity of “flirting” is eliminated. My personal experience leads me to oppose single-sex schools, because co-ed schools can better “tame” the rowdy boys and the crude girls in the student body and can help teach the skills for interacting with the opposite sex.
I remember asking my parents if they knew anyone in Orleans Parish whose address we could use so I could go to John F. Kennedy High School, which was co-ed. I often wonder what my life would be like if I had gone to Kennedy and met a Kennedy “Cougar?” Maybe it’s not too late to meet a “cougar” from Kennedy!
7.10.12 - How young is “too young” to get a tattoo? The tattoos of Generation X and Y and even the tattoos of the Baby Boomer generation elevated the “tattoo” to a form of personal expression. Since younger generations are prone to emulate the generation ahead of them, it should be no surprise that an underage generation is craving tattoos.
There is often outrage when a minor gets a tattoo. Recently, a mother in Atlanta was criticized for allowing her young son to get a tattoo of the name of his murdered brother. Should minors be allowed to get tattoos, even with parental consent? What about if only one parent’s consent?
Though tattoos can be removed, the process is not that easy. So it’s best to treat a tattoo as if it’s “forever.” Its one thing for a parent to allow a child to dye their hair or get an extreme hair style, but a tattoo is different…it’s permanent.
If you listen to the shows I do on WWL-AM-FM, you know that I am a very progressive person, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an age limit for getting a tattoo, even with parental consent.
I have to admit that when my son was 17 years old, he wanted a tattoo. He was spending time with me when I was doing a talk show in Seattle, and I agreed to let him get a tattoo. I was surprised that even though he was with me, he was not allowed to get a tattoo in the state of Washington until he was 18. I did think I had a right to approve my son’s tattoo, but when I now think about kids as young as 10 getting tattoos with parental consent, I think it’s appropriate to ban tattoos for anyone under 18.
And for those who are critical of the prevalence of tattoos today, remember that every young generation defines its era. When the young generations today become the establishment, tattoos will be a visual sign that someone is part of the “new establishment.”