Guns Don't Kill People, Hollywood Kills People

In the wake of yet another tragic and senseless mass shooting, it is not surprising to see that - once again - the anti-gun crowds are up in arms. (Pun intended.) However, I would like to point out that the problem within our society is not guns, but the glorification of their misuse in popular media (e.g. Hollywood movies, video games, and music videos).

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The youth of today are constantly bombarded with the premise that guns are cool or a fast means to an end. Consider movie franchises like The Fast and the Furious, The Matrix, John Wick, Jason Bourne, and Die Hard, or video game franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike. All of these franchises have depicted graphic violence throughout each series; and more often than not, violent crimes are portrayed favorably.

The ultimate irony is that this same entertainment industry that consistently portrays guns in the worst possible way is populated by people who are the quickest to proclaim that every legal gun owner must give up their guns whenever something bad happens. But it is not the legal gun owners who have caused these societal problems; it is the entertainment industry.

I was raised around guns, and I was taught to respect them and their proper use. I was a safe and skilled rifle shooter as a teenager, and when I joined the military I continued to fire a variety of weapons safely and securely. Throughout my life I have known hundreds of people who obtained and used their weapons lawfully and respectfully. These people should not be punished for legally owning their guns and committing no crimes.

On the contrary, it is Hollywood and the other glorifiers of brutality who are at fault, and not the millions of innocent, law-abiding citizens who own guns. It is the entertainment industry that has created a climate of senseless violence through its never-ending stream of homicidal and bloodthirsty drivel, and they should be held accountable.

All dogs should be on leashes in public places

My older brother posted the following news article from The Guardian in the UK: Freddie the Thames seal put down by vets after dog attack. The article describes the tragic death of a young seal pup that was living along the Thames river in London, and the story was was quickly accompanied by the following update from the Evening Standard: Barrister whose dog mauled Freddie Mercury the seal says she is ‘heartbroken’ over animal’s death.

My brother had accompanied the original article with the statement that the dog should be destroyed and its owner held accountable, and I agree. Dog owners are ultimately responsible for their dog's actions, but I would suggest that there's a bit more to consider here other than mere responsibility. The article in The Guardian only mentions that the dog involved was a "brown cross-breed" mix, and the photos from the article in the Evening Standard clearly show that we're not talking about a Yorkie/Chihuahua mix.

My wife and I were recently involved in helping to end a mauling that was happening in front of our house, where an off-leash Pit Bull attacked an on-leash Goldendoodle. The attack resulted in the Goldendoodle needing 80 stitches to repair the damage, although the Pit Bull would have killed the Goldendoodle if someone else hadn't happened to have a taser that my wife was able to use to get the Pit Bull to release it's grip. However, when the incident was reported to our Homeowners Association (HOA) group, the various owners of Pit Bulls in our neighborhood accused those who reported the attack of "breed shaming," despite the fact that the attack was simply being reported factually; regardless of anyone's personal emotions on the subject, what actually happened was that a Pit Bull attacked Goldendoodle. Breed shaming has nothing to do with it; facts are facts.

I mean no disrespect to people who love certain breeds, but it is a statistical fact that certain breeds are responsible for the majority of attacks and fatalities. The website at https://www.dogsbite.org/ states: "In the 15-year period of 2005 through 2019, canines killed 521 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 66% (346) of these deaths. Combined, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths." Despite these numbers, within our neighborhood - where leashes are 100% mandatory - we have a large number of tenants who own "dangerous breeds" that insist on walking their dogs off-leash. Whenever this comes up for discussion within our HOA, these owners' consistent assertions are that their dogs are 'sweethearts' and 'wouldn't hurt a fly.' I am sure that the owner of the Pit Bull that I personally witnessed mauling the Goldendoodle thought the same thing, too. In the end, their protestations sound more and more like the interviews you hear with family members and neighbors of serial killers; e.g. "He was always such a nice, quiet boy."

The point that I would like to make from all of this information is: all dogs should ALWAYS be kept on leashes in public, unless they are within a fenced-in, off-leash dog park. Leashes on private property are up to the owner's discretion, but once any dog leaves private property, they need to be on a leash 100% of the time, and thereby under the control of their owner. My wife and I own a Goldendoodle who is a trained and certified therapy dog that is allowed in hospitals to work with patients, and while I know that she is the calmest dog you could ever meet, I still have her on a leash EVERY TIME we walk in public.

At the end of the day, I do not care how 'sweet' or 'harmless' someone thinks their dog is, or how well they think they have trained their dog; once they enter any public setting, their dog needs to be on a leash. Bringing this full circle, I am certain that if the dog involved in the attack on the Thames seal had been on a leash, the fatal mauling would never have occurred.

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