Quentin Tarantino: Violence in film didn’t cause the Sandy Hook tragedy

Quentin Tarantino

Oh, where to begin on this topic. Nothing I could ever say would be adequate or add in any meaningful way to the discussion of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. I think most of us can willingly admit to shedding more than a few tears in regard to the 20 children and 6 adults who lost their lives at the hands of a sick gunman (whom I refuse to dignify by typing his name), and the tragedy has also stirred up a massive political debate in regards to the readily available access to firearms in this country as well as mental health issues. To state the obvious, there are no easy answers here as to why this happened, and I think the best thing to do is to continue to honor the victims instead of immediately falling into a left-right hate debate. That’s easier said than done, I know.

The day after the shootings, a press junket was held for Django Unchained, which is (of course) Quentin Tarantino’s revenge movie on the subject of black slavery in the United States. Naturally, the subject of the Sandy Hook massacre came up, and Quentin stated his opinion that violence in film has absolutely nothing to do with anything that happens in real life. Django himself, Jamie Foxx, respectfully disagrees with QT’s opinion. Here are the details:

Jamie Foxx

Don’t blame Quentin Tarantino for Friday’s tragic Newtown, Conn., shooting.

The Django Unchained director is tired of having to defend his use of violence in film.

“I just think, you know, there’s violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers,” he said Saturday at a press junket, per the BBC. “It’s a Western. Give me a break.”

Django Unchained star Jamie Foxx, however, disagrees with Tarantino. “We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence,” the actor said. “It does.”

Christoph Waltz, another actor in the flick, said that the “media’s responsibility is greater than the storyteller is because… Django is violent, but it’s not inspiring violence.”

Kerry Washington added, “I do think that it’s important when we have the opportunity to talk about violence and not just kind of have it as entertainment, but connect it to the wrongs, the injustices, the social ills.”

[From E! Online]

Okay, Tarantino sounds a little punchy here because he probably went into the junket wary of precisely this type of question. Yes, he was asked to defend his work in the context of last Friday’s tragedy, and it must have been a very uncomfortable situation for him to withstand such scrutiny. What QT says does make some sense even if he didn’t exactly phrase his answer in the most sensitive way. I mean, I grew up on violent films, and I remember the height of HBO when Commando, Terminator, and the Death Wish movies would essentially play on repeat during the entirety of summer vacation, and my parents let me freely watch this stuff. Lots of other people my age grew up the same way, and the vast majority of us are (mostly) well-adjusted adults now.

Certainly, the argument can be made that violence in movies (as well as music, video games, etc.) can influence unstable minds and provoke them to imitation. Right now, all thoughts should be with the victims of the shooting as well as their suffering families. Throughout the media and social media outlets, however, so many people are quick to point the blame at something, anything, that could possibly be held accountable for one sick man’s actions. Personally, I’d like to hold his mother responsible for at least providing the weapons used for mass slaughter, but that’s kind of a no-brainer at this point. Overall, it’s just a terribly sad situation with no easy solution for future preventative measures coming anytime soon.

Quentin Tarantino

Kerry Washington

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN

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206 Responses to “Quentin Tarantino: Violence in film didn’t cause the Sandy Hook tragedy”

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  1. BB says:

    I don’t think it’s gun control or mental illness or movies and video games…I think it’s discipiline! Or maybe I should say the lack there of. These kids have absolutely no sense of consciquence for doing something/anything wrong. We’ve let ours kids down completely by NOT disciplining them both at home and at school. We all want to listen to some therapist tell us what to do with our kids and put them in a time-out or only have positive reinforcements rather than relying on our own parental instincts. Sometimes a kid needs their ass whipped…and I bet you anything these shooters would have benefited from tough love early on in their lives!!!!!

  2. Jayna says:

    How sick. The Bushmaster military-style assault rifle sales actually jumped after the massacre. It has a high-capacity magazine of 79 rounds. It has been used in three recent mass shootings. Good ol’ America. How sick. It runs out and buys more. Gunmakers have been slightly modifying some of these assault rifles for years to get around the definition so they won’t be banned in certain states.

    Again, there is no need in this country to be selling these type of assault weapons to the average citizen.

  3. Confused says:

    I don’t care what anyone who reads this site thinks of the 2nd amendment or the state of mental health care in the US. This site has too many comments from Brangeloonies, Twihards, people who think it’s awesome to sell upskirt photos of a woman getting out of a car in a long dress, and people who obsessively search for a “baby bump” in every woman who may have eaten a meal ever, for me to take them seriously. I like the posts, but the comments blow.

  4. Dee Cee says:

    Insane.. stupid, rude man..

  5. Kate (newer one) says:

    I keep seeing people claiming that gun control doesn’t work in the UK, because we may have fewer deaths due to firearms, but we live in a more violent society overall. This baffles me.

    The US had an overall homicide rate in 2009 of 5.0 per 100,000 people, while the UK’s rate for that year was 1.2.

    US. 1.2 million violent incidents nationwide in 2011, as announced by the FBI on October 2012. This includes everything from homicides to robberies, assault and theft. With a population of 311.59 million people, the violent crime rate is of 385/100K.

    9,717 violent incidents in 2011 in England and Wales as announced by the Crime Survey for England and Wales. Again, this includes everything from homicides to robberies, assault and theft. With a population of 56.01 million people, the violent crime rate is of 70/100K.

    Anyone who tries to claim the USA is safer than the UK once you remove the stats for firearms crime is either dishonest or misinformed. Guns don’t lower or deter crime. They enable it. They mean any whackjob or criminal can threaten someone’s life.

    My child has 36 times less chance of being shot dead than a child born in the USA. Looking at the faces of those tiny kids last week, I can hardly bear to imagine what their parents are going through. Not one of the arguments for guns make any sense to me – you can’t pretend that an individually armed population could repel the US army. Recent successful uprisings, in the former Soviet states, relied on overwhelming numbers defying the governments and taking to the streets – not weaponry.

    The thing that most weirds me out is that the second Amendment is taken so out of context. Right to bear arms is in the context of a militia – an army, or police body, able to defend the USA from external aggression or any future colonisation. Nobody’s arguing against arming your own military. And as for claiming that you should trust everyone’s individual opinions more than a democratically elected government#s mandate – yeah, that hasn’t worked out so well in Somalia, really. A stable, developed world democracy shouldn’t really claim that it’s okay for tens of thousands to die every year, avoidably, just in case a military dictatorship seizes power one day, and the juggernaut that is the US military machine would be stopped by a bunch of unaffiliated individuals all toting their home weapons. It just isn’t a logical position on so many levels.

    I wouldn’t even argue that farmers and hunters shouldn’t have licensed shotguns, if they have a clean psych history and no criminal past – ours have them, and for the most part without difficulty. But why does the average Joe or Joanna need something that kills people with brutal efficiency? We don’t here, and it’s a far safer country as a result.

  6. Nina W says:

    One thing violent media does is de-sensitize people to violence and that is not a good thing. Also Hollywood often glamorizes violence and puts it out as a “solution” to problems. I would never leap to blaming the media but it’s not completely without influence and children particularly are vulnerable.

  7. Phil E Stein says:

    Change your constitution. It’s as out of date and redundant as the Bible.

  8. Nan209 says:

    I’m ALWAYS careful not to follow the herd since they maybe running over the cliff. Here is where instead of following I stop and watch and see where it’s heading.

    People through out history have done terrible things to each other. I remember reading Chaucer, Shakespeare, Beowulf, Greek plays, the Bible, WW I and II, Vietnam accounts (and lived with it’s results in my family)…people do devastating things to each other and our art has often reflected that reality. Do I think it goes to far, sometimes, but I choose not to watch or read the ones that truly offend me (vote w/ your feet). But if we go down this path – where do we end up? Book burnings, banning football and MMA, only watching G movies? I’m an adult I make those decisions for myself and as a parent I take that responsibility for myself.

  9. Paige says:

    I just read they’re debating whether teachers should carry guns. WTF?

  10. Paige says:

    I just read they are considering teachers have guns. I think that’s ridiculous.

  11. Jessica says:

    Maybe violence in entertainment could contribute to the problem but then again i have been dealing with mental illness since i was very young and love his movies and have watched tons of gory movies with violence over the years yet i have never even entertained the thought of shooting children or anyone for that matter, just because you have mental illness doesnt mean you lack a conscience and dont know the difference between right and wrong or the difference between reality and entertainment, i guess it matters how disturbed the person is and if they are that bad they were going to commit a violent act anyway with or without a violent movie or video game.