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Hollywood & Violence: Self-defense advocate looks to media change

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 11.11.09 AMBy Regis Giles

South Florida-based Regis Giles is the creator and owner of the website Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, which promotes women’s self-defense, whether using a gun, Taser, knife, spear, pencil or some form of martial arts. A voice of young conservatives, Giles talked to Variety’s Carole Horst about responsible gun ownership, the media and society’s role in violent acts.

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Do you see a connection between violence depicted in media and real-life violence?
Absolutely. Media violence is overexaggerated and very theatrical, but you see people in the news copying the violent acts in movies and videogames.

Is one form of media — say, videogames — more dangerous than others?
TV news deals with reality, and I don’t feel that it’s as dangerous as violence in other forms of entertainment. When people are watching series and movies, they are relaxing and watching in comfort. They’re observing a story. With violent videogames, they’re actually partaking in and instigating the violent acts.

We’ve become insensitive to violent images. We see the gruesome, vivid images, and for teenagers watching a movie, it’s not socially acceptable to turn your head in fear and terror. It’s socially acceptable to look straight ahead and not have a reaction, because then you’re viewed as the badass.

But don’t most people know that it’s not reality?

We are being desensitized. People obviously realize that it’s not reality, but there’s those gamers and horror-film watchers who end up taking notes. There’s something in some people’s psychosis that goes off. There are many contributing factors.

There’s no way that movies today or videogames can de-glamorize violence, because we are saturated with it. The one response that society needs to take as a whole — if they really want to see violent acts changing in this nation — we need as a society to reject these violent videogames and films. Plenty of studies show that violent videogames, violent cartoons and movies and TV shows that are introduced to kids increase the level of violence in those kids.

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