TO THE EDITOR:
I found it ironic that Father Fleming chose the film “Gran Torino” to illustrate his anti-violence message. In that movie Clint Eastwood threatens a group of teenage gang members with a Model 1911 .45 Colt pistol and an M-1 Garand rifle. Both are “military-style weapons”.
Mr. Eastwood has made millions of dollars acting in, producing and directing films that glorify gun violence. Starting with a TV role in the western “Rawhide,” Eastwood graduated to a series of violent Italian “spaghetti westerns” in which he mows down hundreds of men with various weapons, including a Gatling gun. He returned to Hollywood in the “Dirty Harry” Callahan detective trilogy in which he famously uses a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver, “The most powerful handgun in the world”, to dispatch the bad guys.
Eastwood matured into an aging gunfighter in the critically acclaimed 1992 movie “Unforgiven” in which he kills a bartender with a blast from a double barrel shotgun. When the evil sheriff (Gene Hackman) says the man wasn’t armed, Eastwood growls, “Well, he shoulda’ armed himself.”
Guns are the low-hanging fruit that politicians can attack to show they are “doing something.” The impact violent movies and first-person shooter video games have on the young people who are addicted to them, the disintegration of the family and oft-untreated mental illness are root causes of the “epidemic” of gun violence. These are difficult and controversial problems to solve.
And let us not forget the disinterest of most young people in religion.
Father Fleming is correct when he writes, “Laws aren’t going to stop violence, love will. Political stump speeches won’t solve this nation’s problem. Only love will.”
Richard J. August, North Kingstown