Speaking this morning at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California, FX president and general manager John Landgraf touched on the hot-button topic of the culture of violence in the United States and came to the shocking conclusion that the ready availability of high-capacity guns in America is the root of the problem.
"After being so upset and horrified and sad and angry at Newtown, I looked at statistics on gun violence," said Landgraf, citing data compiled by the United Nations that indicates the United Kingdom has a substantially lower rate of gun violence. "We consume the same media, the same movies, the same types of shows, the same video games - Call of Duty is very popular in England; The Walking Dead is the No. 1 cable show in England, Sons of Anarchy is very popular in England, the last time I checked James Bond kills an awful lot of people with a gun," the executive pointed out.
"So I have to say, while I think that everything and anything that bears responsibility for these types of tragedies up to and including what we do in the media should be fair game and should be looked at, if you look at the major difference between England and United States it's the access and availability of guns," Landgraf explained. "In particular, it's a kind of gun … I believe in First and Second Amendment. I believe in free speech in this country and I believe in the right to have guns for protection. But the last time I checked, a shotgun or handgun that has a six-round clip are perfectly adequate weapons for defense in the home."
Expanding on his point, Landgraf recalled that Colorado theater shooter James Holmes fired off 30 shots in 27 seconds during his assault last summer and noted that such large-scale mayhem would be drastically reduced without access to dangerous assault weapons. Bearing some responsibility, Landgraf stated that he would like to see more research on gun violence examining all possible factors, including violent media content. He specifically targeted first-person shooter video games. "I'm more comfortable with third-person entertainment," he said. "You're in a first-person context; you're killing everything in sight."
Personally, I believe the combination of the availability of guns, the lack of mental health treatment, and the emphasis on violence in the media creates a perfect storm. How do you feel about John Landgraf's comments?