Shoot-em-up, car-chase "action" TV shows or movies may contribute to our violent society, or they may not have as much influence as some critics perceive. Who knows? To me, these sorts of stories simply are shallow, sort of childish in a way.
Still, the advertisement for a Sly Stallone flick, "Bullet to the Head," is cause for an inner groan. With all the mass shootings of late, and the controversy over gun control, couldn't they have picked a different title? Or sadly, maybe that's exactly why such a title was chosen.
For instance, consider if I'm a loved one of a Sandy Hook victim, or an Aurora theater victim, and I see a Bullet to the Head promo come across my TV screen. Sick and wrong.
The fact that people would pay movie prices to see such mindless violence reflects a sickness in our society, as we see in such harsh reactions to President Obama's modest proposals for gun control.
All the president is proposing is background checks for weapon purchases, controls on unregulated gun shows, and bans on automatic weapons and multi-bullet magazines. Yet the crazies out there -- the same crazies who probably will attend Bullet to the Head -- falsely accuse the president of desiring to repeal their treasured Second Amendment.
It's tempting to propose boycotts of Bullet to the Head and movies of similar ilk, but this probably would grow the audience. Remember when gay rights activists wanted to boycott Chick Fil-A? Boycotts of gun-happy movies would probably prove similarly counterproductive.
As for President Obama's gun control ideas, there also is an element of backfire. Gun nuts who fear that Obama may succeed are rushing out to buy more weapons (as though they need more than they already have cached).
Obama should still press forward. When critics say gun control won't work, advocates need not argue the point. The simple answer should be, why not try? What could be the harm?
Meanwhile, even if movies such as Bullet to the Head don't inspire shooting rampages, what's the need for them?
More from Mike Thompson:
Would Gun Control Have Deterred School Shooting Tragedy?
Unheralded Help for the Homeless