This week’s writing challenge is a Mind the Gap, which means it’s time to write about a societal issue, and the topic is:

Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world?

I voted “Maybe, but crazy people will always find something to inspire them”, as 22 other people. Now there’s a lot that can be said about this. Which people are “crazy” for example? And what is crazy? Is that even a term we highly intelligent – or more specifically, highly informed – people of the 21st century should use? What about mental disabilities? Does the game change if the culprit is diagnosed with a psychological disorder?

I understand that when a person commits a crime or does something bad, they might be thinking that they’re doing it for the right reasons. I understand that when you believe extremely strongly in something, you justify your deeds in the beginning but that after a while you might even skip that process. Anybody who feels really strongly for something is capable of going to great lengths to defend whatever it is they feel so strongly for. Believe it or not, we’re all equally capable of doing horrible deeds.

Some people “don’t believe” in mental disabilities when it comes to committing crimes. Evil people are evil, period. They don’t believe in it because having a diagnosed mental instability automatically blames the deed on the condition and not on the person. I don’t believe that all types of mental instabilities can take the blame for you. If you teach violence to a child from the moment s/he is born for example, I would not blame the child for the crimes s/he commits. But if a person has been able to live a considerably “normal” life in a “normal” society but still commits a horrible crime, that person might be mentally deranged but is still responsible for what s/he did. How come? Well, in this “normal” society I’m talking about, more or less everybody is exposed to cinematic violence. I love watching horror movies, zombie movies or psychological thrillers where human brains are fried 😛 (scenes with a lot of shooting makes me sleepy though :|). But to take what you see on the screen and try to replicate it in real life is taking it to a level only mentally unstable people are capable of doing. It means turning a switch on inside your mind which will completely alter your view of the world.

Now the one who commits a crime as such already has that switch turned on. S/he already is mentally unstable, meaning s/he doesn’t acquire the condition immediately prior to committing the crime. What s/he needs then simply, is something to trigger him/her. Movies, books and pop stars have always inspired people. Normally, they have inspired to create a certain kind of lifestyle or stereotype if you will, but remember that the people with their “switch” on has a different world view; they are attracted to some part of the movie which for them justifies the crime they commit. Hence, they are “inspired”. But these people and their deeds also existed before the time of movies.

And that is why I believe that mentally unstable, “crazy”, people might be inspired by the movies but they would still be roaming around doing the stuff they do if movies didn’t exist. Should you stop making violent movies then? That is a much deeper question I can’t get into because I’m not that knowledgable on the human psyche. What I have stated in this post are my own assumptions.