Media's Portraits of Guns and Violence

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Discuss the connection between the portrayal of guns, violence, and victims and the crime-fighting policies that are implied in these portrayals. What criminal justice policies are encouraged by the above portraits and which ones are discouraged? The media distorts the public’s view of violence, guns, and victims, and helps shape the criminal justice policies by doing so. Their portrayal of guns, violence, and victims is of law enforcement or private citizens fighting a constant war against crime, usually with an overabundance of violence from both the perpetrators and the crime fighters. One example of the violence that the media shows is how many of the crimes committed have guns involved. The media makes it seem like it is easy to get a gun, that all criminals have one, and that all citizens need one for protection. “Whoever has the biggest gun wins”. Then they show the crime fighter coming after the criminal very aggressively, and they violently battle it out. The more the media sensationalizes gun violence, and keeps it fresh in the viewer’s minds, the more the public will believe it is the biggest problem in crime control, whether it is true or not, and public opinion will lead to many debates over the issue of gun control, and other policies that could lessen violence. These media portrayals make it seem ok for private citizens to take the law into their own hands, even violently, as long as they stop the “bad guy”. A current media example of this is the television show “Arrow”. The Arrow would be a rogue, although he was never a cop. Criminal Justice policies that discourage these media portraits are gun buy-back programs stricter gun laws, and harsher sentencing for those caught with unlawful guns.
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