Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Quick Word on the Tragedy in Chardon

I wanted to take a moment to quickly discuss the tragedy that happened in Chardon on Monday.

There has been a lot of talk with the upcoming election and recent state laws about gun control, conceal and carry, and other issues concerning the Second Amendment. I don't mean to use this blog as place to spout political diatribes, as I've mentioned I'm analyzing this first and foremost as a television program meant to entertain an audience, and how well it succeeds at doing that. However, while I do not like to hold myself to any particular political party, I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment. I think what many people do not realize is that there is more to this amendment than simply "the right to bear arms." The full text reads "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It this complete idea that I fully stand behind. It doesn't say anything about having kids bringing those arms to school. I would hope that all of my readers would agree, that that is no place for firearms of any kind.

It might seem crass or insensitive to continue to blog about a show that seemingly glorifies the use of firearms so soon after this incident. What happened in Chardon was another grim reminder of the troubled, violent world we live in.

However Top Shot has never been an outlet for promoting gun violence. In fact I would argue it doesn't promote any violence. Take last season, where it was strongly implied that part of the contestants agreement to participate in the competition includes not engaging in physical confrontation with each other (see the confrontation between Mike Hughes and Jake Zwieg). 

Top Shot always has its contestants using their firearms in a proper location, a gun range. It has a disclaimer before every show to remind viewers that these are professions shooting under the supervision of other professionals. The contestants practice with experts to ensure they are using the guns properly and safely. Sure, there is a lot of shooting going on, and all the camera angles and slow-mo shots make it look pretty damn cool, but the contestants are never shooting at each other, and rarely do that shoot at anything other than a target (Season 2's trick shot episode where they had to shoot a corncob pipe is the only instance I can remember where they ever shot at anything remotely resembling a human, Season 2's paintball competition notwithstanding). 

If anything Top Shot is a shining example of responsible firearm use.

I don't expect anyone to take up a torch against the show following this incident, mostly for the reasons I've already stated and the show's audience size, but I still felt there was an opportunity here to say something that might need to be said.

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