John Wick and Gun Culture

Non-stop carnage !

Yes, that is the hallmark of many of the Hollywood action movies, and John Wick is one such movie. The distinguishing difference is the actor performing the carnage – it is the calm,composed, mature, and sleek Keanu Reeves.

It can be really eerie when the main character calmly goes about killing roomful of people again and again. And, in this movie, the actor is a classy performer with a reputation for elegance established from the Matrix days. Hence it is a bit shocking that he takes revenge all by himself irrespective of the number of folks who die on his way.

The brutality of such movies is the main cause of America’s gun culture (or, is it the other way round ?). The easy availability of assault weapons to all and sundry, the apparent lawlessness of the underworld, their absolute right to kill people, and the inherent lack of value for human life – all these combine together to make Hollywood action movies such as John Wick.

While most of America seems to be all right, the gun culture perpetuated by the National Rifle Association, the main gun lobby, and the affliction caused by the “right to bear arms” statute of the U.S. Constitution (never mind we are not in the 17th or 18th Century anymore), together have taken American crime to its worst point over the past few years. The Supreme Court cannot do anything, the Senate and the House of Representatives are paralyzed, the President only talks a lot, but nothing changes on the ground. In a country of 320M, there are over 500M guns, and now toddlers have started shooting their parents with real guns !

While thrilling crime action movies are well, thrilling, there should be some self-control when it comes to killing bystanders – kill the bad guys no problem, but don’t show unnecessary blood and cache of arms under the floor in one’s house.

America needs to address its entrenched gun culture, and do so very urgently. Otherwise, it would keep losing young lives which is a sorry state of affairs in a developed country which is a beacon of freedom worldwide.

They have to think, and think very seriously.


Vijay Srinivasan

1st March 2015


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