Since the tragic events that took place Friday in Newtown, Conn., the national conversation has largely been dominated by talk about how to prevent future mass shootings. Liberals -- and an increasing number people in the middle -- have called for increased gun control, while conservatives have pointed their fingers at video games, pop culture and rap music.
This polarization was starkly evident on Tuesday night television. MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell went on an eight-minute tirade about the National Rifle Assn. and its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre. O’Donnell described LaPierre as a “blood-drenched” “professional liar” and said that “there are no words that can wash the blood from his hands.” Even to many of the NRA’s critics, it was extreme rhetoric.
Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly devoted a segment on his show to Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and the influence of violent movies on mass shooters like Adam Lanza, even though we know virtually nothing about the young man's motives, much less his feelings about Tarantino's oeuvre. Conservatives like O’Reilly have targeted the slavery revenge saga mostly, it seems, because Jamie Foxx joked during a recent “Saturday Night Live” monologue that he gets to “kill all the white people in the movie” -- white people who are cruel and racist, much like the Nazis whom Brad Pitt got to kill in "Inglorious Basterds."