We can end gun violence. Repeat it a thousand times, and it still doesn't accomplish anything.
Tell that to Jennifer Aniston, Amy Schumer, Kevin Bacon, Michael Stipe and a gaggle of other celebrities taking part in a new PSA aimed at gun violence in America.
The short, dubbed “We Can End Gun Violence” just went live from Everytown for Gun Safety. The group began last year as a fusion of existing organizations Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The celebrities, many looking less than glamorous, repeat the phrase, “We can end gun violence,” throughout the 1:29 minute video. We also see “regular” citizens echoing that line. Mid-video, President Barack Obama makes an appearance as does The Rev. Al Sharpton.
The video reflects a problem with both the Obama administration and celebrity efforts to change the world. Short on specifics. Long on platitudes.
It’s also not the first celebrity PSA about gun violence. In 2012, Jeremy Renner, Beyonce, Jon Hamm and other stars cut a “Demand a Plan” video. The clip, better produced than the just-released PSA, apparently didn’t do the trick even though it adopted a similar repetitive tactic on key phrases.
“I think as filmmakers we should sit down — the Marty Scorseses, the Quentin Tarantinos and hopefully all of us who deal in violence in movies — and discuss our role in that,” Weinstein said.
That summit never happened.
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Perhaps if both Obama and the celebrities in question spoke in detail about their plans, acknowledged some shootings happen in gun-free zones and stopped vilifying those who disagree with them something could be done. It also would help if the Commander in Chief didn’t use a terrorist attack on U.S. soil as a political cudgel against the 2nd Amendment as he did Sunday night.
No, we’ll never end gun violence. It happens all over the world no matter what the gun control laws are in those communities. And time after time when gun violence happens celebrities rush to declare the need for more gun laws even if those laws wouldn’t have stopped the tragedy in question.
The Age of Obama ushered in hashtag activism, where people could Tweet out a supportive phrase and hope something dramatic would happen. Life doesn’t work that way. It takes hard work, negotiation and an open mind to get things done.
Without it, we’ll likely see more gun violence and future celebrity-packed PSA promising to end them once and for all.