An invitation to Hollywood to talk
“We should use this as an opportunity for law enforcement to work with Hollywood.”
Paul K. Tanaka is undersheriff of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept., where he oversees day-to-day operations. He was promoted to his position, second-in-command to Sheriff Lee Baca, in 2011.
I don’t believe the media is responsible for real-life violence. I’ve heard all those references, and that’s a connection that would appear to make sense at first glance. It’s easy to point fingers because the entertainment and videogame industries are easy targets, and there’s not much pushback.
I became a cop in 1980. Gang murders and assaults were at a far higher level than they are today. In 2012, Los Angeles had one of the lowest murder counts in 50-plus years.
Plus, there is a lot more respect for people in law enforcement than when I started.
In fact, I believe the causes of violence begin in the home, and people need to take more personal responsibility.
Also, a lot of these issues are mental health related. We simply don’t have enough quality mental-health care. A lot of times you see people going to jail and they shouldn’t be there, but they’re put in jail because there are not enough beds in facilities that care for mental health patients to accommodate them.
I hear all the talk about solving the problem of violence, and I think we should use this as an opportunity for law enforcement to work with the people in Hollywood. Everyone in the film and TV industry, news agencies, videogame makers — everyone should come to the table to figure out: What can we do to help society, to help people address the situation?
Videogames are not the problem; Hollywood is not the problem. I see the news industry as not much different from those groups. News people are supposed to be a little more accountable, they are supposed to be informative, and not entertainers. But in their minds, there has to be some level of entertainment to the news and they know that something sensational is likely to draw more viewers. Frankly, I wish they would use more discretion, but I’m not in a position to tell them how to do their jobs.
People talk of blaming Hollywood — but look at show business executives like Ryan Kavanaugh, Jon Feltheimer, Ron Meyer and others. These are responsible human beings. Does anyone really think they’re interested in creating more violence? They’re more responsible than that. They know that what they’re putting out is pure entertainment. Hollywood and the videogame industry are there to entertain us.
The real conversation should be about personal responsibility and holding people accountable. All of that begins in the home.
But we should meet to solve these problems. If you’d like to engage in conversation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.