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Keller @ Large: Pop Culture Also To Blame For Gun Violence

BOSTON (CBS) - President Obama was visibly appalled when he spoke Thursday about the atrocity in Oregon, as well he might be.

The sheer frequency of these horrible events is intolerable, and as the president noted, they happen far more often here than in any advanced country that's not in a war zone.

Roseburg Oregon
People gather at a candlelight vigil for the victims of the community college shooting October 1, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. (Photo by Michael Lloyd/Getty Images)

But while his outrage was justifiable and his litany of disgraceful facts was correct, the president's speech missed a few important points.

For instance, while he acknowledged that we don't know much about the shooter yet, "we collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction," comparing the failure to have uniformly-tough gun-control laws unfavorably with the action we take to repair dangerous roads and protect people from bad weather.

But what if this was a terrorist act? What if the guns and ammo used came from outside the country?

I suspect many people will also balk at accepting "collective" guilt over the choices made by one deranged person, just as they reject responsibility for people who drive recklessly or build houses in dangerous flood zones.

The president's frustration at the intransigence of the pro-gun lobby is completely understandable. But I'd also like to hear more from him about the violence that permeates our culture, the relentless message that gunplay is fun and murder is kinda cool that oozes out of our video games, movies, TV shows and iPods.

The NRA may make it easier for creeps to arm up, but popular culture helps propel them from having the weapons to using them.

Laws are a crucial part of imposing order on a society, but not the only part.

And the sloganeering that too often passes for gun-violence conversation in our country comes from all across the political spectrum.

Listen to Jon's commentary:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News weeknights at 11 p.m.

Email Jon at or reach him on Twitter @kelleratlarge.

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