Proving once again that the search for easy scapegoats in the wake of a national tragedy is a cross-ideological phenomenon, Rush Limbaugh is now blaming the Isla Vista killings on violent imagery in The Hunger Games.
The killer, Elliot Rodger, had a loose connection to the The Hunger Games: His father worked as an assistant producer on the films. Rush noted this link on his radio show, and surmised that the films' stark depiction of teen-on-teen violence was a "crucial" detail in understanding Rodger.
"Why not blame Hollywood movies here?" he asked, according to Politico. "Oh, we can never, ever go there."
Unbeknownst to Rush, Hollywood movies are taking the blame, and newspaper liberals are the ones doing the blaming. Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday criticized actor Seth Rogen's films—specifically his latest, Neighbors—for embracing the college male archetype and reveling in sex and glory and fun. Since Rodger was a self-described virgin driven insane by constant sexual rejection, the lifestyle celebrated in Neighbors is implicitly responsible for his actions, according to Hornaday.
Rush and Hornaday make different arguments, but they seem to agree that the movies they don't like are not merely bad—they pose an actual danger to society.
When tragedy rears its ugly head, culture warriors on both the right and left are certainly eager to fault whatever media they don't like—be it movies and television, violent video games, pornography, comic books or something else. Inevitably, the moralizers end up looking ridiculous, because a lot of people who like all those things don't kill people.
Read more about agenda-driven reactions to the Isla Vista killings here.