Brad Pitt arrives on the red carpet at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, May 22, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN
Their drug busts, sex tapes and DUI charges are old hat by now, so just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun, Brad Pitt announces that he only feels safe if there's a gun hidden somewhere in the house.
Wow. In the annals of regrettably stupid things to say out loud, Pitt is right up there now with 'legitimate rape' or Christina Aguilera's questions about the location of the Cannes Film Festival.
Said Mr. Pitt. "America is a country founded on guns. It's in our DNA. It's very strange but I feel better having a gun. I really do. I don't feel safe, I don't feel the house is completely safe, if I don't have one hidden somewhere. That's my thinking, right or wrong. I got my first BB gun when I was in nursery school. I got my first shotgun by first grade, I had shot a handgun by third grade and I grew up in a pretty sane environment."
How a third-grader with a handgun got into the same sentence as 'a sane environment' is a testament to the absolute madness that is the American gun culture.
(Does Pitt hide his handguns in the house because he keeps them loaded? Just wondering.)
Pitt has obviously forgotten some of the important statistics that he, as a gun owner, cannot possibly have failed to hear. Five hundred children die every year from accidental gunshots. About 40% of kids polled know where their parents keep their gun. And that in the U.S., gun-related deaths in kids under age 15 is about 12 times higher than gun deaths among children of 25 other industrialized countries put together.
In 2008, around 1,000 American soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; that year, more than 31,000 were killed by handguns right at home in the good old U.S. of A. There are 90 guns for every 100 people south of the border, and gun sales add up to about $3 billion a year. A U.S. advocacy group has reported you're more likely to be killed by gunplay than a car accident in at least 10 states.
Parents hide handguns at home. Children find those guns. Criminals find those guns, too. Innumerable studies have shown the risks of keeping a gun at home (increased suicide risk, increased domestic violence risk, increased risk of having the gun used against you by the very criminals you seek to thwart) far outweigh any perceived benefits.
Brad Pitt is not the only celebrity who has something to say about guns. A decade ago, Denzel Washington said, "We live in the most violent country on the planet. This country was won violently. Based on slavery and murder and now it's coming back. They slew the Indians and enslaved the Africans. People don't want to deal with it, but that's how this country got started -- violence and murder..."
Given the statistics on children who shoot themselves, their friends or their siblings with mom or dad's gun, let's hope Pitt decides to rethink the gun issue. And keep his mouth shut.
And let's hope no other celebs decide to shoot themselves in the foot this week.