There`s been much commentary about how the gun control debate reflects cultural differences between densely populated Blue States and thinly populated Red States. (In fact, I put that idea forward in my 2004 Baby Gap article.)
But, my impression is that one major exception to this pattern is the entertainment industry belt on both sides of the Hollywood Hills. I don`t know anybody around here who hunts, but guns still come up all the time. I don`t have any reliable numbers, but as far as I can tell, based on the number of guns stocked in general-purpose sporting goods stores near studios, the visibility of indoor gun ranges, and the number of times my sons got invited to go with their friends` and their friends` dads, often minor entertainment industry workers, to go blast hell out of stuff, a sizable number of Hollywood-types are armed to the teeth.
I can imagine multiple reasons.
- For one thing, the local top dogs in cultural influence, the big name movie directors, are not exactly shrinking violets. They may not expound in public the same political views as, say, John Milius, but they aren`t all that different in personality.
- Fake guns play a huge role in movies and TV, so it`s not surprising that many guys in those businesses think real guns are cool.
- Hollywood employs lots of ex-soldiers and ex-cops in various capacities, in part because they are familiar with guns.
- The LAPD has been, since Chief Parker`s reforms after WWII, a thin blue line with not many cops per capita.
- Prestigious people tend to live in out of the way places, up canyons that the police can`t get too quickly.
- Celebrities tend to attract crazy stalkers.
- Bling. Music celebrities and off-season jocks and their women wear a lot of jewelry, which makes them targets for robbers, whereas most normal people carry nothing more valuable than a smart phone or an engagement diamond ring.
- The Rodney King riots demonstrated vividly that armed Korean shopkeepers did better than unarmed Korean shopkeepers.
- A major theme in the local imagination going back at least to Nathaniel West`s Day of the Locust is the L.A. Apocalypse. The zombie hordes will attack and it will be every household for itself.
- And, there really will be an L.A. Apocalypse: the Big One. At some point, the San Andreas Fault will slip, and the cops will be too busy pulling people out of the rubble to answer your calls when the looters arrive.
Generally speaking, the arming up of the area since Rodney King doesn`t seem to have had too many bad effects. Property crime is way down.