OPINION: Blame Video Games, Movies, and Social Media for Violence in America
After the horrific terror attack in San Bernardino California that killed 14 innocent people and injured 21 others, the doors of debate over gun control and radical Islamic terrorism have swung open again. The Left will always blame guns and the Right will always defend the Second Amendment, just as the left will tiptoe around the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism,” the Right will be the first to suggest it.
These hotly debated topics seem to rollercoaster between the Planned Parenthood Debate and white on black Officer involved shootings.
This week, Victoria Sidlauskas, our Liberal contributor, and her counterpart from the Right, Jason Marshall bring us their views on violence in America.
Opinion: By Victoria Sidlauskas
Let me start this op-ed by saying I hate guns; I hate everything about them. I don’t think there is any reason to carry a gun unless you are either in the military or law enforcement but sometimes I have to question that. I learned to shoot as a child growing up in CT. We shot cans off a fence and later I learned Skeet but it wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed.
I am realistic enough to know that guns exist and people are very protective of their rights. The Second Amendment is misinterpreted and overused to justify keeping guns and I doubt that gun control is the answer. Taking guns away from law abiding citizens won’t stop criminals from getting them. And I don’t necessarily agree with the theory that arming everyone would make us safer.
I’ve given this a great deal of thought during the past couple of weeks. The victims of the Planned Parenthood murders were just being buried and when a husband and wife walked into a company Christmas Party and viciously murdered co-workers, who just a few months earlier had given the couple a baby shower. It was an act of terrorism and is being investigated as such by the FBI. It’s all too fresh in everyone’s mind to completely process a lot of it. All we can do, once again, is offer prayers to the families of the victims. And that shooting – that horrible, senseless, despicable, inhuman, cold-blooded mass murder – made me realize something that should probably have been obvious for a long time.
We don’t need gun control in this country – we need to control the violence. Everywhere you look – movies, television, video games – violence is prevalent.
I grew up in New England in the 50s. We played cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians and pirates all the time. We used curtain rods as swords and always had caps in our pockets for our pistols. On Saturday mornings we watched Roy Rogers, Wild Bill Hickock, The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid and the good guys always won. In the evenings we watched Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Dragnet, The FBI and the Untouchables and even though they were adult programs, the good guys always won and the shows were non-violent. Movies weren’t rated but neither were they really violent; families were able to enjoy them together. We knew that what we saw on the screen wasn’t real; they were actors playing a part.
We had friends – we played outside. We rode bikes, played ball, had picnics, had sleep-overs and spent a lot of time together. We did things as a group and we had fun.
When video games first burst on the scene they were fun for families to play together. But through the years games became violent and the kids who used to play outside were sitting in front of a screen finding more and more ways to destroy the characters on each level. Kids stopped playing together because they no longer needed to leave a chair to communicate. They had computers and cell phones – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Social Media took over and we had a generation of isolationists. As the games became more violent and the kids spent so much time alone we began to see – and accept – violence as a way of life. We have drive-by shootings, road rage, bullying and a laundry list of problems that we created by taking away the very programs in school that allowed kids to interact. Without PE, music or the arts there is no socialization. Home schooling or online classes keep children isolated and they see violence everywhere.
I don’t have any answers. I hate hearing about mass murders on a daily basis. I hate knowing that the movies that get the best rating are the violent ones. I hate the fact that social media is actually anti-social and we have a generation of kids who don’t know how to communicate with each other. I don’t have the answers but I honestly believe that somehow we have to control the violence before it completely controls us.
Later today we will bring you Jason Marshall’s views, where he focuses more specifically on Sayed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino terrorists.
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