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Violence in the Media

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Violence in the Media


There is an epidemic running rampant within the borders of the United States, from rural counties to city suburbs, this disease takes the lives of some 30,000 individuals annually and appears to spare no class in society. So what is the cause of this disease? Like all viruses surely there must be a linked causality. Some americans blame what is displayed on television, some blame the lack of gun regulation, and some even blame musical artists & the lack of religious institution. In the end there is an undeniable fact that we must all come to accept, that there is something innately flawed with our society, with our culture, something that makes us americans exponentially more prone to becoming the victims of violent crimes than our neighbors to the north or any of our allies.

Left leaning citizens tend to blame the general lack of gun regulation as the cause of this violence, many firmly believe that if sales of firearms could be monitored then we would see a drastic drop in the number of violent crimes being committed around the nation. This political stance is based on the idea that most violent crimes (homicides in particular) are committed with fire arms and that many attackers are people with criminal backgrounds, and are generally those who come from lower income communities. The political left feels that if guns could be ID'd and munitions tagged, then stopping violent crimes would become much easier for the state.

While the left's position is a good position to hold if we wish to quickly end an outburst of violent behavior, it doesn't truly give us any ground as far as actually preventing the root cause of these violent crimes. It is known that the best way to protect the public from crime, is to prevent it from being seeded in the first place. So, with that, what is the cause of homicidal tendency? Now we switch over to the political right's stance on the issue. Generally, the right blames gun violence on what is displayed in social media and the lack of a firm moral backbone in our youths (they generally promote the installation of morality through religious institution).

On April 20th, 1999 two seniors of Columbine High School brought semi-automatic weapons on campus and began to open fire on students. After the shootings resolution it was discovered that the two had listened to music by Marilyn Manson and the german metal band Rammstein just minutes before the shooting began. After this information was leaked, the right wing jumped on the artists and blamed them for being the root causes of the massacre. Such accusations were generally promoted by religious institutions hoping to promote their own values and ideals. Most pundits who've accused musical artists for being responsible for violent crimes were found to be funded by gun manufacturers and arms contractors. Left wing pundits retaliated with long debates on the air about whether or not artists should be held accountable for the actions taken by criminals who were fans of their work.

Is there some grain of truth to each side of the argument? There is no doubt that music containing heavy bass lines and strong verbal lyrics are used as a means of pumping up. German bands are generally favored by soldiers on the battlefield because the language is strong in tone and is therefor fitting for the tasks at hand. Songs like “Let the Bodies hit the floor” by Drowning Pool are also popular within Iraq & Afghanistan patrol ranks. Horror movies are generally thought of as acceptable and are widely enjoyed in the middle and lower classes, while they are generally forbidden to children in upperclass, republican house holds.

With there being a clear correlation between those who view violent media and those who tend to commit violent crimes, one can't help but sympathize with those who've developed the notion that violent media must equal violent retroaction. As any scientifically literate person knows however, correlation does not necessarily mean causality, and so only through extensive, long period studies can it be determined whether or not exposure to violent media is in fact a factor that leads to violent tendencies. I personally believe that the correlation between those who view violent material and those who go out and commit crimes is negligible, yes, individuals born into lower class families have a higher tendency to view violent media as a form of entertainment, but look at the environment they're coming from. I was exposed to much more violent media growing up in the lower class as a child then I was as an adolescent hanging out with the preppy, republican households in the country club.

I myself enjoy the writings of Stephen King, but that doesn't mean that I think it'd be fun to go around cutting people's heads off. Similarly, just because someone grows up in a christian, well-rounded house hold doesn't necessarily mean that they'll grow up with the moral compass needed to ensure that they become productive members of society. Many upperclass adolescents tend to resort to violent behavior because it serves as an outlet. When you grow up in a lifestyle where everything is within your reach, you're going to try and find something that is out of bounds, something “taboo” to keep you excited. Most suburban adolescents turn to marijuana. Some turn to minor crime.

SIDE NOTE-Marijuana

*** When we draw a line, we draw it knowing that people will cross it. You don't want to build the wire divider directly on the edge of the cliff, you want to give people something to fall on when they go over. So while Marijuana may be a perfectly safe drug to use -as study after study has indicated- we must understand that once it is legal individuals may search for substances beyond the barrier. I don't think that it will be to grand of an issue though.***

In the end, it is the duty of the parents to ensure that their children are indoctrinated with a well rounded moral code. By sterilizing your children, by denying them the right to see real crime and violence, you deny them the ability to see the distinction between “what is right” and “what is wrong” and you will ultimately be doing society a disfavor. Violent media does make us numb to cruelty, however, understanding that your fellow humans are just as real as you, by understanding that you are the same as they, and that you are all part of the same system, hopefully, you can surpass your reptilian tendencies towards violence and aggression just as the majority of the population in the modern world has as well. Some people are weak though, and there always be those week ones in our society who will stray from the common good of their fellow man to secure their own, selfish interests. There will always be murderers, there will always be those unable to grasp that connectivity, and there will always be those out there seeking abberated behavior, the best thing we can do as a people, is to push programs which ensure that no individual is put into a situation where they are FORCED to take violent action in order to receive the basic necessities of life.

What do you think about violence in the media and its affects on behavior?

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