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Letters to the Editor

Creating violence

Brandon Wertz August 21st, 2012

In the wake of the recent Dark Knight Rises shooting spree, we should probably begin to consider the variables that lead to such tragic events.

For years there have been groups protesting music, movies, and video games. But their arguments seem to break down over time.

Remember how AC/DC was supposed to mean Anti-Christ/Devil’s Child, and the band was indoctrinating children into devil worship? Madonna’s famous onstage simulated masturbation clearly led to a rash of adolescent self-discovery. Marilyn Manson’s loud, nonconformist, screaming social satire has been mislabeled as demon rock, and Lady Gaga, with her pro-gay stance, is on a mission to turn all your children Queer as Folk.

Of course, that’s complete hyperbole.

No musician has ever created a Satanist pervert anti-establishment homosexual.

Popular video games such as Doom, Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty are all M-rated games which wouldn’t be in the hands of children without parent complicity.

Movies like Dirty Harry, Death Wish and Saw have glorified violence for decades, but like video games, the caveat is that the rating system fails impressionable children when a parent allows.

So what’s behind our overwhelming desire to pin the blame on entertainment? Could it be that parents know that violent children are more likely the result of lax parenting and this is just a pathetic attempt to shift blame? After Columbine, no one really questioned how children acquired automatic weapons, bomb-making materials, or where the parents were when all this was happening. But there was great pressure to illegitimately castigate the video game and music industries.

During a recent commencement speech, historian David McCullough flat-out told graduating students in Boston they weren’t “special.” This harsh reality could be the crux of the problem.

Those young individuals who take up violence after they’ve left home could be clambering to control an existence that feels out of control. Many will get degrees in fields that are hard to get work in and resign themselves to a life of mediocre income to pay back thousands of dollars of student debt — essentially becoming a slave.

Our media’s mentality is “if it bleeds, it leads.” If one’s goal is to be the person everyone knows instantly, you can accomplish this easier with five minutes of senseless violence than years of good deeds.

Unfortunately, as our population continues to grow and people endeavor to be relevant in a world that considers all life trivial, we may find greater instances of this type of violence. As long as the press glorifies it on Page One, there will always be incentive to be evil.

—Brandon Wertz, Oklahoma City

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