Video games, music, movies, and we go again

Let me start off by saying that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place December 14, 2012 is indeed a devastating and tragic situation. I still can not begin to imagine what the parents of those children, as well as the community as a whole, could possibly be going through.  And as we've all seen with other shootings such as Columbine and Virginia Tech, the lasting pain that is left behind is something that is difficult to forget.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who have, and are still suffering from these unsensible acts.

As we all attempt to recover in some way from these events we are constantly bombarded with the same arguments and statements that appear with each event.  Whether it's blaming music, video games, movies, or whatever the next topic that someone will think of, it never fails that these topics are placed in the forefront on a continuous basis.  Frankly, I'm as tired of hearing people come up with something to blame it on as I am with hearing about the incident itself with the media plastering it across every channel for weeks afterwards.

For decades people have blamed music lyrics for the reason why people act the way they do.  I am not a fan of Elvis, but when his music first came out he was practically labelled as the anti-christ simply for the way he danced.  When N.W.A and other rappers became a hit in the 80's and 90's everyone blamed violent acts on the individual listening to the songs and albums.  Today it's become even more of an issue with video games being the topic of blame, and music being added in as a backup argument.  Shortly after Sandy Hook decisions were made to cut certain scenes out of movies because they might be taken by some people as promoting or being too violent.  And I won't even get into to gun control issues and debates that are being thrown around the government, as CLEARLY this is an attempt to garner "brownie points" and not to deal with the underlying issue at hand.  More on that later.

Before I voice my opinion and reasoning for my thoughts and beliefs I want to say one thing.  You can agree with me, or you can tell me I'm full of it and have no clue what I'm talking about.  That is your decision, and I respect your right to have that opinion.  I do not condone violence, nor do I feel that anyone who commits a violent act, whether it's a domestic abuse case or a serial killer, should be "glorified" in the manner in which they are in today's society.  Just look at the media, Wikipedia, or a host of websites that discuss these events and you will quickly see what I mean.  In the case of Sandy Hook the media was so ruthless to be the first to report who the killer was that they didn't even get the right name (let alone the right person) before blasting it over the air waves.  Effectively this ruined Ryan Lanza's (the older brother of the actual killer) life for at least the first few days all because the media wanted to be the first to report and did not without verifying that what they were reporting was in fact the truth.  The list of FaceBook pages that immediately went up calling for Ryan to "burn in hell" prove this without a doubt.

This brings me to the point of this post.  I am sick and tired of hearing that the violence in video games, movies, and music are the causes of these types of tragedies, because this is not, nor has it ever been the reason why someone goes on a murderous rampage.  Now, there may be a few incidents where this isn't the case, but those are a very small percentage.  The true cause is that parents and people who have the ability to directly or indirectly influence a child are the cause.  Parents not teaching their children to be respectful, to have manners, or to value the life that they have are the real cause.  I can't tell you how many time we have taken our kids with us and people have commented how well-behaved they are.  Other kids are running around, carrying on, screaming, yelling, or crying, yet ours are standing or sitting right there with us mostly watching the other kids be disruptive.  Just recently I was in a local Avis car rental office with both of our daughters and the attendant didn't even realize that they were sitting in the chairs against the wall until one of them coughed.  He commented that he was surprised to see them sitting there because he thought that he and I were the only one in the room.

In our house we have certain rules about the type of movies that are on while the kids are awake, and the songs that played on the iPods.  Movies that have excessive language or intense sex scenes are tuned to the Disney channel or other channels with more kids-related shows.  With that said there have been times where we haven't turned the channel simply because there were a few "F-bombs" thrown out or scenes involving guns or fights.  We don't actively promote those types of movies with our kids, but at the same time we don't shelter them from them either.  It is a reality that at some point they are going to be exposed to these topics, and we would rather be with them when they are so that we can discuss it with them.  

I'm a fan of first-person-shooter games, and have played Halo and Call-of-Duty numerous times with our 8-year-old sitting right there next to me.  In fact since she was 6 she has watched me play, and has even grabbed the controller and ran around with me.  Some of you reading this may find this appalling, but think about this.  Is it better for me to be sitting there playing with her and to explain that it's just a game, or for her to play it without us knowing and be so engrossed in it that it starts to become a reality?  I do this because I want to teach her how to deal with what she sees and experiences so that she understands the difference between hurting a fictional character and hurting a real human being.  A friend of mine goes to great lengths to keeps his kids out of the room, and to block every possible view of the TV while he plays the same types of games.  While this in some form can be viewed as being hypocritical, he chooses to treat his kids like caged animals instead of teaching them the difference between shooting an enemy on TV and what real life war is.  In theory he is supposedly being a good parent by not allowing his kids to view this type of material, but in truth he's sheltering his kids from reality so that when they inevitably face it they won't know how to deal with it. Parents like him are the exact reason why kids grow up to be the one with the gun walking into the school.

Unlike me, my wife grew up with guns in the house, but most importantly they were taught how to live with them around.  The ammo was always kept under lock and key in a separate location, and the only time they were allowed to touch them was during hunting season or going out to the shooting range.  There were 6 kids in the house, and none of them thought once about grabbing one and going on a rampage.  They all listened to rock-n-roll, played video games, and watched movies with violent scenes and drugs and alcohol in them, but never once had the urge to commit a violent crime.  

I know hundreds of families with the same exact scenario and every one of them have the same results.  But yet according to lawmakers, lobbyists, the media, and everyone else who has some kind of agenda to fill or who wants their "5 minutes of fame" this exact scenario is why we have incidents like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook.  They make statement after statement that "We need to put an end to violent video games, and movies and music that promote violence" because it's an easy target.  What you don't hear them say is "We need to put an end to bad parenting" because...oh we're telling people how to raise their children and we can't do that for fear that we might offend someone.  So instead we'll pass bills that tramp on the Second Amendment, and make it harder for the citizens of this country to protect and defend themselves and their families.

I am not a gun activist, but I must say that I completely agree with the NRA's statement that there should be armed guards in every school building in the country...PERIOD.  We do protect our banks, the President, sporting events, etc. with armed security, so why shouldn't we protect our children with the same?  And it shouldn't be up to the school to provide this security.  It should be up to the government, whether local, state, or federal to provide.  That's what the government is there PROTECT and to serve, and that doesn't just mean the politicians.  It means everyone, and most importantly the people who are going to someday be running this country.

17. January 2013 13:51 by Admin | Comments (0) | Permalink
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