For decades, media writers, directors and producers have told us that the violent content they create is harmless. We are told that in spite of the glamour and impact what we see, read and hear regarding violence, program content plays no part in making us a more violent society. Today the mantra of “if it bleeds it leads” is the marketing brass ring for every news outlet struggling for market share. Endless descriptions and repeated video coverage on “how it’s done” often produces copycat incidents.
When kids played games like Cowboys and Indians, for example, the portrayal of media violence was less believable. Today, the proliferation of realistic-looking mayhem combined with assault and death now featured in entertainment and “news” programming along with what is now found in video games has created an entirely different situation. At minimum, the proliferation of violence by the media may be most influential factor in teaching troubled young men that the use of deadly force is the primary way to solve problems or resolve interpersonal conflict.
The culture of violence is not the whole story. Every day we hear politically correct stories on the news about those who crusade to remove morality and common sense from our daily lives and school curriculums. Former presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, recently noted “You cannot have a safe society when there is no moral compass”. “In God We Trust” has been a significant cornerstone in the formation of this nation and yet it is that very foundation many seek to destroy.
The promotion of violence by the media and entertainment industries can no longer be tolerated. While our First Amendment protections are important, so are the thousands of lives lost annually. The issue is no longer one of protecting free speech but of protecting human life. It is not a question of censoring ideas but the need to encourage behaviors that support the mental health and personal safety of everyone – young and old.
We are a nation divided by joblessness, pervasive life-long poverty, drug addiction, career politicians, and mental health practices made so foreboding by Federal Regulations that finding support for those in real need is almost impossible. Given this environment should we really be surprised when someone who is predisposed to violence like Adam Lanza is “suddenly” motivated to commit a vicious crime?
While politicians at the local and Federal level will use the incident in Newtown, Connecticut as a way to forward their political agenda, this event is not about gun control. We have thousands of laws on the books currently – none of which deterred Lanza from his mission. Anyone looking to do harm will always find a way be it with a gun or by some other more destructive means.
We must look this latest incident as a call to stop the never-ending drumbeat of violence that comes into our homes from the media and entertainment industries. It is also a call to examine the reasons why those in need of mental health services cannot find help in our litigious society.
You can choose to be silent believing we are on a politically correct path and accept the consequences. Or you can choose to stand like an unbending oak next to your cases of guns and stockpiled ammo. Either choice will see your freedoms silenced by regulation and more.
As an alternative you can decide to contact your State and Federal elected representatives and demand that those in need of mental health care receive it. Contact your local stations and tell them that you and your family will no longer tolerate the violence being promoted by the media.
While we will ever be able to stop determined, demented, drunk or drugged individuals, we can help slow the violence by making our voices heard.