After the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut, politicians, the NRA, and others started pointing fingers at the violence in entertainment, especially video games. We have to accept that we do live in a violent culture, and we can’t deny that consuming entertainment doesn’t have an impact on children. However, we have to be careful of focusing just on products of the entertainment industry. Many influences shape a child’s life, and if we ignore all of the factors, then we are not doing enough to stop the cycle.
During my time in the classroom, I’ve overheard countless conversations between students about the horror films they saw over the weekend, with or without their parent’s knowledge. Many students would look at me with confused expressions when I asked them to stop describing how a killer ripped off limbs, gutted a victim, or ate a body part. I’ve had to send students to the office because they were wearing a T-shirt celebrating Scarface; I’ve seen Al Pacino holding a gun in a variety of styles. Many students, both boys and girls, could recite lines from the film and reenact the famous last scene. Many saw the culminating scene in the Brian De Palma film as a glorious and awesome way to die; it’s a goal, not a punishment. I don’t know if the 1983 film is as popular with teens across the nation, but in my area of Southern California, it was basically required viewing.
The following is a guest post from Dakin “Chilly” Lecakes:
Chilly has been playing videogames since their beginning as a commercial product. He has a longtime perspective on gaming and tries to add a voice of sanity to the diverse issues surrounding the modern gaming culture. He has been participating in various gaming communities and forums for over a decade trying to be a light shining in the darkness when all others fail.
On Friday, December 14, 2012, I sat at my computer, horrified, reading the news of a mass shooting at an elementary school located in Newtown, Connecticut.
On Monday, December 17, I found out that I knew someone very well that was immediately impacted by the tragedy. Someone whose sister was a victim of the incident, a teacher at the school.
I remember when I was told that it took more than a brief moment to process the information. It was incomprehensible to me. Suddenly I knew someone who was directly affected by this horrific event and the surrounding mass media frenzy. It was a subtle change, but I found myself now evaluating each related story that appeared in a slightly different way, having a bit more empathy for the point of view of the surviving family members. It is a heightened sensitivity that I had never experienced following one of these events.
I include the foregoing only to explain how my thoughts on this particular event have caused me to want to write about the issue. To offer, in what way I can, my own plea for sanity, a loaded word.