A Blind Eye

>     As I write this entry there is news of yet another shooting spree at a University that has killed 5 and injured 17 others, with the gunman finally shooting himself. This time it’s Northern Illinois University. The murderer had two hand guns and a shot gun. Whenever I write following one of these tragic sprees I am tempted to pursue a line of thought that speaks to the issue of gun control. I never-the-less try and resist that urge as I think there are other issues of greater importance that underlie the degree of violence we are experiencing.
    Today I resist the urge yet again.
    What is of greater urgency is how we foster and enable violent behavior by the continued proliferation of violent media presentations combined with a lack of parental responsibility for monitoring our children’s exposure to it.
    Just this week there was a report on the results of studies done by the National Institute of Health (NIH), Kansas State University and Iowa State University finding that children who watch violent video games are more likely to exhibit violent behavior that children who do not. Repeated exposure to the violence normalizes the behavior. Well, I don’t know why any thinking person needs a study to get on that bandwagon but apparently, to many of us do.
    It shouldn’t take a scientist or sociologist to figure this one out. Watch an uplifting movie with a happy ending and you feel good. Watch a tragic movie with a sad ending and you feel bad. It isn’t a quantum leap to conclude that watching violence, repeatedly, is bad for the psyche leaving the viewer predisposed to violent behavior.
    And it’s not just the video games. It’s music, too. And TV. The Pittsburgh Gazette reported that one-third of popular songs condone or glamorize drug use. Rap, sure. But Country/Western came in second. Surprised?  Then you’re not listening because it’s out there for the children to hear and they do…everyday.
    This is not a Congressional issue. Nor a State’s Rights one, either. Nor is it for the schools to fix. This one is Ours. Yours and Mine. Each One of us needs to de-normalize violence as a socially acceptable way to respond. We need to be pro-active with our children…what they listen to and watch. We need to have the courage of our convictions and risk them not being happy with the limitations We impose. We need to model non-violent behavior and be vocal about our opposition to it as a viable way to resolve anything. We need to not purchase the products or patronize the vendors who distribute and promote products with violent, sexual and drug related content.
     Over time, we have abdicated this responsibility for expediency’s sake. When you give up power, there is always someone waiting nearby more than willing to assume it for you. Usually, what they have in mind is a far cry from what you intended. And before you know it, they have set the standard you find yourself living by, no matter how low.
The good news is that I’ve made it easy for you to fix.
     See all the words in bold?  They’re the key to moving away from the present state of things and toward higher ground…where the air is cleaner. If you’re not up for the climb, know that the future holds more of the same. When that happens, you won’t be able to deny that you knew and turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. Although time is short, and the moment is now, you and I can still make a difference.

P.S.   Remember to click here to download my FREE e-book
         “Too Many Secrets.”

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