With the recent wave of violence against children in schools, people at all levels of society are clamoring for someone to find a quick solution to the problem. Gun-control advocates are demanding laws to restrict the private ownership of firearms. Others are calling for armed security guards to patrol the hallways and playgrounds. Still others have suggested arming schoolteachers.
These are not really solutions, though; they do they address the root problems that lie beneath the violence. We need to identify the real problems, because only when the root causes of violence are recognized can we begin to develop real solutions.
We live in a culture that glamorizes and extols violence. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to be entertained by violence and immorality. We indoctrinate our children from infancy and desensitize them to violence by using the television as a babysitter. According to research abstracts posted on the web page Children and Television Violence, by the time the average American child reaches the age of thirteen, he or she will have witnessed over 100,000 acts of televised violence, including over 8000 acts of murder! On average, children’s television shows contain about twenty acts of violence each hour. Psychologists Eron and Huesmann, after following the viewing habits of a group of children for decades, found that watching violence on television is the single factor most closely associated with aggressive behavior - more than poverty, race, or parental behavior. For more information about the harmful effects of television violence, see Media Violence is Hazardous to Your Health.
Research has linked pornography with violence against women and children. Consumers of porn view women and children as objects to exploit and victimize, not as human beings deserving of honor and protection. Although we have hundreds of laws against pornography on the books, no one is enforcing them. The citizens of America must not care enough about this issue to make our law enforcement establishment do its job.
The mass media, especially television, has done more to contribute to violence in our society than any other factor. However, recent history has shown that Americans do not really want to deal with the issue – we just want to keep on being entertained. Until Americans turn off the televisions, stop buying the violent video games, quit watching violent and sexually explicit movies, and start demanding enforcement of existing pornography laws, this country will continue to experience more and more violence.
How is it that the Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was able to respond to such horrific violence with love, peace and forgiveness? They have been practicing those virtues for hundreds of years. At the same time, they have refused to be indoctrinated by “American pop culture.” I am not advocating an Amish lifestyle, but I am advocating a lifestyle that says “No!” to Hollywood, the mass media and the purveyors of porn.