In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland it’s time to have a real discussion on mass shootings and violence. Most Americans — Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and non gun owners — are fed up with the loss of lives, but can we address all the issues and not just guns that have us where we are today?
Let Congress address whether we need bump, stocks, 100 round magazines and background checks. That’s their job, and we need to demand they have real debate on the issues that make gun control so complicated.
But as concerned parents, grandparents and citizens it’s time to look at our culture as it relates to Hollywood and the gaming industry and their role in feeding and reinforcing a message of violence. We’ve created a society numb to killing as it dominates our viewing choices on TV.
America’s youth spend an unhealthy amount of time killing in the fictional world of video games. We’ve numbed our brains to violence and often refer to it as entertainment.
And yet Hollywood makes no concentrated effort to alter their path; we see more explosions, shootings and violent acts on the big and small screen than ever before. Lifelike animation in the gaming industry clouds the reality of death by creating games that reward killing and make heroes of mass shooters.
Real change involves a restoration of civility in government and in entertainment. But we can’t just stop there as parents and grandparents, we have to take responsibility in our homes, too. Teenagers have always been difficult to reach, but the simple act of sitting at the dinner table as a family allows us to gauge our youth and what troubles they might be experiencing. It’s a place where we can point out and demonstrate civil debate, compromise and a safe place to express opinion.
We also need to be aware of the hours spent gaming and what types of games our children are playing, as well as the hours spent consuming Hollywood’s lack of imagination to tell stories without excessive violence; or for that matter violence of any kind.
Killings begin with the mindset that it’s a solution or a statement and won’t stop till we as a society address all the factors that contribute to a society that tolerates and even embraces violence.
To just demand changes in gun laws will not curb the violence. We need comprehensive change in the entertainment and gaming industry and most importantly communication with our youth and a return of family values that have been under siege for decades as we’ve allowed Hollywood to define the narrative for too long.
Daniel Nicolaysen lives in Sonora.