Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
Thoughts continue to run through my head about ways to prevent school violence. As I have those thoughts, last week was particularly violent as schools across the nation dealt with gun and bomb threats perpetrated by a number of copy-cat teens who desire the notoriety gained by school children killers.
As a society we have turned more violent. And I can’t help but think some of the violence we watch or listen to, or play on our Xbox, influences how we act in everyday life. Most of us understand the difference between Call of Duty- Black Ops, but on the other hand, I can’t help but think the game influences a few impressionable teenagers to act out violence in real life.
Let’s face it, violence is everywhere. Turn on the television and you witness dozens of killing scenes whether you are watching Walking Dead or a new Netflix series. Turn on the stereo and you hear Eminem’s “Stan” or Korn’s “Daddy” and you hear four minutes of lyrics about death. Popular movies like Natural Born Killers or the Saw series, offer a steady diet of murder and mayhem.
Heck I was browsing Facebook earlier in the week only to come upon several videos showing the violence that was taking place at MSU, when so-called white nationalist Richard Spencer was speaking to a group of students in a campus auditorium.
Outside college students clashed with their peers- some in favor of Spencer, and many opposed to his beliefs. This, however was not a non-violent Martin Luther King type protest. These were our college kids brandishing knives and guns and throwing punches at each other like it was the WWE.
I just wonder what kind of example we are setting as a society when we allow violence to permeate every aspect of how we live? And we wonder why impressionable, slightly, or mostly mentally challenged teenagers attempt to act out what they have viewed or heard, in real life?
As the father of a teenager, I am concerned. I know my 16-year-old has the maturity of a 40-year-old, thus he is allowed to play Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. He knows the difference between action in a video game and how he should act in real life.
That, however, doesn’t give some of his playmates a pass. As sure as I’m sitting here, I gotta believe a few of them have shoplifted in a store or smoked a crack pipe, because those types of things are glorified in contemporary games and music.
And I’m sure, some students who are mentally challenged might take a page from a TV show or movie, and think it normal to brandish a gun at school and start shooting.
Trust me I’m not advocating censorship. I am however, asking parents to be more aware of what their teenagers watch, play and listen to. Parenting isn’t easy, particularly when you are dealing with rebellious teenagers. You have to find balance between being a friend and providing discipline as needed.
If we find that balance, I believe violence in our schools will be minimalized.