I figured since I have no answers I'd start with a question. In my day school, violence was a fight between two people who didn't like each other. Today, armed people shoot at random to avenge 'wrongs' done to them by spilling innocent blood. Why now? Kids have been picked on forever. High school was seemingly invented to weed the strong from the weak and has done so from the very beginning. Sadly, I think our violence has filtered itself down into other, less violent socities (i.e. Canada, the Amish community, etc.).
Above is a now outdated map of school shootings.
The last two generations have been the most evaulated children ever. From the first day of school kids are "screened" for dissorders, counseled for any problems and generally very over-analyzed. If all that is so good then why is this the result? This kind of thing didn't happen with our less analyzed generations. I live in Texas and I find it interesting that no shootings have ocured in a place that embraces guns so readily. So the answer can't be access. Maybe I'm asking the wrong question. What have we adults done that allows our kids to devalue human life so much (I relaize that the last two shootings were committed by adults and I'll get to that in a minute)? Any of "life imitating art" people can take me on on this but I don't believe it has anything to do with violent tv and video games. The Westerns of the 50's and 60's were more violent. To that end, the cartoons of the past generations were more violent than alot of these video games. The difference is those kids didn't take things literaly. I think it has a lot to do with respect. We don't show respect for each other anymore. As a society, we have embraced indulgence and apathy as family values. I think the entire situation can be traced to the breakdown in the traditoinal family(by that I simply mean two-parent households). Feel free to disagree, but if you respond please offer an opinion of your own (Don't just just bash my opinion). ;)
The last two shootings have been by grown men which leads me to another disturbing trend which is the dispoportionate killing of girls. I think that too can be related directly to respect. Women and girls are more and more often portrayed as objects these days(i.e. "Girls gone wild", music video "hoes"). When we allow ourselves to be objects it eventually filters into being treated that way en masse. We've gone to far. Last week a man, sexually assaulted several girls he held hostage in a Colorado school before killing one girl and himself. It isn't enough that we have to worry about the loner kids, now we have to worry about grown men (and women) taking thier problems out on the most defenseless among us. How can we defend ourselves against random homicidal lunacy? What are we going to do about it?
I was one that didn't believe life imitated art but now I am leaning towards a different opinion. The music today glorifies violence and objectifies women. I noticed that around the mid 80's kids stop fighting with their fist and started fighting with bullets. Is this is around the time of "gangster" rap lyrics and more street lyrics. This is also around the time of the "hood" movies i.e. Boys in The Hood, Menace to Society so on and so forth. So I as I look back I see a trend. I also think there is a lack of religion in our society and an all attack on Christianity. We as a society need to put God first in our lives.
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