the killer at thurston high

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PLACING BLAME  Victims' lawsuits and the controversy over video games, music and guns

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School shootings have left America reeling, struggling to explain this explosion of violence in the late 1990s. Is it a failure of the children's parents? A result of too easy access to firearms in the home? Music, television or video games that are numbing children to the reality of violence? There is no consensus on a definitive answer; this is a sampling of the attempts to find one.

lawsuits
A Summary of Lawsuits

How victims of many school shootings are turning to the courts, bringing civil suits against the shooters' parents, gun manufacturers, and companies that produce violent movies, video games and web sites.

guns
Start 'Em Young: Recruitment of Kids to the Gun Culture

This report from the Violence Policy Center examines efforts of the firearms industry to market weapons to children, detailing the advertising strategy of the NRA and, the NRA's response to school shootings. The report includes examples of ads and publications, and lists the type of weapons used in many of the school shootings, along with how the children acquired the guns.

video games
Trained To Kill

A military expert on the psychology of killing wrote this article which explains how today's media conditions kids to pull the trigger. "There are three things you need in order to shoot and kill effectively and efficiently," retired military psychologist David Grossman writes. "The gun, the skill, and the will." In the military, guns are issued to soldiers; in recent decades, the skill and the will to kill has come from video simulators designed to desensitize soldiers to killing through repetition, and to condition soldiers to fire as a stimulus-response not a deliberative act. These same simulators are now in our homes and arcades teaching the children of Paducah, Columbine, and the rest of the nation to kill, argues Grossman.

Rebutting Grossman's analysis (above) Time magazine writer and violent video game enthusiast Joshua Quittner responds to David Grossman: "As a parent--and a rabid First Amendment advocate--I can't see what harm it would do to make it harder for Junior to get the bloodier [video games]," he writes. "That said, though, Grossman's child-zombie scenario sounds too far-fetched."

Video Game Violence--A Research Update

David A. Walsh, President of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a non-profit organization founded in 1996, offers this recent review of the latest research on video game violence. "The first thing we learn from the research is that it is the younger children who spend the most time playing games," Walsh writes. Walsh's Institute also offers annual "report cards" on the electronic game industry and its most popular (and often most violent) games.

music
The Devil in Your Family Room

This Salon article explores the relationship between adolescent identity and music, and explores the actions of schools and parents who believe that violent music can trigger violent behavior in troubled children.


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