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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.