Parkland and Violence

 In General

In no way am I discounting the rage and excruciating sadness of the families who lost friends and loved ones in the #Parkland shootings. The acts are so heart-wrenching that I have learned to simply be in respectful silence when in the presence of such anguish. Personally, I have felt deeply saddened as a high school friend of mine has a daughter who survived this shooting (thank GOD) but must now deal with the aftermath. A friend and Rabbi once wisely told me in responding to grief, “You let the mourners lead the dance.”

I just wonder, as the cultural narrative is, rightly so, in an outrage about gun violence, and focusing on prevention of further shootings by making policy changes…Are we as adamant about changing the breeding ground that is a highly-probable contributor to this violence?

I think the police officer in this news piece brings up a very important point.

What has changed from the relatively more peaceful times of our youth, only 30+ years ago? Are we willing to make real changes to violent music, violent video games, violent cultures, violent virtual websites, violent TV shows that glorify killing and crime, exceptionally violent horror films, prescription drugs that can foster violent behaviors and also not de-fund or underfund mental health support and facilities?

The repeated focus, for multiple hours on a daily basis, on virtual violent acts can contribute ultimately toward horrific violent acts.

This daily, repeated glorification, focus and virtual practice of violence toward human beings using seemingly innocuous mediums, I believe, contributes significantly to the breeding ground of violence in our youth and culture.

These are the practice grounds that can, for some, transition from virtual practice to actual behaviors.

I’m not getting into a discussion about guns/no guns, I’m simply saying, direct some righteous rage toward also changing the virtual practice grounds of violence.

“Free Speech! No censorship! Where will it end?” some say. “Most people don’t respond with violent acts from being exposed to these mediums,” some say.

And besides, they make a lot of money.

It’s also true that most people using guns don’t use them badly, it’s those fringe extremes, and by making policies that limit the use of many, we hope to limit the use of the fringe extremes.

Why not apply that thinking to these violent practice mediums as well? Put limits on the masses so as to prevent exposure and, ultimately, limit horrific acts of violence of those in the fringe extreme.

If we take away guns and don’t address the larger violent cultural contributors, have we really solved the problem at its root cause?

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