I had always been an opponent of those that claimed television and video game violence was mimicked by children. I didn't believe that these influences had any real impact. I believed that children were foul little beasts that often did reprehensible things for no apparent reason. I believed that scamps like Huckleberry Finn had been naughty a great deal longer than television has been monopolizing Saturday mornings. I believed that those that believed otherwise were making excuses for a lack of fundamental parenting skills.
I may change my position.
This weekend I was perusing the shelves of my local toy store, searching for some undiscovered Starwars loot. As I scanned the depressingly starwarsless aisles I heard a child utter these disconcerting words;
"Cool, you can put a bullet in his head!"
I was frozen with horror. I couldn't believe my ears. This boy couldn't have been any older than six. He was certainly too young to fully understand the consequences of putting a bullet in some unwitting targets head. Yet, he uttered the phrase in the same cool tone that I would use to speak of a new line of tasty pork products. He was speaking of miming the act of death on a toy, and he felt no remorse. Far from remorse, he thought it was cool.
Is it no wonder that our children will take up deadly arms against one another for the smallest of infractions and perceived slights of reputation? They seem to have no clear understanding of the consequences for such actions. They have toys upon which they can inflict the greatest of harm and they shall suffer no damage.
I won't go on about who's to blame and why our country, indeed the whole planet, is doing double duty with the Tidy Bowl man. Other, better, writers have covered that better than I. Some of you feel the media is to blame. Others think it's the lack of parental responsibility. I tend to agree with the later, but it's clear to me now that the former holds some responsibility as well.
The scales have been shorn, and I am seeing things a little differently now.