Make-believe violence has real consequences

Dec. 21, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

The senseless killing of elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., was heart-wrenching and terribly wrong. But so was TV coverage that interrupted a policy change discussion on gun laws, background checks and mental health access — to show a graphically violent movie ad for a Hollywood release in a theater near us.

What makes reality violence so wrong — but fantasy violence okay?

We must include grisly DVDs and movies, barbaric electronic games, Internet sadism and brutal music lyrics in the national discussion on violence prevention. Research shows that make-believe savagery repeatedly stuffed into our heads can eventually spill into heart-chilling behavior with any weapon available — guns, car bombs, meat-carving knives, soul-killing words, etc. Tighter gun laws may not stop the violence.

Previous generations understood the connection between what you watch and how you behave. They took this preventative seriously: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore, we don't have to wait for Congress to enact “policy change.” We can say “NO!” to our personal obsessions with electronic violence and instead participate in things that positively build up our families and communities for our safety and the common good.

Martha Underwood