Violence is a problem of society; the media should not be blamed

Watching somebody get their head blown off has always been a favorite pastime of Americans. Violence is everywhere in the entertainment industry, from movies to music, and more recently in the art of video games. In fact as I write this, I’m listening to a song that has gunshots in the chorus. This brings us to the question: is this stuff we watch and listen to doing something to us? That’s certainly a relevant question in this day and age. Though petty crime rates have steadily decreased in the last 20 or so years, violent crime has been on the rise. It’s odd that we seem to be the only modern nation that has this problem. Compare the amount of murders in the U.S. to the rest of the world. According to, the U.S. has about 5.7 murders for every 100,000 people. Compare that to our closest ally, England. They have just over 2 per 100,000 people. America represents 10 percent of the murders each year worldwide while we are only represent about 4 percent of the worldwide population. One side of the argument is that all this violence we see, hear, and play is making us more violent. This may be true about a couple of things. Yes, children can be heavily influenced by what they see on the tube. That is exactly why we have rating systems. Don’t let your 8-year-old son go out and buy “Gears of War 2” when it comes out. Kids seeing all this violence doesn’t make them go out and blow up a hospital like The Joker. However it does make people, especially younger kids, more aggressive. A study done at Kansas State University and Iowa State University suggests this is true. Now conjure up this image in your mind; a handful of high school guys are hanging out and they are watching The Matrix. After that they play a rousing game of “Halo.” Do you think that the next morning one of them is going to go shoot up his school? Of course not. They know better than to let fiction influence their judgment. Sure, they swear at each other and let out long cheers when they get another headshot. And sure, they applaud Neo when he gives the guard a nice fill of lead. It gets their testosterone pumping. America’s high crime rate is not due to some guy sitting in his basement playing “Call of Duty.” Nor should the blame be put on the guy who directed “300.” Fingers should also not be pointed at Ice-T for his song “Cop Killa.” America needs to focus on the real cause of all of this killing. We need to step up law enforcement in places like Compton where gang shootings result in an endless cycle of killings and revenge killings. More treatment should be given to the war veteran who can’t get those awful images out of his head before he comes to a bar with a firearm to try and silence those screams once and for all. A crusade against poverty needs to occur to stop a man from robbing a store and killing the clerk because he needs to feed his family. Those are the real reasons why murder is so common here. “Violence in the media certainly impacts American society. To what extent it creates or inspires violent acts, I’m not sure. However I do find it odd that our society views the destruction of the human body as more acceptable than the human body itself,” said Chuck Ripley, who teaches perspectives in media, a class where media violence is a common topic of discussion. Mr. Ripley brings up an interesting point about our society finding death more acceptable than the sacred temple of our own body. That is, however, an issue for another day. We must learn that we cannot solve complicated problems by pointing fingers at one another. It’s outrageous to think that if we ban all this fictional violence that the real violence will vanish just like a bad dream. America needs to wake up and admit the true root of our problem. Don’t look to fiction for the answer, look at the facts.