Essay: Killer Instinct

Why aren’t there more school shootings? Why aren’t kids mowing down other kids with bullets? The suburbs should run red with the blood of the innocent. Parents and teachers should lay dead in the streets. Kids should been killing everything within their sight with a bloodthirsty and psychopathic irreverence to the laws of the land. Only… they don’t.

For every copy of a Grand Theft Auto game sold, there should be a correspondent murder. After all, “These are the kind of things that are training our children. This is the vile stuff. The Grand Theft Auto games are cop-killing murder simulators.” – Gayle Ruzicka (GamePolitics)

Maybe the drive to murder those around you is not instantly turned on in children. Perhaps it takes time to develop. Some would have us believe that. “Yet countless independent studies confirm what most parents instinctively know to be true: repeated exposure to graphic sexual, violent and profanity-laced video games has a harmful and long-term effect on children…” That from the Parents Television Council President Tim Winter (GamePolitics)

Say I believed each of these men. I don’t. But let’s say I did. If I were to assume that exposure to graphic subject matter had a profound and permanent effect on children, what is to stop children from becoming homicidal over watching the news. There are certainly graphic depictions of violence there. Videos of war torn lands and explosions going off are often shown.

Taking a even further step back, let’s examine sports. Certainly they could be considered violent. Maybe not as graphic but certainly violent. Football for example is a game where a major part consists of using physical force to stop other players. I would consider that violent. Of course, then there is hockey. It is not at all uncommon to see fistfights and blood spilled there.

As a final step consider the imagination of children. Or, more accurately, the mythologies children build for themselves. How often is a young boy slaying a dragon or fighting in some epic battle? Am I to believe that children playing “Cowboys and Indians” don’t have those figures or units that are killed?

The sad truth is probably that we all have some spark of violence in us. Some act out such anger, channel such thoughts into constructive things. Like legislation. They turn their rage at an unjust world and worry over their children into walls. If they can only keep their little ones safe inside then they will never be affected by the evil lurking outside. Never mind the potential for evil that lurks in all souls. If only the walls will hold, all things will work out.