It seems I can’t go a day without hearing gun control in the media, so I figured I would throw my two cents in on the subject. As I have said before, I am not a member of the NRA nor do I own a gun, but I believe that we were given a constitutional right to own a gun by our founding fathers. That being said, I find it quite comical the media feels they should give opinions about gun control and violence when they are the one of the main causes. The nightly news which is and was supposed to be a public service features and romanticizes violence than any movie or video game ever could.
You see in the infancy of mass communications, William Paley and David Sarnoff, went down to Washington to cut a deal with Congress: Congress would allow the budding networks free use of tax-payer owned airwaves in exchange for that public service which we now call the nightly news. The problem was that Congress never added the clause that would have changed our national discourse immeasurably and for the better. They forgot to add that under no circumstances could they make a profit off of this informational broadcasting.
It is because of this exact failure that the nightly news has turned into a reality show, that is no different than the Jersey Shore or Real Housewives. Instead of giving us the most pertinent stories of the day, the networks give us the most tantalizing stories that will catch our attention. It is probably this same reason that many Americans think that raising the debt ceiling means increasing spending. (It means paying back the money we already borrowed. Stop being ignorant!) You see instead of being educated by the news, like we should, we are entertained. Given the stories we want to hear instead of the ones we need to hear.
It is due to this same entertainment factor that we see murder and death on the nightly news on a nightly basis. It is also the reason we can spout off the names Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, but we couldn’t name one of their victims if we spent all day thinking about it. It also most seems because we make these mass murderers infamous that the next always needs to top them. They are vilified and put in the news for all the wrong reasons, but the true motives of their mental illnesses are never really covered or addressed…probably because it isn’t as entertaining.
The entertainment factor for the advertisements is most likely why there were so many fallacies reported regarding Sandy Hook. It seems the media got nearly everything wrong because they took a dive for the ratings. Rather than give us the story formatted in an informational manner, they tried give us the fastest, most up to date and most stimulating story. And rather than letting traumatized parents and children decompress, they exploited them for interviews feeding America’s fascination with violence. We could blame the media for their unsatisfied hunger to make money or Congress’s failure to add the clause that their couldn’t be advertisements, but really we should blame ourselves. The networks wouldn’t give us all the violent stories if we didn’t tune in.
Maybe it isn’t our fault though… and no it is not video games either. Since, I don’t recall seeing an influx of architectural engineers after Sim City came out…do you? I think the real cause might be staring us in the face, but no one wants to admit it. America is a relatively young, but violent county. We have only been around for 237 years, however 218 of these years, we have been engaged in some sort of war/military action. We have never had a single president, who was not engaged in military action nor have we gone a decade without war. In the 25 years that I have been alive, we have only gone 2 years with peace, 1997 and 2000. My parents in their 50′s can actually say the same, as can anyone else born after 1940. If you think I am wrong here are the American military engagements since 1776.
- 1776-1783 Revolutionary War
- 1784-1795 Northwest Indian War
- 1796-97 Peace
- 1798-1800 Quasi-War
- 1801-1805 First Barbary War
- 1806 Sabine Expedition
- 1807-1809 Peace
- 1810 U.S. engagement with Spain by occupying Western Florida
- 1811 Tecumseh’s War
- 1812-1815 War of 1812
- 1814-1819 First Seminole War
- 1819-1825 The Yellow Stone Expedition
- 1826 Peace
- 1827 Winnebago War
- 1828-30 Peace
- 1831 Sac and Fox Indian War
- 1832 Black Hawk War
- 1833-39 Cherokee Indian War
- 1835-1842 Second Seminole War
- 1843 US engagements with Chinese forces and invasion of African coast
- 1844-1877 Texas Indian wars (other Indian wars during this time, as well.)
- 1873-1896 US invasion of Mexico (Indian wars during this time as well.)
- 1897 Peace
- 1898 Spanish-American War
- 1899-1913 Philippine-American War
- 1899-1934 Banana Wars
- 1917-18 World War I
- 1935-1940 Peace (longest time of sustained peace in US history)
- 1941-45 World War II
- 1946-1986 Cold War (Various military actions against communism starting with the occupation of South Korea and Philippines in 1946)
- 1950-1953 Korean War
- 1954 Covert War in Guatemala
- 1955-1975 Vietnam War
- 1987-88 Conflict in Persian Gulf and occupation of Panama in ’88
- 1989 Second Gulf incident and occupation of Panama
- 1990-91 First Gulf War
- 1992-1996 Continued engagement with Iraq following the Gulf War
- 1997 Peace
- 1998 Bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan
- 1999 Kosovo War
- 2000 Peace
- 2001-Present War on Terror (Iraq and Afghanistan)
Maybe we should stop blaming guns, videos games, movies, music and other outlandish and idiotic causes and start looking in the mirror. It is only then we will be able to truly be able to solve the problem of violence in our society.