Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is a former West Point psychology professor and Army Ranger. He is also an expert in the study of violence in war and killing. He is also an instructor at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, and was one of the first on the scene of the Jonesboro, Arkansas shootings. He has a lot to say.
He saw the devastation wrought by the shootings—not just the five dead and ten wounded. He saw what happens when violence intrudes into everyday life. And he sees where the violence comes from.
He says, "In the video games, in the movies, on the television, the one behavior that is consistently depicted in glamorous terms and consistently rewarded is killing." He believes that media violence was a significant factor in the killings in Pearl, Mississippi, in West Paducah, Kentucky, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and in Springfield, Oregon.
He also says that the combination of a sense of inferiority and the exposure to violence can provoke violence in young boys who are "wannabes." Sometimes they see violence as a route to fame.
Consider the 1995 movie, The Basketball Diaries. In the film, Leonardo DiCaprio (also of Titanic fame) goes into a schoolroom and shoots numerous children and teachers. In doing so, he became a role model for young boys who are "wannabes."
Dave Grossman goes into some detail in showing how violence in films, videos, and television can affect us. The parallels in his book (On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society) and what is happening in the media today are chilling.
But you don't need to read his book to see the parallels. Young people today are exposed to violent images that desensitize them and make it possible for some to act out these violent images in real life. Dave Grossman saw it in war, and now he is seeing it in everyday life.
I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International