During April 1999, in an assault that shocked the entire world, two adolescents violently took over Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado,
U.S.A., leaving 15 dead. Investigation showed that one of the attackers had a Web page on which he had written: “DEAD PEOPLE DON’T ARGUE!” Both
attackers died in the tragedy.
Some point to evidence that various forms of modern communication may encourage aggressive conduct. Regular exposure to violence depicted on
television, in movies, in video games, and on the Internet is said to desensitize the conscience and inspire violent crimes. Dr. Daniel Borenstein,
president of the American Psychiatric Association, stated: “At this time there are more than 1,000 studies based on more than 30 years of research
demonstrating a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.” Before a U.S. Senate committee, Dr. Borenstein
testified: “We are convinced that repeated exposure to entertainment violence in all its forms has significant public health implications.”
Specific cases are often cited to show that this is true. In the school shooting mentioned at the start of this comment, the two student perpetrators
were said to have spent hours each day playing violent video games. Additionally, they repeatedly watched movies glorifying violence and killing.
Dr. Richard F. Corlin, past president of the American Medical Association, delivered a speech to a group of graduating doctors in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In it he spoke about computer games that encourage violence. Some of these games award points for flesh wounds, more for a body
shot, and even more for a head shot. Blood spurts out, and brain tissue spatters all over.
Dr. Corlin commented that children are not allowed to drive, not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages, and not allowed to smoke when they are too
young. Then he said: “But we do let them be trained to be shooters at an age when they have not yet developed their impulse control and have none of
the maturity and discipline to safely use the weapons they are playing with. . . . We need to teach our children from the beginning that violence
[has] consequences—serious consequences—all the time.”
Sadly, instead of being taught that crime has consequences, children are often the innocent victims of violent crimes. Statistics show that gunfire
kills ten children a day in the United States. Dr. Corlin says: “The United States leads the world—in the rate at which its children die from
firearms.” His conclusion? “Gun violence is a threat to the public health of our country. This is a fact.”
Many experts feel that the following can contribute to senseless crimes:
- Family breakdown
- Hate groups, extremists
- Dangerous cults
- Violence in entertainment
- Exposure to actual violence
- Abuse of drugs
- Inability to cope with problems
- Easy access to destructive weapons
- Certain conditions of mental illness
Of course, there is no one factor that explains all the varied acts of senseless violence. A combination of factors makes people inclined to commit
violent crimes. However, any list would be incomplete if we did not consider one more very important factor.
The Bible helps us to understand what is happening now and why people act in such extreme ways. It accurately describes attitudes we commonly see. For
example, the list found at 2 Timothy 3:3, 4 states that people would have “no natural affection” and that they would be “without self-control,
fierce, without love of goodness,” and “headstrong.” In another Bible book, Jesus was quoted as saying: “The love of the greater number will
cool off.”—Matthew 24:12.
The Bible says: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Yes, what we see is evidence that we are living
at the end of the present system of things. Conditions, along with people’s attitudes, are on a downhill slide. Can we expect an immediate solution?
The Bible answers: “Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse.”—2 Timothy 3:13.
Does this mean that mankind is doomed to an endless cycle of vicious violence and escalating crime?
Some argue that the propensity for violence or killing has always been inborn in humans. Supporters of evolution maintain that we come from wild
animals and have simply inherited their violent characteristics. Such theories would leave us doomed to an endless cycle of violence from which there
is no hope of escape.
However, there is much evidence to the contrary. The theories mentioned above do not explain why in different cultures there are wide variations in
frequency and types of violence. They do not indicate why in some cultures responding with violence seems to be the norm, whereas other societies
report very little violence, with murder almost nil. Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm exposed cracks in the theory that we inherit aggression from primates
by pointing out that although some of them are violent as a result of physical needs or for self-protection, humans are the only ones who have been
known to kill for the sheer thrill of killing.
In their book The Will to Kill—Making Sense of Senseless Murder
, Professors James Alan Fox and Jack Levin state: “Some individuals are
more prone to violence than others, yet free will still exists. The will to kill, though governed by numerous internal and external forces, still
includes choice and human decision making, and thus accountability and culpability.”
A Realistic Solution—Is It Possible? (Awake!—2003)
Recommended reading (one article, 3 pages):
Is Life Getting Cheaper? (Awake!—2000)
How Is the “Death Culture” Promoted? (Awake!—2000)
Helping Youths Escape the “Death Culture” (Awake!—2000)
15-11-2019 by whereislogic because: (no reason given)