Focus on violent video games that desensitize players
by Bill Stanley and Bob Lanzotti
Columnists
December 19, 2012 12:15 AM | 905 views | 3 3 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Bill Stanley
Can you think of anything more horrific than seeing grade-school children gunned down? What has become of our society? In the last two decades, we’ve seen this murderous scene over and over again: deranged young men killing indiscriminately with guns. While murders have always been with us for the history of mankind, mass murders seem to be the newest trend. Why? Guns have been with us for a long time and their lethality has always been there. So why, mass murders?

Included in President Obama’s heart wrenching message to the country on Sunday was this statement, “We need to take meaningful action, regardless of politics.” My guess is he’s likely referring to increasing gun control laws. And if so, this is certainly a shortsighted approach. Despite Chicago instituting the strictest gun laws in America, it has the highest gun homicide rate in America.

Like a lot of folks, we’ve been watching the 24-hour cable news awaiting the next press conference to learn more about the murderer of children and his motive. And while listening to the never ending discussion by news commentators, law enforcement officers and guest psychological experts, nobody has yet mentioned what we both believe is the underlying cause of such murderous conduct.

How about violent video games in which kids with their hand-held devices kill lots of people indiscriminately as a game? The more they kill, the higher the score. These video games are so graphic that they de-sensitize the kids that play them. Also, these same kids can go online and watch YouTube videos showing actual gory incident.

When we were growing up, over 60 years ago, both of us could remember going to the county fair where our favorite venue was the rifle range, shooting real bullets at moving targets. The targets were metal ducks, not people. Today’s video games don’t include duck targets, they show real people targets.

So when our politicians start looking for meaningful causes of today’s mass murders, here’s hoping there isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction from the naïve, agenda driven anti-gun progressives looking only at gun control. Hopefully, they will explore the technological nonsense that we put in the hands and minds of our youth today. And let’s hope they likewise look at the violence shown in movies and television programs. That just might result in “meaningful action.”

Bill Stanley

Bob Lanzotti

Marietta/Atlanta

Bill Stanley is a substitute teacher at Wheeler High School in east Cobb. Bob Lanzotti is a retired teacher at Green Acres Elementary in Smyrna and now supervises student teachers at Kennesaw State University. Both flew helicopters in Vietnam and both are on the board of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Association.

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Kevin Foley
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December 20, 2012
They have violent video games in developed nations, but they don't have a mass slaughter of innocents every other month.

Laura Armstrong
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December 19, 2012
Thanks, my friends, for adding your widsom to this dialogue. As combat veterans, your words on becoming desensitized make much sense. I've not personally seen any of the violent video games and don't allow my kids to see them, but do know of parents who seem to check out when it comes to monitoring what their boys see.

I thought it interesting recently, while buying a little western-style cock-em BB gun at WalMart (to go with the coonskin cap and books on Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone my son is getting for Christmas) the salesman tried and tried to get me to go with the "authentic looking" sniper type BB gun...looked just like a MAC10. When I told him my son was only 7 and this was just to learn about gun safety and not look like a Recon Marine, he told me that "no one" buys the little western guns any more, they all want their kids to be "cool." I've been pondering that for two weeks, especially in light of recent events.

Kevin Foley
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December 20, 2012
@ Armstrong: Ponder this, while you're at it:

WESTFIELD, Mass. — An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.

The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.



Police said the boy, Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., was with a certified instructor and called the death a “self-inflicted accidental shooting.”



As the boy fired the Uzi, "the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head," police Lt. Hipolito Nunez said. The boy died at a hospital.

The boy's father and older brother were also there at the time, a gun club member and school official said. Francis Mitchell, a longtime member and trustee of the club, said he was told the boy's father was supporting his son from behind when the shooting happened.

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