OT: A Must Read Article to Understand Student Violence

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

An article written by a military psychologist after the Paducah, KY shootings. It is outstanding:


-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999


Thanks for this excellent article.

-- Teacher (teacher@weeping.k12.mw.us), April 21, 1999.

An excellent article. But the only thing that I can think of to give us hope is TEOTWAWKI !! If kids are out in the fresh air on the long end of a hoe in a corn field, they won't have all this violence. And if they do think of it, they will be too physically tired to do anything about. No workey, no eatey! Thats my old lady philosphy.


-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), April 21, 1999.

David, thanks for the eye-opening article. I always suspected the that violence is conditioned through TV, movies and video games, but I've never read such a clear explanation of it. Many thanks!

-- David (David@BankPacman.com), April 21, 1999.

http:// www1.christianity.net/ct/8T9/8T9030.html

-- PJ Gaenir (
fire@firedocs.com), April 21, 1999.

consider the source.

This article is pretty loopsided and does NOT give the full picture. Another Gary North that feeds on the comunity. Just buy my book ( subscription)I have all the answers you ever need. Would be great if it would be that easy.

-- Ha (yeah-right@notright.com), April 21, 1999.

Truly a great article- definitely behind our not doing TV here. I didn't even hear about colorado til I turned on the computer before this a.m. I argue this point with my partner a lot. He doesn't see any problem with violent movies- I don't want my child exposed to them at all. He's already been exposed to way more violence on screen thru neighbors TV's, friends, and my partners video viewing habits. The point in the article is good however, in even if we don't allow our children this exposure, others in school and in society have been exposed to the worst smut for years. Not watching TV won't protect our kids if someone aims a gun at them...

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), April 21, 1999.


thanks for the pointer to the article...it must be effective - you've even managed to accumulate a pro-violence troll!


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), April 21, 1999.

Taz, I agree with you. I think too much idle time contributes to a lot of the problems.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), April 21, 1999.

Great post. This is a must read. Excellent article. Today I will throw away all of my sons violent video games. I am going to curb my own appetite for TV violence as well.

-- Doc Mortar (xit007@email.com), April 21, 1999.

Anita: stick to your guns: violent movies are poison to growing minds and innocent souls. If your partner doesn't accept that, lose him. I hope that this awful event triggers a national debate on culture, and that we stand up, in our homes, workplaces, and the public square, and denounce the cultural merchants of death who pollute our environment worse than any chemical plant or reactor. I hope every venue which has enabled the merchandising of Marilyn Manson gets slammed with $100 million class action suits by the victim's families. Otherwise, there will be no end to our present life in hell.

-- Spidey (in@jam.com), April 21, 1999.

Playing devil's advocate... a guy on the BBC last night (an American) said that violent media alone cannot account for the violence here, because people in other countries are now basically exposed to the same violent media (ready access to American entertainment)...

He said ready access to guns was a much bigger factor...not sure about that (I know a lot of you will dispute it), but there does seem to be something more fundamentally violent in the American culture... maybe it comes from the frontier history and mentality?


-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.


The author of the article addresses your objection very cogently, IMO.

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.

David- he partially addresses the BBC guy's statement about how gun availability increases violence -- he even agrees with him, in part. (He also says that, first, we have to reduce the fear in society before trying to persuade people to give up their guns, which certainly makes sense...to say nothing of constitutional issues.)

But I didn't see where he addresses the stark difference in murder rates between the U.S. and other western countries, all of whom have ready access to American media, 24/7. That said, I am not trying to argue that violent media doesn't affect us in a negative way... I think that's intuitively obvious. And I did think it was a well- written article. I just am asking questions about the impact of violent media relative to other factors, including access to firearms and American cultural factors. Was America more murderous in the 1800s that Europe? These questions need to be considered as well.


-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.

"He said ready access to guns was a much bigger factor...not sure about that (I know a lot of you will dispute it), but there does seem to be something more fundamentally violent in the American culture... maybe it comes from the frontier history and mentality?"

I think a big portion of the problem is the "multicultural" nature of the USA. USA common-culture has been nearly eliminated.

-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@Anonymous99.xxx), April 21, 1999.

Scott: you agree that it's 'intuitively obvious' that violence in media affects kids (and adults). Television and Hollywood executives adamantly deny that link, just as cigarette manufacturers deny that their product causes lung disease. This time, I hope they get slammed. As far as guns, I'd note that in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's there were plenty of ten and twelve year old boys who owned squirrel rifles, and knew how to use them, but they didn't go to school and shoot kids with them. We live in a cultural sewer: almost every sitcom, cartoon, movie and video game markets violence and filth. This is what we feed our kids on, and we've been doing it longer and more intensively than any other country on earth. And, in tandem, we BAN religion in the public square, demanding that it be 'naked' to discussion of religion. We expect kids to grow up in a moral vaccuum, and then express astonishment when they themselves are immoral. Boys with earrings, girls with nose rings and tattoos, pre-teens dressed gothic, hunt and destroy video games, demonic saturday morning cartoons: this is not the country we grew up in. It is something very different, 'America' in name only, with all concepts of 'normalcy' turned on their heads, and notions of 'family, duty, honor' mocked at every opportunity by our sewage media. Those of us with young kids try to do the best we can, to shield them from our 'culture.' And we're supposed to stand silent while FREAKS dominate the national conversation (Jerry Springer to Barney Frank to Bill Clinton to Jocelyn Elders to Mike Judge). The next time I see some jack-ass wearing a Marilyn Manson tshirt I think I'll spit on him.

-- Spidey (in@jam.com), April 21, 1999.

Spidey- without necessarily disagreeing with you on some of the specifics of your comment, none of that accounts for the stark differences in murder rates between the U.S. and other industrialized countries, most of which eat up that violent media you mentioned, 24- 7...


-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.

Scott, I don't think easy access to guns is the problem. People often point to the murder rate in the US being about 10 times greater than it is in the UK. True, so it is. So you figure, hey, that's because guns are extremely difficult to get in the UK. Okay, if that's true, then the rate of violent crime in general MUST be higher in the UK because more people survive being stabbed and beaten than would survive being shot. All else being equal, lower murder rate, higher assault rate, right? At the time this came up--about eight years ago--the violent crime rate in the US was 18 times higher than that in the UK--which says the US is simply a more violent country. Period. If guns weren't available (impossible: criminals would get their guns via the same route they get their illegal drugs now), then people would be murdered by other means. There might be a slight drop in the murder rate, but not much.

The above leads to the question, WHY is the US more violent? Well, there's that old stand-by, The Frontier Mentality. But there are other cultural factors at play. For instance, it's very scary to live in this country where there are few safety nets. If you work at a low-paying job but don't have medical insurance, you're not eligible for Medicaid or other help--you run up a hospital bill and you have to pay it off for years. I know, I've had to do it. Your boss can fire you for just about any reason, or the plant may close due to down-sizing, or the factory may move to Mexico--nobody has a secure job any more. This country is VERY insecure and you have to be lucky and healthy to survive here. Stressful, nerve-wracking--on the edge. The UK is becoming more like the US in this regard, as are European countries. Benefits taken for granted for decades are now being taken away and so insecurity is rife--and violence rises along with the level of insecurity.

Also, look back to Dickens's novels, which were really social commentaries. Life was certainly "nasty, brutish and short" in Victorian days and before. There were no video games, slasher movies or violent TV shows--where did all those people get their violence from? There's a theory that people are naturally violent and that the relatively peaceful decades preceding the current era of violence are aberrations.

In the twenties, when movies were invented and hundreds of thousands of kids saw Charlie Chaplin hit over the head with a chair or watched gangsters shoot at each other with guns, why didn't violence escalate past the point it was two or three decades earlier? As I recall, violence was less. Why didn't all those kids since then with their toy guns and plastic knives with blades that disappeared into the handle, and bows and arrows, and wooden and plastic swords, why didn't those kids with their learned killing skills actually go out and massacre people? Seems to me that stabbing someone with a plastic knife and watching the blade disappear as if in the person's flesh is a hell of a lot more realistic than playing with a video game.

Violence does beget violence, as I saw only too often as a domestic violence counselor. If one spouse abuses another, physically or mentally, it's virtually certain that the kids will act that way as well, so I do agree with that part of the psychologist's analysis. I don't know that religion is a big part of the answer, though, because England, for instance, is not and has not been a very religious country (lowest church attendance of all western nations, I think).

I don't know what the answer is but it certainly isn't limiting gun ownership (because it CANNOT be enforced against the criminal element and I refuse to be defenseless against an armed burglar) and doing away with violence in the media and in video games isn't a big part of the answer. In fact, I have a theory that video games actually help to defuse violence in people; they're a socially acceptable outlet for their hostilities.

I've just thought of two more differences between the UK and the US which might help account for the difference in violent crime rates. One is that in British TV shows and movies the characters are usually normal-looking people rather than unattainable images. I mean, they aren't perfectly made-up with perfect teeth, hair, skin, nails, clothes, and so on, they're REAL people. They don't all live in Martha-Stewartized houses. Same with UK TV commercials. (I understand that's changing, though--and maybe that helps account for the increased violence over there.) The other factor is that in the UK eccentrics are still cherished to some extent. If a child is "different" and prefers, say, chess to football, then nobody thinks much of it. If an otherwise normal person wants to cement over his backyard and turn it into a giant goldfish maze (a neighbor when I was a child), well, not necessarily better or worse, just different. Football hooligans notwithstanding, the "jocks" at British schools are not the heroes they are here; perhaps that's a factor too. What I know for certain is that after all the millions (billions?) spent in research into the question of violence--the theses, dissertations, analyses and reports; the psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and counselors graduated--and the programs instituted to change behavior since the War on Poverty and Great Society programs were initiated, social problems have escalated. It's been over thirty years of experimentation and it seems all we have to show for it is Columbine.

Perhaps it's time to look at those who endured horrendous events and came out healthy, find out why they're okay when others have turned into nuts.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 21, 1999.

Excellent article. I think this covers it all. Forwarded it on to my daughter who has four young children (6mo to 6yrs).

-- flb (fben4077@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.

Old Git- very thoughtful response (I'd have expected nothing less). Now, I need to "git" back to doing my job, I suppose... I think that, in most cases, life is more complicated than silver bullet theorists would have you believe (guess there's a Y2K parallel after all)...


-- Scott Johnson (scojo@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.

As an aside I throw this out for somebody else's comment/analysis.

I've been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to my son (Happy Birthday, Christopher!!!!!) and we're working on Farmer Boy right now. In the early chapters, the new school teacher Mr. Corse is threatened by some roughneck boys in the school who had actually assaulted and beaten the former teacher so badly that he died of his injuries.

Mr Corse addressed the situation by bringing in John Wilder's bull- whip and horsewhipping the young toughs until they fled, cut and bleeding. This was upstate New York at the end of last century. So interestingly enough they had a very similar situation one hundred years ago, in which some out-of-control youths terrorized a school with their parents' largesse. The difference being that the chosen means of settling that situation is no longer open to our teachers now.

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), April 21, 1999.

David -- You made a very cogent point just above. I was once offered the choice of being paddled or having my parents called. I chose the former. Yet, it is almost as though that took place in the 17th century, no? Today's admins/teachers fear parents and lawsuits AND the kids. Certainly, there were gross abuses at times on their part, but nothing compared to the societal abuse of authority (that is, voiding authority) that we see today.

In our rural school, kids are routinely picked on and teachers are routinely dissed. Casual drug use is rampant as is casual sexuality and teen pregnancy. And this is, factually, a relatively old-fashioned farming community that is far more intact than the suburbs.

Regrettably, but factually, homeschooling is the only sane choice for sane parents. Not because it confers magical protection against all ills but because it takes a first step towards restoring simple authority and order at the level of society's key, first brick: the family.

While we do not outlaw television, we control it firmly and turn it off entirely in the summer. Our attitude is that we need to teach our children how to filter and judge as they mature without overloading them at inappropriate ages with inappropriate content. Milage varies and parents may well differ, but it should only be in the direction of as much as we do OR less, not more access.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), April 21, 1999.

TV has become the substitute parents for this generation. The amount of TV and video time for kids is a direct reflection of the lost skill of parenting and the selfishness of many parents who are so busy in pursuit of material gain, that they neglect their family. Truth be known, most generation X teenagers would much rather spend time with their parents (according to an actual survey!) than any other activity.

Perhaps, this is simply a matter of reaping what we've sown. Instead of blaming TV producers and video game manufacturers, the blame lies at the feet of parents who have abandoned their primary responsibilities.

[on soapbox]

At the risk of sounding naive, let Littleton be a clarion call to every parent in this nation. It is time to change. You must BE a parent 24 hours a day. No more farming out your responsibilities onto day care, schools, sports leagues, TV or video games. It is your duty to know and raise your children with love, discipline, integrity, and honor, teaching them right from wrong and raising them to adulthood with excellence of character. It will require sacrifice, but it is well worthwhile and it is your responsibility.

[end soapbox]

-- David (David@BankPacman.com), April 21, 1999.

This whole subject of the Colorado shootings,in my mind, is another little y2k type of situation...it is an unforgettable event...it has happened before,happened now,and will probably happen again...it is all the things you wish to say of it,or feel about it,horrible,terrible,dreadful,atrocious,heart wrenching,etc...sorry,I just don't have 1/10 of the vocabulary to keep up with most of you,I'm sure there are more appropriate words to use...this incident has started the inevitable discussions;HOW could it happen? WHY did it happen? Where's the sense in the killing,didn't anyone see this coming,how do we prevent it,and so on...one of the final questions being,of course,WHO IS TO BLAME???!!! The questions listed above are answerable in a hundred different ways,but in my opinion,like y2k,can only,finally, come down to the fact that no one will probably ever know the exact reasons...maybe the media violence is part of it...maybe the attitudes towards anyone different from the accepted norm are part of it...maybe the internet,or the availability of weapons...maybe it's the talk shows,or the MTV...I could go on and on,but the final point is,NOBODY knows what triggers these people...it may be none of the above,or bits and pieces of each one;no one can point a finger and say,THIS is it,because then you have a dozen(or a hundred,if it's controversial enough)people who can come back and say,no no no,THIS is what triggered it,or you can have experts come on and say,all of you are wrong,it's THIS...just because someone says it,or writes it down on paper,does not make it absolute truth... After all the years of discussion of how/where/when/why on this forum about y2k,I think you have to agree, that why violence happens is an almost unanswerable question,and sorry to say, probably an unsolvable one...there are no silver bullets for this problem,either. I wish there were...Cynthia

-- Cynthia Yanicko (yanicko@infonline.net), April 21, 1999.

More parenting *time* would help. Crazy hand-to-mouth life most folks are struggling with today makes full-time parenting difficult, if even possible. Families strung about geographically means little if any extended-family/cross-generational benefits (terrible loss) as well. Then there are the 'accidental' and involuntary parents - who see the child(ren) as a burden or worse, and have no nurturing inclinations towards them. TV is way cheaper (and sad to say perhaps even safer) than day care. One explanation for so much more violence in U.S.A. vs other countries is *lack of*: regard for neighbors/others, personal responsibility, any sense of mutual obligation as members of society. Fence wars (and school bullying) have no legal resolution, and so devolve into violence. And I agree with the 'voiding of authority' being more problem than progress. While children may not be inclined by nature to kill, they are raw and in need of civilising, not nice to others (as the world revolves around them). Bad start if they are not weaned from that basic assumption.

-- Evil Roy (EvilRoy@NoSpam.com), April 21, 1999.

,p>I can almost assure you that the "Trench coat mafia" have seen the recent movie "blade". The movie is supposed to be about the underground vampire clubs. A friend who saw it said it is very bloody & creepy. Yet a lot of parents allow their kids to see it. Dr. Katherine Ramsland, a psychologist, wrote a new book on "Piercing the darkness-undercover with vampires in America today." There are many such bizarre clubs all over, especially in Manhattan area & your big cities. Ah, by vampire, I'm not talking about Draculas which hide in the day time, and explode inthe day time. I'd rather not get into the details. Suffice it to say that this gang plays dangerous vampire role-playing games and probably is another satanic gang. Marilyn Manson is a gay satanist. How parents can allow their kids to come under Manson's influence is behyond me.

In an op-ed piece that I just submitted, I wrote there are lessons we can all profit from this tragedy. Our schools & our parents are too permissive. One teacher actually allowed this gang to show their homemade video, which advocate gun violence and murder, in class! Also, it is well-documented that many schools been teaching "death (suicide)education". Our "anything goes" philosophy has failed dismally. When will we wake up? Our culture is sick & decadent!

-- Raymond Kwong (kcorner67@hotmail.com), April 21, 1999.

BigDog and David,

Excactly! Children only learn what they are taught. The most important thing to teach children, (I believe), is how to think for themselves. Stop trying to blame everything but the person who did the action.

"It's the guns", "It's the TV", "It's that evil M. Manson"

It's the person who pulled the trigger, and there uneducated thought process.

-- R. Wright (blaklodg@aol.com), April 22, 1999.

I second Tom's recommendation of the book 'Evolution's End.' Btw the comments about television in the book are not related to the CONTENT, which is what is gone on about by psychologists, sociologists et al. today. It is based on neurological studies which demonstrate the critical importance of internal-visualization in children, and how when children watch television, it actually provides a 'loop' of input-response (visually) that literally prevents the brain even from participating -- essentially making watching TV a 'passive' process even mentally. Not just physically.

And when children do not get the needed amount of internal visualization in their development -- which most people got from being told stories and reading books and playing and "imagining in their mind's eye" the scenes, all things which are active brain functions, not passive -- when lacking that, there is something critical that gets missed in the development of a human. This can dramatically effect everything from learning and memory to contextual and compassionate interpretations of the world around them to relationships and bonding.

I hypothesize, entirely without scientific basis to connect them here, a link between this and another well-studied of field of human development related to brain-chemicals produced by adrenalin (such as to kill pain, endorphins) and certain other related things in this category.

Studies done as far back as the late 70's on sociopaths indicated that these people had so little of certain critical chemicals in their neural tissue that they literally had NO EMOTIONS to speak of. To get the same "charge" out of life as most people would get with a good game of baseball or a crush on a girl, these people would have to do something so *extreme* to their belief system that they would finally, dimly feel an 'impact.' Further studies indicated that humans and animals both deprived of these chemicals would eventually resort to *anything* to obtain them, subconsciously: as if these chemicals are the basis of what made a person feel "alive."

I believe that the issues and science discussed in EVOLUTION'S END may be tied to the development of a culture of people with a high prevalent tendency toward lack of conscience, lack of context, lack of domino-thinking (context-of-"results" of behavior), lack of compassion, and lack of a certain degree of educability.

Then tie to this the issues of exposure/inurement to violence, and I include video games, which are hypnotic and totally real on a subconscious level, along with TV and simple WORLD TODAY that is blared through the TV into their living room. Heck the news traumatizes ME and I'm an adult.

There is also the terrific lack of physical exercise of most children of today compared to previous times, set against a chronic bombardment, physically, of hormones from meat/dairy/poultry, and even malnutrition -- you can eat three meals a day of junk or fast food and be as seriously malnourished concerning vitamins/etc. needed for development as a starving child, you just won't show the literal starvation symptoms... but your memory or ability to learn and emote might be impaired, for example.

What you get *usually* is a seemingly good kid who just will never be nearly as intelligent or educated as his parallel from a century ago, who will have a problem with attention span and critical thinking (think: MEDIA SOUND BITES FOR THE SHEEPLE), who may demonstrate chronic problems with responsibility and group dynamics, and who in the 'bad boy' cases (or those with these problems to a great degree) will display a lack of conscience or concern that qualifies literally as sociopathic.

I have talked with innumerable people from fairly bad childhoods and broken homes about the psychology that we all had when we hit about 19 and what we did to try and normalize ourselves so we could learn to be happy (or have an emotion, period), have children without fear of beating them like our parents behaved, have a healthy romantic relationship, etc. And when taken as a whole, all the people I can say I know something about the psychology of, comparing the people who basically are screwed up with those who, despite their home life as kids, turned out fairly normal, decent people, here are the two repeating elements:

1 - Kids that were abused prior to about age 6 always seem to stay screwed up. As if that's such a critical period for development of Self and autonomy that they don't develop the ability to "bounce back" from anything else in life -- so the stuff that happens to all teens, for examples, wounds them far more.

2 - Kids that read well and enjoyed reading, in the end, seem to be dramatically better off. I and countless others have said, "Reading saved my life." An escape into another world -- but not the empty violence of video games, rather, a projection into a life experience that is safe for you to "live" in, to have emotions in, to care about, and to learn from. Basically allowing you to develop in certain areas even though your own environment doesn't allow that.

It also, I believe, either helps counteract or simply limits the continuing damage to the neurological process that TV and videos and other dynamic visuals creates -- simply because if you're engrossed in a book, you're not watching a screen, and you are using all that "internal imagery" of imagination.

Lll the stuff above also affects creativity. Not for nothing is "creativity" referred to as "an outlet". By limiting and twisting creativity, as well as all the other mental and physiological issues, it prohibits a huge amount of processing and venting of the normal toxins and problems that daily life in our culture creates.

For these reasons, I believe that heavily emphasizing subjects such as reading and music can make the difference -- that two children even in the same general atmosphere from birth to teen years, if one enjoyed reading for pleasure and felt the urge to be creative in arts or music or what have you -- I think that child would be a dramatically different person.

So what I am getting at is the same thing EVOLUTION'S END was getting at. Sure, there are lots of things in our culture that are contributing to the obvious problems that we are having with our children - and then our adults - and then our society as a whole.

But human beings are designed to be flexible, to rebound, to survive, to adapt, to heal with time. Nobody has a perfect childhood. Few kids avoid getting picked on or beat up at some phases in their lives. All kids resent the restrictions parents must provide. The difference between the serious problems we see in children all around us, vs. the children we know they COULD be (and some are), is that their defenses and their processing mechanisms have been damaged to the point where physiologically -- just like an injury or disease -- they are simply not capable of living in the this society and processing, venting, dealing with its demands, without showing extremely negative results.

Same type of kid. Same world. Same culture. Different resulting human. Suffice to say that the more children encounter television, malnutrition, difficult birthing processes, and so on, the more results they tend to show for lack of educability, lack of creativity, lack of responsibility, lack of social conscience, etc.

My comments:

1. Start at birth if you haven't yet. Get a midwife or go to a more holistic birthing center. Don't let what we have been culturally indoctrinated to consider "normal" for childbirth do the unbelievable damage it has proven to do to both mother and child (the book goes over this stuff both scientifically and for the layperson).

2. Teach your kid to read. Make them read until they love it and if anything, have to be dragged from it. Let them live 1000 lives, let them expand their horizons of thought and imagination as much as possible.

3. Make your kids do chores. Not because you'll pay them but because they're part of a family and it takes work to keep up a good environment -- and responsibility and commitment. They are going to have to learn to do work they don't feel like doing, that's part of life, and half an hour (if that) a day won't kill them and will develop that mental and physical discipline.

4. Make your kids exercise. If they don't get much outdoor play, put them in a sport, or even in a type of dance or tumbling or martial arts or body building -- anything that focuses them on the importance of physical health and allows them the exercise that vents a tremendous amount of bodytoxins that will affect the body and mind if not discarded.

5. Take one night a week to spend JUST WITH THE KIDS. Play family games. Build lego castles. Whatever.

6. And turn off the TV and videos. Not simply for the content - I am less concerned about that, though it IS very important. But because it actively harms certain neurological development that is critical to human beings.

7. If school or related violence is a worry, then by all means home-school the kids, or set up required tutoring above and beyond what public school offers (even if you do the tutoring yourself a couple nights a week for an hour). Maybe community events or sports teams or church can involve them with their "social peers" the way they need for development. A good education is critical for the rest of their lives.

If you read Evolution's End, by the time you get to the end you will be suddenly aware, over the next few weeks after reading it, of how much of our population acts like animals. Reacting blindly. Not thinking. You'll start to notice how schools enforce memorizing of small sound bytes but not LEARNING -- and in fact how information presented in education in this country is done so badly that no child could hope to have the proper context for learning it well. You'll start to notice how we've brought up a couple generations now to "accept" (memorize) not "think" (learn or analyze). And you look at all these problems that are physical, mental, emotional, social, and you'll start to wonder why the pattern wasn't obvious to you before. It's not mysterious, why our culture is changing, why "kids without conscience" and divorce et al. are getting to be more concerning all the time. And why our adult culture, the Dr. Spock generation, has so many problems of its own.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 22, 1999.

Great posts, especially that last by PJ. A shame that it can't be reprinted in all the papers in the land. Have any of ya'll read Jerry Mander's book 'Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television?' When I read it nine years ago it was one of those head-slapping moments of relevatory lucidity: that television is bad, REGARDLESS of content. That the neurologic stasis that the 'television experience' mandates as a requisite for viewing is enormously destructive to developing brains (like those in your kids). Four years after I read it I noticed that one year old would go into a trance when 'Barney' was on, a phenomenon well-documented in Mander's book. It was seeing my daughter in that state that was the beginning of my own dad's crusade against tv. When kids like Barney, they are learning something else, besides: they are learning to like tv. And that is the lesson that will stick with them long after they outgrow Barney and his epicene machinations.

-- Spidey (in@jam.com), April 22, 1999.

good post PJ. Also- second the motion that you check out "Four Arguments for the elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander. Great book. Also- his next on the subject of technology... Today starts National Turn Off The TV Week by the way..... no time like the present to do it. It's hard though- you may have a committment to avoiding violence and bad influences in your childs life, but the influences come thru from others. Especially as they get older. It's really hard to monitor what shows your kid is exposed to at others homes for instance. I know from experience that many other parents don't care what their kids watch. they feel put down by your caring and they will actually lie to you about what your child was allowed to watch at their home. It's not at all easy. And then again, your child may be unexposed to violent media but that won't protect them from those that are exposed to it. It will take a concerted effort on all our parts. Personally, I think much would change for the better in society if TV were gone for good.

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), April 22, 1999.

Hey Spidey, did you happen to catch my article on Y2K in Envoy Magazine?

A colleague of mine who read the article I cited at the start of this thread asked me, "David, you and I both went through the military indoctrination on how to kill other human beings. How come neither of us are going around shooting people?"

My answer is that we both were raised by our parents with a fundamental set of core values. So when we exited the military both of us defaulted back to that core of values which were temporarily and partially suspended by military training.

But I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that the kids at Columbine High School had no such core of values to fall back on. It is illegal to give them such a core at school (thank you, ACLU, et al.). And most parents are too clueless themselves and too scared of their children to instill such a core in them.

It's clear that the article I posted on the media influence toward violence is only a piece of the puzzle. Parental involvement is essential and that means two parents, of different genders, one of whom stays home to raise the children (not just "take care of the kids"), instilling a core of fundamental values with love and discipline.

Say what you will about being old fashioned -- the new fashion ain't working, folks.

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), April 22, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ