Violent media is merely entertainment


Borderlands 2 for the Xbox 360 features first-person shooting, grenade-throwing action for gameplay.

In 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 students and a teacher, and injured 21 other people before killing themselves at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colo.

Both students played hours of “murder-simulation” computer video games such as “Doom” and watched the film “Natural Born Killers” in succession to the point that they knew dialogue verbatim. Harris was noted to have mental illness and was prescribed antidepressant drugs according to CNN.

However, neither the first-person shooter video game nor the film about mass murderer lovers are to blame for the behavior of these young assailants. Millions of people worldwide enjoy violent media every day without the slightest thought of harming another person.

Violent media is made for entertainment, and the only factors that determine adverse effects are the state of mental health of its viewers and the amount of hours its viewed.

History has shown that mankind is naturally attracted to violence. From Roman gladiators fighting for their lives in a coliseum to UFC fighters of today, people have a unique taste for violence in the form of entertainment. Some of the most popular stories in literature from every historic civilization feature a conflict that involved violence.

Historic plays such as “Julius Caesar” and “Othello” by William Shakespeare feature sadism and brutality, however they are considered classic works of art. The infamous Chinese anti-government folktale, “Monkey,” includes acts of violence but is one of the greatest stories in all of Asia.

Edgar Allen Poe’s narrative poem, “The Raven,” depicted the inhumane slaying of an older gentleman by his caretaker because of the color of his fake eye. Books and stories of yesteryear featured violence that people envisioned with their imagination.

Multiple wars have taken place throughout history. Now police brutality is common in many places. Fighting over trash-talk posted on social media is a frequent mishap. Violence is an aspect of real life.  It entertains people to read, watch or simulate violence and understand why it is used.

A connection between the violence that occurs in real life and the process of recreating it into stories for entertainment value is apparent. It is simply art imitating life.

Through entertainment media, violence can be experienced vicariously. Instead of seeing a murder take place in real life, a person can understand the mindset of serial killer through a television character. Through watching that character’s story he or she experiences the reasoning behind the violence implemented. Average people will not want to imitate what they see based on their understanding of realistic dynamics.

Instead of robbing a bank, one can rob a virtual bank in “Grand Theft Auto” and cause cyber carnage rather than real life terror. The average person will know the amount of jail time he or she would suffer from committing these crimes in reality.

There is a conscience in people in conventional mental health that separates fantasy from reality, and they realize the consequences of actual violence. Someone who is mentally ill, has witnessed abuse or has been abused may be more prone to gain arousal from the violent entertainment and possibly emulate what he or she has witnessed.

Due to their lack of mental or psychological health, they are more susceptible to attempt engaging in the violence they have witnessed. While it is destructive for anyone to watch violent media in abundance every day, most people still won’t imitate the entertainment.

In addition there are disclaimers placed on every form of media that allows people to know what they are watching. Television programs that contain nudity, foul language and violence clearly state so with a viewer discretion advised disclaimer before the show begins.

Motion picture ratings allow moviegoers to understand just how graphic a film may be. Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates video games through letters to describe the amount of graphic content that will be featured in each game.

People have a choice to enjoy violent media or not. Labels give parents the knowledge of what their children are watching or playing. If a parent buys a game without checking the content of it first just to get their child out of their face and keep them busy, it is their fault for not paying attention to them. Regardless of their choice, the media is not the main influence of criminal behavior or violence.

Many people who enjoy violent media on a regular basis have not committed any acts of violence because of the influence movies or games. Most people who are naturally aggressive tend to sublimate their violent ways with sports and they don’t blame media for their love of boxing or football.

Instead of pointing the finger at television programming, there should be more effort in getting to the root of problems with depression and disorders people have. People should be checking up on their loved one’s mental and psychological health instead on a regular basis.

Laws should be made for anger management classes to become mandatory for people with anger issues. Offer alternatives to divert aggression positively and violent atrocities can be avoided. There should be gun laws that are more stringent and tests for mental health before possession for firearms becomes available.