Today’s heartbreaking news of the death of 20 young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut should make us all reflect on the legacy that we are developing for children and the future.
When we were young, we played cowboys and indians – hands shaped like guns, fingers pointing like barrels and shouting out “bang!” and “you’re dead!”. Our films tended to be about historical wars and events – still not justifiable death – but there were morals and you knew the true difference between reality and fiction.
Today, those boundaries are blurred and merged. We are encouraged to imagine the reality of shooting with realistic role playing games, television and films that promote (and indirectly condone) guns, knives, violence and death.
We can’t escape death or, it seems, specifically the death of children…
– The two great wars were savage and, by today’s definitions, children went to war and were killed protecting their countries.
– In the Middle East, scores, if not hundreds, of children have and are been killed in mindless bombing and shooting.
…but we could consider whether there’s another way to avoid these horrors.
The simple message is that things are no better, even possibly worse, and that we don’t learn. While western society claims to protect its children, it also allows the production of images that promote extreme violence and aggression. Whether we choose to admit it or not, this has affected our lives – undermining tolerance, patience and self-control.
In it’s extreme, this is exploited where shooting and death are classed as entertainment… the results are horrendous!
While President Obama appeals for “meaningful action”, he unfortunately won’t be considering the influences that have de-sensitised our world – where if you die, the reset or rewind button allows you to spring back to life… to live to fight another day. These images and actions are too removed from real life where when a real human being fell over pretending to be dead they could still get up and enjoy the rest of their day and life.
Banning gun sales will never, on its own, resolve the sort of crimes that result in vengeful, unstable, criminal or manic individuals causing the grief that families are experiencing today. This outcome is increasingly about individuals making a dramatic statement fueled by our society and the attention they know it will bring. The influences of modern media – video games, TV, film, internet – all influence how these individuals carry out their violent acts against society.
Simply due to the ever increasing population of the world events like this one in Connecticut will continue to occur – extremist, unbalanced or callous members of the human race will always exist but if we stop teaching them, fueling their minds with ideas about how to act for effect, a perverse sense of gratitude or revenge then the occasions and heartbreak they cause must surely reduce.
We need to create a more peaceful legacy for the children that have passed away and to protect those with a lifetime ahead, something that encourages calm, reduces aggression and ultimately educates respect and appreciation of life.