The nation shouldn't wait until Hollywood or Washington, D.C., makes changes in the violent culture peddled to youths through music, video games and movies, said Sen. Sam Brownback, who is advocating a "cultural renewal."
"We are not powerless in the face of this situation," Brownback said Tuesday during a telephone conference with members of the media.
Brownback, R-Kan., said he was deeply troubled by the Littleton, Colo., shootings that resulted in 15 deaths, and he's calling for groups in each city to tailor long-term solutions to teen-age problems, including pregnancy to suicides.
"It would take a lot of passion and a lot of effort, but it could be done without changing a single law," Brownback said.
Reporters repeatedly asked the Republican senator if stricter gun-control laws would be an appropriate response following the Columbine High School murders, but Brownback didn't say if he would support any stricter legislation.
"I don't know if it will or not. We will clearly have to take a very in-depth, long-term look at the culture," he said.
"I think we ought to look at all solutions. I don't know how many laws these kids violated for having the guns they did or for making the pipe bombs they made," he said.
Brownback's vision for a "cultural renewal" includes a return to less violent images in popular culture, a movement that must be tackled on a national level. On May 4, he is heading a Commerce Committee hearing on how violence is used to market products to children. He said some companies use the same methods to sell products that the Army uses when desensitizing soldiers to violence.
"What is the impact of a daily consumption of violent, hateful music, video games, music and television? That comes to mind, and there's a growing body of evidence that it has a significant impact on young people," Brownback said.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.