To the editor:
Leonard Pitts, the columnist, dismisses the notion that violent video games played a role in the recent killings. Certainly, video games were not the cause of the tragedy in Connecticut. Not even games such as “Call of Duty,” which the U.S. military uses as a recruiting (and desensitizing?) tool and the Norwegian mass murderer used as a training program. The constant violence on TV and in the movies was not the cause. Nor were our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor was the rise of disrespect, demonizing and paranoia as national character traits. But put it all together, and we have a culture of violence, which surely affects how we all react to the stresses and disappointments of life.
Banning assault weapons and restricting access to guns would limit damages to some extent. Re-funding our mental health system would prevent some of these tragedies. We need more. We need a society in which murder, both state-sanctioned and not, is seen as inhuman and unacceptable, a society in which differences and frustrations are expected to be settled peacefully and with respect.
Don’t allow our government to resort so easily to war. Don’t pay for movies that offer little more than graphic violence. Complain to networks and sponsors about TV shows that do the same. Don’t allow your children to grow up with violence and murder as daily entertainment. Teach them to deal with each other peacefully (this necessarily includes teaching by example).
This must start with us. Let’s start today.