Monday, February 18, 2008

Listen to Grossman


Predictably, the news media primarily is talking about gun control in the wake of the Northern Illinois University tragedy. It only takes a few seconds to realize there is no law that was going to stop the killer.

Rather than listen to the MSM's mindless reflex, people ought to be listening to Lt. Col. David Grossman.

Grossman has one of the sharpest minds in America. He is a national recognized expert on the root causes of violence and trains law enforcement on how to deal with crisis situations. Two of Grossman's observations are relevant here. The first is that colleges need to increase their police presence.

"Deter: The killer can be deterred. That is why there are seldom any successful workplace massacres in police stations. We need to start putting pressure on schools that refuse to arm their police.

"Most colleges and universities are small cities. Any city leadership that refused to arm their cops, and then had people murdered, would be put out business at the next election. We entrust our kids in the care of organizations that neglect the most fundamental aspect of public safety: armed cops.

Grossman also is the author of the excellent book pictured above. He notes that a very underestimated causal factor in school violence is the proliferation of violent imagery and particularly ultra-violent video games, which he describes as "murder simulators."

Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan enlisted Grossman as an expert in his nationally recognized effort to convince retailers to "card" youngsters trying to buy the most violent games. Columnist Dennis Byrne also points to violent imagery as a prime cause of modern day school violence.

Children and adolescents are exposed to more media depictions of violence than ever before. Such depictions pervade not only television, but film, music, online media, videogames, and printed material. Commercial television for children is 50รข€“60 times more violent than prime-time programs for adults, as some cartoons average more than 80 violent acts per hour. With the advent of videocassette sales and rentals, pay-per-view TV, cable TV, videogames, and online interactive media, many more children and adolescents have greater access to media with violent content than had ever been available in previous decades. Again, these depictions desensitize children to the effects of violence, increase aggression, and help foster a climate of fear.

As many people have noted, there were tons of guns floating around the schools many years ago and there were few if any school shootings. Something has changed.

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