AL MENCONI 5-15
- Friday, May 14, 1999
It seems everyone is searching for the reasons behind these senseless acts of violence. There is a litany of excuses: Guns are too available; Classmates were cruel; The parents weren't involved; The teachers were unaware; Not enough security on campus. The list goes on and on.
Yet, any and all of these excuses could have been used for hundreds of years. Guns and weapons have always been available to children, especially in rural areas and in earlier times. Children have always been cruel to each other, from the time of Cain and Abel to yesterday's junior high PE class. Traditionally, parents and teachers have always been authority figures. Only in the past few decades have they begun to focus on the emotional needs of their children.
These excuses don't seem to hold water as explanations for the recent rash of violence carried out by children today. Any of these excuses could have been used by earlier generations of school children, except for two variables: A complete absence of moral values being taught in the classroom and the phenomenon of revenge and violence in today's movies, television, music, and video games.
Over the past few decades, our society's morality has been completely undermined. Until recent times biblical principles were the accepted norm in society. Before my generation it was fairly easy to tell the difference between right and wrong. The Ten Commandments were right. Anything less was wrong. The result of many Supreme Court decisions, however, had the effect of throwing God out of our educational and legal systems! There is no longer a firm basis to define morals - what is right and what is wrong.
Today's entertainment media has filled this moral vacuum with a celebration of the most heinous acts of violence and revenge known to mankind. Video games like "Doom" and others of its ilk take the player on a vicarious journey of murder and mayhem. As a game player, you don't just watch the action taking place you are the action. You don't just control an imaginary player; you become the hunter and the hunted. There is energy and excitement when you "kill" the enemy.
Many of today's most popular movies glory in their violence. Movies like "Pulp Fiction" and "Natural Born Killers" make death and revenge an art form. The audience is manipulated to root for "the hero" to get even, often applauding acts of violence because "the enemy" deserved it. This is not the rare exception. Space restricts me from listing the countless examples that sell us on the concept that violence and revenge are acceptable and desirable behaviors.
Have you been paying attention to today's popular music? When not encouraging sex and drugs, bands like Korn and Marilyn Manson also encourage hatred and violence. Again space restricts me from listing the countless examples that reinforce a mind-set of hopeless anger, violence, and revenge.
No one can prove that today's entertainment media caused the recent schoolhouse killings. But when you remove the basis of our society's morality and fill it with hopelessness, violence and revenge, is it really any wonder why children are making such tragic and destructive choices?
This is exactly why I do what I do. We must teach our children to make godly, positive choices. We must teach them to seek God's wisdom.
Will you pray with me that this tragic incident will drive school leaders, parents, and church leaders to seek God for answers to the problems present in today's society?
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