By Mike Wilcox
Thoughts continue to run through my head about ways to prevent school violence. Last week was particularly bad as schools across the nation dealt with gun and bomb threats perpetrated by copycat teens who desire the notoriety gained by school children killers.
As a society we have become more violent. I can’t help but think of the violence we watch, listen to or play on our Xbox influences how we act in everyday life. Most of us understand the difference between Call of Duty: Black Ops, but I can’t help but think the game influences a few impressionable teenagers to act out in real life.
Face it, violence is everywhere. Turn on the television and you see dozens of killing scenes, whether you are watching “Walking Dead” or a new Netflix series. Turn on the stereo and you hear Eminem’s “Stan” or Korn’s “Daddy”: four minutes of lyrics about death. Popular movies like “Natural Born Killers” or the “Saw” series, offer a steady diet of murder and mayhem.
While browsing Facebook earlier in the week. I came upon several videos showing the violence taking place at MSU, when so-called white nationalist Richard Spencer was speaking to students in a campus auditorium.
Outside, college students clashed with their peers, some in favor of Spencer, many opposed to his beliefs. This was not a non-violent Martin Luther King-type protest. These were our college kids brandishing knives, guns and throwing punches at each other like it was the WWE.
What kind of example are we setting as a society when we allow violence to permeate every aspect of how we live? And we wonder why impressionable, slightly or mostly mentally challenged teenagers try to act out in real life what they’ve viewed or heard?
As the father I am concerned. I know my 16-year-old son has the maturity of a 40-year-old, thus he is allowed to play Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. He knows the difference between action in a video game and how he should act in real life.
But that doesn’t give some of his playmates a pass. I’ve gotta believe a few of them have shoplifted or smoked a crack pipe, because those types of things are glorified in contemporary games and music.
And I’m sure some mentally-challenged students, taking a page from a TV show or movie, might think it normal to start shooting at a school.
I’m not advocating censorship. I am asking parents to be more aware of what their teenagers watch, play and listen to. Parenting isn’t easy, particularly when you are dealing with rebellious teenagers. You have to find balance between being a friend and providing discipline as needed.
If we find that balance, I believe violence in our schools will be minimalized.