Apr 25th, 2006 by leodini
I agree with most experts’ advice on how human beings should live peacefully on earth so they are able to raise happy and contented families.
The trouble with experts, though, is that they, too, are fallible. Their savvy opinion usually mixes with their flawed views. The mixture is sometimes so seamless that ordinary parents, lacking the discernment to tell one from the other, take the good advice with the bad.
In situations like this, what could be the better course of action than to cast a cautious glance at all forms of advice dispensed by so-called gurus of good living?
After that disclaimer, I hope the readers will feel less guilty spending their precious time sorting out my logic on why I blame guns rather than television for violence in society. I’m not a guru, so there’s no need to be leery about my views.
Violence Precedes TV
TV is a convenient scapegoat for people who are unsure of the inner workings of violence. However, violence is more complicated than the so-called negative influences of TV.
Television definitely predates violence. Many historians find the third century and up to the medieval period as one of the most violent periods in history. In many instances, religion, the discipline supposed to bring man in communion with God, instigated and abetted the violence. Heretics were burned at the stake by the thousands, women were raped and murdered by the scores, and political enemies were either thrown into prison indefinitely or killed unceremoniously by the dozens. The last time I checked, there were no televisions in that period of history.
I suppose there are no TV sets either in the mountain lair of the Abu Sayyaf. The terrorists are left with no choice but watch the moon rise in the horizon as pastime. No TV, yet the Abu Sayyaf are a violent lot!
I believe high school students who massacred their friends, classmates, teachers and enemies not because these young killers watched too much television but because there were several guns lying around their house. They took the guns to school and pumped bullets on everybody in sight. Though arguably TV might have played a role leading to the massacres, I would still put the blame squarely on irresponsible gun-owners who keep their guns within reach of children. The problem of modern society is not too much television but the proliferation of guns and the ease with which ordinary citizens can arm themselves.
I have a cousin (we went to the same elementary school in rural Zamboanga del Norte) who hated his Grade 6 teacher. He promised me when we were still boys that he’d shoot his teacher one of these days. I don’t know if the threat was just one of my cousin’s juvenile blusters, but the teacher is still alive today. My cousin has not yet gotten around to shooting her. Why? Because my cousin doesn’t have a gun, that’s why.
Sophistry? Maybe. An unsophisticated kind of sophistry, I might add.
Loose Firearm Not Proliferation of TV Sets
How many television sets do you think there are in impoverished Rwanda and Zimbabwe ? I can’t imagine villagers in African hinterlands have enough TV sets to move people to violence and awaken their murderous instincts. And yet these two countries have notorious records for bloodshed and wholesale carnage.
In my opinion, it’s not television, but easy access to firearm and a slew of other reasons besides, that have institutionalized violence and murder in a number of countries around the world.
Blaming television for the culture of violence is the easy part. Telling the gun owners to give up their guns to stop random and accidental killing on the streets is the hard part.
TV executives and advertisers can be swayed by pressure and reason. Licensed gun owners are organized and have influence, but most are hard of hearing because of too much practice shooting. They are difficult to dissuade from keeping their guns. Worse, they have shadowy counterparts—the owners of loose firearm and the warlords who owe their power to guns. All operating outside the law, they are even more impossible to reason with.
In London , where even the street cops don’t carry guns, drivers settle traffic accidents with their fists, so I heard. In Manila , drivers shoot each other over minor traffic accidents. Am I just imagining things or am I seeing guns as the uncommon denominator between London and Manila drivers?
Make Your Child Happy on Her Birthday
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