The Source of the Violence.
Since Sandy Hook we have had a lot of discussions on the source of the gun violence in our country. We were all shocked. Many fingers are pointing fingers at both Hollywood and Video Games. If we are to believe them, all this would go away if we removed the glorification of violence from the media.
I will be the first to admit this. Call of Duty is violent. It simulates war. We would be surprised if it wasn’t. It is also rated M by the ESRB, that would be for seventeen year olds and older. It’s not meant for kids. Ratings work, only if we use them as a guide.
I will also admit that a James Bond movie is pure schlock with quite a bit of violence. There are many other titles out there that include explosions, gun play, and bloody gore. Need I mention the Die Hard series? But here is the problem, the media is a mirror to the very real violence that is all around us, just under the surface.
Today I covered a story of real violence for the East County Magazine, I chose to write this editorial instead for the San Diego Free Press. None in the news media will frame this story as violence…nobody died..at least not yet.
You see, today the Unions gave the Christmas fixings and toys to five hundred families at Qualcomm Stadium. These people are suffering from chronic food insecurity. They are unemployed, or under employed. You see them often. For example, they drive your transit buses and cannot get enough hours to make ends meet. they are lowly paid workers, many making under $20,000 a year. some are quite bluntly unemployed. They are suffering from great stress. They don’t know at times where their next meal will come from from. They are suffering from chronic food insecurity.
The other day I covered another story of great violence. People making 17,000 a year, and asked to pay 2,000 in health insurance for the year. They are heads of family and work at a hospital. You might as well ask them to travel to the other side of the moon. The health insurance is just as reachable.
Of course there was the shooting stabbing last night, in what we colloquially call the shooting gallery. The Incident Page Network sent that, like every night. There were a few of them actually.
This is violence. This is the kind of violence that at times leads to suicide, at times from fire arms.
So when you say it’s popular culture…popular culture is…a mirror of this dark underbelly.
The fact that inner city schools at times come out of lockdown after a shooting just outside and the body remains on the other side of the school fence is a form of scarring violence. The fact that a kid is shot in the arm, and the cops have to fight EMS to get that kid taken to the ER ’cause they don’t have insurance is violence.
The kids who know to drop when they hear popping sounds because it happens that often in their low income neighborhood, that is violence.
This is what our popular culture is reflecting.
So tell me, when are we doing something for real to stop that violence? I don’t know, perhaps living wage laws are in order. Notice I did not write minimum wage. I said living wage. People who are not on the edge are less likely to commit violence themselves, at times with guns.
Prattling about popular culture is a nice distraction coming from the comfortable middle class… And it happens every mass shooting. Notice, not every shooting, just every mass shooting.
Here is more real violence. A young teen, runaway, taken to the other side of the country, rarely across national borders, where they are used for sex…let’s call him Steve, to protect the guilty. He was forced to have sex upwards of fifty times a day. When the authorities finally rescued him, he was a shell. That is violence.
The younger man, begging for money on the corner, while still very much in country with no treatment for the PTSD he got from being sent over there, that is violence. The older woman standing on the corner begging for money, that is real violence.
The fact that you cannot get mental health care and you are treated like a disposable entity, or worst, less than human…that is violence. And at times an adult is next to impossible to commit if need be, that is violence. The almost non-existent mental health system is not acceptable either.
So stop telling me the mirror is the problem, because then you are deflecting from the real reasons for it.
If we as a society deal with the almost Dickensian circumstances millions live in, the content many object to will start to change. Then there is this thing about fantasy. Fixing your eyes on fantasy as a problem, it hardly deals with real life.
The reality is that thirty four Americans die by gun fire every day. It is also a reality that thirty four thousand Americans die every year. Those are the grimy statistics. So we need to also deal with the culture of violence and fear that encourages despair and violence.
Do we need to talk of what to do about the guns? Yes, but we also need a more global approach to what ails us as a culture.
(Of note both will run in the respective publications later in the day…but this is so important)