I think I, like everybody else, was deeply disturbed by the recent Batman opening night gunman rampage. Immediately, it erupted into talk about gun control and how it should be increased (no guns for the crazy guy) or decreased (more guns for the crowd) and I think … well, I think everybody missed the point. Then again, maybe I am just crazy.
The whole ordeal and the outrageous amount of people killed and injured didn’t make me worry about guns. It made me think about MEDIA and the influence it has in our lives. Not just media but violence in general. If you are like me you watch movies. With your kids, with your spouse, even occasionally alone. Media is a huge influence in our lives and I think we are kidding ourselves if we think that the prevalence of violence in media images isn’t impacting our lives.
Advertisers know that the media is influential- that is why they pay lots of money for a simple picture, and much more for a moving picture on TV or in a movie. Whether we like it or not, we are influenced by media.
Oh — and so are our CHILDREN. Probably more so than us.
Do we really think that we can have a culture of violence glorified in our movies and on our television and in our video games an that it won’t touch our lives in a negative way? Do we really believe that? If we do, WHY are we turning a blind eye to something that is, frankly, SO INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS?
For me the Batman shooting rampage was something of an eye opener because the violence was done at the opening of a VIOLENT movie. Why are we just fine with “pretend” violence? Why do we pay lots of money to fantasize about it and watch it? We make famous the men and women who display violence. But then we are horrified when somebody who is most likely emotionally unstable, takes that “entertainment” violence and makes it real?
Personally, I don’t think it’s that surprising at all.
Do we really think our children won’t be influenced by seeing images of pain and death as ENTERTAINMENT? Do we really think it won’t spill over into their real lives? Do we really believe that WE are immune to the powers of the moving picture simply because we are all “grown-up”?
Well, I submit something to you- I am not sure how grown-up we are if we find death and murder and violence and pain “entertaining”.
In my own life I notice that even when I am simply mad at somebody or holding a grudge or gossiping THOSE simple acts of emotional violence spill over into my life. When I am feeling angry or hateful, I am a worse mom. When I get ticked off about something (yes, even if it is the outrageous c-section rate) then I have a little shorter fuse. I am a little quicker to snap.
I think that for me, if I really want to be a better mother and a better person that I need to be more careful about my thoughts, my actions, and what I watch and read. I need to check myself before I get to a point where my head is full of spite and bile. It doesn’t stop there either. I need to protect my children from violent media. I need to teach them that life matters and that pain is not entertainment, no matter how much money it makes.
I need to teach my children and myself that violence is a destructive way of life. In fact, I think our whole nation needs to learn this.
Life is precious and so are our children.
About Sarah Clark
Sarah Clark is a mother of four naturally birthed babies, a wife, a birth instructor, and a board member for Birth Boot Camp, a natural birth company specializing in online and in person birth education.