Letter: Safely Enjoying Violence

To the Editor:

In the wake of the shooting deaths of 20 first-graders and six school employees in Connecticut, the National Rifle Association unveiled its plan for a “national school shield,” which would put a “good guy with a gun” in every school in America. This good guy could also help out with unruly students who are bored with the slow pace of reading and writing in school, while they are withdrawing from the adrenalin rush of violent video games they play late into the night. Rather than causing mischief, these kids would happily substitute the adrenalin rush of witnessing a weapon brandished by a good guy.

If we expand the school shield to the sites of other mass killings in 2012 in the U.S., we could leap forward toward an era of increased safety. If there were a “mall shield,” shoppers could safely feed their adrenalin addiction and numb themselves to the sight of human carnage by buying and playing the latest violent video games to hit the market. With a “movie theater shield,” audiences would be free from senseless violence, and could safely enjoy their adrenalin rushes watching senseless violence in 3-D on the screen.

The many hours our children and youth spend watching violence on TV and movies, listening to violent lyrics, playing violent video games and online games like “Kindergarten Killer” leave little time for actual contact with caregivers and family, time needed for forming the secure attachments we humans are hard-wired to need to learn to regulate our emotions in healthy ways. Therefore, we will also need an increased effort by drug manufacturers to crank up the production of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and especially anti-psychotic meds that help tamp down the rage we may feel when we do not get our need for personal closeness to caregivers and others met. Of course, read all labels carefully.

The NRA is probably serious and well meaning in thinking we need more rather than fewer guns, further evidence that we all need protection from how mass culture is changing our brains.

Steven Librot

Licensed Mental Health Counselor