And in so doing, Morality in Media President Robert Peters decided instead to scapegoat television, music lyrics and video games. There are other items on the list that get to share this blame, but the fact that Peters and his boyhood friends never murdered anybody apparently lets guns off the hook.
When Peters was young, he said there was already too much violence in film and movies, but "it was generally clear who the good guys (heroes) were and who the bad guys were. Good guys (heroes) didn’t commit murder." He added, "Children today grow up in a popular culture saturated with deadly violence graphically portrayed — not just in films and TV but also in videogames and RAP lyrics. The line between good and bad guys is often blurry; and in many TV programs, films, video games and RAP lyrics, mayhem is celebrated." The declining influence of Religion was another factor he cited.
"This is not to say that media violence alone can explain the horrific incident that took place at NIU on Thursday. But it would be a mistake to make availability of guns a scapegoat of this and other similar mass murders. Availability of guns in North Central Illinois, and most of the rest of America, is nothing new. Widespread use of them to kill random strangers is."
TVBR/RBR observation: It is so easy to pick a complaint about modern society and then blame it on the media. The bottom line is that Peters is just saying stuff. We’ve seen TV and movies from the 50s and 60s, and there was absolutely no shortage of violence. Remember back when cowboy shows had a prominent place on the dial, followed by detectives, PIs and various and sundry policemen? While most real policemen rarely so much as draw their firearm while on duty, as we recall, it seems that these people during this supposedly morally superior time almost always resolved each week’s crime problem by shooting the crook to death.
The bottom line is that as much as they would love to draw a straight line from media violence to real life violence, nobody has been able to do it, no matter how hard the matter has been studied.
We do not pretend that we understand the reasons for the current spate of mass killings. The media probably is a factor, and at the very least it is a reflection of the society we live it. But we would guess that there are social, financial, mental health and other issues involved — including religious issues, as was the case in one of the more recent tragedies. And the availability of firearms has to be considered as well, not swept under the rug because it’s easier to blame TV, radio and video games.