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The Suburbanite
  • It’s a shoot-’em-up world, and adults are responsible

  • I’m not a prude.

    I was like any boy growing up in the 1960s in that I watched the TV show about World War II, “Combat,” every week. I don’t think I ever missed an episode.

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  • I’m not a prude.
    I was like any boy growing up in the 1960s in that I watched the TV show about World War II, “Combat,” every week. I don’t think I ever missed an episode.
    And nearly every day after school, I got off the bus, rushed up the driveway, bolted into our southern Summit County house like a sprinter, removed my school clothes and got into my play clothes – they were not the same back then – with such speed that it would have put even the best quick-change artists to shame. Then I raced outside to play army, all by myself.
    I trekked through the backyard using the same path every day. I probably wore out the grass as I avoided the big maple tree, dodging imaginary gunfire from the Nazis as I went, taking cover behind the big lilac bush and rock, just a few feet from where our property, the East’s and that of the Herman’s all came together. I must have shot at a couple thousand German soldiers over the years as I bravely defended our neighborhood from daily enemy invasions.
    As I got older, I began covering the NFL for a living, and again, just like any other guy my age, I “ooh” and “aah” — if only in my mind, as you’re supposed to keep your emotions to yourself in the press box — at the biggest of the big collisions when the quarterback gets sacked or a receiver nearly gets his head taken off while going across the middle for a pass.
    Yes, whether it was as a kid or now as a seasoned citizen, I have taken in, and enjoyed, my little version of The Hit Parade.
    But with all that having been said of my non-prudish life, I still can’t get over all the violence out there in movies, on TV and in video games, all of which are not geared to the seasoned citizens or even those in their 30s and 40s, but rather to our young people. It’s absolutely stunning and appalling. There is no regard or respect for life. That’s evident as people get blown up or gunned down in droves.
    I’m not going to delve fully into the gun debate here, because I don’t think a weekly newspaper, unless it is located in or near Newtown, Conn., is the place for such a thing. But I will say this much: Whatever side of the fence you’re on, if you can’t see the violence that our young people view in various mediums is at least part of the reason why things like the slaughter of 26 people at a school are happening, then you’re kidding yourself. You’ve got your head stuck in the sand and can’t — or refuse to — get it out.
    Page 2 of 2 - I don’t watch the kinds of movies and TV shows I’m talking about, and I don’t play video games. I never did, and I never will. I’m just not interested in those types of things. Seeing John Wayne or Clint Eastwood beat up a roomful of guys is rousing enough for me.
    But you can’t help but to be exposed to it. Even if you’re watching other movies or TV programming, you see the ads for upcoming films or shows, or the newest, best video game ever made.
    Do you really need to kill all those people and splatter all that blood to entertain your audiences?
    The worst part of it, though, is that we – the adults – are, in essence, responsible for this. We’re in charge of this country – this is our watch — and we’ve allowed a culture to be created where these types of “fun” and “amusement” are allowed to not only exist, but to thrive. We’ve collectively let our guard down, and now we’re paying for it in the most hideous and heinous of ways.
    This didn’t happen overnight. It took years. It came gradually, a drop at a time.
    And it won’t go away overnight, either. But before our watch is over, we have to at least try to get a handle on it and slow its growth, lest we turn over a powder keg – literally and figuratively – to our children and grandchildren that will be impossible for them to control.