Bonfire of the Inanities

As a practitioner of child and adolescent psychiatry, I have watched with wonder how in the past few weeks, we have seen the dual subjects of gun control and media violence debated extensively and then mysteriously slipping from sight. After a time of near-hysteria when for instance the good citizen of Newtown in the wake of the shootings organized to burn in a vast bonfire all the violent video games they could find, only to relent, a piece of tepid national legislation, meant to screen gun purchasers more extensively, finally reached the floor in the Senate. There, a majority of 54 Senators voted for it, and yet the bill was tossed in the dustbin of history. Two reasons for the bill’s peculiar demise: the filibuster, and the National Rifle Association’s grading votes of fearful Senators.

Meanwhile, in the area of media violence, we heard talk of funding further scientific studies, which usually means kicking the issue down the road and hoping no one notices. Again our legislators are placating powerful lobbying groups—the Hollywood TV, film, and videogame industries.

Read the rest at Psychology Today.