We live in a society in which ghoulish violence is the norm

Newtown student, 12, renounces violent video games, asks fellow gamers to toss out their games, New York Daily News, December 22, 2012

The media is now alive with article after article about the Newtown shootings, the role of guns, mental illness, and violent media in the killings. I fear that as a culture we are prone to making one subject all the rage and then growing bored and moving on, rather than engaging in a meaningful discussion and making valuable transformational changes. In this instance at least, I would love to see us behave differently.

The article describes an intriguing story of a 12 year-old boy in Newtown who, after attending a funeral of a slain boy who was a friend of his brother, decided to set aside his violent video games and is encouraging his friends to do likewise.

It is being bandied about in the media and by word of mouth that Adam Lanza was addicted to violent video games and that the “addiction” played a key role in the mass murder.

While I hold that the motives and mental state of the shooter Lanza and the guns he wielded were proximate factors in mass murder, that we live in a culture desensitized to violence, both fictional and actual, may have potentiated Lanza’s heinous acts. He may have become much desensitized to slaughter and physiologically primed via constant playing of violent games for pulling a trigger repeatedly and emptying scores of bullets into the bodies of children. 

Finally, we live in a society in which ghoulish violence is the norm, and so we all have  grown calloused to it. When we experience real violence of an horrendous nature, we are primed simply to shrug our shoulders and turn the channel.