The following is an Easton man’s effort to change our culture to prevent future violent acts like the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown.
Some of you may think that I’ve fallen off the deep end for trying to do this. What I want to do is start a grass roots effort to change our culture of violence in this country. We live in a town adjacent to Newtown, and a few years ago we lived in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown. The violent horror of the recent massacre in Newtown has affected everyone around here.
A college friend of mine is a principal in one of the Newtown schools, and he was here on New Year’s Eve. He told us that veteran policemen, firemen, medical people, the state troopers, all said that in 25 years and more of seeing crime scenes and accident scenes and fires they had never seen such horrible carnage as what they saw in that school.
One of the good things about capitalism is that as consumers, we have the power to make such a change. Through many generations, from Hopalong Cassidy to Rambo to Black Ops we have been fed a steady diet of violence masked as entertainment, and we have been conditioned to associate it with heroes.
There is nothing heroic about violence. This isn’t complicated. We don’t need violent entertainment. The very idea, if we think about it, that violence is considered a form of entertainment is frightening. We keep getting it because we’re buying it so someone keeps on selling it.
I understand that people are looking for quick fixes to the horrors of things like Columbine, Tucson, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown, and on and on. We always want to see quick, concrete, visible change. But this is about cultural change and that doesn’t happen quickly, isn’t highly visible, and is not hard and firm like concrete. Yet as we have been told many times, the longest journey begins with the first step.
So the message is easy. If a TV series or news program features and feeds on violence, don’t watch it. If a movie features violence, don’t go see it. If a video game features violence, don’t buy it. If enough of us change our habits in this way, we will impact the profitability of these things and they will go away, perhaps little by little, but they will go away and gradually we can eradicate this cultural cancer that poisons our nation.
Please forward this message to as many people as you can. It costs nothing, it isn’t controversial, and it can do a world of good. If I sent this message to only 10 people who each sent it to 10 people and so on, by just the seventh wave of messages we can reach 100,000,000 people, one third of the population of this country. But I’m not sending it to 10 people. I’m sending it to hundreds of people. (I have a lot of email addresses.)