Re: Violence and history, has anything changed?

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Posted by Ilse on April 26, 1999 at 11:48:44:

In Reply to: Violence and history, has anything changed? posted by Petra on April 26, 1999 at 00:17:22:

: History: Has anything changed over the centuries regarding the violence in people's lives? Was it worse in the "old days", with cold-minded monarchs, extreme punishments and torture, man-against-man wars? Or does today's easy availability of guns, etc. make killing that much easier?

Hi Petra,

I think it is not so much the easy availability of weapons that has changed the face of war, but their nature and range. High tech weapons have made war so much more impersonal stripped of the human element. In many military operations the act and the consequences of that act are no longer connected, because those consequences are not witnessed up close. I think, it is that, that makes killing easier. On a different level, I don't think mankind has changed all that much during the centuries. There has always been a tendency to define the world into "us" and "them", them being different from us and therefore less.

: Film: Do TV and movies affect kids insofar, and does it make young people less sensitive towards the suffering of others if they can watch violence on TV all the time? Do you think there should be a minimum age for certain movies, and should the theaters attempt to enforce that minimum age?

I don't think that TV/movies/music can bring out something that was not already there. In Holland there is a minimum age for certain kind of movies. I don't know about other experiences, but I found that, being rather smallish and a "late-flower", at the age of 18 I still had problems going to a movie for which the minimum age was 16 :) So, I would say it is enforced, at least it was then.

There is something else I have been chewing on all day, and it is related to Champ's post. The reason I'm careful with this is that when it comes to the issue of gun control West-European and American opinions can stray so far apart, it can lead to serious misunderstandings. So I bring this forward with some worries, and hope you will understand I mean no personal attack whatsoever (Rich, feel free to remove this post if it turns out like that).

Champ, you wrote: "The "other" problem is that we live in a "free" society, unlike any other, and to keep those freedoms we will have to endure such tragedies (...)"

Yes, you will have to endure such tragedies, but I have problems with this sentence making it sound like there is an inevitable force of nature at hand here. I consider it to be a consequence of CHOICES made. Checking up on the Colorado shooting, I saw this is one (although the worst) of a series of school shootings in the last year or so. I am not an optimist, and I think that in Holland/Germany etc. there are also many alienated crazy kids wishing they could lash back at the world. The difference is, that it would be extremely hard for them to find the tools to turn that into a reality.
Now, in the US another choice is made, and seen as a freedom. I cannot judge or condemn that because it is not my country. However, following the news, I can conclude that the powerful pro-gun lobby finds this and the other tragedies an acceptable price to pay. And to me, personally, that is a bitter conclusion.


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