Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why are we afraid to live life?

A friend posed this question to me as challenge.

It came about because of a senseless murder that happened recently in her town. She wonders how much the media influences us as adults and has the opportunity to change our children through exposure to music, video games, television/movies, books etc. She wondered if this person had any help from excess exposure to it.

To be motivated by fear to change a behavior is not how I want to live my life, yet I find that very same media delivering that message every day. Watch your local news. Read your local and regional newspapers. Check out the main news sites online.

Most of the stories you come across front and center are negative stories. When I mean negative, I mean that the stories are not nice. A shooting/murder somewhere. A car accident kills a pedestrian. Your candidate/representative/senator said ______ about his opposition. We are bombarded with mayhem and bad story lines every day, all day long. The newscrawl on the monitors we watch at the gym, in the office and nearly everywhere else you look has the same tone.

When I watch television, I watch to escape from reality (AND I DON’T WATCH REALITY TV). The real world is difficult enough for the majority of the population. Television/movies, video games, books & music offer a respite from the imagined and realized hell’s of the world. The most important part of this is choice. I choose when and how I want to escape.

Are these escapist outlets responsible for the world’s problems? No.

Do they contribute/alter the reality of people’s lives and make them do evil things? No, but an infinitesimal number are affected.

Have people done pure evil because of this access to information & entertainment? You betcha!

Should we limit the intake of this for children? As a parent, it is your responsibility to raise your children the best way you can- to make them as well rounded as possible while giving them all the opportunities you did not have growing up. Should your 6 year old be fragging bad guys in HALO or any other shoot ‘em up game out there? If I have to answer that one for you, please drop your children off at your parent’s house and take a trip to the doctor’s office… you need some help! Common sense should prevail when asking these questions and sadly, people often do not take the time to use it.

This murder that happened, made my friend want to get tougher and in better shape. Good for her I say, yet you are doing it for the wrong reason. Senseless violence can happen anyplace and at anytime with socio-economic boundaries thrown right out the window. Being in better shape is just that. It will make your body feel better and your mind. You will hopefully be around longer for your family and friends, but it is not a solution to your fear issue. Fear of getting older also plays a part for people being afraid and that drives them to get in shape much more than random acts of insanity.

These unstable crazies have been around since the dawn of man and will be here until the end of time as we know it. I believe something happens in our genetic milkshake makeup that makes us this way. There are also environmental triggers as well that enhances and brings out these mutations (but what do I know, I am certainly not a doctor and I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night). I have no idea what to do with this segment of our population. I don’t know if rehabilitation works or if locking them up is a better solution. Killing them without a crime committed is not my idea of justice, but when death and devastation occurs, our current flawed system has to try and do its job.

I wish I had the answers but sadly I do not.

We have to live with enough internal fear in this life that often the fear away from us comes into play. I say be vigilant to that fear, but not ruled by it.

It’s no way to live.

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