This post is not about photography–forgive me for going off topic, but I can’t shake the thoughts that have been swirling around my head for the last few days. I must get them out. So here I go…
We are a nation plagued by violence. It’s in our streets, it’s in our schools, and it’s on our screens. We are a nation sitting atop a trifecta if you will–three legs of a stool that are seating an insurmountable load of violence. The first major problem (though I am clearly simplifying here–there are undoubtedly many more) is that we are a nation in love with sensationalized onscreen violence. Movies, TV, video games…the more terrifying the better. Anything goes. Nothing is off limits. We are completely desensitized at this point. Second issue–rampant mental illness (heightened no doubt by the aforementioned images that we view on a regular basis). Our health care system does not and can not treat mental illness appropriately. Read one mother’s first hand account here. Lastly, we have no reasonable means of gun control in place in our country. Weapons of war are now being turned on classrooms full of small children. This has to stop.
This seems so big, so difficult to deal with, likely even too much for us to completely grasp. And it is. That’s why I think we need to simplify. I am a mother, so I’m turning to what I can do as a mother–as one person. While I will fully support legislation for revised gun control laws, and do whatever possible to back reforming our mental health care system, I need to do something now. Something more personal, something daily–I ache to be a part of the change we need to see. And I think I can. I think what I can do today is rather simple. I am a mother and I’m going to ignite a change (in my own family at the very least), of what is acceptable viewing material for my children’s eyes. Violent behavior is learned. Whether it be observed, or God forbid, experienced, violent behavior–extreme violent behavior– is learned. I’m simply not going to let my children learn it. Not on television, not in movies, not in video games. I’m going to enact my own reform and I’m going to beg other mothers to do the same.
No shooting, no guns, no violence. Even fairly sedate video games now make sport of taking down the opponent in a hail of bullets. No more. My children are young and I’ve instinctively done this up until now. Today it has become a conscious decision. A decision that I’m sure would be met with opposition if my children were older and I was packing up their favorite games and deleting their favorite shows. Thankfully I won’t have to deal with that, but you know what? Even if I did I would be fine with it. Saying no now is much easier than dealing with the possible consequences later. I’m not saying that viewing violent images and playing violent video games automatically turns people into murderers. Of course it doesn’t. But it can’t help–it can’t be good for little eyes, or adult eyes for that matter. I think that it can, however, chip away at our societal morality. It can let horrendous thoughts into our consciousness that might not be there otherwise. Let’s take that possibility away. Let’s saw off one of the legs of the stool and help to topple violence together.
I’m imploring all mothers, all fathers, all grandparents, all guardians–please join me. Let’s stop this culture of violence. Let’s enact change from the bottom up rather than from the top down. I realize that it will take time, that this kind of change will take time, and that it will be difficult to sensor everything our children view–but honestly–at this moment, I can’t think of anything that is more important.
I’m asking you to consider what is best for your family and doing what you feel is appropriate. And I’m asking you to share this message–share it in coffee shops, share it on blogs, share it on Facebook. Please please share.