Generation shift in conflict resolution leads to violent reactions
In Our Opinion
The 1996, Moses Lake, Wash. school shooting started a timeline of unfortunate, similar events.
In the case of the Moses Lake shooting, 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis shot his teacher, wounded two students and held his classmates hostage for 10 minutes before he was restrained by a teacher.
The next major shooting was Columbine High School in 1999 where two teenagers shot and killed 12 students, one teacher and wounded more than 20 students.
Since Columbine, there have been roughly 19 deadly school shootings, according to an interactive graphic attached to Jolie Lee’s USA Today article “Despite beefed-up security, school shootings continue.”
Fifteen tragic shooting events have occurred between the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012 and the most recent shooting in Oregon, according to Ashley Fantz, Lindsey Knight and Kevin Wang’s CNN article “A closer look: How many Newtown-like school shootings since Sandy Hook?”
In light of these recent violent events around the nation, it’s time to take a step back and look at our society from the outside. We need to look at the message we are sending to today’s youth. Maybe we need to look less at the prevalence of guns, and more about what we’re exposing children to.
Debates about guns have become black or white. The gray area has almost completely disappeared. Some might even say it’s a matter of rural vs. urban.
States with a lot of rural area have plenty of guns within their borders, but have none or hardly any instances of violent incidents involving guns. Could it be from the large number of shooting ranges available to residents? Or could it be their mentality that guns are a tool used for hunting or sport shooting, or to protect themselves when they live far out from the nearest city, according to Chuck Raasch’s USA Today article “In gun debate, it’s urban vs. rural.”
A lot of societal influences such as the family unit, Hollywood and video games have made an impact on how children are behaving today.
More and more children are becoming raised in a non-tradition, disrupted family unit. It’s starting to make a difference in how children are being raised and guided into adulthood.
Then you have Hollywood, who glamorizes a lot of the bad behaviors we are seeing in today’s youth — such as violence, use of assault rifles, drug use and disrespecting authority.
Not only is there the influence of the big screen, but also at home with video games.
When “Pacman” and “Oregon Trail” were the most popular video games, there was no doubt it was just a game being played.
Now, video games have become so realistic, the line can become blurred between knowing it’s just a game and being able to reenact these events in real life.
Then, there are first-person shooting games like “Call of Duty” and “Halo” which put people behind many types of fully automatic weapons. Other first-person mature-rated games like “Grand Theft Auto” are exposing children to dozens of bad behaviors like drug use, theft and other reckless behaviors.
Society seems to have developed this disruptive mentality that guns are a solution to conflict. They have become people’s first reaction when someone has a conflict with another person.
For example, just this month there was a neighborhood dispute in Spokane Valley that had escalated to one man drawing his gun toward another during an argument, according to a release by Spokane County Sheriff Deputy Craig Chamberlin.
The way we solve conflict today needs to be changed for the better. Let’s set a good example for the children we are raising that will one day take our places in society.