HOUGHTON — Is there a connection between a child’s exposure to violence and the escalation of violent events in our day to day lives? That’s the question that many parents had on their minds when they attended a discussion at Houghton High School that featured author Dave Grossman. Grossman is the author of the book “Assassination Generation” and shared his thoughts with parents as he outlined statistics and precautionary measures that parents can take.
“When my second grade teacher told us cigarettes kill people I went home and hid my dad’s cigarettes, said Grossman “And that generation leashed in the tobacco industry. We didn’t ban tobacco. We said, ‘don’t sell this stuff to children,’ that’s what the fight was all about. We’re not going to ban media violence. What we’re saying is don’t sell this stuff to children. And that’s where we’re headed we’ve got to educate a generation and they will do the right thing like our generation did with tobacco.”
Retired US Army Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has written several books regarding to the phycological effects of killing, and how television and video game violence desensitizes a child’s regard for human life. During his presentation, he pointed out that not all children who play games like Grand Theft Auto become a mass shooter, but since the game’s release, all of the shooters involved in school shootings in the country reported excessive use of the game.
“The reality is, we can do our best to not turn these killers into celebrities.”
These days Grossman travels the country training law enforcement on how handle active shooter situations and he also teaches parents that they play a key role as well.
“That Parental involvement can be a key factor in holding it down,” Grossman said. “We tell parents to get knee deep in school politics. Endorse candidates, run candidates, insist that your school keeps your kids safe and does the things that they need to do. ”
Until we attack this problem at the source, schools here in the Keweenaw, just like other districts across the country are tightening up security. Copper Country ISD is Installing electronic key entry doors throughout it’s buildings. The Hancock Public School District participates regularly in active shooter training. And local businesses have also received training on the matter.
Ezekiel Ohan, the principal of Hancock Middle and High School, also commented on the subject and the discussion. “It is really necessary. The escalation in the lack of school security across the nation has been brought to the forefront. How do we keep safe our most precious package. You know, if you send your kid to school, there’s a reasonable expectation that you should be getting that person back.”
Grossman emphasized to parents that we can take a proactive approach as a society and it starts at home by limiting access to media violence. He even urges parents to take a 10 day media turn off challenge that he says parents will notice an immediate behavioral change in their child.
“We detox kids for 10 days. The fight or flight hormones flush out of their brain. We cut violence in half, we cut bullying in half, and then they put themselves on a tv budget or a tv diet. There’s room for a half an hour of TV every day out maybe on the weekends. We’re not saying turn it all off, but we regulate the video games and we regulate the type of media, and we regulate the amount.”
Mass shootings are on the rise. And with life like graphics that today’s video games contain, his claims are worth investigating.