"There's so much comedy on television.
Does that cause comedy in the streets?"

Dick Cavett

Does TV cause violence?

An anti-TV mom on a homeschooling discussion list which shall not be named wrote (the ellipses were in the original):

The problems may very well go away if TV goes away. Violence... Columbine... where do kids get the idea to kill other kids?? TV.

Deb Lewis researched and wrote an elegant response:
Great Britain passed the Juvenile Offences Act of 1847 which said young people shouldn't go to the same prison as adults. They did it because of public concern over the huge numbers of young kids going to jail (not just on murder charges) with adult criminals. Some figures show the crime rate in England jumped from 5,000 crimes a year around 1800 to 20,000 a year sometime in the 1830s. No one can blame tv for that one.

Fourteen year old Jesse Pomeroy was arrested in 1874 for the murder of a four-year-old. He was released and immediately killed a ten year old girl and then another four year old. No tv.

In 1924 nineteen year olds Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold murdered Bobby Franks just to see what it was like. They were from well off families, nice neighborhoods. Never saw tv.

In Bath, Michigan in May, 1927 Andrew Kehoe who was fifty (five?- don't remember) committed the worst case of school violence in American history. First he killed his wife, locked his animals in the barn and blew them up, blew up the school where he was a handyman and blew up his truck full of shrapnel. More explosives were set to go off to kill rescue workers but were found by the police. In all, thirty eight children were killed and seven teachers. Sixty some others were injured. Mr. Kehoe never saw a tv set.

Does TV create violence, really? Maybe guns create violence. Knives. Baseball bats. Hammers. Axes, shovels, saws? Rope? Dynamite? Sharp sticks, rocks? Maybe it's language causes violence because most killers spoke. Maybe it's books. Clothing? Day time night time wind rain snow trees birds frogs.

History is full of killers, some really damn weird ones who never saw TV. The Borgias come to mind easily, and so maybe religion or Pope-ness, Pope hood? is the cause of crime.

For lots of kids, even the bad guys on TV are nicer than the real life crazy people they live and go to school with.

Deb L, TV loving, movie watching, book reading, true crime fan who never once shot or stabbed or poisoned anyone.

Violent Media is Good for Kids by Gerard Jones and another link in case that one disappears.
"We risk confusing [our children] about their natural aggression in the same way the Victorians confused their children about their sexuality. When we try to protect our children from their own feelings and fantasies, we shelter them not against violence but against power and selfhood."

I don't know who created this graphic but will credit it if someone knows. *

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