This week’s writing challenge from the Daily Post is called Mind the Gap. We were asked to blog about the divisive issue of whether or not watching violence in movies leads to real life violence.
My short answer is yes. In a perfect storm of circumstances, an individual could be of a state of mind that allows them to be influenced by a violent movie. It is possible for a violent movie to be a catalyst for violent action.
However, my interpretation of the question makes me feel more defensive as though it were asking if we can blame violence in movies for violence in real life; it suggests to me that removal of one would eliminate the other.
I believe that violent stimulus from sources like movies, could cause some people to react violently some of the time. I hate absolutes. Often times in the wake of a tragedy, people find comfort in absolutes. Most people want a concrete reason. This is false comfort. Horrible acts of violence have occurred throughout history, most of which took place long before the advent of electronic media. To blame just one stimulus as the cause is ignorant. I dare guess that more violence has been perpetrated due to love than all movies, video games, and songs combined. Does that mean that love causes violence? It can.
I feel if we change our thinking, if we ask a specific question for a specific set of circumstances, then we are more likely to find real truths. Quit looking for blanket, cookie-cutter answers. We must also leave room for no answer to exist. I think that life is ugly and people are dangerous. We get comfortable forgetting those facts and act shocked when we have to learn them all over again.
From a statistical standpoint, many more people watch violent movies and do not commit violent acts than do. I don’t have the data on this but I assume the gap is extremely wide, therefore; I would not attribute violence in society to violence in movies. I have no need to label things and box them in absurdity to sleep better at night.