Friday, May 13, 2011
Kids With Guns
Through our study of violence in the media and in art, we came to the conclusion that violence has a gender bias towards men. From time to time, we have heroines like Buffy who are up to par with her male counterparts in terms of being an agent of violence, but she remains the exception and not the rule. Likewise violence has an age bias. When we think of soldiers, we think of adult males in uniforms. We don't picture kids with guns. In traditional media we try to spare the pre-pubescent from violence as much as possible to preserve the archetype of innocence and potential. The simple thought of kids being consumed by adult-world violence can leave a bad taste in one's mouth. I would like to avoid talking about the religion and politics of kids with guns, and rather talk about the impressions we as viewers have of this.
A recent New York Times article spoke of a Neo-Nazi home in suburbia California, where a ten year old boy shot and killed his father with a handgun. He is now being charged with murder. What is the proper reaction to this? My gut tells me that the kid accidentally shot his father after stumbling upon the handgun's hiding place. After all, the boy is described as a pleasant inquisitive youth. No real character flaws there. Others will argue that growing up in an aggressively racist and openly violent home would have turned the child into a monster (though the journalist describes the victim as a good father). Overall, many react to young violence by blaming an external factor, believing that children will only resort to violence when pushed to their limits. Never mind how calculating children can be and for a second forget bullying in school. Kids don't have motives...or do they?
On a brighter note: