Yesterday, May 24, 2022, another disturbed young man (18 years old), walked into an elementary school in Uvalde Texas and shot and killed at least 19 children and 2 teachers, according to the latest news reports.
See the link below for more up to date information:
This is another horrifying scene that is becoming all too familiar in our society. As a parent who has had children in the public school system, I can only feel heartbreak for what these parents are going through. Our priorities must be the safety of our innocent, defenseless children.
As a self defense instructor whose focus has been teaching folks (including children) how to defend themselves for over thirty years, I have no answer of how to counter such an assault, because there is no way to defend against a mad man who is already shooting a bunch of children (or adults). As we see time and time again, the massacre only ends after law enforcement gets there and takes down the lunatic.
There must be pre-emptive actions to permanently stop this from happening. Yes, better security must be put in place at our schools, but this is just putting a band aid on a gushing wound. Someone intent on mass killing is going to kill, whether it is inside a school, in a supermarket (as occurred last week), or any place there are groups of people.
The underlying problem that no one is talking about:
Every time I read about another mass shooting, I am reminded of the term paper I wrote for my college psychology class. It was about violence on television, and how it affected people, including children. It made folks more aggressive, especially kids. I remember watching in horror, the videos of children mutilating dolls and toys after being repeatedly exposed to violent television shows.
Gee, that sounds a lot like binge watching American Horror Story on Netflix.
My paper also talked about a "new" training methodology (almost thirty years ago), that the military was using to prepare their soldiers for combat. It was video games that used shooting and fighting. Think "Call of Duty", or "Spec Ops", to give you an idea. These types of video games would be (and still are) used to prepare the soldiers mentally for combat, and to de-sensitize them to the death and violence (amongst other benefits).
That's great for the military, but why do we and our children have access to these types of games???!!!
In my paper I cited multiple studies on the negative effects of repeated exposure to violent television shows, and video games. Our brains literally get rewired to accept this type of violence as normal. We become desensitized to it, and are more apt to act on our violent impulses. To make matters worse, our brains completely lose track of reality and fantasy, when combining alcohol/drugs (prescription or illegal) with the immersive watching and practicing of shooting and killing.
So what is the solution?
By now you've probably figured out the solution for yourselves. Yes, more security in schools is crucial, but that is hardly the problem. Mass shootings are occurring everywhere, in schools, supermarkets, offices, etc. The solution is not to hide indoors forever, nor is it to be surveilled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We need to remove our, and our children's constant exposure to violence on television, online, and in video games, especially in children, as they have not gained the mental capacity to differentiate fantasy violence from reality.
Could you imagine a world where we were not immersed in violence on television, online, or in video games? I believe we would no longer tolerate violence in our society. While my career as a self-defense instructor would end, I would happily welcome a new more peaceful world.