Don’t look the wrong way after killing spree

Once again we have a terrible tragedy and the push for a fix looks in the wrong direction. A lunatic goes on a killing spree and people miss the obvious, Elliot Rodger had mental problems. How anyone can argue for gun control on this issue is ludicrous, Elliot Rodger killed just as many people with a knife. Do we ban knives, too? I will not get into the lack of a meritorious argument on the part of the anti-gun crowd. What I want to do is have a real conversation about the root of this problem.

Elliot Rodger’s manifesto contains many references to books and violent games that he was not capable of understanding at a young age. He admits to this in his writings. I honestly believe that immersion into a fantasy world of violence and exploitation of women that happens in many popular video games and movies is fundamentally altering the minds of our children. If you feel I am wrong, please immerse yourself in a game such as Grand Theft Auto for 8 hours and then evaluate your own thinking. Go on Netflix and have a marathon viewing session of shows such as Sons of Anarchy or 24, which I am fans of both. We adults are affected by this stimulus. Prolonged exposer makes violence and exploitation the norm. The problem is that children are not developed enough to handle the impulse control area of their brains and are more likely to act out instead of hold back.

I don’t believe that the violent and exploitive content on its own is the problem. We have put such an emphasis on our children’s self-esteem that we have failed to teach them how to cope with failure. Failure is where learning and growth takes place. Everyone does not deserve a trophy. A trophy requires hard work and dedication, not a reward for just showing up. What we have done is give a generation a sense of entitlement and no means to cope when the want of the child is not fulfilled. Elliot Rodgers was the product of this new norm in society. He was given everything by his parents; lavish clothes, cars, anything he wanted, yet never being taught humility and the value of giving or of hard work. His words are chilling. “I am more than human. I am superior to them all. I am Elliot Rodger … Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent … Divine! I am the closest thing there is to a living god.”

I would ask everyone to think about these few words I have written and look past the typical calls for more laws and controls that will do nothing to prevent these types of tragedies. Isn’t it time that we looked for what has caused an increase in these violent acts? We owe it to our children and society as a whole to have this conversation without involving the political agendas of others.

Jay Owens

Waterford