Entertainment industry not to blame for real-life violence

staff editorial
When tragedy strikes in the form of catastrophic violence such as school shootings and random massacres, violence in entertainment is often used as a scapegoat. With today’s special effects and graphics in video games and movies becoming more sophisticated, it is easy to put the blame on Hollywood. However, violence has been around in pop culture for ages, as well as violent crime, and the two don’t have a definitive connection.
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Hot topics such as gun and youth violence seem to be inescapable.  The media would have the public believe that crime rates are higher than ever before with the publicity it gives to shootings and other instances of crime. But according to FBI statistics, violent crime rates are reaching historic lows in the United States.
“People blame violent entertainment because kids grow up around it. Kids in this society are thought to idolize violent characters that recklessly kill people, and commit acts of violence and there’s this misperception that those kids will then grow up to be sociopaths,” said senior Jake Zacharia. “I don’t agree with that. Kids are smarter than that.”
Advancements in cinematography create concern because the slaughters are more realistic and the special effects are extremely dynamic. Nevertheless, violence has been around since the advent of motion pictures. From the beginning, violence and horror have been used to captivate audiences, and although methods of depicting such things have become more creative, there is no evidence to suggest that the entertainment industry is the main instigator of random acts of violence.
People watch it and. pay for it, and in the end, the producers creating violent entertainment receive that money. An inconclusive suspicion that violent crime is a result of watching movies will not stop the entertainment industry from creating those movies, and it certainly won’t move society to censor violence altogether.
“The human race has a moral compass even if there are video games about war and killing,” said freshman Sean Cheney. “We can decide what we want to do, and as long as we have some idea that killing people is wrong, no matter how many TV shows or movies or books show violence, only a small percentage will actually try to mimic the things they see depicted in entertainment.”
Despite mounting evidence that there is no direct correlation between violence on screens and violence on the streets, many people have pointed out that the perpetrators of notorious crimes such as the Columbine school shooting and the Aurora theater massacre all played violent video games or were fans of violent movies.
“I think that the presence of violence in our culture can be an issue because kids see these types of violent entertainment and immediately think that what can happen in there can happen in the real world,” said sophomore Emily Fidlow.
According to a mental health report by the University of Washington, however, there is nothing to suggest that a balanced person will commit crimes once exposed to a horror movie or World of Warcraft.
In the end, maturity and rationality have a major influence in the way an audience reacts to the violence that it sees. Violence in entertainment has always been, and always will be a part of our culture. The concern about violent images in entertainment media should be redirected to the real-life violence that infects our society daily.