Two tragic shootings at public places have rattled our nation. First, there was Aurora, Colo. Then, this past weekend, we had the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.
It's made me realize one frightful characteristic about our nation: we have become obsessed with violence.
After the Aurora, Colo. shooting, Warner Bros. announced that it would cut the fight scenes from the trailer of "The Dark Knight Rises."
It seems as if every time there is a major violence event in the world, especially in America, there are groups of people who claim that our kids are exposed to too much violence. There's too much violence in their cartoons, in their video games, and even in their music lyrics, they will claim. So they want kids to have "family-friendly" things. For example, instead of watching Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, they want kids to watch "educational" things, like Dora the Explorer, thinking that this will teach them that violence is bad.
Eliminating violence from our television, our movies, etc. is not going to solve the problem. It's only going to make things worse.
Instead, the solution lies with education. And it's more than just telling kids over and over again, "violence is bad." If I told a 10-year-old that playing with knives was bad, that kid is going to shrug and tell me OK, but in the back of his mind, he's going to want to try it because he knows it's bad, and he's going to want to be a rebel.
I'm not sure how it is everywhere else, but I remember when I was in elementary school (and beyond), each year, there was always some sort of an assembly or lesson on how drugs or alcohol were bad. Sometimes, it would be something fun like a puppet show or a cartoon movie. Other times, it would be more serious, such as an in-depth lesson.
I don't remember that being the case for violence. I can remember a couple lessons scattered throughout, but not nearly as frequent as drugs or alcohol. Now, don't get me wrong, drugs and alcohol can lead to violence. But it's also the other way around. Violence can lead to being involved with drugs and alcohol.
There are situations where violence is acceptable. For example, I think it's crucial for everyone to learn self-defense. It's better to know it and not need it than vice versa. But we need to know where to draw the line, from where violence is appropriate and where it is not. Our children need to know where to draw the line.
Because if we don't, I have a bad feeling incidents like these are going to continue to happen.
Alix Kunkle is the News Editor of the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.