First published following July, 2012 Aurora, CO shooting
How many more times will we hear about mass murders before we demand accountability – from the entertainment industry, providers of violent video games, and those who make and sell guns?
This is not a question of freedom of speech. Our courts draw the line on freedom of speech when it turns into hate crimes and bullying. Offenders are charged with lawsuits and given prison sentences, even when no physical harm has been done. How can the providers of films, games and music, which inspire violent ideas, teach violent behavior, provide the practice to deeply ingrain the skills of violence, or supply the armament, not be held responsible for their part in the human disasters they encourage?
This is not a question of gun control. It’s about maintaining a civil society. We shouldn’t have to fear for our lives when we go to a film, or a class, or a shopping center. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the “right of people to be secure in their persons . . . against seizure”, and “An intentional shooting of a free citizen is a “seizure.” Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest Winter/Spring 2005,
It’s no mystery that when our minds are hijacked by dopamine, the way they are when we’re captivated by real or virtual violence, that the pathways to our human brain (prefrontal cortex) shut down. No longer acting as a human, we react instinctively instead, from our Animal Brain, like any other mammal.
Doom, provided the template for the Columbine murder. The shooter at Virginia Tech, in Norway, and in Tucson, where Gabby Giffords was attacked, received their training as first person shooters in violent video games. High on the opiate peptide, dopamine, and out of touch with reality or humanity, they were programmed and fueled for killing.
James Holmes addiction to violent video gaming honed his skills. The film, The Dark Knight films, costumed and scripted his avatar, mass murderer, The Joker. Thousands of hours of practice had commandeered his brain, and activating its innate function of neuroplasticity to re-wire for whatever is consistently repeated, perfectly prepared him for the moment he could walk into the theater and open fire on men, women and children.
Media- induced dopamine addiction has become our new pandemic.