Speaker blames media, not guns, for massacres

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Retired Army Ranger and professor of military science, and psychologist, Lt. Col. David Grossman gave a presentation Monday evening in which he discussed the explosive rise in school violence around the world and in the United States.

HOUGHTON — Retired Army Lt. Col. David Grossman gave a Safe Schools and Healthy Students presentation Monday at the Houghton High School auditorium, at which he discussed the causes of the increasing number of school shootings and mass murders, not only across the country, but throughout the world.

Grossman does not blame the availability of guns in the hands of citizens. Citing psychological studies, he placed blame squarely on media and violent video games.

“They (media) will censor any information that points back to the video game industry,” Grossman said.

When school attacks first started in Europe, he said, experts were very quick to identify and address the causes of the problem.

“Europe put an immediate stop to it by strictly regulating video games and media violence,” he said.

In countries such as Russia, Finland and China, where firearms are heavily restricted, if not outrightly banned, firearms and knives are used in school attacks.

Grossman referred to the April 18, 2018, Sterlitamak, Russia, attack in which a teenager stabbed a teacher and his classmate, set a classroom on fire, and caused mass panic at a public school. A Russian newspaper stated a spate of deadly school shootings and stabbings has hit Russia over the past year.

Censorship and misinformation spread by the media has led to the idea that school violence is only happening in America.

He said the attitude of “if we could just get rid of the guns” is an outright lie. Russia, Finland, Germany, China, Canada and many other countries around the world have experienced a rapidly rising number violent school attacks, and have responded by quickly and strictly regulating video games.

That has not been the case in the United States, where children’s access to violent games and television shows are unregulated.

They are unregulated, he said, because video game manufacturing companies hide behind the First Amendment of the Constitution when they are sued in U.S. courts. Yet analysis has proven the relationship between violent games and movies and school violence.

“The Columbine killers watched ‘Natural Born Killers’ 50 times,” Grossman said. “Fifty times! Then, they rehearsed their attack using video games.”

Grossman is the author of the book “On Killing” and the critically-acclaimed book “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence.” His latest book, “Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing” was published in November 2016. He retired from the military as a professor of military science at Arkansas State University, and is one of the world’s leading experts on the causes of school safety and gun violence.