Sunday, November 3, 2013

Breeding A Nation of Murderers

“By the year 2005, the number of teens, ages 14-17, will increase by 20%, with a larger increase among blacks in this age group (26%).

Even if the per-capita rate of teen homicide remains the same, the number of 14-17 year-olds who will commit murder should increase to nearly 5,000 annually because of changing demographics. However, if offending rates continue to rise because of worsening conditions for our nation’s youth, the number of teen killings could increase even more.

The challenge for the future, therefore, is how best to deal with youth violence. Without a large-scale effort to educate and support young children and preteens today, we can likely expect a much greater problem of teen violence tomorrow. There is, however, still time to stem the tide, and to avert the coming wave of teen violence. But time is of the essence.” March 1996: James Alan Fox, Ph.D. Dean, College of Criminal Justice Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts

During the early 1990s, if you were a producer in the television business and did shows that mattered concerning youth and violence, then you knew the name, James Alan Fox. He was/is a prophet when it comes to understanding the nature of the beast we have created, in the form of juvenile violence. Here’s his bio; you’ll be impressed. The above quote was taken from a document he wrote titled, TRENDS IN JUVENILE VIOLENCE, a Report to the United States Attorney General in 1996, on Current and Future Rates of Juvenile Offending. 

     I will be copying and pasting pieces of this most brilliant/prophetic report to comment upon throughout this essay.  
            By now it is obvious Mr. Fox’s ‘Challenge for the future’ was completely ignored. And not only was it ignored, but in many ways you could say it became the blueprint for an entire marketing scheme designed to take advantage of the burgeoning youth population as well as their tendencies for violence.

“The recent surge in youth crime actually occurred while the population of teenagers was on the decline. But this demographic benefit is about to change. As a consequence of the “baby boomerang” (the offspring of the baby boomers), there are now 39 million children (in 1996) in this country who are under the age of ten, more young children than we’ve had for decades. Millions of them live in poverty. Most do not have full-time parental supervision at home guiding their development and supervising their behavior. Of course, these children will not remain young and impressionable for long; they will reach their high-risk years before too long. As a result, we likely face a future wave of youth violence that will be even worse than that of the past ten years.” James Alan Fox

Thirty-nine million children at home, after school (if they even bothered going), watching Jerry Springer and Oprah Winfrey, with no full time supervision – no fathers. Folks, it was a game makers wet dream scenario. One year after the report, the world was introduced to Grand Theft Auto (1997). Three years later Fight Club (1999), perhaps the two most socially impactful entertainment events in the history of this country. One a game, the other a movie, both affected an entire generation. What followed was a host of violent, roleplaying video games, all designed to take advantage of a ‘once in a century’ marketing condition that would eventually lead to this:

(CNN) -- An 8-year-old Louisiana boy intentionally shot and killed his elderly caregiver after playing a violent video game, authorities say. While the motive is unclear, the sheriff's department implied the child's activities in a violent virtual world, may have led to the killing. "Although a motive for the shooting is unknown at this time investigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game on the Play Station III 'Grand Theft Auto IV,' a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred." By Lauren Russell, CNN updated 8:01 AM EDT, Mon August 26, 2013

The game's maker Take Two Interactive, rejected the link:

"Ascribing a connection to entertainmenta theory that has been disproven repeatedly by multiple independent studiesboth minimizes this moment and sidesteps the real issues at hand," the company said in a statement. By Lauren Russell, CNN updated 8:01 AM EDT, Monday, August 26, 2013

What else are they going to say; they’re just trying to make a living, right? And of course the denial flies in the face, because it’s assuming we’re all stupid or it’s, ‘Wink, wink; we know the game will transform some percentage of the kids who play it for eight hours straight into mindless killing machines, but… hey… we’re making a shit load of money!’ Not that Take Two would ever say such a thing, mind you. 
As far as I'm concerned the need for further research is not necessary, if you have a brain and the basic ability to reason. Any sane adult raising children who’s future they actually give a damn about, wouldn’t let their kids play Halo – period the end! I’ll bet the game makers don’t even let their own children play these games. And here’s another thing we know, WE, being anyone over the age of fifty; We know there’s always a kid, or group of kids, who don’t get it – who are nothing but trouble from the get-go. We all know or have known boys like this. Such boys – brothers they were; lived in my neighborhood many years ago before video games were invented, thank God. They had a passion for killing small animals by the litter, like cute little puppies or kittens. These boys derived great pleasure in the many ways of dispatching living creatures to the other side of life! On the outside they looked liked your average sweet kids, but on the inside they were really fucked up!
Years later, while working as a producer for the Montel Williams Show, I had a rare opportunity to be involved in the production of at least 4 interviews with known serial killers like, Wesley Allan Dodd, and Aileen Carol Wuornos. While doing research into traits most serial killers shared, for the men, there’s a lot of animal mutilations and the killing of puppies when they were little boys. My point is that for the last thirteen years, we not only ignored the warnings of experts like James Fox, but we put one of the main weapons each and every serial killer shares into the hands of children, and that’s the power of disassociation – perhaps the most critical mindsets of someone intent upon exterminating others.
So based on socioeconomic conditions, combined with a lack of parental supervision, and more important, love… what percentage of the 39 million teens, James Fox speaks of in his report is an acceptable amount of puppy killers playing violent video games? The ability to kill thousands of computer-generated avatars without blinking an eye, is the kind of stuff they teach soldiers to survive on the battlefield. Video simulators are used to teach people how to fly airplanes. The military uses sophisticated video game technology to train hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Need I mention what it takes to operate a drone? With the press of a button, a kid half way round the world can blow up a whole division of soldiers.
So we put this technology into the hands of children? Another thing; what percentage of the 39 million teens are young boys being raised by mothers  boys who are misfits in school  picked on, bullied, harassed, and shunned. What percentage of these boys are sitting home alone engaged in hours upon hours of violent, roll playing games built around a criminal storyline and murder?

Tie between mass killings and violent video games merits look

 “Much research suggests that ordinary people playing violent video games do experience heightened feelings of belligerence, along with higher heart rate and blood pressure. In his own study, Brad Bushman, a professor of communications and psychology at Ohio State University, found that typical college students playing violent games for only 20 minutes a day for three days became more aggressive.

Most players don't act on their anger, because they come to the game in fairly good mental health, Bushman wrote in response to the Navy Yard massacre. “But what about players who already are predisposed to violence?” He added, “Violent video games are just one more factor that may be pushing them toward violence.” By Froma Harrop, September 25, 2013

The human mind is a funny thing. A child has not had enough experiences in the world to make rational decisions. Neither are they capable of understanding the complexity of emotions associated with the chemical responses in our brains to stimuli such as violence, even if it’s not technically real. From a recent article published in Waking Times titled, “Trained for Violence: How Video Games Affect The Brain” Christina Sarich, Staff Writer 

“Part of the problem is that our brains are so adaptable, and a relatively new study coming out of the University of Missouri (U of M) shows that violent video games appear to make people more aggressive and desensitized to the violence that we see in our every day world. While this finding seems obvious, it is still relatively groundbreaking in science to understand that the relationship between our mind and our subjective experience actually has physical effects on our body and brain, effects that are dramatic and can even be enduring. 

If you’ve ever played 'Halo' (which consequently raked in over $300 million in sales in the first two weeks of its release), 'Call of Duty,' or 'Grand Theft Auto' the last of which you can actually slap a grandmother and steal her purse, then you have likely desensitized your brain to real life acts of aggression and violence. The longer you sit before violent images and the more frequently you play, apparently the more desensitized you get. With findings like these, it is no wonder that young adults growing up in a world of progressive violence and disregard for their peers and community seems like just another average day.”

Remember this: (CNN) -- An 8-year-old Louisiana boy intentionally shot and killed his elderly caregiver after playing a violent video game, authorities say.

More on the issue of violent video games front; the San Antonio Express-News:

Tie between mass killings and violent video games merits look

“We learn that Alexis, like Lanza, like the Columbine High School shooters, spent long hours hypnotized by violent video games. So pervasive have these games become that the public now shrugs at the likes of “Grand Theft Auto,” once considered shocking for its anti-social violence. The casual bloodletting in the new “Grand Theft Auto V” is said to be oiled by humor and satire, injecting more confusion into already-confused minds. “ By Froma Harrop September 25, 2013         
She continues with:

“There is debate on whether these games promote violent behavior. The case that they do seems strong enough to have compelled one video game maker to hire a crack lobbying firm to stop a Senate bill that would sponsor research into the possible connection.”
One more thing on the video game connection; apparently there’s a Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist: graduate of Brown University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine – he believes:
“Guns are irrelevant to this (Teenage mass shooters) problem. All of these killers… are mentally ill. We have a crumbled mental health care system that can’t address them. But more than that, we’re exposing people most at risk to a new and toxic drug called ‘virtual entertainment’ and the worst of it are these violent video games.”
Going back to the timeframe in which the James Fox report came out, who else readied themselves to make money off of the 39 million teenagers of the near future? We already know the record industries and private prison systems were making a shitload of money marketing the Gangsta Lifestyle Fantasy Program or GLFP on impressionable poor Blacks, and Whites who just liked the music. Even though the marriage of prison system and record industry seemed to officially begin around 1984, the mid-nineties represented the heyday with Biggie, Tupac, and former crack dealers making it big selling out their own people for money and the GLFP. With Black communities in chaos in just about every major city in America, it was time to target the burgeoning white middle class teenagers.
In 1999, Hollywood got the ball rolling with the premier of Fight Club. Only humans raised by wolves  in a cave  for the last 14-years haven’t heard of Brad Pit and Fight Club. As a direct result of this movie, hundreds of cell phone videos began to appear on YouTube, premiering the nations finest – white teenagers – engaged in their own versions of Fight Club. They kicked each others asses’ silly in front of cheering crowds, on parking lots, street corners, and in private homes. It literally took off like a fad and swept the nation, with both teenaged boys and girls staging battles, while others recorded the carnage.
Meanwhile, during the same time period the adults certainly didn’t serve as shinning examples to live by. Since 1990 the United States of America has been involved in seventy armed conflicts around the world. Uh… that officially makes us war mongers. We talk peace, but kill innocents with our actions. We argue about the importance of the life of each fetus, but have no problem sending drones to kill some mother’s children on foreign lands. We, the United States of America, have become extremely proficient at killing. It is often said; we do well, that which we love the most.
Our children have been watching us in action. Our children are a reflection of who we are as a society, not just the parents of individual children — but all children, rich, poor, crazy, brilliant, stupid, polite, productive, or lazy. We’re supposed to be the adults in charge, while trying to create a better world for our children! But everywhere you look, there’s one hot mess after another.
There were 250 people shot in Chicago, in a single month! There isn't a single war going on anywhere on planet earth, where more people are killed in a month, than on the streets of America every day! And who do we blame… we blame the guns, not the people doing all the shooting. And then we have the audacity to be shocked when this kind of news hits the airwaves:

“Sources told the news station that the calculated killer struck the beloved teacher twice before slashing her throat with a box cutter. The teen — covered in blood — stuffed Ritzer’s body into a recycling bin, which he wheeled from the bathroom and out of the school, the station reported.” BY Joe Kemp, the New York Daily News Friday, October 25, 2013, 8:31 am

Folks, when 14-year-olds are callously slicing their teacher’s throats... it’s not the 14-year-old’s fault, it’s our fault!
And this is our fault:

January 10, 2013; Teen shoots high school student before being disarmed by teacher: October 21, 2013 Nevada student shoots teacher dead; wounds two before killing self.

This darkness manifested by a 16-year old in California, a 12-year old in in Nevada, and 14-year-old Philip Chism’s murder of his teacher Colleen Ritzer in Boston, is what we deserve! Violence is after-all, what we are all about! We are a nation that has been breeding murderers. According to the Disaster Center dot com crime statistics, which coincides with the FBI’s data base on violent crime: from 1960 until 2012 there have been in excess of 1,008,081 murders (reported) in this country, which is an average of about 19,300 murders per/year. Folks if those kinds of numbers were thrown around in any other part of the world, it would be called a holocaust!
It should also be noted that the number of forcible rapes over the same period was 3,722,444 reported, which works out to over 71,000 per/year. And we all know that number represents what… one third of the actual number, since most rapes aren’t reported? But I predict the numbers will go up substantially this year, when you consider the marriage between the Hip-Hop music industry, and the makers of the drug molly (pure form of MDMA — ecstasy). Is it me, or is just about every rapper on the airwaves slipping molly references into their verses?
“Psssst... when you rap about giving MDMA to unsuspecting women so you can take advantage of them sexually, the kids are gonna assume it’s all part of the Gangster Lifestyle Fantasy Program.”
So we’re also a nation that breeds rapists, it seems.
I waited a week or so to write this essay, knowing that by the time it was read, most of the nation would have forgotten about 14-year-old Philip Chism’s, brutal murder of a teacher – a woman who was described by everyone as a loving, caring human being.
A child… sliced – her - throat - with - a - box cutter in the school bathroom!
If you have forgotten, perhaps it’s because the next day some other terrible thing happened that took your mind off the terrible thing that happened the day before. And while we’re on the subject, sorry to be the one to break the news, but the experiment of single mothers raising boys into men, alone, is now officially over… please! It’s not working. Believe me, that’s not meant as a slight to all the hard working women trying to make ends meet while raising a family, it’s really an indictment of our concept of what constitutes the proper environment for raising children. Again, there are some boys who absolutely need a dominant male father figure living in the home, who is admired, respected, or feared.
You can bet your life that fourteen year-old Philip Chism was one of these boys. This isn’t rocket science. A child needs a loving family with a mother and father who live under the same roof – period the end. Anything else is asking for trouble. But don’t take my word for it:

“While the negative socializing forces of drugs, guns, gangs and the media have become more threatening, the positive socializing forces of family, school, religion and neighborhood have grown relatively weak and ineffective. Increasingly, children are being raised in homes disrupted by divorce or economic stress; too many children emerge undersocialized and undersupervised. Too many of them do not have the benefit of a strong, positive role model in their lives or supervision; either living with a single parent who works full-time or in a two-parent household with both parents working full-time (see Fig. 10). The lack of parental supervision for young children is nearly as great. As many as 49% of children under age six, do not have the benefit of full-time parenting. While some children enjoy suitable, substitute supervision provided by friends and relatives or in day-care, far too many do not. “ James Fox 1996

Remember; this report was created in 1996. Today the number is more like 57% of children in America do not have full-time parental supervision. Worse still, 30 to 50% of poor, inner city Black children are illiterate. So with an influx of previously illegal immigrants suddenly having the red carpet rolled out, these new folks, even though they can’t speak a word of English, will take all the jobs the poor illiterate Black teens had even a slight chance of getting. With that said, I’m going to end this the way I began:

The challenge for the future, therefore, is how best to deal with youth violence. Without a large-scale effort to educate and support young children and preteens today, we can likely expect a much greater problem of teen violence tomorrow. There is, however, still time to stem the tide, and to avert the coming wave of teen violence. But time is of the essence.” March 1996: James Alan Fox, Ph.D. Dean, College of Criminal Justice Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts

By Herman Williams III

Update 1/6/2014

Violent video games leave teenagers 'morally immature', claims study

Updates 12/15/2013: 

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) – An 18-year-old has been charged in the brutal rape and beating of an elderly nun in Aliquippa.

Karl Halverson Pierson, 18, injured two students at Arapahoe High School, turned gun on self

OAKLAND (KCBS)— The arrest of a 13-year-old boy for the carjacking of a 78-year-old man in Downtown Oakland on Friday is prompting warnings, as the police department has noticed an increase in these types of incidents.

An 11-year-old boy was arrested yesterday for slugging his grandmother in the nose when she refused to buy him a toy at an Ohio department store, police report