Is Media, Culture to Blame for US Virginia Tech Shootings?

As the international community joins America in mourning the recent tragedy that befell students at Virginia Tech University, people around the globe have tried to explain the reasons and motivations that could have led to the shootings that took the lives of 33 students.

|PIC1|Reactions have been mixed about the overall cause, but there is debate over the negative impact that media and culture has on today's youth and its possible role in the shootings.

Several people have made a link between the violence saturated in the graphic video games and movies of society, and the recent massacre.

"Investigators found a strong connection between violent video games and the Columbine shootings, as well as other school shootings here in the US and Europe," contended Teresa Tomeo, author of Noise: How Our Media Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families, in a statement.

"And while law enforcement has yet to determine what motivated the gunman in the Virginia Tech massacre, the evidence on the influence of media violence continues to mount.

"Countless organisations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association, have been warning for years about the desensitisation that takes place when one is fed a continual media diet of death and destruction."

Looking at the influence that media has on this generation, many Christians have not put the blame specifically on that violent material but on themselves for allowing that media to exist in the first place.

"To be honest, I feel like the blood is on my hands once again," remarked Greg Stier, president and founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, in a column. "Movies and video games are getting bloodier and bloodier. And we just hide under the banter that 'kids will be kids'. But, ultimately, it is not just a media thing or a gun thing, but a God thing."

With all the increased talk about how culture influences the lives of children, many people are condemning such speech. They feel that people are taking advantage of the tragedy to push their political agendas, and what the students need right now is not a lecture on whose fault it is.

"These groups, that so quickly have tried to politicise Virginia Tech's sorrow and loss, have a well-documented history of shamelessly dancing in the blood of crime victims to advance their agenda," said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, in a statement in regard to gun control policy.

"Such deplorable behaviour should not be forgotten by the American public. There will be plenty of time in the days and weeks ahead to analyse what happened, to try and make some sense of such a senseless act, and to examine what may have gone wrong and learn from it," he added.

Still, others feel that the issue must be addressed now to ensure that it will not happen again in the future; it is something that must be spoken about.

"As concerned citizens, parents, educators, and consumers of the media we must get our media usage and that of our families under control," added Tomeo. "Otherwise the media will control us."

Despite their differing viewpoints, Christian voices have agreed on two things that are more important than finding something to blame: that the campus needs prayer and that students need to be brought to Jesus Christ.

"Let's share the good news of Jesus with a culture that has forgotten or forsaken the true value of life," concluded Stier. "And let's pray for the family and friends of the victims of another senseless tragedy. Because if we don't, the blood is on our hands."