EDITOR'S DESK: Examining the possible roots of mass violence

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 04:33 PM.

No community — just hurt feelings, distrust and division.

Preachers should cut to the heart of the matter — promiscuity, pornography, human trafficking, rape and other societal ills — rather than present God, ironically, as a bogeyman.

If they really need a patsy, video games and mass media can fit the bill.

Children are rewarded with points for each kill in video games, which are more realistic than ever thanks to advances in graphics and high definition television. In fact, Dec. 12, NBCnews.com’s technology page reported that more than 3 billion digital people were assassinated in “Assassin's Creed III,” a popular video game we saw on several local children’s Christmas lists. (See our selections in “Letters to Santa,” Page A6 in the Dec. 19 News Bulletin.)

Constantly consuming ultra-realistic, highly graphic violent entertainment, especially in high doses, could it become difficult to separate reality from virtual reality, right from wrong?

Numerous studies suggest no evidence for mass media’s influence on behaviors, but why would advertisers pay millions of dollars for airtime, often employing deceptive methods — like selling mayonnaise with sex — if there’s no sway?

Most people want the violence to stop, and we held our breath Monday when rumors circulated that Northwood Elementary was on lockdown due to a potential gun threat. The rumors weren’t exactly true, but sadly, readers said they wouldn’t have been surprised if they were.

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