A number of years ago, when I was learning to kayak, I was surfing with my boat at La Jolla shores. While paddling through the surf a large wave broke over me, I was trying my best to back-surf toward the shore, rather uncontrollably I have to admit.

After the wave played itself out, I heard a man yelling at me from the shore, he was angrily calling me every name in the book, screaming at me to “get the fu** outta here.” I gestured apologetically from my boat and paddled out back through the surf.

As I paddled out, two young boys, ages 10 or 11 probably, also began cussing me out from atop of their surfboards, also telling me to “get the fu** outta of here,” just like their father on shore.

I remember thinking, where did these boys get the idea that is was acceptable to talk like this to a 50-year-old man. The answer was self-evident.

For those who need statistics to support truths so obvious that a blind eunuch could see, boys who are exposed to violence in the home are up to ten times more likely to perpetuate violence as they grow older. Children are sponges, they soak up everything; anyone who has raised children knows this to be true.

And yet, as Vice President Biden met with video game manufacturers last week, manufacturers insisted that there is no correlation between the playing of violent video games and violent acts by the children who play them. Video game manufacturers take no responsibility for the effects their products have on children who sit, unsupervised in some basement, killing people in a virtual world for five hours a day.

Video game sales are expected to top $60 billion in revenue in 2012. I can see why the industry wants to keep the party going.

The vice president also met with the National Rifle Association recently. It was no surprise that their stance was that the abundance and availability of firearms, especially high capacity automatic weapons, has nothing to do with the recent spike in random public killings.

By the way, if I die of cancer, it has nothing to do with fact that I’ve smoked for almost 30 years.

Gun advocates want us to believe that we need assault rifles to protect ourselves in the event that our own government decides to turn on us. I’ve got news for you, the military has predator drones, it has tanks and highly accurate missiles.

Our government has enough armaments to invade all of Europe, we have nuclear weapons for God’s sake; do you really think that an automatic rifle is going make a difference? The days of soldiers hiding behind rocks and trees while shooting each other with rifles are gone. If the U.S. government wants you dead, an automatic weapon will buy you about 30 seconds more of life.

Nobody seems to want to clutter up their doorstep with blame; better to sweep the blame to the street or to the guy next door. Parents carry a large part of the responsibility for the behavior of their children, but tell me how government can legislate good parenting.

If a parent wants to buy their 9-year-old child a violent game, rated for adults, and let them play it for hours on end as way of babysitting, how is the government going to regulate that? If you’re a neglectful parent, you’re a big part of the problem; but you should go to jail for it.

So the government tries to reason with manufacturers and lobbyists, but there is too much money to be made. Instead they rationalize and delude themselves into thinking that their hands are clean. People will continue to die while merchants of violence party big and live high on the hog.

Some believe that what separates humans from the other animals is our ability to be self-aware. I believe that, in the violent age in which we live, some of this self-awareness and self-examination is greatly needed.

But I doubt there will any epidemic of conscience anytime soon. So, buckle your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


  1. James Larkin,

    I say DITTO DITTO DITTO to your article! I feel very much the same concerning the responsibility of the violence games and acting out activities.
    It seems to me that the very people who are pushing these games are the first to say, I just can’t understand where the violence is coming from!”

    Sharon Werstler