Between 2000 B.C. and 44 A.D., the ancient Egyptians entertained themselves with plays reenacting the murder of their god Osiris -- and the spectacle, history tells us, led to a number of copycat killings. The ancient Romans were given to lethal spectator sports as well, and in 380 B.C. Saint Augustine lamented that his society was addicted to gladiator games and "drunk with the fascination of bloodshed." Violence has always played a role in entertainment. But there's a growing consensus that, in recent years, something about media violence has changed.( Media Awareness Network).
On April 16, 2007, almost exactly 8 years after the horrible assault of gunfire and bombs that left many students and one teacher dead at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, another deadly assault took place at Virginia Tech University. The aftermath of the Virginia Tech horror was even more gruesome than Columbine. Including the gunman who took his own life, a total of 33 people died—making it the worst school shooting in America’s history. (Media effects research : A basic overview :Glenn G. Sparks) The national discussion that followed both the Columbine and Virginia Tech incidents had some striking similarities. After Columbine, a persistent theme was sounded over and over again: The mass media must share a significant part of the blame for this incident and others like it. President Clinton called on the producers of mass media messages to reduce gratuitous violence. The clear implication of Clinton’s rhetoric was that exposure to violent entertainment images increased the probability of this type of violent behaviour. Similarly, after Virginia Tech, it took only hours before the media devoted intense coverage to the possibility that the perpetrator of the shootings had been influenced by playing a violent video game. The prominent TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live and said: “We’re going to have to start … recognizing that the mass...
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