M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, September 18, 2002  

From www.StarTribune.com, September 18, 2002:

An 88-year-old woman was charged Tuesday with first-degree assault in the shooting of a 63-year-old friend at a senior citizen high-rise in Minneapolis. According to court records, after the shooting the woman told the victim that she hoped he suffered like she had.

This is yet another example of the toxic culture of violence in which we live. We’ve all read the stats about how many murders a child sees on TV before age ten. Not that we can remember the number off the tops of our heads. But whatever it is, multiply that by 8.8, and you realize that your average senior citizen has a holocaust going on inside his or her head at any given moment. The question isn’t why her moral compass failed her, but how she was able to hold onto it for so long in the first place.

Someone needs to seriously study the effects that a daily diet of syndicated Matlock and Murder, She Wrote reruns is having on our aging population. In some TV markets, seniors can watch up to twenty times a week as people who have broken the law suffer nothing worse than being led away at the end of the episode. We can’t continue to saturate the minds of our old people with the concept that violence is without consequence, and not expect some damage to their fragile psyches.

Furthermore, one mustn’t discount the influence of violent games. Wander through the common room of any nursing home, and you’ll hear older men and women carelessly tossing around violent expressions like “slam” and “shoot the moon.” It’s no wonder that some of them are beginning to think that violence is the way to solve all of their problems.

And what of the music they listen to? Imagine all of the dusty speakers across the country playing the music of artists from Glenn Miller to Rosemary Clooney, every note driving home the message that even death isn’t final. No wonder life seems so cheap to anyone who’s ever sat through an entire episode of The Lawrence Welk Show.

It’s clear that the entertainment industry needs to take some responsibility for the havoc it’s wreaking on our society. Otherwise, we’ll have nothing to look forward to but a day when today’s responsible adults become roving gangs of Geritol-fueled desperadoes, tottering confusedly from crime scene to crime scene. A gray reign of terror will grip our helpless land in its merciless, papery fist.

Perhaps I’m being alarmist. But even if my prediction never comes to pass, isn’t it tragic enough that this one woman has thrown away the last years of her life? Her future now holds nothing for her but the dreary environs of an underfunded institution, with little chance for meaningful contact from outside and even less chance for freedom outside of the walls that confine her.

Somebody has to answer for that.

posted by M. Giant 3:29 PM 0 comments


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