whenever there is news of a murder i feel sick. seventeen years ago my sister in law (my husband’s sister) and three nieces were brutally murdered by my brother in law. nothing prepares you for experiences like those that are encountered after the homicide of someone you love. nothing.
with as fast as news travels these days, it would be nearly impossible to not have heard about last night’s mass shooting at a movie theater in colorado. if occurrences like this do not make us feel sick, something is certainly wrong. when murder doesn’t induce sadness and discomfort it seems to me that we have gone sideways as a people.
shortly after my sister in law and nieces’ deaths, i became loosely involved with an awareness raising campaign about media related violence. dubbed “mine” for it’s title “murder is not entertainment,” the campaign fell somewhat flat. it was just too steep a hill to climb, that of the entertainment industry and the american population’s fascination with violence in entertainment. if it was too much for a well organized and publicized organization to turn the tide regarding what we watch, i know, for sure, that it’s too much for me to do alone. here. on a blog.
i can, however, ask a few questions and kindly request that you consider them. i can encourage you to make your entertainment choices with intention and wisdom. i can beg you to spend your entertainment dollars with full awareness of what you are supporting. i can point out that the children in your life are watching you and determining what they will consider movies worth watching. i can remind you to live ridiculously compelling and adventurous lives that fulfill and challenge you and inspire others to do the same. when we do so we rarely need entertainment that raises our heart rates, titillates our senses, or manipulates our emotions.
what i cannot do is be silent. i cannot ask that you refrain from supporting films which numb you to the impact of violence and murder but i can ask you to be aware of the reality that there are likely families who have known the personal sting of both in the theater with you, living on your street, or sitting in the desk next to yours. i cannot speak with scientific certainty (although plenty of studies exist) but i know that i cannot passively watch murder as entertainment and say that it does not make an impact. if i believe that sesame street can teach children, how can i say that television and movies that contain excessive violence don’t do the same?
i humbly suggest that we all use today’s news as a motivator to re-consider what we view as entertainment. to think about how our entertainment dollars talks and our actions speak. to determine ways of at least matching the violence we consume with images/words/thoughts/behaviors that are life affirming and grace filled. to not rely on shocking and adrenaline stimulating images as our sole source of emotional stimulation or entertainment. to recognize murder for what it is and to feel appropriately uncomfortable with it. to chose, instead, life.