Where is all the positive news?

Ryan Szymczak

It’s disturbing. It’s horrifying. It’s a massacre.

They’re calling it the worst in history.

Right now, you could be in great danger.

More on that later.

What makes news anymore? Ensuring flight safety? Famous people passing? Athletes on crack? Car bombings in Iraq? Racial slurs? Mass murder?

Today, the only good news is bad news.

And still, everyone’s wondering just why college-aged individuals are so prone to violence?

It’s shoot ’em up video games.

No, it’s bad parenting.

No, it’s just kids today – spoiled brats.

Maybe it’s all these things. And something more.

Could it be because of the media’s fixation on everything negative?

The media, like vultures, don’t prey on rainbows and happy endings. Instead, they wait impatiently for the scent of something dead or dying. They gather in vast numbers and swoop down. They gnaw. They nip. They rip. They tear. They interview. And they report.

Curious bystanders and couch potatoes soak it up. They listen. They watch. They gawk. Hey, it’s important. It’s the news. This is what’s going on.

It’s not about simply informing the people anymore. It’s about ratings and raking in those advertising dollars.

So, yes, I’m pointing the finger at the media circus as a primary reason why many are overly insensitive to violence. It’s everyday. It’s the way things are. Or the way they’re shown to be.

“Watch enough brutality on TV and you come to believe you’re living in a cruel and gloomy world,” said Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things.

In his book, Glassner’s research shows “that people who watch a lot of TV are more likely than others to believe their neighborhoods are unsafe, to assume the crime rates are rising, and overestimate their own odds of becoming a victim. They also buy more locks, alarms, and – you guessed it – guns, in hopes of protecting themselves”

So, would the media have half the violence it feeds upon if our gun laws mimicked those of other countries?

“In Great Britain, Australia and Japan, where gun ownership is severely restricted, no more than a few dozen people are killed each year by handguns.” Compare that to the U.S. where “private citizens own a quarter-billion guns, around 15,000 people are killed, 18,000 commit suicide, and another 1,500 die accidentally from firearms.”

It’s terrible that Virginia Tech now shares a fate similar, but more severe in terms of loss, to Kent State. The international notoriety has already reshaped VT’s identity to what future generations will refer to as where “The Virginia Tech Massacre” took place. It’s no longer as much an academic institution as it is a world-renowned crime scene.

Why is the right to bear arms so popular here in the land of the free, wounded and viciously killed?

Gun laws don’t work, much to the benefit by way of increased ratings for any outlet of media. According to 2005 statistics from the Bureau of Justice, about 68 percent of all murders, 42 percent of all robberies and 21 percent of all aggravated assaults that were reported to the police were committed with a firearm.

It’s unfortunate that the stuff that keeps us attentive revolves around fear and loss.

All I want to know is – Where do they hide all the good news?

Ryan Szymczak is a junior English major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].