You know what's funny (I mean besides a 42 year old man playing XBox in his son's bedroom), after I was finished playing Call of Duty: World At War, I didn't feel an urge to go outside and kill all the doggies. You might be asking yourself what the hell am I talking about. And then I would be forced to point out that you are talking to yourself again. But yesterday in the local paper, there was a story of some 19 year old aspiring candy-ass from Tyngsboro who is outraged at the violence toward animals depicted in the Call of Duty video game. She has started a petition against the video game because of the cruelty to dogs in the game. I wonder if this neophyte knows the secret.... ssshhhhhhh....
Well, this article raised the discussion about the amount of violence to which our children are exposed. All the panty-waste bellyachers out there are afraid that our children will be more apt to act violently because they are being "desensitized." Holy shit!!!! Really? What these know-it-alls are implying is that because my son spends his waking moments shooting WWII soldiers and killing WWII attack dogs in a fantasy video game, he could be desensitized to violence, making it more likely that he will go outside looking to knife the nearest German Shepard. Umm..... BULLSHIT!!! That's like saying after hours upon hours of Guitar Hero, he will become a rock star (it's not a real guitar you morons!)... and he is pretty freakin' good at the Madden football games, but I don't think he is at risk of becoming an NFL linebacker (Hey - it's not real football either) ... No, the real reason children act violently can usually be traced back to you being a bad parent... sorry if I have offended the bad parents out there, but suck it up buttercup. It's not Ozzy's fault - it's on you.
Let's make some fun of this argument for a moment:
In 1888, Jack the Ripper brutalized many a prostitute in the Whitechapel district of London, reportedly after spending hours playing Grand Theft Auto and killing make believe prostitutes on his yet to be invented television and video game system. Oh... and did you know that Charles Manson was addicted to Mortal Kombat? He would spend hours playing that game while spinning his Beatles albums backward. Rumor has it, it is the violence portrayed in that game that led ol' Chuck to murder (I blame the backwards Beatles songs, by the way).
I know many Moms and Dads who are happy to squash imagination by refusing to allow their children to own toy guns while growing up. Their argument is that playing with toy guns will foster a certain level of comfort with "killing." HUH??? Newsflash: If your son doesn't have a toy gun, he will pick up a stick and promptly begin making machine gun noises, complete with a spit shower all over his Transformers tshirt. And if there is no high powered machine gun stick to be found, there is always the trusty two guns given to him by God... with a simple extension of thumb and forefinger, every boy has in his possession the baddest pair of 6-shooters in the west). I spent my entire youth shooting Indians (not native Americans - Indians - the kind of indians that run around slapping their open mouths with their open hands to make the familiar whooping sound all Indians make), cowboys, cops and robbers and the occasional storm trooper. Sometimes we would even "die," meaning we had to lay still for an expected amount of time (usually one minute or as soon as the other kid is out of sight) before we could re-enter the game and start shooting again. Despite all the exposure to violent games as a youth, I turned out a rather peaceful kinda guy (well, I do get a charge out of watching Jack Bauer fling a knife into a hitman's chest... cuz that's really cool).
My son has had toy rifles, air soft guns and paintball guns. Forget worrying about toy guns. I have also taken my now teenage son to a firing range in Manchester and to a frozen pond in Hudson. He has spent time shooting a .40 caliber carbine rifle, a .22 single shot rifle and a CO2 powered BB gun. He shoots paper targets, beer cans and water bottles. Some people would say that he is being molded into a person with a tendency toward violence. I would say that he is being molded into a kid who likes to shoot beer cans and paper targets. (Oh... I am trying to mold him into the type of person who can kill that fahkin woodpecker who won't leave my house alone.)