|NASHVILLE (BP) -- The search for a scapegoat has begun.
Now that the initial shock of the Newtown massacre is wearing off, our society is looking for something to do and someone to blame.
Something to do? Many are lobbying for stricter gun control laws and bans on assault weapons. Others are recommending that teachers and school officials be armed and ready to fight back.
Someone to blame? The talking heads on television have begun a conversation about mental illness that they are woefully ill-prepared for. I shudder to consider what lies ahead for autistic children and adults with Asperger's syndrome if hearsay and ignorance win the day.
While the tendency in the coming days will be to point our fingers, I recommend we point the finger right back at ourselves. Could it be that we are a violent people? Consider:
-- We are horrified by the slaughter of innocent children in Newtown but we are entertained by children killing children in "The Hunger Games."
-- We react with disbelief at the gruesomeness of the news reports but then plug in our video game consoles so we can shoot, stab and decapitate lifelike people on the screen.
-- We weep and mourn the stolen innocence of our children but the bestselling books in our country involve violent sexual fantasies and sadism/masochism.
-- We sing carols and hymns in remembrance of the victims of violence but our iPods are filled with explicit lyrics of rage that are particularly degrading to women.
Should we be surprised when reality eventually mirrors our fantasies?
Talk to Christian believers in other parts of the world and you quickly discover that we have a reputation for consuming movies, music and video games that promote a mindset of violence. Whenever I have brought up these concerns with my fellow American friends, I have gotten blank stares and then a quick denial that violence in any way represents us.
I remember when I took my son to see "Wall-E," only to find kids in kindergarten going to see "Hulk" with their parents. I know church kids who sat in the front row of "The Dark Knight."
Let me be clear. Even the Bible includes narratives of violence. I'm not opposed to violence as a means of representing evil in books and movies. My concern is that the proliferation of violent depictions has desensitized us to the point that the association of violence with evil is lost within violence itself. Continued...