Swickard: From video games to real revolution

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   It seems we, as a nation, are becoming more violent and aggressive. Several of us were talking after the Super Bowl that many of the commercials were very violent. People killing people seemed to be most shown. And it seems to reflect the way people are acting in our society.
            Perhaps we are just oldsters who pine for the good old days of a different century. But today many people are beyond aggressive as seen on Facebook and on our highways. When I was younger this behavior would get you a punch in the nose at the very least.
            It could be something else. I remember writing a column in 1993 that included:
            He was six years old with an innocent angelic face. As I was talking to his mother I noticed him looking at a sales catalog so I asked, “Did you see something you want for your birthday?”
            He said, “I want this video game.”
            The game seemed extremely violent. I asked, “Why this game?”
            He said, “It’s got the very best fatalities.”
            “Excuse me?” I must have heard wrong.
            “It has the very best fatalities,” he repeated. I asked, “What makes for the very best fatalities?”
            He grinned. “When blood spurts out, their bones show and their skin burns off while they die.”
            I was very shocked by this small child wanting the very best fatalities. His mother told me most young kids feel the same way about those games which is why there are so many violent games on the market.
            There has been concern about what appears to be increasing violence in our society. I believe the reason we have so much violence in America is that many Americans simply like violence. The enjoyment of violence is a many year product of the entertainment industry.
            There are gentle people and violent people here in America. It is hard to spot any difference in their general appearance. The lambs and lions lay down together but only one gets up. The lions enjoy violence while the lambs do not.
            There are times when violence is the only option. Still, even after thousands of years, the same blood lust central to the society which enjoyed going to the Roman Coliseum to watch gladiators kill each other, is alive in our own society.
            In a few years, the young boy who likes fatalities may move to real death on the streets. At the murder trial a lawyer may call his mother to the stand. She will admit she allowed her son to enjoy violence. Society must decide what to do with him once it has been established how much he enjoys the very best fatalities.
            That’s what I wrote in 1993. Over the years, I have seen many young people who are far more aggressive than people in past years. There is also the anonymous ability of some people to be jerks without getting the punch in the snout they deserve.
            Which takes us to the violent protestors that have sprung up in the last year in response to police actions and Donald Trump being elected President of the United States. The police are the police and as to the election, like it or not there is no way to go back. Donald Trump is now the president of our country.
            But we are seeing people block highways, set fires and generally throw a tantrum over the election results. They are blocking ambulances and damaging property. People are randomly being assaulted as our society is moving toward ever more violence.
            There is a concern that another Civil War is breaking out with those people unable to accept the results of the November 2016 election. They are acting out against the society. One state, California, is talking about leaving the United States but it isn’t that easy since the people of the state are citizens of the entire country.
            Could it be that so many of these protesters are acting out roles that they have experienced in video games and so are divorced from reality. That easily could be. I don’t know why they seem to enjoy the chaos they cause. But this won’t end well for any of us.