I am sure you are as upset as I am about the senseless gun violence that has occurred. I found an article written by Susan Allen, Doctor of Nursing Program director at Andrews University, in the Adventist World magazine (AdventistWorld.org, July 2018) that gave me food for thought, and a different Perspective. Under the title “The Bigger Issue Behind Gun Violence” and subtitle “Has society revived the Roman Colosseum?” She writes:
“In the wake of some recent tragedies involving gun violence, I read many social media posts from both sides of the issue, many focusing on gun control.
“I believe we are overlooking the bigger issue.
“How does a society get to the point that these types of things seem not to be isolated events anymore? I don’t believe this has to do with guns or how many bullets the guns can hold. This has more to do with the desensitization of murder, shooting, torture and violence in our society. Perhaps our brains are even being trained in violence. How did we as a society get to this point?
“Modern, civilized societies often look back in history to the games and events that took place in the Colosseum of Rome as a barbaric, bloodthirsty form of entertainment; I’m not sure our society is much different, with the barbaric and bloodthirsty movies that are shown on TV and in theaters as entertainment.
“In addition, the video games that children play are laden with violence and killing. Children often spend hours playing video games in which they participate in the act of shooting and killing the opponents on screen.
“Many think the human brain can separate reality from fiction. Research has proven otherwise. Norwegian researcher Christian Keysers wrote a book about the research entitled ‘The Empathic Brain.’ In this book he unpacks the research that has been done on the mirror neurons of the brain. The research is too in-depth to cover in this limited space. But Keysers says that the mirror neurons of the brain interpret what a person is watching as ‘your actions become my actions.’
“The neurons of the brain can’t tell the difference between what we see others do and what we actually do ourselves. In other words, our brains interpret what is seen on television and video games as if we ourselves perform the acts. By beholding, we truly become changed.
“So, what is the answer? I’ve read the analogy about taking the stick away from two children on the playground who are using the stick to fight each other. The implication is that we should take the stick away from all children on all playgrounds because of these two. This doesn’t solve the problem.
“I suggest that instead of playing violent video games and watching violent movies, we turn our thoughts to things that are good, kind, noble, and true. Instead, let our children experience the blessing that comes from serving others. What does that look like in everyday life? It could be taking your children to help clean the house of an elderly shut-in, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or helping flood victims and victims of other disasters to help alleviate their suffering.
“It is time for the church to join hands to propagate good in the lives of others. By doing so we will create a better world for ourselves and our children.”
I copied this word-for-word hoping that some of you can get the impact that it gave me! I have a very smart niece who used to take her boys to soup kitchens and such things and letting them get the feeling that comes when we help others. I can’t remember anyone else who did this. I may have forgotten some incidents, but we can change this if we will.
My fear is that many parents are controlled by their children’s whims more than by their own, hopefully mature, realization that, as a parent, it is their responsibility to discipline and train their children. I also realize that many children do not have someone who loves them enough to do this, and doing these activities with their children could make an even greater impression for their growth into kind and thoughtful adults.