09 April 2006

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

I'm so damn The current mood of augustdreams at www.imood.com

I know I've sung this song before, but it always hits me hard whenever I pick up the newspaper. They're preparing to choose jurors for the murder trial. I won't go into details, because the details are upsetting as hell. These were vicious, horrific murders. It's crimes like these that make me lean in favor of the death penalty. Because why should our taxes pay for the care and feeding of the kind of vile, soulless monsters who commit those crimes?

But I fear I'm taking the easy way out in holding to that opinion. If someone I love dearly were to commit murder, I know I'd feel differently. And if I only support the death penalty when it does no harm to me and mine, isn't that wrong?

The biggest question in these cases is always the WHY. WHY did they do it? WHY were they capable of it? In the attempt to answer those questions, two of my favorite forms of entertainment are often demonized by prosecution and defense alike; horror movies and video games.

I've been watching and loving horror movies since I was about 11 years old. I am desensitized to fictional (and the operative word here is fictional) violence. Scenes that turned my stomach 10 years ago make me laugh today. I'm exactly the kind of person those who cry "violent films made them do it!" would love to prove a sociopath. Yet I would never deliberately harm another human being unless it was in self-defense, and I would do anything within my power to stop someone else from doing so.

I am not desensitized to the tragedy that fills our newspapers and local news programs. Forgive me probably sounding melodramatic here but I often don't read the newspapers or watch the evening news because the if-it-bleeds-it-leads mentality makes my soul ache. I want to make everything okay again for the people who were hurt. I want to shelter every good person in the world with an impenetrable shield. And no amount of godawful Friday the 13th sequels can change that.

I'm torn when it comes to video games. On the one hand, I play World of Warcraft. It may contain only fantasy violence (and certainly not portrayed realistically or graphically) but it's violent nonetheless. And when I had my old VG system, I was a big fan of Resident Evil. (The game, not the movie. The movie sucks like an electrolux.)

However, I'm sickened by games like Gr@nd Theft Aut0. I hate them so much that I'd like to blame them for the violence in our society (Hell, I'd blame them for acid rain and Barbara Streisand if I could!). But if movies that feature gut-munching zombies and skin-flaying demons (not at the same time, mind you - although now that I think about it, that would rock!) haven't turned me into Skippy the Happy Killer, there's a pretty good chance that pressing a few buttons on a game controller to carjack a pixellated person doesn't do it either.

Which leaves us, I guess, right back where we started. With the WHY. And I don't know. But I know we need to stop treading the already trampled path we've been going down in the search for an answer. Maybe it's chemical. Maybe it's environmental. Maybe it's being born into a life where nobody can be bothered to teach you compassion and a sense of right and wrong.

I don't really know where I'm going with this entry. I should know better than to pick up the newspaper in the first place. I try to strike a balance between being saturated by heartless "Don't miss it! Tonight at 11!" media coverage of tragedy and winding up living in a shack in the woods with no idea of who won the last US presedential election. Because whenever I run across this stuff, it fills me up with a helpless sorrow that can only find release in these words.

On a (much) lighter note, I changed the layout again. One day maybe I'll be able to create something that doesn't use the same template with only pictures and colors being changed. But hey, it's a start! Have a great night and thanks for reading.

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