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Media Violence and Adolescents

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Media Violence and Adolescents

A "hot topic" of discussions today is the issue of violence in the media. After reading about the subject, I am convinced that media violence negatively affects the viewer. The most susceptible are the young.

John Grisham wrote a powerful essay called "Unnatural Killers." Since the writing of the essay, it has caught some flak from reviewers in light of his novel A Time to Kill. In this novel, the "good guy" kills. The points he made in his essay, however, are still valid. "Unnatural Killers" tells the dramatic story of Sarah Edmondson and Benjamin Darras's killing spree. Sarah and Ben killed one person and seriously injured another. Sarah testifies that the inspiration for this horrible act was a movie, "Natural Born Killers" (Grisham 346). Grisham describes the movie:

...a repulsive story of two mindless young lovers, Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis), who blaze their way across the Southwest, killing everything in their path while becoming famous. According to the script, they indiscriminately kill fifty-two people before they are caught. It seems like many more. Then they manage to kill at least fifty more as they escape from prison. They free themselves, have children, and are at last seen happily rambling down the highway in a Winnebago (346-347).

According to Sarah, "Ben loved 'Natural Born Killers,' and as they drove to Memphis he spoke openly of killing people, randomly, just like Mickey spoke to Mallory" (Grisham 347). Clearly, if Sarah's testimony is true, the movie had a deep and negative impact on Ben Darras. "Natural Born Killers" has inspired many other copycat acts. A 14-year old boy in Texas told police...

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...ce is a harmful problem. When are Hollywood and video-game makers going to catch on?

Works Cited

Center for Media Literacy. "Violence in the Media." URL (5 Dec. 1999).

Grisham, John. "Unnatural Killers." Kirszner and Mandell 343-351.

Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell, ed. The Blair Reader. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999.

Leonard, John. "Why Blame TV?" Kirszner and Mandell 351-356.

Levine, Madeline. "Media and the Adolescent." Kirszner and Mandell 357-364.

Malcolm, Teresa. "Teen Violence: Does Violent Media Make Violent Kids?" National Catholic Reporter 28 May 1999: 14-15.

Roper Center at University of Connecticut. Poll. Accession number 0327641. Question number 001. 19 May 1999.

The Freedom Forum Online. "Oliver Stone and Natural Born Killers."URL (5 Dec. 1999).
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