Friday, September 15, 2006

Blog responsibility?

I've been following this story about the shooting in Montreal, Canada. Over the past 24 hours, the headlines have been stating that the shooter had a blog and there were comments made on that blog which can explain the shooter's attitude and behavior.

The response to these stories has begun. According to this item from CNews, the "online community," (don't you love how things are phrased) states that the actions of the shooter has nothing to do with the site.
Site owner Jethro Berelson, who goes by Jet online, insisted Thursday that Gill’s actions and comments had nothing to do with the site or goth culture.

“You know, I think people on the site are generally very friendly and nice, and don’t really do any crimes,” he said in a telephone interview from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Goth is a culture? I had no idea. But, here's the thing. What bothers me is the fact that this is not the first time this site has been linked with a murder.
[the site] came under the media spotlight in April after a triple murder in Medicine Hat, Alta. A 12-year-old girl and 23-year-old man accused of the killings were alleged to have profiles on the site.
Even though this Montreal story is new, it goes back to the same old debate: Does the media (movies, music, television, videogames, internet, blogs, etc) have a direct link to influencing a person's behavior? Does the media have a responsibility to society to prevent producing products that are deemed harmful?

Now, I don't want to get into a free speech and censorship debate with people. Yes, people have a right to say what they want to say, like, "Life is like a videogame, you gotta die sometime."

Montreal's Dawson College now has one less student and twenty wounded students. Could this tragedy have been prevented? Maybe yes and maybe no.

12 comments:

It's me, T.J. said...

In WWII they had trouble getting the fresh troops to shoot and kill Germans.

They had a real problem on their hands because the "just out of boot camp" soldiers were getting other fellow soldiers wounded and killed.

The brass didn't know what to do about this problem.

Someone then came up with the idea of putting up silhouette targets for target practice during boot camp.

After they had the new recruits practicing on the silhouette targets, they didn't have as much of a problem with them fighting the Germans after they had gotten there.

Rehearsal, practice, or role playing...

Call it what you may.

But I believe that it is true...

That whatever you entertain in your mind, you will eventually act out with your hands.

later...

Hans G. Engel, M.D. said...

Personally, I am convinced that reading crime stories, watching aggressive movies frequently and especially playing killing in computergames and other such games may tend to decrease the sensitivity to violent behavior, especially the younger they are.

Bazza said...

I think that Goth is a culture in the same way as a mould in a Petrie dish can be called a culture.

'Hans' may be right but these things need to be scientifically tested to be proven; some things we think we understand by instinct turn out to be otherwise.

ian said...

I don't think it could have been prevented, because nobody really believes that someone they know is capable of such monstrosity. Here in Colorado the debate STILL rages on whether or not the Columbine massacre could have been prevented by parents being more attentive, or school officials, or friends speaking out.

I believe that when someone decides to die in this unfortunate manner (it's called Death by Cop according to my wife who works in a local jail), nobody can predict or prevent it. All they can do is pick up the pieces afterward and scream "why?", knowing they will never get an answer.

Ian
PS: thanks for the add to your blogroll; I'll connect you on mine in the next day or so.

rdl said...

Good post. And yes (despite freedom of speech) I think society has a responsiblity and those video games, movies do affect young psyche's. But sometimes I think it is way out of control and we've crossed a line and there's no turning back to those saner ozzie and harriet days.

Mother Jones RN said...

WARNING: I’m about to rant-
Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Does anyone remember what the word responsibility mean? Here’s my favorite definition:

Responsibility - the social force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demanded by that force; "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility” - John D.Rockefeller Jr.

Growing up I watched violent stuff on TV, Cowboys shooting Indians, police shooting robbers, and I made it through life without killing anyone. This “blame the other guy, so I don’t have to take responsibility culture” is crap. Stop blaming bloggers for the criminal actions of others.

OK, I’m getting down off my soapbox now. I feel better.

Moof said...

I know of a real life story which happened online quite recently ... although nothing physical has come of it yet, there were threats and it included stalking ...

Your post is very interesting to me ... I hope that I'll be able to write a bit about why sometime in the future.

foofoo5 said...

If you recall the young Native American high school student in MN last year who shot schoolmates and himself to death, I took great exception to the report of the New York Times. The reporter said the assailant's aunt was concerned that he was taking Prozac, "which researchers have yet to connect to violent behavior." I wrote them that I noticed that, in the photos provided, the young man appeared to be wearing black Doc Martin boots (as did the Columbine shooters), but to my knowledge, "researchers have yet to connect them to violent behavior." The emphasis is mine.

I have great difficulty with the speculative ascription of "cause" when we are discussing a gross statistical anomaly of behaviour. Put this and all similar incidents together and you can generalize nothing. Why? Because they are gross anomaly. We wouldn't think of practicing medicine relying on gross anomaly. Certainly it happens, but so rarely that we always fall back on the differential.

Do they suggest a "pattern" of behaviour that might help us predict future behaviour? Is this behaviour on the rise? On both counts, the research says no. What does anomaly say about a given "society" or its values? Nothing.

It is a sad, morose, tragic incident of aberration, but what does it actually explain beyond the tortured existence of one very disturbed individual? I think nothing.

Anonymous said...

Just to add that i do agree that everyone is responsible for their own actions but it seems to me society as whole has changed drastically in the last ? 50 yrs. everything seems way faster and way more expensive, and stressful and the american dream/nightmare of homeownership requiring both parents to work, with perhaps less supervision. but yes what about values (like for human life), why aren't they taught? or learned? deviant behavior/personality. It just seems ironic that there is so much more of this now than i can ever remember in the past; more in just 1 yr. than in decades.

Borneo Breezes said...

A thought provoking post.
I am no longer two-handed about this issue of images of violence and behaviour. I know it affects me so have cut out violent films, books and TV. Like Barbara Kingsolver, I think TV is a one-eyed monster.
Overall they tell us there is less violent crime, but these events strike a different chord in me.

LookinginmyRearviewMirror said...

I am enjoying your blog. You have a nice way of saying things. Refreshing.

Would you care to exchange links with me?

Blessings,

Lue

Smalltown RN said...

Very thought provoking...

I think violence has always been there. We just didn't pay it much attention. Remember our saturday morning cartoons Woody woodpecker, Tom and Gerry, Bullwinkle, or how about Mutant Ninja turtles, Superman, batman and the likes. Those cartoons were filled with violent behaviour. Some did try to show good over evil. But what about the woodpecker hitting the other character over the head with a hammer, I mean how many times can Wile coyote get blown up. Did these cartoons make me want to go out and blow something up or set a trap for something or someone for that matter. No it didn't.

It does make me wonder though if an individual can be predisposed to violent and agressive behaviours. It really makes you think more about "Nature or Nurture" theory.

Even though I tried to limit/monitor the watching of violent shows by my children. Sometimes it was unavoidable. Then comes the hand held video games. Regardless, as far as I know my children have not gone out and made bombs, obtained guns, posted hate messages and I don't believe they would. But then I guess anything is possible.

As I said this ia very thought provoking topic.