Monday, June 27, 2005

Plato's Words

Plato once said "You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a day of conversation." Just how true are these words? I asked several people over the course of a long time about it. I asked what the best way to read a person's character is, getting many results. One person suggested observing from a distance. Another said just talk to them. A third, however, strongly supports the quote. A group of guys told me that the best way to read a guy's character is to play hockey with him. They told me that how a guy interacts with other people shows a lot about the kind of person he is. It shows how well he can control himself, how much of a team player her is, and even how humble he can be. Obviously, Plato's words are true...just listen to the 3 a.m. ramblings of various hockey players!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Effects of the Media on School Violence

This is a research paper I did this year. It started out being just about school shootings, then narrowed to the causes of school shootings, then narrowed even more to the MEDIA affects on school shootings. It turns out theres LOTS of info on school shootings!! Sorry about all the works cited and everything. If anyone wants the bibliography, althought I can't imagine why they would, I can post it later or something. Hopefully this sheds a little bit of light on what I was talking about on John's blog.

“’Juvenile killers don’t just wake up one day and become juvenile killers. Homicide, like most behavior, is learned.’” (Bonilla, 39) Those words of Charles Patrick Ewing, a psychologist at State University, can be proved by much research. The media, including TV, movies, and video games, is a major place where kids can learn to be killers.
It can be proven the toddlers as young as 14 months will mimic behaviors seen on TV ( 47% of kids ages four to six will copy aggressive behaviors, as well ( In fact, 25% of juvenile crimes are imitated from crimes seen on TV (Jones, 34). Add to that the knowledge that the average child will witness 200,000 acts of violence, 16,000 of which are murders, before the age of 18 ( It seems logical that kids will be violent.
TV for kids can be up to 50 or 60% more violent than adult primetime TV. Cartoons alone can average 80 violent acts per hour ( In fact, 66% of kid’s shows contain violence. On kid’s shows, 75% of violent acts go unpunished, and 58% of them fail to show any pain a victim may face (
By not showing the consequences, kids begin to forget that shooting someone does cause pain. Over time, this desensitizes them to violence, making it seem common and perfectly acceptable (Jones, 34). Keep in mind that the average child spends 28 hours a week parked in front of the TV, which is 28 hours slowly become accustomed to violence (
Not only is violence shown to be acceptable, it is portrayed to be the way to solve problems. A child sees his TV hero shoot and kill the bad guy and thinks it’s acceptable for him to go out and shoot someone he doesn’t get along with (Bonilla, 35). This message is reinforced every time violence is used to solve a problem, giving justification for violent actions (Garnett, 111). If a child isn’t taught that there are ways other than violence to solve problems, and that TV is only pretend, there will be a problem (Capozzoli, 24).
Young children are not always able to separate reality from pretend. When such a child views violent or scary TV shows, it can cause fear and mistrust (Garnett, 111). These programs only show one small piece of the world, a violent piece, but children can’t always understand that concept ( This can cause them to show self-protective behavior. They can begin to imitate the aggressive behavior they have seen demonstrated on TV. The lack of respect for life can also come through in a child‘s behavior as well; as such behavior on TV shows that disrespect for other people is okay (Garnett, 111). A 1972 study shows that the move TV violence a child watches, the more violent he or she tends to be (Jones, 33).
As stated, younger children seem the most at risk to develop aggressive behavior. Before the age of four, a child is still developing his or her values and understanding of right and wrong. They will imitate behavior to find out about the concept of actions and consequences. This can be demonstrated by a study called “Beating Up On Bobo” (Jones, 36).
In 1963, researchers took three groups of nursery school age kids and had them watch a movie of a man telling a life-sized doll, Bobo, to move out of his way. When Bobo didn’t, the man began to punch Bobo, hit him with a mallet, and throw balls at him, yelling at Bobo the entire time. The first group of children then saw a man being rewarded with candy. The second group saw the man scolded and punished, and the third group saw no additional footage (Jones, 37).
All the children were then brought into a playroom with Bobo dolls, mallets, and balls. The researchers watched them with a two-way mirror. The first and third groups of children imitated several of the man’s actions. The kids in the second group, the ones who had seen the man punished, did not (Jones, 37).
Obviously, this shows that young children can’t tell the difference between the actions on TV and ones in real life. With age, kids can begin to understand the differences, but early impressions lay the foundation for later behavior (Jones, 37).
Viewing violence on TV as a child is also shown to have lasting effects. In 1960, University of Michigan professor Leonard Eron did a study on 856 third graders. He found that the more violent TV they watched at home, the more aggressively they behaved in school. In order to study the long-term effects of TV violence, he went back in 1971, when the kids were around age 19. The found that boys who had watched the most violent TV when they had been in third grade were more likely to be in trouble with the law. He went back one more time in 1982 and found once again that the viewers of violent TV were more likely to be convicted of serious crimes and to use violence as discipline on their children or to beat their wives (
Although movies are watched less, they are often more violent than TV. For example, in the movie Diehard 2, there were 264 murders. The fact that it was rated R was of little importance. Friday the 13th, an extremely violent movie, was also rated R, but 20% of children ages five to seven had viewed it according to one poll. Seeing that much violence at such a young age is sure to have an effect on a child (Jones, 35).
Like TV violence, movie violence sends the message that murder equals power. It tells kids that they can have control and get attention with a gun. In the movie Natural Born Killers, murder is even equated with freedom (Bonilla, 35).
In it, one of the main characters comments, “I’m alive for the first time in my life,” after he kills his first victim. Barry Loukaitis, the school shooter in Moses Lake, Washington was reported to have watched the movie and often quoted from it. He even told one of his friends that he thought it would be “fun to go on a killing spree.” (Bonilla, 35)
In another movie, The Basketball Diaries, actor Leonardo DiCaprio daydreams of killing classmates. In the scene, he is wearing black boots and a long black trench coat to hide his weapon. Michael Carneal, of the Paducah, Kentucky shooting, said he was inspired by the movie. After viewing it he told a friend that he was “planning something big.” (Bonilla, 37)
In addition to Natural Born Killers, Barry Loukaitis was reported to have been effected by The Basketball Diaries and the book Rage, by Stephen King. In the book, the main character kills his Algebra teacher and holds his Algebra class hostage. The book and movie joined together on the day Loukaitis walked into his Algebra class, dressed in black boots and a long black trench coat which concealed the rifle he was carrying, and shot several classmates. The correlation between the shooting and the book and movie is obvious (Bonilla, 37).
Another major contributor to aggressive behavior is violent video games. During World War II, the armed forces had a problem. The military personnel were often hesitant to shoot; it went against God-given instinct. The military needed to get rid of the correlation in the brain between shooting someone and death. They did that by developing virtual games similar to “Doom” and “Quake” to encourage this. With the games, the willingness to kill skyrocketed to 95%. In the military, the ethical questions involved in the decision to shoot are questioned, so a soldier understands when and who to shoot and why he is doing it (Larson, 68)
When a teenager starts playing these games, there is no one to question them. This makes these games nothing more than murder simulators for those who play them. Dave Grossman, a psychology professor, says as much. He says of games like “Quake” that they “are murder simulators which over time teach a person how to look another person in the eyes and snuff their life out.” (Jones, 42).
Almost 50% of fourth through eighth graders say that their favorite electronic games are violent. First person shooter games are most popular with boys ages 8-13, who spend an average of over four hours a week playing them (Jones, 42). 50% of teens ages 13-17 say they have played these games, and 10% say they play them regularly (Egendorf, 19)
In first person shooter games, the shooter is shot at and must shoot back to earn points (Egendorf, 19). The more violence committed, the more points earned (Jones, 42). Players have to think and act like assassins (Egendorf, 22). Players love the adrenalin rush they get by shooting an enemy and earning the due rewards (Egendorf, 20)
The game “Night Trap” features vampires drilling through the necks of collage age girls with power tools. Another game, “Mortal Kombat“, allows players to punch, kick, or even decapitate their enemies (Jones, 42). Judge Larabee has seen two cases where kids play these games and then go out and kill. She says, “There is not difference for them between Mortal Kombat and real life” (Day, 24).
Some games have players killing more than just the enemy. “Some games invite players to blow away ordinary people who have done nothing wrong-pedestrians, marching bands, an elderly woman with a walker. In these games the shooter is not a hero, just a violent sociopath,” says U.S. World and News Report writer John Leo. He says these games erase empathy, which researchers say is what makes kids killers. Psychologists warn that these violent games teach a lack of respect for life (Jones, 42).
Video games require fast reflexes. While they may develop hand-eye coordination, they require little to no critical thinking skills, but rather depend on instinct (Garnett, 114).
Over time, players get used to the no think, just act response to problems. This sends the message that solving problems is quick and requires little time. It says that the best way to solve a problem is to simply shoot it and get rid of it (Garnett, 113).
Shooting games teach a firing technique that is totally opposite to what one would normally use. This is chillingly obvious in the case of Michael Carneal. When he walked in to the school building, he had never before shot a handgun. Yet he fired eight shots and hit eight people. He would shoot at one person, aiming for the head, and move directly on to the next victim. A person who hasn’t used a gun before would normally shot at his or her target until it fell. Carneal learned this technique from the point-and-shoot, first person, violent video games. In these games, players have a short time to shoot and are rewarded for firing only one shot per target. Carneal gained his motor-coordination skills from those violent games (Larson, 67).
Four decades of research shows the correlation between media violence and real-life violence. “At some point, you have to say that if exposure to violence is related to aggressive attitudes and values and if [the latter] are related to shooting classmates or acting aggressively-all of which we know to be true-than it stands to reason that there is probably a link between exposure to violence and aggressive actions” (Egendorf, 21). Clearly, the media, including TV, movies, and video games has a major effect on violence in children and teens. Until something is done about this violence, there will continue to be extreme evil, kids out there, killing other kids.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Glory of Hot Glue

Until last year, I wasn't a large consumer of this product. In fact, I'm not sure I ever used it. Thankfully, this tragic occurrence was fixed during last year's Mission Possible for Science Olympiad. I fast learned that the cure for anything, from a broken lever to gluing hair on a barbie doll to securing fingers together, is hot glue. No matter what the issue, hot glue can solve the problem. Got water leaking? Layer of hot glue should fix it. Holes in the tube? Hot glue 'em!! Crutial lever snaps off 15 minutes before competition? RUN for the glue gun!! Hot glue, as its name indicates, is a substance of high temperature. Because of this, dripping glue on one's finger inflicts great pain upon said finger. Also, if you happen to drip vast quantities of said glue upon a finger, it will leave a scar...For at least one year, its still there in fact, so even longer probably. Hot glue is the way to go by far!! If you've never had the opportunity to use it, I'd definitely recommend it to you!!

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Bloody MONSOON!!!

Today, this morning specifically, was one of the wettest I've seen!! I woke up at 8, ready 2 go 2 the first swimteam practice of the year only to find it raining....raining HARD!!! Since i have to ride my bike to the pool, i logically went back to bed!! I was RUDELY awakened about 20 minutes later by my sister, who informed me that my friend Amanda and her sister Lexi were coming in 15 minutes to TAKE us to practice. With much groaning and complaining I dragged myself out of bed and to the 75 minute lapswim in preparation for our short summer season. It was the first exercise I've gotten since...umm, about a year ago, LAST YEAR'S swimteam!! Needless to say i nearly drowned...and there wasn't even ne1 2 save me!! Keep in mind that all this is occuring in the MONSOON-like rain!! But it did clear up this evening, which was nice. 2morrow i heard there's sposta be like, tornados tho...fingers crossed for nice weather!!!

Friday, June 10, 2005


Its been like, a MONTH since i've posted last!! Its been SOOOOOOOOO busy!!! I majorly owe u an email John, i swear i'll get it 2 ya soon!! neway tho. Lets see........Banquet was a good time. I'm na get some pictures up computers kinna screwed up rite now. My bday was the 29th......sweet 16 now, but nvr been kissed, don't worry!! I went mini golfing the nite of the 28th.....pretty much lost actually, but it was rly fun neway. I got a fish named Pedro for my bday...he's one of those Japanese fighter fish...bettas r w/e they are. I'll hafta c if i can get a pic of him up 2. Exams are done now too......i'm SOOOO happy!! I was so incredibly tired of studying it wasn't even funny!! I think i did pretty good in most of them....fingers crossed neway!! I spent enuff time studying that i BETTER have, howzat!!
On the other hand, theres 4sure a bittersweet side to the year being done. Graduation was last night, and with the close of the year came the end of some really good times with some of my best friends who graduated. Many of the guys in that class are like big brothers, and the girls like big sisters. Jenny, in particular, and Jon and Bri are gonna b the ones I'll miss the most. When Jon gave his salutitorian address I'll admit to getting a bit teary eyed, and then again when they showed various pictures and videoclips of the seniors in a slideshow at the end. I just can't believe these people I've gotten to be such good friends with are moving on....without me!! Lanae, in her valedictorian speech, said that the only constant thing in life is true that is!! This year has brought so many changes I can't even name them all!! I just hope this summer and next year bring about as many good times and memories as the last 10 months have!!