Violence is a Part of our Daily Life

“On April 20, 1999, two teens went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others before turning their guns on themselves and committing suicide,” (Staff, history.com.) One theory for their behavior is due to to the violent games they played and the Goth culture they were a part of. Although this theory has not been proven, it is a theory that I seem to believe the most. Benedict Carey from the New York Times thinks they were  “video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy.”

This image shows the suicide of the two shooters responsible for the shootings that occurred at Columbine.

This image shows the suicide of the two shooters responsible for the shootings that occurred at Columbine.

Violence is seen on a daily basis ranging from public places like schools to the private life at home. While many people disagree that entertainment such as video games, television, movies, and music do not have a negative effect on children, others like Alice Park from the Time website seem to believe otherwise. Alice believes that “television, movies, and video games have been a popular target for senseless acts of violence…not to mention metal music and goth subculture, [are] partly to blame,” (Park, Alice).

Alice also talks about a study led by Craig Anderson to answer the question about the correlation of violent video games and aggressive behavior. During the study, 3,034 boys and girls in the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth grade were asked about their video game habits and were “also given standardized questionnaires designed to measure their aggressive behavior and attitudes toward violence.” Overall the violence rates seemed to have decreased as the years went by. As they took “a closer look at kids who played more hours of violent video games per week [they realized the] increases in aggressive behavior and violent tendencies, compared to those who played fewer hours a week.”  Anderson concluded the study by saying “What this study does is show that it’s media violence exposure that is teaching children and adolescents to see the world in a more aggressive kind of way.”

Today video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are frequently played in American homes, including mine. I am a witness to seeing my little bother and boyfriend get so engaged with these games, it seems like they are literally fighting. My six-year-old cousin and his friends are also aware of these games and will act them out.

These are scenes from Grand Theft Auto. They are clearly performing some type of torture to hurt the person in the chair. It also shows a child who is excited to "kill."

This image and the image below to the left are scenes from Grand Theft Auto. They are clearly performing some type of torture to hurt the person in the chair. The bottom image to the right shows a child who is excited to “kill.”

gtfcod

I myself engage in violent TV shows like Law and Order Special Victims Unit. The violence appearing in this show can be labeled as torture because the detectives are hurting the suspects to get information out of them. Below is a clip from the most aggressive detective on the show, Stabler. In this clip you can see him put his hands on many of the suspects. He also humiliates them and lets them know that he is in control of them. Many times throughout the show, his colleagues and chief tell him he has an anger problem that needs to be fixed. Yet, throughout all his out lashes, he is still allowed to work as a SVU Detective. This makes it seem as if his behavior were allowed. The sad part is that these fictionalized shows have to be inspired by something, and in real life, cops and detectives are violent and unfair.

Through all these different forms of media teaching us how to be violent and aggressive, we are learning and putting this information into action. Society as a whole has drawn up new ideas of what is just and what is unjust. Even between my mother’s generation and my generation, the difference in our aggressive behavior is clearly portrayed. While I find violence acceptable under circumstances that can threaten my life or my family’s life, my mother believes we should never “drop to that level” under any circumstance. It is evident that the media is teaching todays generation that violence is okay, therefore suggesting torture under the right circumstances is acceptable.

http://youtu.be/Uq-Ank1HG1Q

Works Cited

Benedict, Carey. “Shooting in the Dark.” <i>The New York Times</i>. 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. &lt;http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/science/studying-the-effects-of-playing-violent-video-games.html&gt;.

Park, Alice. “Little By Little, Violent Video Games Make Us More Aggressive.” (2014). <i>Time Inc</i>. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. &lt;http://time.com/34075/how-violent-video-games-change-kids-attitudes-about-aggression/&gt;.

Staff, History.com. “Columbine High School Shootings.” <i>History.com</i>. A E Networks, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. &lt;http://www.history.com/topics/columbine-high-school-shootings&gt;.

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Interrogations and Torture

Ever since 9/11, Americans seem to have a heart filled with anger and resentment. They have worked so hard in order to gather information, protect the United States, and provide justice to our country. Yet, at times it seems like they are trying to bring us justice by causing them pain. Although many people believe that torture is an effective method to obtain useful information, I believe that torture is a useless method when trying to retrieve information.

The United Nations Convention against Torture defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession… when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity,” (Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment).

An article in our Humanities Core Reader titled “The Depositions: The Prisoners Speak” gives testimonies from some of the prisoners of war kept at the prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. The prison site was outside of the country due to the fact that torture is illegal in the United States. Some countries outside of the United States do allow it. The guards in the Guantanamo prison were allowed to treat the prisoners any way they wished. They captured prisoners form the Middle East and extradited them to Cuba. All of the prisoner’s testimonies start off with a bag over their head. The guards then humiliate them in different ways. For example, one man was completely naked, until the guards gave him women’s underwear. He had to wear them and the guards would make fun of him. The Islamic culture found sex to be a very uncomfortable subject. For this reason, the prisoners of war found it disgracing to themselves and their god to be around girls while they were naked. So, in order to bring them disgust, both female and male guards would make them feel uncomfortable by touching their penis, getting naked in front of them, or having sex with them.

In the various scenarios of torture mentioned in the book, none of them mention the actual interrogation. All the testimonies say that the guards tried to humiliate them and that is exactly what they did. The guards enjoyed watching the prisoners in pain. It was a joke to them.

Why where these individuals in this prison? Why were they being tortured? In seminar during our torture debate, the fact that torture was inefficient was brought up. Sometimes while torturing someone who is not the right person, they will tell you what you want to hear, and therefore lead you to the wrong conclusion. Yet, other times you do have the right person, but no matter what you do, they are not willing to give up that information. Both these scenarios would be a waste of time. I believe that Elaine Scarry would agree to this. In her article, “Five Errors in the Reasoning of Alan Dershowitz” she argues that during 9/11 the government was sure that the second hijacked plane was going to hit somewhere in Washington. She believes that in this situation torture would be less helpful than evacuating people out of these buildings to ensure their safety. Even though the government was interrogating someone to get useful information out of him or her, it is not certain that they will actually help you. Interrogation is a good method to try to get information, but it is not always the safest.

In my opinion, torture is not so much for the good of a society during an interrogation, but rather an act of revenge covered up by warrant. If it came down to those last few minutes, pushing someone to his or her limit will not do much. Ensuring security in another way is best.

Works Cited

“Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” United Nations. General Assembly, 10 Dec. 1984. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. <http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/39/a39r046.htm&gt;.

Scarry, Elaine. Five Errors in the Reasoning of Alan Dershowitz. Print.

Reflections on the Civil War

John M. MaCardell wrote the article, The State of Letters. In this article MaCardell writes about the war in it’s totalities from the perspectives of the Union, the Confederates, and the African Americans. He say’s that when the North and South decided to reconcile, it came with certain conditions. For example, “There would be no discussing the war’s causes, no rehashing of the arguments for and against slavery,” and most importantly their was no more debates over equality, (McCardell). This article mocks the whole idea of an American Civil War, because Americans had a “reconciliationist spirit” on the war that had just cost them the lives of many men that deserved to live. Americans were having parades and doing re-enactments of battles, while the African Americans remained the same. Although African Americans were no longer slaves due to the Emancipation Proclamation, they were still “slaves” to many racist Americans.

The image below shows two African Americans and a baby being bullied by a member of the Ku Klux Klan and a member of the White League. These were organizations whose aim was to suppress African Americans from practicing their rights as freed slaves. On the picture it say’s “worse than slavery.” It is clear that while African Americans were no longer “slaves,” White Americans still believed themselves as superior. Since African Americans never truly received equality they were still mistreated by Whites. African Americas probably saw the Construction Era as worse than slavery because now they were being persecuted and killed. Southerners were upset at their revolt and at the fact that they had received the right to vote, that they did everything in their power to scare them form their rights. The article and picture relate because the article discusses the side no one ever heard, the African American’s side, and the image reveals the Americans way to scare African Americans away.

KKK

Works Cited

McCARDELL JR., JOHN M. “Reflections On The Civil War.” Sewanee Review 122.2 (2014): 295-303. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.