Saturday, December 12, 2015
I ran across an article this weekend from Tim Elmore's blog about gaming and instantly thought I needed to share this with parents. I have referenced Elmore in my blog in the past, and also provided links to some of his articles. He is a leader in the study of adolescents and parenting, as well as developing leadership skills in our young people. In the article that I am linking you to, he defers to Andrew McPeak, a writer, curriculum designer, and speaker. McPeak provides some very informative insight into gaming, how it has changed our world and how he predicts it will continue to impact it. With a gamer of my own, I found this very insightful, and hopefully you will as well!
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Compared to the other industrialized countries of the world we still have strong remnants of the “Wild West” mentality. There is a lot of “romance” in that tradition and a tremendous amount of patriotism and “American identity” connected to it. The reality is that we are a nation that is still in its infancy compared to those we consider our peers around the globe. Perhaps an analogy is that we going through those “terrible twos” right now. Like a two-year old, perhaps our society is going to mature in the next few years and we will be more civilized, more kind to one another, and less violent like other countries in the civilized world. What am I talking about? It appears to me that we have real problems in this country with violent behavior and I quite frankly wonder when we are going to get past it.
First off, I am comparing us to other civilized countries in the world. Certainly there are examples in the world where horrendous things happen in their society, like women being stoned to death and Christians being beheaded in the Middle East. Scores of innocent men, women, and children are mowed down by drug cartels in Central America and Mexico. In those respects, I believe Americans believe that we are far more advanced than those societies. What I am talking about are industrialized nations that we compare ourselves to as modern nations and civilized societies. And it is in these comparisons that frankly, we don’t stand up as very civilized. Yes, there are terrorist acts committed by citizens in England and France, but when you look at the degree of incidence, daily life in the United States is far more violent.
When asked in July 2015 what are the greatest threats are to America, President Obama’s nominee to serve as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, listed in order: Russia, China, North Korea, and ISIS. Hard to argue with that from a global perspective, though some members of Congress want to lump Iran into that category. However, in an article that appeared in The Daily Beast earlier this year, Dean Obeidallah, argues that an even bigger threat lives right here within out boarders: ourselves. More specific, those of use who are determined to maintain a society based on an extremist view of the 2nd Amendment.
What I am talking about is not the right to bear arms. Rather, I am simply pointing out that according to Obeidallah, in the United States of America, more Americans were killed by other Americans with guns in 2013 (33, 636) that all of the Americans killed on U.S. soil by terrorists in the last 14 years (3025). That includes the 2,977 killed in 9/11 and 48 others killed by terrorists, over half of those by American white supremacists (rt.com). To me, this is barbaric! The fact that we are killing more of each other on a daily basis that any foreign enemy has done in years says a lot about how violent we have become! Whether it is by gun or some other means, killing fellow human beings is uncivilized, and Americans are doing this at a far greater rate than other civilized societies. The easy access to guns just makes it easier. Every day over 30 Americans are killed by guns and of those 30, five children or teenagers are included. This is 11 times more often than children and teens killed by guns in other civilized country (bradycampaign.org).
Okay, I’ll stop on the gun issue because I am aware of the emotions involved. Bottom line: other civilized countries do not have anywhere close to the number of violent deaths inflicted by members of the citizenry. Other proof? How about men killing women? Every day in our nation, three women are killed by their husband, boyfriend, or a person they had been in a relationship with at one time. One-third of all women murdered in our country were killed by current or past male partners (cnn.com). Domestic violence is a term we hear a lot, yet what is being done to reduce it?
Even the most popular sport we watch is extremely violent, some say barbaric. In fact, it may seem the spectacle of American football is second only to gladiators in the Coliseum in terms of sanctioned violence. The National Football League had over $9 billion in revenue at the end of the most recent season with the stated goal of $25 billion by 2025. And players are dying playing the game. No, there has not been a death on the field in the NFL for years, and in fact, only one actually died on the field during a game back in 1971. However, one cannot ignore the deaths related to brain injuries suffered playing the game, nor those of players from youth leagues to the college level. The rest of the world has moved beyond gladiator contests with soccer being the most popular contest in the world. You get into all kinds of arguments about the future of football and how long it will last. Some state that as we evolve as a society it will become a thing of the past and we will move on to less violent spectator options. Who knows. But, there are attempts to make it less violent, which begs the question, will it be as popular if it is not?
Maybe what is going on right now is that American is undergoing some growing pains. The angry, whiney two-year old in us is lashing out against things that make us unhappy and we just don’t know any better. Maybe because parents are making choices for their children to keep them away from some of the more violent games at a young age will have an impact on our society. We still have not addressed the issue of mental illness very well in our country and the violence that accompanies it, and that is a worry. But hopefully this is a stage we are going through and perhaps one day people killing one another in our country will reflect the numbers in more civilized societies.