Raised by TV

By now the Littleton, Colorado high school massacre has become the cultural Rorschach test for the new millennium. Every faction, fraction, and ideological or religious subgroup in America sees in that horrible event exactly the message it has been trying to get across to the rest of us. "If only we’d listened to [insert the group or guru of choice], none of this would have happened."

Cultural conservatives blame the entertainment industry. Liberals, especially those dependent on entertainment industry dollars, blame the gun industry. The gun industry blames everyone else. Religious conservatives blame the breakdown of family. Feminists point out that all the teen-aged assassins from Pearl to Littleton to Atlanta are future men. Many educators and parents blame a corrosive and soul-less youth culture (a wholly owned subsidiary of the entertainment industry). Youth culture outsiders blame an officially sanctioned school culture of intolerance and repression that drives today’s young rebels over the edge.

They’re all right in their own way.

Guns are a convenient issue for Democratic politicians, and personally I’d support a complete ban on all handguns and automatics. But I don’t think guns are the core issue. I’ve never lived in a place like Littleton, Colorado, but I can testify that in places like Pearl, Paducah, and Jonesboro, the previous school shooting sites, guns have been easily available for a long, long time without mass murder ensuing. It seems more likely to me that something has happened to the kids.

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