Following the horrific acts that occurred earlier this month, there’s a question that’s weighing on a lot of minds: what’s happening to today’s youth?
A bright young Calgary man with a promising future now stands accused of stabbing five other young people and cutting their bright futures short.
The next day, it happened again. A different city. A much younger kid. But the same puzzling and disturbing series of events. A 15-year-old boy enters a mall in Regina and stabs four people.
You would think things like this don’t happen very often – or at least I didn’t. However, a quick Google search and it appears youth stabbings are making headlines seemingly everywhere.
What disturbs me the most is the level of brutality involved. It takes a great deal of rage to walk up to someone and stab them – the kind of rage that, thankfully, the majority of us likely don’t have to follow through with unless put in a desperate life-or-death situation. The fact that, in both cases, the stabbings appear to be random is bewildering. Where is this rage coming from in these young people, and why do they feel the need to take it out on others that are just in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Part of it, I believe, is the incredible rate at which we’re becoming immune to violent behaviour.
Take a look at today’s television programs, movies, video games and songs compared to even 10 or 15 years ago and it’s clear the amount of graphic content has increased substantially. Why? Because the media and entertainment industry feels it has to up the gore and shock factor to actually garner any sort of reaction from us.
You only need to watch someone get shot on a crime drama so many times before it gets to be old, apparently. That in itself is a pretty worrying fact.
By the age of 18, the typical American child will have seen an average of 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV. Two-thirds of all programs contain this violence.
I’m a big fan of murder mysteries and crime dramas, but there are just some things networks should not be able to show on TV. Some of my favourite shows have become so gory over the years that I’ve stopped watching them completely. Yet judging by the ratings, the demand for it and enjoyment of it must be there.
Of course the media and entertainment industry can’t be entirely to blame for people’s actions.
At-risk kids are viewed as coming from difficult family backgrounds, low-income homes in rough neighbourhoods or no real home at all.
Still, a 22-year-old psychology graduate on his way to law school who is also the son of an accomplished police officer doesn’t fit into what would typically be described as an at-risk kid.
All of the young people who have committed violent crimes such as stabbings undergo psychiatric evaluation and are often determined to have some dysfunction or illness with a big technical name. But I think in a lot of these cases there’s a failure to see that most of them are just extremely troubled kids who have made a horrible decision, and we may never really know the reason why.