By Judy Reiss
I have thought about this topic for a long, long time and finally decided that it is time to discuss it. Have you wondered about what has happened in our world today with the horrific things that our children are doing? Needless to say, I am not talking about all children but I am talking about the child, and they are still children, who manage to get their hands on guns and all sort of automatic weapons and then go into churches, schools and malls and kill as many people as they can. And of course, they end up killing themselves, too. And the why and how remains a terrible unanswered question!
Well, I don’t have the answer either. But I do have a few thoughts that may or may not hold the answer. I have wondered lately what happened to the family oriented TV programs. I know that Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan are dead but why haven’t the programs like they used to have on TV weekly been made available today? I could name many, many TV “stars” who were part of our families every single week. And they were not just entertaining, they were part of our family also very funny! Today, it’s very hard to find even a half hour with funny programming. There are some but you have to look hard to find them. What is very easy to find is programming that is full of murder, blood and guts and of course, sex, sex, sex. Now if you are an adult and this is your idea of good entertainment, you have lots of choices as to what horror you can watch. Each and every program has almost a “how to” demonstration on how to kill someone, torture them, rob and terrorize almost anyone. And of course, everybody’s favorite, how to take over the world. Again, for certain adults, I guess these programs are OK. But who is actually considered as adults these days? And I am willing to bet that many more children than you would suspect are sitting right in front of their TV sets and learning how to become someone who is much different than society would want. Without really looking, they can learn how to knife someone to death, kill as many people as their automatic rifle will allow, plus any and all murders that can be imagined.
As you might assume, this type of programming is not for me. I used to love Gunsmoke and there was some gun violence in that, but nothing like what is offered today. None of us ever thought we were Marshall Dillon, but the way programs are presented today, many children think that it is actually happening right outside their doors and unfortunately for many, that is true.
Just because I want to share with you what I do watch for entertainment, I will tell you how I spent the last 3 days (and will continue to do so when I am finished writing this)! I took my iPad and realized that I have a Netflix app. So I clicked on it and decided to watch some of the things on it. I clicked on Frankie and Grace, which is the funniest program I have ever watched. It has four absolutely wonderful stars, and to say they didn’t disappoint would be a tremendous understatement. They are Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen. It took me almost an entire day to watch all 12 episodes and I could hardly take the time to go to the bathroom I loved it so much.
And when I finished the marathon watching of Frankie and Grace, I decided to watch Rosemary and Thyme, which I had never watched before. And on my iPad, I have 43 episodes, I think. I have once again begun a marathon watching and I have about 23 episodes left, I think. And I must tell you I have had a wonderful time. No commercials, nothing but program and each and every one was terrific. And I feel wonderful and slept like a baby last night. No worries, and no fears. I think I will be through Rosemary and Thyme today and I was worried what I will watch next. TV is definitely not an option because the commercials for all the programming in the evening are beyond my imagination. But my good friend, Donna, came over this morning and lined me up with enough good and violence free programs to get me through the winter.
I don’t believe that either of the programs that I watched and am watching would encourage anyone, especially a young person or a child to decide to take a weapon and kill as many people as they could. Perhaps in Rosemary and Thyme, a child could be encourage to pick a flower or figure out how to plant garden. But violence? Not a chance.
If and when you turn on your TV tonight, think about what you are watching and how it might influence a young and impressionable young person to act. Of course, I don’t know how to demand safer and better programming on TV. Perhaps not buying the products that are being advertised, but that might just be too impossible to do. So, maybe just turning off your set and interacting with your children or grandchildren instead! And think about it, the young people who are committing these unimaginable acts of violence are getting their ideas from somewhere! And where are the parents who didn’t know that their child had these weapons of terror?