A Lethal Combination ~ TV, Sex and Violence

       Television programs that combine sex and violence in a format designed for teenagers and young adults are of great concern. The most dangerous subject matter for drama is that which infuses torture and murder with nudity and other sexual stimulation. These programs can be an irresistible, lethal combination for some young men. During the early teen years, the object of sexual interest is not well established in most males. It can be influenced or reordered rather easily during that period of development. It is typical for a boy in early adolescence to be attracted to a "cheerleader" image of femininity. Exposure at this time to sadistic behavior can lead him to associate sexual arousal instead with females (or males) who are in pain or peril. Thereafter, his most exciting sexual thought may focus on killing, raping or torturing those within his power. Does this happen to every boy who watches violent television? No. But, it does happen to some, and the damage they can do in a lifetime is alarming.

This wicked theme is having a profound impact on our society - especially on the more unstable individuals who emerge from childhood with a predisposition to perverse behavior. There are 500 serial killers now at work in the United States and many others in Canada. They derive great pleasure from sadistic murder. These demented murderers were relatively rare until the latter third of the 20th century. What forces are producing them now? What is the process by which young children grow up to be such monsters?

Dr. Park Elliot Dietz, a psychiatrist and former member of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, examined many serial murderers and sadistic killers. He concluded that sexually oriented violence depicted in the media can provide a "script" for those who are predisposed to sadistic murder. The violent fantasies generated by television, movies, and hard-core pornography help to transform some people into warped and heartless killers. Ted Bundy is the classic case in point; he admitted to killing 28 women and girls in real-life enactments of what he had seen in pornographic images.
Mr. Bundy urged Dr. James Dobson during an interview he requested only hours before his death, to warn society that sexually explicit violence possesses great power over individuals who are vulnerable to it. He was one of them!

There is another consequence to television violence that should cause us concern. Behavioral scientists are worrying about sudden upswing in murder and mayhem occurring among today's adolescence. An alarming number of youthful criminals seem to have no conscience about killing and brutalizing innocent people. The process of desensitization is very well-known historically. In the spring of 1941, some 3,000 men from various walks of life were recruited by the Nazis for a ghastly assignment. They were organized into four teams called Einsatzgruppen and were sent on a mission of murder across Eastern Europe. They were ordered by Hitler's henchmen to kill Jews, Gypsies and political commissars indiscriminately in town after town along the march. Within a few months, these teams had murdered 1.5 million people with surprising ease. Every day they shot thousands of terrified men, women and children. Incredibly, few of the killers seemed to suffer from guilt or remorse. New recruits were sickened at first, but they soon adapted to it. After the war, hundreds of these men and other Nazi murderers were examined by behavioral scientists in the West. It was anticipated that the majority would have psychopathic tendencies or other emotional illnesses.

Surprisingly, very few examples of mental derangement were found. Instead, most of those who had mercilessly brutalized unarmed and pleading victims turned out to be ordinary people like you and me - with one exception; they had learned not to feel compassion for the suffering of others. That part of their emotional apparatus had been sealed off and rationalized. The examiners concluded that the human mind is easily capable of adaptation when exposed habitually to the most horrible acts. Desensitization is the process by which violence becomes commonplace. See The War Against The Jews, by L. Dawidowicz.

That, in effect, is what we are doing to millions of viewers - especially our children - by exposing them to rape and murder on television and in the movies. Our children may resist our efforts to screen out the filth and violence that now permeates the world of television, but they know it's right to do so. They respect us for saying, "God gave us this home, and we are not going to insult Him by polluting it with foul programming". Then you might share this scripture with the family: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). And if the little box simply can't be subdued, you might try unplugging it, selling it, moving it into the garage, hacking it with an axe or sticking a shoe in its flickering blue eye. Then gather the family around and read a great book together! You may be surprised to find that besides reading, you will have a great deal more time for many other things too, like soul winning, even.

~ Battle Cry