I heard on the radio that a guy went to a movie and complained afterward that there was no explosion in the film.

He had seen a trailer of the movie beforehand and it depicted an explosion, and he was upset that the movie didn’t deliver.

The upshot was that the cinema offered to refund the man’s money for the movie tickets.

I just couldn’t believe my ears — or actually, I could.

We’ve come to expect violence, demand it.

It’s everywhere. In the movies, on TV, online and all over the newspapers. The stories get bloodier, more bizarre and more horrific as time goes on. Just when you think you’ve seen the worst, grislier violence occurs: A baby is shot in the face, a pregnant woman and her husband are killed in a hit-and-run, troops bombed, homes invaded, hostages held, banks robbed, schools and theaters shot up by mass murderers.

You name it. Pick a day, any day. The news is worse and worse.

The Dalai Lama says it best when he asserts that violence breeds violence.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the more fictional violence is produced on TV, online and in the movies, the more it gets embedded in our psyches and more violent incidents occur.

When we were young, we’d laugh at old people who said violent TV shows, movies and music were suggestive and could lead to bad things.

Ah, the innocence of youth.

Video games are flush with violence. Children love games. We’re essentially prepping them for a violent world.

Violence sells. Look at prime-time TV shows with cops and other good guys pursuing the bad. There are always violent killers, vicious fights, evil maulings.

The shows are dark, literally and figuratively. They may reflect reality, but do we need them in our lives? And why, pray tell, do we demand them?

Hollywood producers are no fools; they make what sells. Popularity rules.

I’ll go out on a limb by suggesting that having more guns is part of the problem.

I refer back to my childhood when I think about guns and the current gun debate. Guns then were used for three things: hunting, police work and wars.

No one I knew had automatic or semi-automatic weapons. They were used by characters in comic books and were far removed from any reality we knew as children.

The world is so rife with violence now that just the mention of tightening gun laws sends people running to buy and stockpile guns.

For what? What have we become?

I would add my own statement to the Dalai Lama’s assertion that violence breeds violence and say that fear breeds fear. Are we to be a civilization of quivering, quaking, paranoid people, skulking through our short lives, fearful at every turn?

That’s not the world I want to live in. It’s not the one I envisioned when, as a small child, I went to Sunday school and learned that to be kind to my neighbor was one of the most important things I could do in my life, that lying was wrong and that I should not kill.

We laugh when we recall the peace-loving hippies of the 1960s and ’70s, but that generation delivered an important message.

That message, unfortunately, has been replaced by what is now a terrible, perverted part of our culture that we permit and promote at every turn.

It’s sad, really, this vicious new world — especially for the children we’ve escorted into it.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 25 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]


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