To quote a show I’ve seen only 2 or 3 episodes of, it seems today that all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV. In the Book of Mormon the two dissident brothers of Nephi are described as past feeling, because they didn’t listen to what they knew to be right. Eventually they were unable to understand right from wrong. I’m to the opinion that violent video games and movies are not all bad. It is bad when paired with an immoral premise, causing desensitization to the moral. Like the book says, the emotional response will “extinguish.” But I do not think that that is always the end outcome.
Here’s two experiences from my life. First is from the movie Gladiator. While not comparatively violent when put in the context of other war movies, there are some pretty intense action sequences where people are decapitated, delimbed, or impaled. Yikes! If you haven’t seen this movie and don’t want it ruined then get out of here. Anyway, Maximus in the end is fighting to give Rome back her freedom, and to return to be with his family. I’ll get back to this later. Another time I was at an internet cafe in Romania, and next to me was a child, probably 8 or 9, playing Grand Theft Auto. I remember looking at the game and watching as the kid’s character pulled an innocent woman from her car and shot her in the head, driving away with the car. He didn’t blink.
Now in both of these examples I witnessed simulated violence, but the 2nd instance had a completely different effect on me than the first. Gladiator used it as a tool to promote a moral, and to set up the story to make me cry like a little girl when Maximus is reunited with his deceased wife and boy. The second example of the little boy and Grand Theft Auto was pure immoral desensitization to the value of human life. I had seen this game played before, but watching this child callously shoot someone, virtual or not, it got to me. I think media violence can be used as a tool to enrich if used correctly, but when it is meaningless or without moral premise, it has no place.