How Media Portrays Gun Violence

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How Media Portrays Gun Violence

Category: Research Paper

Subcategory: Sociology

Level: College

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

How Media Portrays Gun Violence
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How Media Portrays Gun Violence
According to Strasburger (2009) today the media plays a critical role in influencing the contemporary society in any way. Such influence has not been selective of behaviors that are shown to children via television shows and other news media with the advancement of technology. This does not put into considerations that children learn best through seeing. Like the electronic media so is the print media in passing out information regarding violence. In the American society, for example, the media; television is the American society’s central cultural arm and does not reflect culture anymore. Huesmann and Taylor, (2006) it works to enculturates those watching about its view, imparting aggressive behavior both in the short term and across the lifespan. Like the television shows the newspapers just show similar lifestyle phenomena like sex and violence unselectively to the readers and viewers. SgarziJ (n.d) in most news media coverage and headlines, reports of very young groups are being highlighted having committed murder crimes with ages ranging from 7-11 years old in Chicago, for example, being highlighted to have used guns. There has been increased school killing leaving behind unanswered questions of how safe the school environment is for children. For instance before the sentencing of two boys convicted of killing other children, Mitchell Johnson a 14-year-old said, “I didn’t mean to do it. I thought we were making the shooting over their heads p70”.While another younger boy on the same episode had no apology to make. To a greater extent the media a major contributor in psychopaths and sociopaths deviance behaviors among those who commit violence crimes using guns This research hypothesis that media is the leading cause of aggressive behavior and real-life violence. This paper is going to explore theoretically gun violence portray by the media.

Articles summary
Humann (2007) most people have varied views of how media can be a result of violence. While there is limited information to the general public on how media constitutes violent and aggressive behavior, some researchers have found how the information works resulting to aggression and violence acts.

Blume (1996) highlights various social theories that if applied can help in bringing down crime and violence and of which will help address the significance of media in reporting crimes and responsibility of the society at large. This is because violence is a socially defined group of activities with various common features.

Huesmann and Taylor (2006) violence from media is a public health concern since it leads to increased aggression and subsequently worldwide violence. The media has been a platform that tears down the existing culture and enculturates a nation otherwise.
Strasburger (2009) today, many children are showing aggression and turning violet with increased use of guns being witnessed in many areas and occasion. Children at very tender age are being reported to have committed killings among the peers, parents, and other people. The media continue to display gun violence reports to the general public with little consideration of the impact the information has on children and the adolescents.

Case analysis
Strasburger (2009) during the early years the child is undergoing major development and information the child receives forms part of life. The fact that most parents are working class improved technology where children own cellophane makes it hard to control what children seas in the media or reads in a newspaper from dawn to dusk. Hence, during their growth from birth children build beliefs and attitudes of the kind of the world they live in, through internet, newspapers, radios and television. Unfortunately, few people understand the potential bias the news stories carries in the event of construction and reporting. Such news stuff especially on crime related stories carries with it deviant occurrences and disrupted expectation characteristics. For instance Pollak & Kubrin (2007) in reporting a youth offender cases, the news media connects the recent case with other past cases pointing to loopholes of conviction and sentencing made, non-arrested offenders. This focus beyond the present story gives out another twist of the story, which in other words acts as a catalyst of more similar crimes following a onetime reporting. Subsequent reporting episodes link present cases with a broad scope of the problem may be to point out how the problem is running out of control and needs to be addressed. According to Humann (2007) the media by posting gun violence behavior is likely to lead to, priming of information in which this information goes through the brain and activates the neural network, triggering a certain behavior. The media might as well arouse a certain behavior to the observer that is characterized by aggressiveness behavior and subsequently mimicking of the behavior portrayed. Theoretically, this explains why more cases of gun violence are reported after one case has been aired. The aggressive behavior reaction should not always be left to come into reality. According to functional analysis theory Blume (1996), children should be educated on what their socialization is expected to amount to. Parents and other caregivers should help the children gain the necessary skills to become self-sufficient economically, manage their lives on their own and handle interpersonal relationships.

The media uses personal traits of the offender to portray how innocence he/she was. For example, the young man who did the shooting hailing from an abusive step-mother was a hardworking, goal oriented and loving and quite humbled. His dream was to be a marketing manager when he finishes his grade 6 exams. Such headlines put a sympathetic look into youth related cases, and that could explain why most youth law breakers are left scot-free despite having committed grade 2 crimes Pollak & Kubrin (2007). Also Huesmann and Taylor (2006), there is the difference in how the media uses openings statements and headlines, pictures and live to report and witness quotations use or figures in authority to bring a sense of reality to the information. Such information with key elements supporting or giving their point of view sends a sense of insecurity instills fear or adds another element of fear to the story. Blume (1996) though does not support violence as a solution, asserts that this could be explained by the fact that some violent action puts a spotlight that some functions are missing in such a society, according to functionalist contributions theory. Addressing the gaps in existence could go a long way in preventing crimes rather than seeing the youth as arrogant, untouchable and irresponsible.

The reality, regardless of the news carrying most of the information in the best interest of the public to inform, the criminals and crime information is highly distorted. This is because despite media being termed as the eye of the general world, some crimes are reported as mass undertakings and extensive and others are overrepresented, this fact has not been limited in how the media portrays guns use in crime and violence undertaking Pollak & Kubrin (2007). Media reporting on use gun cuts again across the ethnicity block. For example in the US many blacks compared to whites are killed via gun violence. Unfortunately, in responses to gun control policy the politician heated debate is raised when for the whites like the Sandy Hook shootings of 2012. This response policy difference comes down to how gun violence is portrayed by the media. Media portrays gun violence within the blacks as a sign of individual shortcomings and immorality manifestation. However, when the violence using guns involves the white people, the accused is termed as mentally ill or anomalous. About 20 children and teachers were killed in suburban elementary school by single gunmen in 2012 (Reese, 2013). A study carried out by the center for disease control and prevention did show that most children of gun violence were those from the low economic background and blacks compared to whites, despite the fact that black population in the US is smaller than the whites (Parham-Payne, 2014). Also, most gun killings where the victims are blacks are likely to go unreported, for example, 91 people being killed in Newton were not reported as the majority of them were blacks and from the low socioeconomic zones of the state (Reese, 2013). Blume (1996) points this factor to be an underlying factor to future violence. The author in the functional analysis theory: social and political deviance argues that nations should ensure there are strategies that every person feels included and attention prevailing. He insists on the needs of judicial systems that do not discriminate the poor and other minority groups, for violence to be under control. Also social, control has a direct relationship with social bonds strength. Those who are likely to act in ways that are deviant or break the law do so to voice out their needs, gain profit, excitement or pleasure rewards.

According to Akbarzadeh & Smith (2005) the media as a fundamental agent and easily influences the perception of the community. For example in many terrorist attacks Muslim and the Islam, the community has been portrayed as people who lack peace and always ended for war, ready to revenge and shade blood using guns with the majority of victim realization being the key objective. Since Muslims are labeled as extremism. For instance, when some asylum seekers arrived on the shores of Australian from the Middle East there was increased the feeling of insecurity, that some reporters connect the Muslims with terrorism. Hence, a notion in Australia has been that Muslims in the country are un-Australian, and their presence in the country is a threat to the way of life of the Australians following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With many commentators labeling the Muslim and the Islam as Islamophobia, many Muslims in various countries of the world like the UK face the challenge of being alienated, with policies and opportunities pushing them to the corner as a minority group. Despite, this in Australia, the Muslim community has been in the forefront condemning terrorism and extremism to ensure cohesive stay within the community. According to Blume (1996) conflict theory, conflict within a society is a positive force, and the productive system should be put in place to handle it in a good manner. Such may include dialogue steered by independent parties. However, according to social constructionism theories some groups of people or individual might have been brought up in a society where violence was a norm. Hence, they could view violence as part of life. For example the violent society, in most Muslim countries there is a lot of terror attacks tied to the extremist group. Akbarzadeh & Smith (2005) in America violent episodes are common, and they regard so much to heroes of violence. Although the rule of law is emphasized some cases may be concluded unjustified and hence the community may find the need for revenge. Withdrawing support to Muslims, for example, might lead to economic and racial segregation that might be a future time bomb for more violence acts as the Muslim community feels disconnected from the society. Nevertheless, Blume (1996), applying system theory could address the menace that Muslim community group is causing terror. As various such interventions put in place in Australia can help address the issue, amicably rather than excluded the Muslims to an extent of regarding them as non-Australians

In conclusion, media is the leading cause of aggressive behavior and real-life violence. The media portrayal of gun violence is a contributing factor to increased crime rates among the children, youth, and adults. Such violent behavior affects both the sociological part of a person and the physiological and psychological aspects leading to increased number of psychopaths and sociopath deviant behaviors. The effect is bringing up persons with little feeling of human protection or socially disconnected from the community due to their violent undertakings and immoral acts. With increased technology and unlimited violent information exposure through various channels in the news media, parents should be guides and mentors to their children to help protect them from law breaking, increase their spirit of empathy and get a better interpretation of what they see, and be interpreted in what the society should be. The government, policy makers, and leaders should find out ways that bring socio-bonding so that every member in the country feels included, wanted, accepted and have a sense of belonging to ensure acts of peace propels.

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Huesmann L.R. & Taylor L. D. (2006). The role of media violence in violent behavior. Annual Review Public Health, 27:393-415
Huesmann L.R. 2007. The impact of electronic media violence: Scientific theory and research. J. Adolescence Health, 41(6 Suppl 1): S6-S13

Parham-Payne W.V. (2014). Media portrayals of gun violence depend on race, leading to often very disparate policy responses. Retrieved 11/25/2015, from,
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Strasburger V.C. (2009). Media violence: Council on communication and media. Pediatrics, 124 (5).
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