Debate and Discussion

Violent comics influence killers? Real life Violence?
JillyFoo at 5:36PM, Dec. 22, 2012
(online)
posts: 626
joined: 1-2-2006
I've been watching the news a lot recently and something came to mind: What if after the forensics team fixes the computer of the killer(who will not be named) they find out he was reading your (violent or adult content) webcomic?
How would you feel? Does it prove anything? Would the recent events on the news change the way you write adult/violent content?
How do you feel about the NRA talking about censoring more violence in our society at large?
ozoneocean at 8:53AM, Dec. 23, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,995
joined: 1-2-2004
That US NRA are a joke. An absolute joke.
Guns are the only issue. Games, movies, art in general is a reflection and a magnification of the society that spawns it. At most it reaffirms and reinforces beliefs that are already there.
 
Go back in time and ask a member of the Mongol horde what he was reading or playing on his Nintendo as he rampaged across Asia… :)
Or do an experiment: Give one Mongol warrior an AR-15, show him how to use it… Then give another a PS3 game system with Left 4 Dead on it, and how him how to play.
 - Which one would end up killing more people? ^_^
 
I think that's a simple but effective thought experiment that explains the obvious logic flaws in the arguments of the NRA.
 
People kill people, and guns are the very best technology available to them to accomplish that.
 
KimLuster at 9:51AM, Dec. 24, 2012
(online)
posts: 44
joined: 5-15-2012
Ocean is right.  If your populace in general values such things as honor and integrity, everyone could walk around with loaded bazookas and we'd all be fine.
.
I like to point to Japan after the Tidal Wave vs New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to illustrate this.  After Katrina, there was unbeliavable amounts of looting, destruction, mayhem, and violence (this has nothing to do with the whether the US Govt should have helped more - the disaster still brought out the worst in thousands regardless of that)
.
On the other hand, in Japan after the Tidal Wave, there was very little looting and violence.  In fact, most of the found items in which the owners were identifiable were returned to those owners if possible.
.
What is the difference?  Easy.  In Japan, personal honor matters.  Even if you've lost everything, you still have honor.  Indeed, you're the only one that can lose it (by giving it up).  In the US, Honor is just a quant byword for too many…
.
btw, Japan has some pretty violent media outlets (movies, games, manga, porn *shivers*) and yet we don't see their populace using that as an excuse for mowing down kids.
.
Now, how to instill honor in a society that has lost it?  That is a bugger right there…
last edited on Dec. 24, 2012 9:53AM
El Cid at 6:17PM, Dec. 24, 2012
(online)
posts: 971
joined: 5-4-2009
It sounds like you're making the exact opposite point Ozone was making… but it's a very good point! You're definitely on to something, but you missed one salient point when you referred to Japanese “society” versus American “society” bringing out the best and worst in people, respectively. It's not the societies that produce those results, but the cultures of those individuals who live there. It's an important distinction, because culture travels easier. There are very few shootings, or murders of any kind, in Japan any given year, and likewise in the United States very few murderers or murder victims are Japanese. They bring their nonviolent culture with them to the United States. Supposedly lax American gun laws don't suddenly turn them into a bunch of trigger-happy savages.
 
Americans, on the other hand, produce more mass shooters than any other country, but then we also produce more serial killers. But we don't, by any stretch of the imagination, hold a monopoly in either of those categories. As morally and ideologically pleasing as it may be, it's something of an intellectual cop-out to suggest that if America had European-style gun laws, we'd have European-style homicide rates, or even European-style gun prevalence. There are tremendous cultural differences there which you can't leave out of the assessment.
 
(I already responded to the main part of the topic on the other site where this was posted, so I won't get into that again. Just wanted to piggyback off of some thoughts I had reading KimLuster's post.)
last edited on Dec. 24, 2012 6:18PM
KimLuster at 7:38PM, Dec. 25, 2012
(online)
posts: 44
joined: 5-15-2012
Yeah, I misread Ocean abit…
.
I originally took it that he was suggesting that it's mindsets more inclined to killing that result in… well, more killing, regardless of the technology available (ie, his Mongols example). 
.
In any case, my Japanese example was just to show that a particular culture can behave very differently (ie, better) than another culture based solely on personal values, all while having access to the same potentially deadly technology.  (my example used looting instead of killing, but I think the comparison is still valid).
.
And of course it's cultural.  That's sort my point.  Where honor and Integrity are instilled as  cultural values, someone with them will exhibit them even if their country (or a country they move to) is reduced to anarchy.
.
Carried to its logical conclusion, I don't believe any amount of law changes or banning of arms will much change things in the U.S.  No, somehow, the U.S. culture must change so that personal honor matters (you know, the strange notion that randomly killing a bunch of people relfects badly on your character, honor, and family, and that matters…).  I'm not sure it can be done in my generation, if ever.
last edited on Dec. 25, 2012 7:41PM
ozoneocean at 6:34AM, Dec. 26, 2012
(online)
posts: 24,995
joined: 1-2-2004
You were right in your interpretation of the culture point I was making - That's in regards to “violent” video games, movies, and comics not being responsible for real violence.
Gun laws do make a very obvious difference though, that was my other point - You restrict the availably of firearms and then they are not very easy to get a hold off when one idiot thinks they'll show everyone what a loser they are.
 
It's mathematically simple, like 1+1 simple. Saying they don't make a difference defies logic and reality.
One traditional response is - “But they'll get a hold of them anyway”
People will attempt to obtain what they want regardless of laws, but if availability is physically restricted that makes it too difficult and most people give up. All you have to do is restrict the availability of dangerous firearms  and all those millions of people who just pick them up and use them to deal with an argument or work out their petty anger are out of the picture.
 
The thing is not to try and eliminate gun violence all together, just to reduce it. That's achievable.
 
Other traditional arguments:
- Very determined people will get them anyway.
— Yes they will. But you have to start somewhere.
 
- The populace needs to be armed to keep the government honest.
— If that were true your country is already fucked. When political opposition and the judiciary fails an armed populace are nothing. Fully organised resistance with military equipment and support of parts of the military or the police or a foreign power is the only hope. Unorganised civilians with their own little guns are nothing but chaff.
 
- The “good guys” need weapons to defend themselves from the “bad guys”.
— No they don't. The difference between “good guys” and “bad guys” is that the baddies shoot first. If you're dead your gun won't revive you.
If you shoot first then you're the baddie anyway.
Other than that it devolves into 80s A-Team action fantasy.
 
- People will just use other weapons.
— Yup, but guns are better than any other hand weapon developed; you can't outrun them, hide from them, armour yourself against them, and they can be used to kill many, many people quickly at one time.
The only other type of weapons that come close are things like bombs which you cannot easily get, are just as dangerous to the handler and require skill to acquire, build, and use.
Guns don't have any of those issues.
 
Corruption at 2:23AM, Jan. 11, 2013
(offline)
posts: 24
joined: 5-30-2007
The NRA is funded by the gun industry, so they are biased in favor of allowing people to buy guns. This puts them in the interesting position of trying to get people to buy guns (which is mostly done by fear of other people with guns) yet at the same time trying to say guns are not the problem.
I do not know of any research they have done into what increases violence in people.
However, research has been done that shows violent children shows like the Powerrangers increases violence in children.
There are a lot of factors about what causes gun related crimes. Focusing on one will not even start to solve the problem as will draw attention from other causes. Instead, they should focus on if the guns should be allowed to be sold. When the American Constitution and Bill of Rights was made, muskets were the most advanced guns around. When it takes about half a minute to reload between shots, there were not likely to be many shooting sprees. Also, at the time there was no official police force to protect people, so guns were needed, but less dangerous. Criminals were also killed much more often, so less chance of hardened criminals with guns and nothing to lose.
The first man recorded to go on a shooting spree was a WWII vetran who used guns he brought on the black market.
Unless someone is unable to distinguise between reality and fantasy, comics would not influence them greatly. The only way it could was if it was part of what is called “normalisation” where people come to accept things they consider wrong to be normal. This takes years and they must be immersed in a culture that promotes those things as normal. Just watching the news would probably be worse then reading a violent comic.
About the comparision between New Orleans and Japan, the culture is totally different. In Western countries, we are raised to think of ourselves first and others second. In Asian countries, they are raised to think about the family and community first, and then only about themselves. They also are taught to value politness and respect greatly, as it helps keep the community functioning with less problems. In Western countries we are taught to compeat with others to get what we want.
We are all corrupt in our own ways
El Cid at 5:34PM, Jan. 11, 2013
(online)
posts: 971
joined: 5-4-2009
That's something I've heard more than once from people, from Asian and European backgrounds, that Americans are an unusually competitive bunch of people. I'm not sure that it's absolutely true, but it probably at least says something that so many people make that observation about us.
SophieD at 9:58AM, Jan. 15, 2013
(online)
posts: 6
joined: 10-27-2009
Though I can't really put it more succinctly than ozoneocean, I will heartilly concur with him.When invading civillizations cut muderous swathes across other continents, there was no Marvel comics and no XBox.
Lunatics will always try to justify their actions by blaming them on GTA or the Terminator movies.  These days it's comics and console games, last decade the trend was to blame movies and years ago it was Beatles albums.
The trouble now is, rather than ignore this clap-trap, the press do the blame aportioning for them and try to get all forms of entertainment banned.
As someone living outside of America, I can only scratch my head in disbelief at the NRA's response to 212's umpteenth high school shooting by suggesting that at least one teacher comes to work packing heat, rather than having tighter gun controls.
From what is read in the media, Adam Lanza - the young man who shot dead 20 children and 6 adults at a local school - was a long-term schizophrenic patient who had access to a number of guns in his home:- This was the cause of the tragic events of that day, not entertainment and literature.
So the next time someone says, ‘well that person played C.O.D. or watched The Dark Knight or read comic books’, inform them that no amount of book-burning will ever be as effective a life-safer as getting rid of weapons that can kill vast amounts of people in minimal amounts of time.
last edited on Jan. 15, 2013 10:00AM
irrevenant at 8:43PM, April 12, 2013
(online)
posts: 351
joined: 1-13-2007
ozoneocean wrote:
Go back in time and ask a member of the Mongol horde what he was reading or playing on his Nintendo as he rampaged across Asia… :)
I'm bothered I have to point this out since I basically agree with you, but that logic is so, so flawed:  "You hypothesise that a dog is a creature with four legs.  That cannot be because creatures with four legs were around long before dogs". *facepalm*  If A causes B it doesn't follow that C doesn't also cause B.
 
In a way it works counter to your point since it opens the door for: "Mongols were a violent people, but then they were raised from youth in a warrior culture prepared for war.  Since that's not the case in our society, something must be substituting for it.  Hmm, how about games that simulate violence, maybe?".
 
Thing is, I don't buy it.  You just have to watch someone play hours of Call of Duty then freak out when someone accidentally cuts themselves to realise that it doesn't translate.  Our brains know it's not real.  We know that we're training hard to pretend fight, and we know on a basic level that doing it for real is very different.
 
Fact is, the causes of violence are complex.  There are lots and lots of them and they interact with each other.  Does poverty contribute? Probably.  Glorification of crime in the media (Hi Dexter and Gangster Rap! :) )?  Glorification of the military?  General atmosphere of fear and stress? Probably. Probably. Probably.  And easy access to firearms sure doesn't help.  But will a poor, stressed person with a gun raised in a culture that glorifies war, listens to Gangster rap and plays violent computer games turn to violence? Maybe, maybe not.
BTW, if they're looking at banning violent computer games they probably should look at banning contact sports too - they're blatantly ritualised combat substitutes.  I'm sure they're looking into banning Gridiron, right? *the sound of crickets permeates the silence* P.S. To answer the original question: Is it bad that I would probably feel “Yay, more traffic for me!”? >_>
 
Re: the NRA, fact is they're arguing for an untenable postion. People with guns sometimes use those guns to kill other people.  The NRA's position is that guns are a god-given right and intrinsically good.  Therefore they can only point their finger at the “people” part of the equation (which is also a balancing act since they're simultaneously trying to argue that it's just fine for people to have guns).  But you know what they say - guns don't kill people.  Bullets do… :/ Ohey, I think I just discovered the root cause of violence: It's DrunkDuck's quoting/message editing system… -_-
kyupol at 11:09PM, June 5, 2013
(online)
posts: 3,712
joined: 1-12-2006
Point here, point there… 
The real culprit is the rotten decadent corrupt culture that just turns its back away from the truth. 
There is only one truth.  Any reasonable seeker of knowledge will eventually arrive at it.  Or at least be in the direction leading to the truth even though they may not comprehend it in its entirety. 
Human technology is at a level that is way above our level of spirituality.  Which is stuck at the level of savages.  If our level of spirituality is at the same level of our technology I guarantee that we can turn this place into paradise on earth.  Poverty will be reduced or eliminated altogether.  There will be little to none of that violence, hate, and suffering. 
But that is not the case. 
For a majority of this planet's population continuously seeks out destructive things that gets confused for that which saves you.
Your alcohol cannot save you.
Your video games cannot save you.
Your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/friend-with-benefits cannot save you.
Your drugs cannot save you.
Your politicians cannot save you.
Your robotic narrow-minded religions cannot save you. 
NOW UPDATING!!!
El Cid at 5:55PM, June 6, 2013
(online)
posts: 971
joined: 5-4-2009
But… what if The Truth is that violence is an innate property of the human experience? Seriously, a bullet to the face is very unpleasant, but what's more honest than violence?!
 
A lot of really bad things have been perpetrated in the name of utopia, and of Truth. I believe both are fiction, and anyone who claims to know the road map to them is a fraud, and a dangerous fraud at that.
irrevenant at 2:53AM, June 21, 2013
(online)
posts: 351
joined: 1-13-2007
I would say that the *capacity* for violence is an innate part of human nature.  Whether or not that capacity manifests depends on (a) to what extent that capacity for violence has been nurtured and (b) to what extent a person is put into an environment where violence is the best and/or only option.
I doubt that “Truth” in the sense of an objective reality is a fiction - but I agree that anyone who claims to have the map to it is undeniably either deluded or lying.
El Cid wrote:
But… what if The Truth is that violence is an innate property of the human experience? Seriously, a bullet to the face is very unpleasant, but what's more honest than violence?!
 
A lot of really bad things have been perpetrated in the name of utopia, and of Truth. I believe both are fiction, and anyone who claims to know the road map to them is a fraud, and a dangerous fraud at that.
El Cid at 9:49PM, June 21, 2013
(online)
posts: 971
joined: 5-4-2009
I don't believe Kyupol meant anything quite as prosaic as that. He meant “Truth” in the sense of “Meaning of Life” Truth, not “Pythagoras' Theorem” truth.
 
I wouldn't necessarily disagree about the “capacity for violence” thing; it's true in a strict sense, but meaningless in any useful sense. We hear that kind of statement bandied about all the time, and it basically amounts to a magnanimous-sounding way of saying absolutely nothing. A squirrel has the *capacity* for violence if you condition it correctly and place it in the right circumstances. But that doesn't tell us anything meaningful about squirrels.
 
Humans are predatory apes. Since before we could write the word “Ug,” we were busying ourselves with killing off every living creature big enough and tasty enough to draw our attention, as well as exterminating any rival tribes who happened to be occupying a shady piece of scrubland that we wanted. Violence is an intrinsic part of our collective history; it made us who we are today. That doesn't make it a good thing, but it does make it a natural thing, and it's unhealthy for us to pretend otherwise. It's unhealthy when people like Kyupol (and there are lots of them) run around saying violence is civilization's fault. This is blaming the cure for the disease. Violence predates civilization, so it cannot be a product of it. Our “decadent” civilization's net influence is to restrain us from committing antisocial acts of violence, and not through some backdoor psychological conditioning, but through the simple mechanism of incentives. All the other stuff that people and academics tend to obsess over ninety percent of the time is really just a byproduct.
irrevenant at 7:15PM, June 28, 2013
(online)
posts: 351
joined: 1-13-2007
In response to El Cid:
I should point that my intent in that last post was to comment and expand on a couple of points you made - I'm not agreeing with or defending kyupol's post.
I disagree that it's meaningless to distinguish between “Humans are violent” and “Humans have a capacity for violence”.  The former means there's nothing we can do about it.  The latter means we can analyse under what situations that capacity manifests. (You went on to say something fairly similar in your own post - that civilisation (ie. environment) has reduced the amount of violence).
My personal theory is pretty simple:  When a person feels supported by their society (ie that their survival and emotional needs are met) and feel like part of that society they are less inclined towards violence.
To my mind, incentives and threats aren't very effective DIRECTLY. (States with the death penalty still have a ton of crime - if anything they seem to have more desperate criminals who will do anything to avoid being caught).  What is more important is social support and reinforcing social norms.
El Cid at 6:00AM, June 29, 2013
(online)
posts: 971
joined: 5-4-2009
I'm not sure what you mean by “directly.” Providing people with safety, sustenance, and social support ARE the incentives civilization provides, so we seem to be saying the same thing in different languages there.
 
The death penalty is an interesting and very complicated case study, far too much so to be casaully tossing out there like that. There's a whole “chicken or the egg” problem with the high violence-capital punishment relationship. Is there more crime because of capital punishment or more support for capital punishment due to high crime? The former seems unlikely because there's no realistic mechanism for it, and none of what's been put out there is terribly consistent or really jives well with observations. On the other hand, it's pretty common that when a state or nation with weak punishments encounters a serious crime wave or a particularly heinous crime, one of the first things you hear is calls to reinstate capital punishment, or at least to toughen sentences. My guess is that places with more violent crime simply cannot afford the luxury of being philosophical on these matters.
 
My personal opinion is that the death penalty is mostly a non factor, because it's such a remote possibility to ever be executed, at least in the Unites States. If you commit a murder, you're more likely to get away with it than to be caught, and if you're caught, you're more likely to plead down to a lesser charge. For those handful who manage to get themselves convicted of a capital crime, you're still extremely unlikely to receive a death sentence, and if you receive a death sentence, you're still twice more likely to either have your sentenced reduced or commuted or die in prison waiting to be executed than to actually have the sentence carried out. So, effectively, the death sentence as practiced doesn't amount to much. In a hypothetical world where lightning bolts struck you down if you murdered somebody, there would be no murder, but that day will never come!
 
The difference between the two statements is nuanced but important. Saying people “have the capacity for violence” says nothing about people. It basically assumes people are a tabula rasa that you can imprint whatever you want on, which makes the person a non factor. I strongly disagree with that. People do have natural violent tendencies, and ignoring that not only gets you off on the wrong foot, but also opens the door for all manner of dangerous utopianisms. It ignores that there are natural constraints built in. (and when I say that civilization reduces violence, that is absolutely NOT the same as what you're saying! My position assumes there are preexisting violent tendencies to reduce; yours does not)
 
Does that mean there's “nothing you can do,” as you put it? Well, you can't change what people are. And pretending they are what you want them to be doesn't do any good either (in fact it does a lot of harm in the long run). Does that mean there's nothing you can do to adapt to the inherent shortcomings of the human species? Of course it doesn't. That's what this civilization thing is all about. That's why we have laws and courts and social customs and all of that infrastructure in place to maintain order.
irrevenant at 3:55AM, July 6, 2013
(online)
posts: 351
joined: 1-13-2007
El Cid said:
I'm not sure what you mean by “directly.” Providing people with safety, sustenance, and social support ARE the incentives civilization provides, so we seem to be saying the same thing in different languages there. 
I agree we're largely saying the same thing.
By “directly” I meant that, if you offer a violent criminal safety, sustenance and social support (eg. a place to live and a job) that's not a magic button that will automatically stop them from reoffending.  Nor is threats.  It needs to be their internalised model - their norm.  The most effective way to achieve this is probably to avoid as much as possible people having to grow up in environments that lack safety, sustenance and social support.
El Cid said:
The death penalty is an interesting and very complicated case study, far too much so to be casaully tossing out there like that. There's a whole “chicken or the egg” problem with the high violence-capital punishment relationship. Is there more crime because of capital punishment or more support for capital punishment due to high crime? The former seems unlikely because there's no realistic mechanism for it, and none of what's been put out there is terribly consistent or really jives well with observations. On the other hand, it's pretty common that when a state or nation with weak punishments encounters a serious crime wave or a particularly heinous crime, one of the first things you hear is calls to reinstate capital punishment, or at least to toughen sentences. My guess is that places with more violent crime simply cannot afford the luxury of being philosophical on these matters. 
I question the way you phrased that.  Fearful and angry people calling for something does not mean it's the correct or effective path to take.  It's not a dichotomy between “execute people” and “be philosophical and do nothing”.  You yourself agreed that the death penalty probably makes minimal if any difference, and you're probably right.  Again, I think we mostly agree.
BTW, I'd like to point out that I wasn't suggesting that there would be more crime in states with the death penalty, but rather that I suspect it would result in more violent actions from those already willing to commit criminal acts.  I'll also admit that that's mere speculation on my part and I have no idea if statistics back it up.
  
El Cid said:
The difference between the two statements is nuanced but important. Saying people “have the capacity for violence” says nothing about people. It basically assumes people are a tabula rasa that you can imprint whatever you want on, which makes the person a non factor. I strongly disagree with that. People do have natural violent tendencies, and ignoring that not only gets you off on the wrong foot, but also opens the door for all manner of dangerous utopianisms. It ignores that there are natural constraints built in. (and when I say that civilization reduces violence, that is absolutely NOT the same as what you're saying! My position assumes there are preexisting violent tendencies to reduce; yours does not) 
Saying “people have the capacity for violence” is not intended to assume that people are a tabula rasa.  IMO, there are two basic factors: (a) inherent temperament and (b) upbringing/environment.  Indications are that “nature vs nurture” is a false dichotomy - the two intertwine.   Individuals inherit a particular genetic code and which genes are actually expressed over the course of their life partially depends on their environment. For example, the relationship between lung cancer and smoking - there are no absolutes, but you up your chances of the cancer gene not manifesting if you don't smoke and avoid pollution. (DISCLAIMER: Not a biologist).
IMO, violence is like that.  People have the capacity to be violent, but if you put them in an environment where they rarely or never have cause to be and, in fact, it's beneficial for them not to be, then odds are fairly good they won't be.  And of course that capacity is inherently higher in some people than others (some people are just irritable, even as newborns).
Is that clearer?
El Cid said:
Does that mean there's “nothing you can do,” as you put it? Well, you can't change what people are. And pretending they are what you want them to be doesn't do any good either (in fact it does a lot of harm in the long run). Does that mean there's nothing you can do to adapt to the inherent shortcomings of the human species? Of course it doesn't. That's what this civilization thing is all about. That's why we have laws and courts and social customs and all of that infrastructure in place to maintain order.
I don't disagree.  I think a key difference is that you seem to be predominantly talking about society in terms of systems whereas I am talking more about community and social support and human interaction.


You said: Our “decadent” civilization's net influence is to restrain us from committing antisocial acts of violence, and not through some backdoor psychological conditioning, but through the simple mechanism of incentives.
I would suggest that a simple mechanism of incentives is precisely psychological conditioning - think Pavlov's dogs (and no, I'm not going to argue for simple behaviourism - the human mind is more complicated than that).  A society which conditions us towards finding solutions other than violence is one that gives that inherent tendency less vectors to manifest.
Random aside: Have you ever read the book Violence: A Writer's Guide by Rory Miller?  It's an interesting read.  Amongst other things, it gives a good insight into the mentality of individuals who are ready and willing to be violent as an easy (if not first) resort.  Most of us have a built in reluctance against that.

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved