America: Numbed by Violent Media Images?

I believe that Americans today are inundated with countless violent images, and this proliferation of violence and gore in modern culture is changing the tolerance levels of Americans to such images. It is interesting that these images are not only impacting adults, but children as well. These images are visible in news shows and on television as well as in video games and other mediums that young Americans are exposed to.

The violent images shown in the media in particular elicit a wide variety of responses from viewers. Some are angry when shown these graphic photographs or videos, while others are sympathetic or even distraught. A great deal of this reaction is dependent upon the context of such images. For example, one would react very differently to an image of a natural disaster as compared to an image of a terrorist attack. These images are circulated to stir the public and create such reactions, sometimes even creating a specific sentiment or opinion in the American people.

I have some ethical qualms with these images, as I feel they can be very manipulative. They have an added power than simply reporting on a story, and though they may not be intended to change opinions, their graphic nature gives them the power to do just that. Additionally, those who take these photographs are putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of a photograph, and although most do it of their own free will, they are often in far too much danger for getting just the right shot to be a worthwhile consideration.

The main problem with the proliferation of violence and inhumanity in today’s media is that we as a nation are becoming desensitized to it all. We no longer are moved as deeply when we see the results of attacks on other nations or our own, and we feel no call to action from these images. This lack of horror has far greater implications than simply our generation, however; what does this mean for the future? Will we feel any desire at all to help others in pain or who are suffering in other ways? The signs currently point to no, a truly frightening notion. If we feel no empathy or horror when faced with the suffering of humans throughout the world, we may as well be deaf and blind to their pleas for help and redemption. I believe that in regards to the question “how much is too much,” we have far surpassed the amount of violence in the media that is palatable and logical, and the more that we see, the less we as a nation and as a culture will truly care or be moved to help.

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