Lt. Col. Dave Grossman addresses a large group of law enforcement officers.
"Education is the only tool we have. Cops can hold back the darkness, but educators can lead us back. Teachers light up the night. After the initial, 10 days off TV, then kids are put on a TV budget where they choose seven hours of programming. To deal with obesity over the long term you need behavior modification; without a steady diet of TV everyone thrives. Michigan has received a $2 million grant to be national distributors of the turn off TV campaign. In Chicago on Aug. 6-7 there is a national convention. The curriculum is offered to schools for free. There is a $100 registration fee for the conference and scholarships can be obtained for this fee. We can change the world," continued Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.
"We will reap what we have sown for years to come, but we can turn the train around, it can be a different world for our grandkids. Send someone to this conference. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will walk out the door of the conference with everything you need to set up this program in your school.
"How does everything tie together, the music, the video games, the violent movies? Most of us won't be bullies, but we will live our lives in fear. How come nobody ever hitchhikes any more? It's because we're afraid. Our children until they are 7, 8 or 9 years of age, can't distinguish fantasy from reality. Everything they see is real to them.
"Cops see horrible things every day. Would you want to bring your young child along for the next dead body? It's real to them. If you wouldn't want them at a crime scene in person then why would you let them watch it on TV. To them it is real. Fear empowers the bully. Young children know they can die, they've seen it on TV. Many of our kids are living in fear. The bully tells them, if you tell anyone, I'll kill you. We live our lives in fear. Trust is gone. Kids learn fear at a young age.
"With music, never in human history have they sought this music they are seeking today. They take every despicable act of violence and turn it into a song, that's what you are getting today and it's sick and pathological. Studies have proven that music has an effect on behavior. Music is a powerful social tool that reaffirms what's going on in society. Music reaffirms a set of values. Patriotic music, spiritual music, all reaffirm a set of values. Violent music reaffirms violent behavior and feeds it back to us. That's what kids were fed with at an early stage. Music is a symptom of the disease. It's not the disease, it is an ugly symptom of the disease that was introduced years ago. We need to have the moral courage to say that's not right. We need someone to say it's wrong. If not, then you give them permission to proceed. I worked with Bill Cosby, he is a remarkable human, and he is wise and kind. He wrote comedy shows and he has a PhD in education, his son was violently killed while stopped to change a flat tire. He told us that it's our job to catch kids. He said his dad never knocked on their bedroom door he just burst into a room. He said it's your job to tell kids that's not right. But, they might not be getting the violence at your house. But, what games are they playing at the neighbors. You might be a good parent, but what are they watching at the neighbors. If your neighbor's not doing the right thing, then someone somewhere will pay the price. We didn't get to where we are overnight, it's been building up over the last 50 years. In the 1950s the murder rate doubled in a brief period of time. The Center for Disease control did an epidemiological study to see what could be the cause. The murder rate went up first in the east and then in the west; in the cities first and then the country; in the white population and then in the blacks; in the United States and then in Canada. The CDC they looked at every factor they could and every variable. They looked at gun control, poverty, fluoride in the water. This was when TV appeared, first in the east, then in the west, first with whites; then later black people got TVs, the United States had TV first, then Canada. Within the first 15 years after TV appeared, the murder rate doubled. Every time wherever it appeared, kids have been traumatized and fed a steady diet of violence. Fifteen years later you reap what you sow. Media violence hearings were held in Congress as far back as 1952. Scientists said we would pay a price and we have," said Grossman.
Grossman made it clear he was talking about childhood exposure to violence. Not adults. Child abuse inflicted on a child. "There are things adults can do that kids can't. Watching violence is one of them. Long term childhood exposure to violence has its consequences.
"If TV had never been invented the study says there would be 10,000 fewer homicides each year. People ask me why are you so passionate about this and I ask them how can they not be passionate. I have worked on this for 11 years since retiring from the army. I am on the road 300 days a year. People send me emails that say violent video games have no effect on behavior and then they tell me, 'what you do makes me so mad, I want to kill you.' I have received death threats. The media is doing the same thing the army does, teaching kids to kill. Hollywood tried to talk me out of doing what I am doing.
"There is a despair in someone who is gasping their last breath due to a murder, their lives stolen away by a murderer. I was there at Virginia Tech hours after the massacre. In the photographs of the victims it showed a horror, knowing they would never see their loved ones again, knowing they would never accomplish the things they wanted to in their lives. Ten thousand murders a year that never would have happened 10,000 people a year that would never have to have felt those feelings of having their lives slip away. The pain of their families and loved ones upon learning about the murder. Take that 10,000 and times it by all the years since 1950 and you tell me why you are not passionate. This is worthy of your passion.
"Violence sells, it is a big industry. It is priming people for violence. It is drug dealer mentality, but even drug dealers don't sell to little kids. Some people say well it's the parent's job to keep the kids away from this stuff. But, why, we have laws in other areas to help keep kids safe. We have seat belt laws, we have car seat laws, we have laws that you can't buy alcohol until 21, you can't drive until you're 16, you can't buy a gun when you're a kid. Why don't we have laws against this. A kid can't go into a pawn shop and buy a gun and then a pint of liquor and you don't say that it's the parents job to keep them out of the liquor store. There are laws against it. It's child abuser logic. Don't let them get away with it. We are fighting violent, visual imagery marketed to children, that's what we are fighting, marketing to kids.
"In February of 1998 I retired from the army. I was out of town and I got a call from my aunt that there was a mass murder in Jonesborough Ark. at the middle school and it was unknown how many dead. It was the worst feeling of horror. My son went to middle school in Jonesborough, Ark. My aunt wanted me to go and help. So I went to the school. I didn't know there were two middle schools. It wasn't my son's school it was the other school. I offered to help. We set up in the gymnasium and right outside the door to the gymnasium there was the blood congealing from the victims. Two boys ages 11 and 13 had stole weapons and pulled the fire alarm, as the girls came rushing out of the gym, the shooters waited until the door locked behind them, and then they opened fire killing 13 girls and a teacher.
"One of the counselors who had been at the hospital with the families came into the gym and she needed to talk. She had been at the hospital all day and the families were there in sobbing masses as the doctors would come out and tell them their child had died. There was one woman sitting alone, no friends, no family, no husband. She was just sitting there staring into the distance. The counselor asked if she could help her. The lady sitting alone, said, they called me and told me my little girl is dead. How do I get my baby back? She was told that all those killed had been sent to Little Rock and to call them and after they were done testing they would send the body to a funeral home of her choice. The mother couldn't afford a funeral. That baby was all she had in the world. She had hugged that baby and sent her off to school and that's the last time she saw her all warm and cuddly. She trusted us, she sent her into the world and we failed to keep her safe, we failed that mom, we failed those parents. We need to lead the kids home, we need to love them enough to take action. Education is the only transformation tool we have. God bless you and God bless America," concluded Grossman.