The Ooltewah rape case is still fresh in our memory. Now, there are rape allegations that hit even closer to home. Why are young men acting this way toward other young men? When I was young, there was hazing. But hazing meant you were picked on, or at worse, beaten up. At no point in time did hazing ever mean sexually assaulting another young man. The mere suggestion that one football player wanted to do that to another football player would have been grounds for a fight. So, what’s happened in the past two decades to change how things were when I was young?
I should start by saying that I’m not trying to absolve the guilty. Those individuals will have to deal with the legal and moral ramifications of their actions. I’m just trying to figure out why these actions are even crossing the minds of our young men.
In my view, access by children to violent pornography and gore is the problem. I’m not going to glorify the myriad of hardcore websites by linking to them. Just be aware that, if your child has a smart phone, he can easily watch sex acts that would make your spouse blush in the bedroom and Mexican cartel videos that make ISIS execution videos look tame. And yes, your child watches these videos. 90% of children age eight to sixteen have watched pornography at least once and teenage males are pornography’s largest consumers. While there aren’t statistics on what percentage of children watch gore, given the popularity of some of the sites, young men are watching.
It is well-established that young people are affected by what they watch. But, it shouldn’t take a doctor to tell us this. I remember watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid and then going out and reenacting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I remember watching Michael Jordan soar through the air and then going out, lowering the basketball goal, and imagining that I was playing the NBA. My brain didn’t process that I was too short, slow, and white to play in the NBA. I was a child. Today, how are young people’s brains processing violent porn and torture videos?
We’ve let the most vulnerable in society view the most horrific videos. This isn’t to excuse what happened but it is to say that it will happen again until society protects its children, especially the ones vulnerable to reenact what they see. I have little doubt that the good people of Grundy County would change the law if they could. Sadly, our federal courts find rights in the constitution that have our founding father’s rolling over in their graves. So, it’s unlikely that this type of material is coming down anytime soon.
In the meantime, if your child must have a phone, get him a flip phone.