Does Television Cause Murder?
The essay "Murder on the Dial: Does Television Set the Killer Loose?" by Neal Peirce starts out with an argument that television causes murders. Peirce backs this up with a study of three countries by Brandon Centerwall. The author points out that in the studies, when children became adults, about ten years after television was introduced, murders began to rise. In South Africa, before television was introduced, murder rates held steady for decades. Ten years after television was introduced, murder rates soared by 54%. Peirce points out that Centerwall is on to something, but also points out critics will question the statistics and the countries chosen for study. He defends this by saying in a couple of decades people might realize violence on television is bad even if they do not agree now. Peirce points out that television makes suffering seem not so bad, and the television warps the youngster's view of human relations.
He backs this up with a statistic about the average 16 year-old, who has seen 18,000 television murders. Peirce says the amount of murders a child views is not likely to be changed because the First Amendment prohibits censorship, but the author hopes citizens can force stations to make better use of airtime. Ultimately, Peirce feels the cure for violence is to reduce demand. Parents should pick and choose, while cutting back on what their kids watch overall. The author knows tending to kids takes time, but if we do not, they could murder.
I thought this essay had some very strong points. I liked how the author used statistics and an expert in the field, Brandon Centerwall. I also liked the solutions the author gave. He was realistic and did not give some unrealistic answer. He gave a solution that the...