Times Record: Kids, guns and violence (Jan. 16, 2013)

Is it art?

Let’s ask The Police.

No, not those police — the groundbreaking pop group from the 1980s who wrote a song called “Murder By Numbers.”

Once that you’ve decided on a killing/

First you make a stone of your heart/

And if you find that your hands are still willing/

Then you can turn a murder into art

Now if you have a taste for this experience/

And you’re flushed with your very first success/

Then you must try a twosome or a threesome/

And you’ll find your conscience bothers you much less

Because murder is like anything you take to/

It’s a habit-forming need for more and more/

You can bump off every member of your family/

And anybody else you find a bore

Now you can join the ranks of the illustrious/

In history’s great dark hall of fame/

All our famous killers were industrious/

At least the ones that we all know by name

Because it’s murder by numbers/

one-two-three/

It’s as easy to learn as your ABCs/

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over revelations that local teens have been using public places around Brunswick to film gory, shoot-em-up videos — 26 of which have garnered huge numbers of page views on the Internet.

In an era when innocent youths are gunned down in class, video games trumpet trigger skills and a generation of latch-key kids has free access to a universe of violent media, this worry is understandable — if a little quaint.

Kids have always played soldiers, fiddled with toy guns, done war games with their friends. USN Films is merely the high-tech, 21st-century rendition of that: glossy, high-shock gunplay, tuned up with effects and available to a wide audience online.

That’s not to say it isn’t disturbing. It is.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s aberrant behavior. Quite the contrary. The students’ work is an accurate reflection of the world we have created for them. They may even be congratulated for dealing with our poisonous culture of violence in the most creative way possible — with art.

Which reminds us of another great song from the 1980s — “You Can’t Fool the Youth,” by reggae legend Bob Marley.

When every Christmas come /

You buy the youth a pretty toy gun /

So, you can’t blame the youths when they get bad/

You can’t fool the youths /

You can’t blame the youths of today/

You can’t fool the youths.

In retrospect, we should be glad these videos were filmed in and around our community.

It’s caused us the chance to examine issues of gun violence and youth — so prevalent in our culture today — in a tangible way.

Now maybe we can engage in a public dialogue as to how we can keep kids from wasting their talents in industries bent on death and destruction.

Or maybe we will wait for a real-life incident to have that discussion.

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