The Desensitizing of America

Last night, I watched the pilot of a new program on television. The show was about a former FBI agent who was called back to help find a serial killer that escaped prison.

The criminal in the show had violently killed a number of girls/women and was subsequently caught by the FBI. Having escaped just before his execution date, he found and killed the one woman who had escaped death during his first murderous rampage before the FBI again, apprehended him. As with many shows on t.v., the tactics and thought processes of the investigating agencies used to rearrest the criminal was shared with viewers. The show also showed extremely graphic images of the mutilated victims. The story itself was a good idea, and I was interested in the plot. Because of the horrific images, however, I won’t be watching subsequent episodes.

As a woman who still has my base values in place, I strongly believe that modern-day television has taken it a bit too far. When I was young, a debate existed on whether or not a couple should be shown in bed together, fully clothed. The FCC and other authorities seemed to be sticking to their mission back then. Today, we can see just about all-things-sex right on prime time television. Also, we see the awful pictures of what is left of victims after their unfortunate interaction with a criminally-insane person. What happened to leaving something to the imagination?

In my youth, this type of television was unthinkable, for good reason. We have gone from being a nation concerned with family values and safety to seemingly a competition for what director can produce the most shocking images imaginable.

As for the criminal minds that exist in society, my thought process is that we do not give them more ideas by showing them the darkest corners of the imagination. Additionally, I do not think it makes good sense for our protectors to share how they find and arrest these people. It is sad that there are mass murderers, rapists and those so bent that they would have a thought of doing such a thing in the first place. But to give them more ideas and include pictures seems like it only lends to more ideas for the insane to acquire. I’m sure it’s not healthy for our minds to watch it, either.

A great example of a good story that combines crimes involving both sex and violence is the Wes Craven movie, “The Last House on the Left.” I very much enjoyed the story of the movie, save the rape scene of a teenage girl. Did anyone else notice how long the camera stayed on the teenage girl as she was being violently raped? And why, exactly, do we as a “healthy” society want to see an extended rape scene (graphic) of basically, a child?


As a historic reader of murder mystery books, I can say that my mind can draw the conclusions and pictures it needs to fill in those blanks, as well as the imagery and horror of the crime being committed. I do not need to see extensive sex scenes or pictures of humans who have had their eyes gouged out to get the idea. I’m smart like that.

I enjoy a good show just like everyone. But from here on out, I am going to be more selective of what I am supporting on television and in the theaters. My hope is that you will do the same, and remind your children that this type of imagery is not healthy. It is the result of a twisted ideas and crimes against other humans, and we should not allow the system to desensitize us to the point where it’s “just another school shooting” or “just another rape”. These are serious crimes and should not be normalized by modern t.v.

The reality is that these acts ruin people’s lives. I, for one, do not agree with making them appear so commonplace that our minds just accept them as normal. It is not normal.


About Jana Brock

We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
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