Community and Movie Violence

The concept of whether there is a correlation between movie violence and real-life violence has been a controversial debate for many years. Currently, there are many concluded as properly as ongoing researchers being conducted by sociologists in their efforts to find the relevant data linking film violence to real life violence. Examples of such researchers consist of the ones documented in the articles by Oliver Stone and Michael Zimecki. The two articles are based on the stimulus-response and argue that motion pictures do, in fact, incite violence, and since the first amendment does now not cover incited violence, there is exist no legal route of action for such violence. However, the two articles are based on both deduction and induction reasoning and argument. Considering the persuasion techniques used in the two articles about effective argument, Michael Zimecki’s argument is more compelling when compared to Oliver Stone’s. This is because each claim in Zimecki’s arguments is backed by supporting factual evidence.

First, there is a strong correlation between movie violence and real-life violence and Zimecki provided facts for his argument using examples. As an example, the author selects the New York subway incidence. In this incidence, a subway token booth was burnt down like a scene in the movie Money Train. The act resulted in the death of the booth attendant, Harry Kaufman, who was inside when the young men torched it. All the relevant authorities termed the action as a copycat crime, blaming the movie for its reenactment, hence incitement. However, it is also a fact that many other acts of violence unrelated to movies occur on a daily basis. Nevertheless, Zimecki’s evidence has proven the connection between the movie and real life violence as the acts are almost identical and the time frame further suggests that it was influenced by the movie. For this reason, Zimecki argues that film makers should be responsible for the violence triggered by the movies and should consequently not be protected by the first amendments.

According to Zimecki, every idea has a consequence, and the act of writing movies and acting may lead to the imitation of dangerous actions seen in the movies as stated by the late Richard, a rhetoric professor at the University of Chicago. Despite this, the U.S. courts continue to allow the creators of such material to present it to the public, claiming that the benefits of such creativity on the society overshadow the negative impact that the constant exposure to violence may have on the public. For this reason, the author suggests the adoption of laws that will bring responsibility to such content creators, stating that “life and art exert a strong tug on each other,” hence the need to regulate the former for a safer latter. Specifically, Zimecki singles out the legal definition of the word “incitement” claiming that eventual harm should be treated as immediate harm.

In Stone’s defense, the accused youths were battling issues ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to psychiatric issues. Thus the cause of their violent act could not be exclusively attributed to influence from violent movies. Also, the two teens were raised in a family filled with a history of violence, as the father of Ben committed suicide, predisposing him to violence at an early age. Nevertheless, Grisham believed in suing film companies for coming up with movies that trigger violence and thus calling for the withdrawal of first amendment rights that protects movies. John Grisham articulates his argument based on the magical powers in the film as a censorship for violence. Such measures remain untested, and the impact they may have on the relationship between violent films and real life violence remains unknown, reducing Grisham’s claims to mere opinions.

According to Stone’s arguments in the article, the behavior of a person is influenced by his or her childhood upbringing. The social environment and childhood upbringing play a vital role in person’s behavior. School and peer influence have an impact on the future behavior of a person. Children who grow up in a horrible family, full of fighting and abuse, will tend to develop this character and later indulge themselves into such actions. This argument is invalid as there are strict laws is against domestic violence. Hence no child can grow up in such an environment. Therefore, the only violence that children are exposed to in their early life is that in violent movies as they spend more time in front of the television than in school as the findings in the study suggest (1,100 in school and 1,500 watching television respectively). With this in mind, the people to blame are clearly the content creators for these television programs and movies since they have failed to consider that children make up a significant percentage of their audience. Due to the gullible nature of children and young adults, the content presented on television is bound to affect their development and subsequent behavior in one way or another. On that note, when most of what they consume as television content involve violence, the effects that such content will have on the development and ultimate behavior of the children and young adults will consequently be negative. This group of content consumers will inevitably display a much more violent nature in their behavior when compared to their age-mates who are not exposed to movie violence.

As opposed to Stone’s argument, Michael Zimecki’s argument is evidence-based with more than one real life event supporting his claim that film violence leads to real life violence. Other than the New York subway instance, Zimecki cites three more real-life events that end in catastrophes when members of society act out what they see in movies. Such events include the death of the Pennsylvania teen who attempts to replicate scene from the movie The Program but ends up being crushed by a vehicle. In another supporting example given by the author, the individuals who committed the 1974 Hi-Fi murder subjected their victims to actions similar to what they had seen in a scene in the movie Magnum Force. Just like in this film, the victims were made to drink Drano, causing their demise. Lastly, in a separate incidence the same year, a group of juvenile delinquents sexually assaulted a young girl (9 years old) at a beach in San Francisco, in a fashion similar to an assault in a scene in the movie Born Innocent, which was coincidentally aired a few days prior on national television.

We can, therefore, conclude that Michael Zimecki’s argument is stronger than the argument presented by Stones, since he offers supporting evidence to back up his claims. The persuasion in the two articles depicts the reality based on facts and opinions respectively. There are fallacies in Stone’s argument while Zimecki’s points are based on evidence. Zimecki uses inductive reasoning in to present his argument throughout the article. On the other hand, Stone’s article uses deductive reasoning which is not dependable as it relies mainly on assumptions and opinions as opposed to factual evidence. Citing real life evidence of such occurrences, Zimecki manages to demonstrate that a direct relation between movie and real-life violence exists. As a result, he suggests that the law should refrain from protecting content creators so that they become answerable for their actions. Such a move according to him will create a safer society as the content consumed by children, and young adult will help develop good behaviors reducing the prevalence of violent crimes in the society.

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