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The Scapegoat: The Effect That The Media Has On School Violence - With A Free Essay Review

In today’s world, the media plays a large part in the way that we think and act as people. Those who are on top of the media may not directly try to force thoughts or feelings onto any given person, but they do not realize what affects they can really have on many people. People are turning to eating disorders because of what they see in the media, they are, without being on purpose, acquiring mental health disorders due to the fact that they do not feel good enough.

Society tends to look at a dramatic event and find something to use as the scapegoat. Although combined aspects of the media and the person’s mental stability are the cause, society tends to find one single scapegoat to look down upon. If a child uses firearms to attack their educational system, find something to blame for it, like video games. No one would be correct if they tried to say that media doesn’t truly affect each and every person. Holding true to the fact that the media affects everyone, we can say that a mixture of all forms of media and a lack of differentiation between right and wrong can drive someone to violent behavior such as school shootings; we cannot though, blame one single aspect of the media for the deterioration of behavior in society.

Since we know that the media is such an influential force, we can come to the conclusion that if the media is violent, we will be violent, right? The answer is no. Violence is a trait of a person’s personality, and if it does not show from the very beginning, it is bound to show eventually. Rumors are starting to sprout that children are becoming excessively violent because of the amount of violence in schools today. After the Columbine shooting in 1999, the amount of violence in school and school shootings has actually risen dramatically. The amount of media exposure that the boys who committed the crime got was impalpable. This is called glorification in the media. When they gave those boys the title of the largest mass murderers in school history, they were glorifying what they did. Effects of glorification could contain imitation crimes, even possibly imitation suicides. When a person sees something on the news or otherwise that they view as extraordinary, they may try to copy, or imitate it. Imitation suicides and crimes have been committed for years, but have risen with the amount of media exposure in the world. With this, it has been proven that the more media exists prominently in our society, the more mental health disorders people are getting. Coincidentally, the prison rates have also been going up as the media exposure gets greater and greater. This would mean that the media is not helping by informing us of crime, but likely hurting.

Violence may not be the direct cause of anyone’s rage and violent acts, but it has been shown that adults who were more surrounded by violence at a younger age have more violent tendencies than those who did not. Children also have shown to be more susceptible to being violent if they have a bad home life, or a lot of stress. Because of this, school violence is a fear that a lot of American parents have. A child who isn’t protected by their parents does not have a chance to know whether purchasing a gun if right or wrong. Guns are easily acquired in the United States, and this causes even more problems with violent children. Since it is so easy to obtain a firearm, they feel it as a weapon to get what they want. If guns weren’t so available to children, the amount of lethal crimes containing firearms would plummet drastically. Safety measures in school are also getting harder on children, causing their violent acts to be prevented.

One of the biggest facts that I think we need to take into account is if anyone with mental instability has the chance to commit a violent act, they will commit that act. Regardless of safety measures, or how available a weapon is to them, or how illegal it is. Just because a child has a bad home life, or plays a violent video game, doesn’t mean that they will automatically want to commit a crime. They can factor into a crime, but you also have to take into account the many mental problems that that person most likely has. When you put a child in a situation where the media tells them who they should be, and that they’ve been doing it wrong from the beginning, they feel like they don’t deserve to be a part of the world anymore. Not to mention that the information portrayed in the media isn’t always correct like many people think. There happen to be a lot of people who believe that you can blame one aspect of the media for violence, although it may not be true. The problem with the opposition is that a lot of it is opinion; there was not as much fact as I would have liked to find. The media has a hold on the people of the United States like you wouldn’t believe, and we don’t like to put the blame on something with so much power, so we tend to toss the blame around to single aspects at a time; we don’t like to look at the big picture.



The first two paragraphs constitute your introduction, culminating in your thesis statement at the end of the second paragraph. It’s fine to have a two-paragraph introduction in principle, but it seems unnecessary here. You take too long to get to the point. You are arguing that the media has an influence on behavior. Unless you plan to undertake a thorough investigation of the ways in which values and ideas are disseminated in society, for instance, there is no need to speculate on whether those in control of the media intend to influence society. When you merely speculate (or offer an unsupported opinion) on such matters, you invite your reader to disagree with a point inessential to your main argument. These two paragraphs, moreover, as in other paragraphs in the essay, are marked by unneeded prolixity (instead of saying “holding true to the fact that the media affects everyone, we can say that a mixture etc.,” for example, just say “In this essay I argue that a mixture etc.”).

Your third paragraph makes a series of claims: violence is a personality trait; school violence has, according to rumor, increased as a result of previous school violence; the media glorifies violence; glorification can cause more violence and imitation suicides; media cause mental health disorders; incarceration rates have been increasing; the media is not helping but hurting.

That’s a lot of claims and when you bundle that many claims into one paragraph you seriously test your reader’s patience! Your paragraphs need to be focused on single topics clearly related to your overall argument (as articulated in your thesis statement). Make a claim, demonstrate the truth of the claim, and relate it to the thesis. Note that in this paragraph you begin by saying that the media, in effect, is not really responsible for making us violent, and you end by saying that the media is “not helping ... but likely hurting.” These two claims are not necessarily incompatible, but you can take them as a measure of how far in the course of writing the paragraph you have gone, as it were, off topic. If you want to put claims like that into one paragraph, perhaps the best way to do it would be to subordinate one claim to the other: “Although the tendency to be violent is largely innate, the media doesn’t help the situation etc. ...”

The same kind of problem occurs in the next two paragraphs; i.e., you are not focussing on a distinct topic. In the first of these, for example, you start off talking about how violent tendencies may be exacerbated by a person’s childhood environment; you then talk about guns; and conclude with a statement about “safety measures.”

The strength of your essay is that you have taken a fairly nuanced approach to the problem of violence in schools; you have understood that there are many factors that tend to influence violent behavior. The complexity of that position, however, all the more demands careful consideration of how best to organize your ideas. In this respect, you need to focus on the basics: writing a clear, specify thesis statement; constructing clear transitions and topic sentences to introduce each paragraph; crafting paragraphs that focus on distinct topics instead of several topics and conclude with a clarification of how the claim articulated in the paragraph contributes to the overall thesis.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Alexis6834


This is an argumentive essay concerning the effect that the media has on school violence and school shootings.
May,23 2012

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