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While attending the Annual Training Seminar (ATS) of the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) in Lexington, Ky., this year, it was my privilege to attend the all-day advanced course called "The Bulletproof Mind" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Lt Col. Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author and speaker. He is one of the foremost experts in the field of human aggression, the roots of violence, and violent crime. He is an Army Ranger and has seen action all over the world. He has been a psychology professor at West Point and the Professor of Military Science and Chair of the Department of Military Science at Arkansas State University. His home is in Jonesboro, Ark.

Lt. Col. Grossman has written extensively and his book "On Killing" has become required reading at the FBI Academy, the DEA Academy, and a great many law enforcement agencies nationwide. The USMC has placed this book on the Commandant's Required Reading at West Point, the U.S. Air Force NCO Academy, and many other military schools. He speaks about 300 times a year, and has addressed Congress three times, the Senate, and has personally given President Trump his most recent book.

I normally would not list an author's credentials in this manner, but it is important for you to know that this guy is not a political hack. He is one smart author, and he documents everything he writes in detail. His most recent book, "Assassination Generation" is one of the scariest books I have ever read, but it is a must read for anyone who is concerned about the many shootings and killings in our country and around the world.

Grossman documents the killings by people under the age of 17 from 1975 to the present, and lists the number of people killed around the world by violence. Interestingly, the United States did not even make the top 20 countries where mass killings have taken place. These terrible killings are happening worldwide.

The thesis of Lt. Col. Grossman's new book is simple and yet horribly profound: There is a causal relationship between violent media and violent video games and the violent aggressive behavior among both young people and adults. Over 1,000 studies, including the Surgeon General's Office and the National Institute of Mental Health, overwhelmingly endorse this conclusion. Grossman contends that media violence and especially violent video games have created a new generation that is predisposed to kill people. And, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your perspective) Grossman accurately predicted the mass killings in our country before they occurred; and he says the worst has not yet happened.

Although video games have the potential for doing good, Grossman points out that up to 70 percent of today's young people are caught up in some of the most damaging video games. He documents the close relationship between various video games and various mass shootings. One killer had these games in his basement: Call to Duty: Modern Warfare 1, 2, and 3; Left for Dead, Metal Gear Solid, Dead Rising, Half Life, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, Shin Megami Tensei, Dynasty Warriors, Vice City, and Doom. Some of the other games available are even worse than these. Taking their lead from military training, some videos detail how to kill people militarily while others focus upon killing cops. Those who play get extra points for killing soldiers and police officers. And, what is really scary is how some games teach the player to rack up more points by killing the most people. In order to do this, they seek out the easiest targets -- yes, guess who -- little children.

I cannot provide all of the information parents need in this small article, and so I must direct you to the book. However, Grossman points out that far too many kids and young people go off to their rooms around 10 o'clock and then spend hours playing video games, watching violent media on television, or communicating with someone else about violence. Grossman suggests that parents should make sure their children turn off their devices at a certain time and leave them off. And when a child's behavior begins to change from good to bad, parents need to check and see what is filling up their time. Some children spend 70 hours a week on video games alone.

I am deeply concerned about the many shootings in our country, and have often wondered why people would do such terrible things. Grossman's book, "Assassination Generation" provides the best explanation I have read. It is scary, but it is a must read for every parent. It is scary because of what is happening in the present, but more so as Grossman predicts that we have not seen the worst of it yet.

• • •

Robert Box is the former chaplain for the Bella Vista Police Department and is currently the fire department chaplain. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 08/01/2018

Print Headline: 'Assassination Generation'

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