Okay, you've done something stupid as an adult, say, strapping a turbine engine to the top of your car and then turning yourself into jelly from the G-forces.. where your remains are found later by a State Trooper - inside a few feet of solid rock. You'll get a darwin award, and infamy through e-mails exchanged at work, but CNN won't cover it. Now, were you to do the same, stupid, thing as a kid it would likely be covered by CNN and the military would face questioning by a senate oversight committee for improper disposal of goods, as well as public outcry over the matter (visit the darwin awards page for a more detailed explanation).
It's instinctual for us to protect our kids, that's why these kinds of things generate public outcries. It's embedded into our very being - protect the genes. But step back for a moment and think rationally: Who's responsibility is it to watch that parent's kid? It isn't MTVs - their only responsibility is to the latest Neilson ratings and their TV supervisors. It's entertainment, or so they say. MTV cannot take on a parental role here, and ultimately that's what's going on - these people are blaming MTV for their own failings. Yes, a terrible thing happened to your kid and it's a tragedy. Faced with that, I might be grasping for answers. But that's not the right answer.
What do you expect from a teen? They're young, wild, and think they'll live forever. Hell, I'm 21 now and still feel the same way, and I got raging hormones to boot. The only thing that keeps me from doing insane things like that is a supportive family and a network of friends that acts responsible in both word and deed. The failing here was not television, it was the parents and the peers of this kid. In this era of dual-income families and 60 hour work-weeks, parents are putting their kids on autopilot.. and look at the generation we've got - Generation X.. called that because they don't care! Why don't they care? Because their parent's didn't care either!
Look at the environment that the kids who are part of these tragedies, or who perpetuate them. In every one, you'll find at the center someone who was neglected by their family, by the community, by their peers, or by the school - and often more than one. It is this system of neglect that allows this to happen - not television. It is part of our society - we want money, and we've sacrificed a lot to get to it. The family atomics in this society have fractured and come apart, our morals are wavering and weakening, all around us we see apathy and indifference. In a situation like this, you can bet you're going to see an increase in violence, depression, sorrow, and self-mutilation, just to name a few.
Wake up people. Embrace your kids, spend time with them. LISTEN TO THEM, and put yourself in their shoes. They need our help, as much now as at any other time, and there should always be a safety net of friends and family. We may live in a society of individuals, but we accomplish nothing except through cooperation with others. There is no excuse for neglecting the people you love - love and friendship can only develop and mature by spending time with those you would love and cherish. If you don't spend time with your kids, you're saying you don't love them. The lack of love and companionship is what ultimately causes tragedy. We are social creatures, and without the right kind of socializing, we'll tear ourselves apart from the inside out.
Or burn ourselves up.
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.