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A college shooting has just happened. As I write this, the newscaster wonders if there is any link between this and other school shootings, whether through motive or method. There will probably be a debate on a few of the plethora talk shows afterwards, the omnipresent scrolling headline in the bottom reading something along the lines of "Shooters Played Violent Video Games" or "Teen Killers Watched Action Movies." And why not? Violence in the media has received a considerable amount of focus in the past few decades. The prevailing view seems to be that the effects of violent television programming and video games on children is harmful, damaging, and perhaps influencing violent acts in turn. Yet kids have long been attracted to violent dream scenarios, if it be either Beowulf or even Gunsmoke or Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. There's a magnetic pull for kids toward these types of tales and there's been since the dawn of time. Kids such as the shooters in Helsinki are an aberration, the sociological equivalent of a defective gene. Far from producing generation after generation of serial killers and gang bangers, violent tales could be and usually are advantageous to the young folks that they target. My own development could be sorely missing without these tales. In my youth I was an awkward, obese child without any interpersonal skills. Within this vacuum of social input, I was instantly attracted to comic novels. Spider-Man was by far my favorite. There was an appeal there in studying the protagonist beating up his villains, and that I admired this fictional character so far that I took to heart his credo: "With great power comes great responsibility." The violence which drew me in and thrilled me also motivated me. Afterwards, as a still awkward teenager, I fell in love with martial arts movies. Again, the violence and activity drew me in. From the amazing athleticism of both Bruce Lee, Yuen Biao, along with Jackie Chan, I also found a feeling of right and wrong, of honor and nobility. There was a moral code in these types of films imparted through the characters, not far different from the ethical codes extant in Medieval stories of knights slaying dragons or at the tales of Wild West lawmen. Lacking a father figure in my own life, these characters (who had no doubt strong and in charge of their lives) gave me something to aspire to, some sense of what kind of grown person ought to be and how he ought to i.. .