Position Paper

Position Paper - A Public Health Problem Youth Violence...

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A Public Health Problem: Youth Violence Very few people have not heard about the Columbine High School shootings. Twelve students and one teacher were killed at this Colorado school in 1999. An even more recent event, the Virginia Tech shooting, happened in April 2007. The shooter killed thirty-three people, including himself, and injured twenty-nine others. These shootings spurred people to contemplate why teen-agers and young adults resort to this cruelty, and many of these people took sides on this issue. Violence among adolescents still exists in every school like Virginia Tech, and researchers are trying to find the source of it. Violence can be sexual, it can be emotional, but overall, youth violence is physical. It includes, but is not limited to, homicides like school shootings, physical fights, bullying, and carrying weapons with the intent to harm. The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that over ten percent of all homicides between 1976 and 2004 were committed by people under the age of eighteen. There have been major instances in various states that have caused Americans to become worried about this aggression among adolescents. Some blame the media, some say it is not the media at all, and others, like myself, blame violence on the undeveloped portions of a teen-age brain. Americans are trying to figure out what exactly is the cause of this disturbing problem. Why are teen-agers so irrational, and why do they resort to violence? I saw firsthand what many people determine as teen-age violence. Almost every day at the high school I attended from 2005 to 2006 there was a fight or gossip about a fight that might take place. Before lunch, I would see a crowd of people rush in a circle around two students that were in a fist fight. The people in the crowd seemed to enjoy this fight, as if it were some kind of performance or show. They would yell, chant, and even try to get the students more angry and aggressive. One student at my school was
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Van Vuren- reported to have kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and held a knife to her throat. I remember wondering why these people had to resort to fighting. Was it for attention? Was it out of self defense? These few examples that I have seen firsthand have inspired me to research in depth the cause of teen-age violence. I now believe that the teen brain is not developed enough to use reason and logic in stressful situations or in life in general. Opposite to my opinion, many people have other view points such as the media is to blame for this violence. A major heated issue seems to be that the media is to blame for teen-agers being too violent. Numerous “correlational studies, laboratory research paradigms, field trials, longitudinal research, and meta-analytic reviews… are consistent in their conclusions that media violence affects aggressive behavior in viewers”(Connor 156). People believe that, based on these studies, it is a fact that violent behavior in teen-agers comes from the media. Many people feel that “Hollywood is leading our children toward destruction”
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Position Paper - A Public Health Problem Youth Violence...

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