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The Media and our Violent Society

As you read a newspaper or watch the news on T. V. , you probably have come to the conclusion that violence is becoming a real serious problem in the world were we live. The nation has witnessed many acts of violence through the past few years. Some prime examples would be: O. J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson; Susan Smith, who was found guilty of killing her own children; Timothy McVeigh, guilty of the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building; Jeffery Dahmer, who was killed in prison after he was sentenced for the murders of several men.

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Violence is a very broad topic, although it is categorized into many small groups. There is domestic violence, juvenile violence, hate violence, terrorist violence, and violence displaced through various forms of mass media. Domestic violence is a form of violence that usually occurs between individuals that reside in the same living arrangement. Domestic violence is one of the leading forms of violence. If you have ever seen one episode of the T. V. show Cops , you would have witnessed at least a couple of domestic disputes that the police were called to respond to.

This domestic violence is usually a result of an argument about money, emotional problems, or drugs and alcohol abuse. Most of the domestic disputes that become violent are not reported because of the fear the victim has for the offender. A very publicized illustration of domestic violence is the double murder of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. The accused murder was Nicole Brown Simpson’s husband, Orenthal James Simpson. I am from Towanda, which is a small rural town in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The population of Towanda is roughly 2,200 people.

Being raise in a small rural town, I haven’t been a victim of any crime, but I have witnessed an increase in violence, especially domestic violence. A prime example of this would be an incident in April 1995 that occurred in Windham Township. This violent act was a double homicide. The victims of the crime were Regina Ann Clark and her 9-year-old son, Ausin Wade Hopper. The suspects in the incident are John Joseph Koehler and William E. Curley. Our local newspaper reported that, “Koehler was the teacher in a contract-killing lesson in Bradford County” (Corie).

The other disturbing fact was that Regina Clark, one of the victims, was the girlfriend of John Koehler. The trial for John Koehler is now in progress at the Bradford County Courthouse. “John J. Koehler, 35, Blackwood, N. J. is charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, endangering the welfare of a child and possessing instruments of a crime” (Corie). “William E. Curley, 19, Rome, also charged in these killings, waived his right to a jury trial earlier this month.

At his trial before President Judge Jeffery Smith, Curley was found guilty of first and second degree murder and burglary” (Corie). “The body of Ms. Clark was found stuffed inside a refrigerator at a make-shift dump site along a rural road in Stevens Township. Two days later the small boy’s body was located in a sluice pipe under a road in Windham Township” (Corie). Besides this disturbing act of violence, recently there has been an attempted kidnapping that occurred April 14 in Dushore, which is a small town 45 minutes away from Towanda.

The victim was a 9-year-old girl, who was not harmed and returned home safely” (Turissini). “According to the police, the suspects are a white male, 25 to 35 years of age, bald or a ‘skin head,’ with no facial hair or glasses, and a white female with brown hair, worn in a ponytail” (Turissini). The statics I received on domestic violence are almost unbearable. “In a national survey of over 6,000 American families, 50% of the men frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children” (Straus).

Men who have witnessed their parents’ domestic violence are three times more likely to abuse their own wives than children of non violent parents, with the sons of the most violent parents being 1000 times more likely to become a wife beater” (Straus). The spouse isn’t the only one at risk in a violent relationship. Statics show that the children are also at risk. “Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year” (Carlson). “Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in families where domestic violence is present” (Stacy).

Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and aggression against peers, family members and property” (Peled). “A comparison of delinquent and nondelinquent youth found that a history of family violence or abuse is the most significant difference between the two groups” (Miller). From these statics it is obvious that the child’s fate is in their parents’ hands.

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