Research by The American Psychological Association showed a link between violent game use both increases in aggressive behavior and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and moral engagement. LUKE HAYFIELD/FLICKR VIA CC BY 2.0

In the modern era, violence has become the quintessential characteristic of American popular culture. Naturally, such a murderous atmosphere has been encouraged by the increasing popularity of brutal first-person shooting games like “Call of Duty” and “Fallout.” President Trump seeks to crack down on these games through collaborative meetings with video game executives. While some may argue that the president should be focusing more on restricting guns themselves than restricting video games, I wholeheartedly believe that gun violence can only be ended through the purging of video games from society.

It is a universal truth that video games are too violent for consumption. Even games aimed at children, such as the “Super Mario” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” series, ooze with psychopathic material. “Super Mario,” for example, encourages extreme chauvinism. For those unacquainted with the series, “Super Mario” focuses on the quest of the plumber Mario to save a princess named Peach, who has been kidnapped by an army of cartoon monsters. It is similar to the sword-and-sorcery tales of the Middle Ages, where King Arthur and his knights slaughtered innocent warlocks and kingdoms in order to “rescue” princesses, and provoke sexist themes that objectify women. “Sonic the Hedgehog” is no better, for it encourages environmental terrorism. The titular mammal constantly wages war against the industrialist Dr. Eggman. The series consistantly depicts robots and modern technology in a negative light, accusing the good doctor of sacrificing nature in order to bring about a scientific utopia. It tries desperately to persuade children to murder captains of industry, and thus, along with “Super Mario,” must be banned from American consumption.

But video games are not the sole factor in our bloodthirsty culture. For every “mature” violent video game, there are at least three equally violent television shows and movies. Consider this: one of the most successful and popular movie series in America, “Star Wars,” literally contains violence in the very title. The comic book movie empire of Marvel similarly reeks of homicide, with “heroes” like Iron Man and Spider-Man ruthlessly beating down “villains.” “Game of Thrones” frequently depicts its “heroes” committing atrocities and fighting in wars, and the “satire,” “South Park,” contains way too much gore to be tolerated. The entire “crime drama” genre in television is arguably the worst offender, for each and every “cop show” contains unspeakable levels of realistic violence. For example, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” features gratuitous depictions of bodily mutilation and rape, and “Blue Bloods” promotes the trigger-happy police department of New York City. Even the older, “PG” crime shows like “Monk” and “Murder, She Wrote” include monstrous murders. Sure, they may happen off-screen and are never shown, but the very concept of murder is something that shouldn’t be broadcast on television.

Replacing current forms of entertainment with older, “classic” material, however, is not an appropriate solution. Literary scholars may write volumes praising the lyrical qualities of Shakespeare, but it is apparent that Shakespeare is just as violent as modern entertainment. His play, “Hamlet,” has most of the characters die in cruel, unusual ways. One character is stabbed to death behind a tapestry, another is poisoned and the play ends with a needlessly violent fencing duel. “Macbeth” is worse, for it contains a king being stabbed in bed and another king being decapitated. “Romeo and Juliet” encourages young lovers to kill themselves if their reasonable, enlightened superiors disapprove of their romance and “King Lear” features that infamous eye-gouging scene. The Bible is worse — it justifies slaughtering non-Abrahamic faiths in the name of a non-secular “God.” Therefore, it could be said that Shakespeare and the Bible are responsible for the popularization of violence in modern culture, and thus they must be purged.

Although the entertainment industry is greatly responsible for the psychopathy demonstrated by the average American citizen, we must pay attention to another form of media that is also responsible for our bloodstained country. Journalism must be limited, for it routinely engages in graphic depictions of violence. We do not need pictures of jihadists toting machine guns on the backs of Jeeps; a sentence will suffice. We do not need to see politicians arguing with each other; summarizing the opposing opinions in a sentence will work. Some may argue that restricting journalism (and media in general) violates our freedom of speech, but I argue that it is a worthy sacrifice, for getting rid of media will certainly cure our bloodlust.

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What, then, should replace modern entertainment? The answer is simple: “Sesame Street” and “Barney & Friends.” These shows reinforce actual useful and nonviolent information, such as counting and showing respect for other human beings, which is particularly valuable in an era where civilized conduct has been sacrificed for violence. Unlike the aforementioned “Super Mario,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” and the Bible, these “kids’ shows” are truly educational and benefit children immensely. What works for children also works for adults, and thus I conclude that all adults should watch “Sesame Street” and “Barney & Friends” on a daily basis in order to promote pacifism and kindness over murder.

There will undoubtedly be critics who view my suggestions as too radical. They will argue that we can only cure our bloodlust by directly restricting guns themselves, rather than attacking the media that depicts the violence. Some may complain that my proposed solution is actually mass censorship and violates the First Amendment. Instead, they argue for more restrictions on gun control policies. They also want to increase the age limit for buying guns and ban automatic gun accessories like bump stocks. However, I maintain that violence be exorcised from the media, for it is the media that persuades people to commit violent atrocities in the first place. Gun restrictions will do nothing if people desire to commit murder, as people will do anything to satisfy their violent wishes. True pacifism can only be achieved once the desire to have guns is thoroughly suppressed.

The Onion Bagel is a satirical column for The Statesman.

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