Page 5 of 6
Don Roberts a psychologist at Stanford University who has studied the effect of television violence on kids for 30 years hotly disagrees, as do many of his colleagues. "He's not only wrong," Roberts says of Epstein. "He's dreadfully wrong."
Roberts asks those who doubt the power of television to modify behavior to think about this: "We now have a generation of people willing to pay big bucks to wear labels on the outside of their clothing. Who did that? Who made them think that's the thing to do? The media. Television. Magazines. The same outlets wrestling uses.
"I don't care whether it's wrestling, "Road Runner," or Natural Born Killers, the point is the big entertaining thing in this society is to pound on other people and we need to think about why that is."
Fresh from his survey of 2,000 high school students, Durant believes watching wrestling is even more likely than cartoon shows to yield aggressive behavior.
"I think children who are looking at violence on Road Runner or Bugs Bunny or Elmer Fudd are not seeing the same 'realness' attached to the behavior," Durant says. "In wrestling, with most of the acting taking place, there's a lot of 'fake' there, but these guys do, actually, get hurt. It's confusing for kids."
The neighborhood where 15-month-old Ramone King was beaten to death looks like the kind of neighborhood where kids would see real violence anyway, the kind of place where someone's arrest may not be a shock. Dirt yards are scattered with patches of grass matted with garbage. The shoulder of Vicki Drive glistens with broken glass and aluminum pop tops. The rental house that Robin Tremble shares with her children and a roommate, Tammy Brown, is small and dingy. The black door has no screen and betrays its hollow plywood nature to a knock.
Brown answers the door. Tremble is at work at Subway. Brown is resting up from her job as a waitress at Longhorn Steaks. She asks about Rose. Her tongue is pierced, and its silver barb accentuates the glint of bridgework underneath her front lower teeth.
She says she doesn't know whatever became of Ramone's mother, she believes that she moved away. Brown has heard about what happened, but she's known Rose and Tremble for about three years, she says, and still believes Rose is trustworthy. The same thing could have happened to anybody, even a parent who'd just stepped out for a minute. She, herself, steps out occasionally to make phone calls at a store that's right up the road when her children are with her. The residence still doesn't have a phone.
"Hey, Eric Clapton's son fell out of a window," she says, pushing back her frosted hair. "Was that not negligence?"
An empty dental floss dispenser cracks under foot in the yard as she opens the door to go back into the house. Inside, the carpet's a little strewn, but its condition isn't particularly awful. The sofa and chairs are worn and sagging. In the kitchen, a dead cockroach lies on its back underneath the table. Brown explains that they spray for bugs and this one must have just crawled out and died.
Brown says wrestling shows ought to have a "parental lock box." There ought to be some kind of device that allows parents to keep their kids from watching those programs. Of course, Rose had been watching the show, which he videotaped off of pay-per-view, with the children.
"Well, yeah, that's true," Brown says. "But how can you know what other peoples' children are going to do?"
Rose says he still watches wrestling from time to time, of course, since he's incarcerated, that's up to the prison guards. He doesn't think he'll watch wrestling with other peoples' children in the future.
"Kids are not like they were when we were growing up," he says. "They're smart these days. They get some stuff that they do or say from other kids, but they get the majority of it off TV."
Rose has warmed to the subject, and he's leaning forward in his chair, as is the guard who has been assigned to sit in on the interview. The guard butts in apologetically: "I watch wrestling with my 3-year-old son."
That is going to be one fancy homeless camp.
I'll be done with my degree before this happens, but Kell Hall wouldn't/won't be missed…
Yay, pot-related arrests. Good use of my tax money. Lotta lives saved.
Carter's Presidency had its problems, to be sure, but as someone who came of age…
"There is unfortunately, a lot of illiteracy of the legal system in the black community..."…