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Time was when boys used to point toy guns and say ‘Bang'. Now, they aim real gu...


  Time was when boys used to point toy guns and say ‘Bang’. Now, they aim real guns and shoot one another. Nearly 4,200 teenagers were killed by firearms in 1990. Only motor vehicle accidents kill most teenagers than firearms and the firearms figures are rising. The chance that a black male between the ages of 15 and 19 will be killed by a gun has almost tripled since 1985 and almost double for white males, according to the National Centre for Health Statistics.

  Who could disagree with Health and Human services secretary, Donna Shalala, when she pronounced these statistics ‘frightening and intolerable?’. In the shameful light of this ‘waste of young lives’ in Ms Shalala’s words, an often-asked question seems urgently due to be raised again. Would less violence on television, the surrounding environment for most children and young adults make violence in actual life less normal, less accepted, less horrifying?

  It may be difficult to prove an exact correlation between the viewer of fantasized violence and the criminal who acts out violence after turning off the set. But if the premise of education is granted-that good models can influence the young-then it follows that bad models can have an equivalent harmful effects. This is the reasonable hypothesis held, by 80 per cent of the respondents to a recent Time Mirror [poll who think that violent entertainment is ‘harmful’ to the society. Witness enough mimed shootouts; see enough ‘corpses’ fall across the screen and the taking of a human life seems no big deal. Even if a simple causal relationship cannot be established between watching violence and acting it out, is not this numbed sensitivity reason enough for cutting back on the overkill in films and TV?

The writer uses 'numbed sensitivity' to refer to


A) deadening of the capacity to feel

B) objectiionable behaviour

C) heartlessness on the part of actors

D) unreasonable violence

The correct answer is A.

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