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Our Quiet Teacher: Television Violence and Children

Uploaded by ccchhhrrriiisss on May 03, 2001

“Unless and until there is unmistakable proof to the contrary, the presumption must be that television is and will be a main factor in influencing the values and moral standards of our society…”
Pilkington Report
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations 411)

The sentence stunned even the hardest of courtroom observers. Judge Charles Arnold just finished sentencing Joshua Phillips, a young 15-year-old boy, to life in prison with no possibility for parole. “Your monstrous act made you an adult,” he told Joshua shortly before he was taken away to spend the rest of his life behind bars. What caused the judgment to be so severe on a child from such a good family?

Joshua Phillips was convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 8-year-old Maddie Clifton. Joshua never denied killing the girl once he was confronted with the truth. His story goes like this: He was ‘playing’ rough with Maddie outside his family’s home in Jacksonville, Florida. According to Joshua’s lawyer, he was imitating his favorite wrestling moves from television. According to Joshua’s testimony, he accidentally hit Maddie in the eye. When she wouldn’t stop crying, he panicked and hit her, and eventually stabbed Maddie in order “to get her quiet.” He then stuffed her body underneath the mattresses of the waterbed in his bedroom. He even helped “search” for her when she wasn’t seen for several days. One day, as his mother was putting away some clothes in his room, she smelt a foul odor coming from what she thought was under the bed. She thought that perhaps a mouse had died lay beneath the bed. What she found horrified her. Without even imagining that her son was the killer, she immediately called the police. After several short questions, Joshua admitted that he was the murderer. He now sits behind bars in a state prison in Florida where he will grow up, grow old, and then die (Leisner).

What is happening in the world today? Rapes; School shootings; Gangs. It often seems like everywhere one looks, violence shows up in grotesque forms. We see it in the streets, back alleys, school, and even at home. The last of these is a major source of violence. In many peoples' living rooms there sits an outlet for violence that often goes unnoticed. It is the television, and the children who view it are often pulled into its realistic world of violent scenes with...

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Uploaded by:   ccchhhrrriiisss

Date:   05/03/2001

Category:   Television

Length:   10 pages (2,354 words)

Views:   1597

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