Teens And Guns: Violence In America Essay, Research Paper
Guns have become a wide-spread problem in today?s schools. It is partially due to their
glorification in movies and music. Over the past few years, movies and music have taken violent
turns and have been filled with tragedy. Gangster Rap made it?s way up from the underground in
the early 90?s with stars such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg. Their record label, Deathrow
Records, led the way. Later, though, the addition of the late Tupac Shakur to Deathrow?s payroll
proved to be a big step in the wrong direction.
Tupac Shakur, who was born in New York, moved out west to join his Deathrow
counterparts leaving behind the rest of the Eastcoast Rappers. Conflict arouse and the friendship
Tupac had with another late star, The Notorious B.I.G., was torn apart. The Notorious B.I.G.,
whose real name is Christopher Wallace, was in the recording studio with Bad Boy Records
producer Sean ?Puffy? Combs late one night. Tupac went to visit his friend and was stabbed and
robbed right outside the studio door. Bad Boy was thought to be behind it. This increased the
tension between The East and West Coasts. By the time the on going battle ended, Shakur and
Wallace were dead, both victims of drive-by shootings.
Problems in the music industry have been ongoing. Looking back further to the early 90?s,
Grunge Rock was becoming popular. Such bands as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were leaders of this
new wave of music. Nirvana was the biggest star of all. Lead singer Kurt Cobain (married to
Courtney Love, the lead singer for Hole) was about to have a baby when he committed suicide.
The news sent shockwaves throughout the industry and throughout America. Young teens were
left stunned and crying that their favorite artist decided to take his own life.
Movies further glorified guns and violence throughout the decade. Movies like Pulp
Fiction and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels involved guns and drugs. New Jack City is a
modern gangster epic. There are many others that use violence as a primary form of
entertainment. Movies such as these may have influenced the students that attended Columbine
High School in Colorado.
These are just a few of the reasons I thought of when choosing a topic to survey. I chose
to try to find out why guns were used and what provoked people to use them.
I found many interesting facts looking through my surveys. However, I feel as though
some of them are tainted. Some of the people I handed surveys to did not take them seriously and
tried to give answers merely for the ?shock value.? Also, when I passed the surveys out to people
their friends took a copy too, so diversity is a problem (?…birds of a feather…?) The people I
surveyed were all males around seventeen years old with few exceptions; this narrowed the field
Questions 2 and 3 on my survey were used to find out who owned a gun or who had
access to a gun through a relative or friend. The findings here are most relevant. Sixteen percent
of the people surveyed did not have access to a gun in anyway, 48% have access to a gun through
a family member or a friend, while 36% of the people own their own gun.
I believe the most tainted fact found, however, was the answer to question number six.
This question asked what was most important to the survey takers personally. The most common
answer amongst the males was sex. I feel they responded this way because they thought it was the
?macho? thing to do.
After gathering information and researching my topic, I found that you often cannot rely
on seventeen-year-old guys to give you a straight, honest, mature answer to anything. This holds
true especially when they are surrounded by their friends. They try to act either funny or macho
and their answers often don?t match what they are really feeling about the topic. I think the phrase
to best fit this situation would be ?boys will be boys.?
That aside, I found that most of the guys would like to kill The Backstreet Boys. When
asked (question 11) ?Who Would You Like To Shoot??, The Backstreet Boys was the answer
given most. Jealousy factors in here. Who wouldn?t want what the Backstreet Boys have: money,
fame, and females? Most guys think that The Backstreet Boys are living ?the good life? and
would like to trade places with them.
If I could do this project again, I would probably survey more mature students and get a
more diverse group of people to survey. I feel I did not get the opportunity to gather enough
points of view to correctly depict the common outlook for a small town or city. I would also try
to find questions from which I could get more insight, focusing more completely on the topic of
guns and violence in high schools.