SAN ANTONIO, March 25 -- An expert on child behavior says the violence available on television and the tendency of teens to ape what they see are partly responsible for acts like the fatal school-yard shooting in Arkansas. And according to an expert on pop culture, a long-held tradition in the South that violence is the way to solve one's problems is a major factor in the recent rash of school-yard shootings. Dr. Rami Mosseri, a psychologist and director of Residential Programs for the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services in New York, said today the surge in violent acts among teenagers is directly related to increased exposure to TV and movie violence. He also said the tendency teens have to copy each other is one of the explanatory factors to the repeated acts of violence being witnessed in high schools. Mosseri said: 'It's no coincidence that we're seeing the same phenomenon occur. The idea does enter their minds, and they replicate the same behavior.' Tuesday's school yard shooting in Jonesboro, Ark., which left five dead and 11 injured, was the third fatal shooting at a U.S. school in the past five months. Prof. Michael Kearl, an expert on pop culture at Trinity University in San Antonio, said it's no coincidence that the shootings occurred in the South. He said the region has a history of solving its problems through violence, dating back to the dueling days of the eighteenth century. Kearl said states in the deep South have higher rates of homicide by firearm than the rest of the nation, and the violence can't be blamed on high rates of gun ownership.
Even though gun ownership and subscriptions to gun magazines are high in the South, Kearl said, 'they're equally high in the West, which has a much lower homicide rate.' Mosseri said young people who are cruel to animals, set fires and fight with their peers may commit violent acts in the future, and that teaching children how to deal with emotions is an essential aspect of child-rearing. He said, 'Just as we teach children how to brush their teeth and tie their shoes, we have to teach them how to handle their feelings.' ---
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