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November 2017

Guns and Violent Media—A Toxic Mix With an Available Antidote

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Child Health, Behavior, & Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Associate Editor, JAMA Pediatrics
  • 3University of Washington, Child Health Institute, Seattle
  • 4Editor, JAMA Pediatrics
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(11):1040-1041. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.2383

There are few proverbial “third rails” in academic medicine. In this issue of JAMA Pediatrics, we published an article that touches 2 of them: media violence and guns. Given the stakes, we accepted the article only after multiple iterative reviews and careful attention to the rigor of the science and data analysis. Still, we are aware that critics will seek flaws in the science and take issue with the conclusions. Before delving into the implications of the article, we start by revisiting some unassailable statistics. First, the US population owns more guns per capita than any other country in the world.1 More people die per capita from guns in the United States than in any other country.2 And, most germane to this article, 7 children and adolescents die every day in the United States from guns. Second, media violence is pervasive. The last time a comprehensive review of movies was done, 100% of G-rated films contained violence.3 That assessment, made in 2000, surely underestimates the situation today given the increase in media violence4 and the advent of newer forms, including virtual and augmented reality games as well as social media posts of real-world violence.

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