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October, 2003

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I rarely go to the movies because I would rather participate in or watch my own life. I find TV shows such as ER unbelievably unreal! I worked in the ER at Mt Sinai Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago in the roughest of communities during turbulent times in the 60's when Friday nights or payday   at the "bucket of blood lounge" resulted in many fights and serious injuries, and we never had more than 1 or possibly 2 Nurses per shift on duty in the ER-never so many helpers or Doctors on site.. What really amazes me and upsets me at the same time is the horrible affinity people seem to acquire to want to watch the horrible events, accidents and injuries that occur in the lives of others whether real or fictional in the movies. After watching a recent movie,  a movie billed as a romantic comedy (which unnecessarily included a murder plot and a fist fight), I was later allowed to wander into the other movies adjacent to mine. I was shocked and dismayed to enter each and every one to find a violent fight or attempted murder going on. What really shocks me is the effect these scenes have on people and how they are allowed to exist. The industry often denies that these violent scenes put ideas into the heads of the audience; however, I was the evening Charge Nurse in a psychiatric unit for 7 years. I had the opportunity to talk with and saw how many mentally ill patients were hospitalized either after seeing a violent scene and becoming upset or, worse than that, a scene apparently drove them to act out and perform a violent act themselves on either their own body or by hurting some relative or stranger. The act was precipitated by seeing another violent act on the screen. The idea may never have entered their mind otherwise. It is often argued that people are not affected by these things, but, some definitely are! I have had professional experience in seeing them first hand.  Children are especially vulnerable and imaginative at recreating these potentially dangerous scenes often hurting themselves, their siblings or friends with guns, wrestling or autos.  Some computer games are dangerously violent and must be monitored and best eliminated from their psyche. Speaking of children, their behavior is also often affected by certain foods, especially their hypersensitivity or allergies etc.  Some of the popular drugs used to change this behavior may also have damaging side effects or residual changes on the mind or body.  There are several ways to approach treatment. Some very specific new treatments are noninvasive and as simple as vitamin therapy to add vitamins that are deficient or to delete toxins thru using vitamins as vehicles to take them out of the system and have very little chance of side effects. Psychiatric illness and the drugs that treat them may have both psychological and physiological changes creating side effects in the body and can be dangerous as well as helpful. The solution to this problem may be the recognition that violence creates violence especially in those who are on the verge of sanity or those that may be not be knowledgeable about the adverse effect of these pictorials on the mind.  Staying away from bad news or upsetting destructive scenes may be the best way to keep a sound mind. Positive characters and stories with success, void of  bad language, filled with laughing and great humor have been proven to have long lasting effects on blood pressure, sleep, and even treating illnesses. It seems that the thrills that one may get from violent voyeurism could have unwanted consequences-so have fun some other way.

 Karon Gibson RN may now be seen on Joliet TV, Channel 6, or on Western Cable, Channel 22, on her show Outspoken with Karon or contacted at or 815-773-4497. She is author of Nurses On Our Own, a story of adventure in the nursing profession.