Seawolf Slug: We can’t handle real-life violence

By Klax Zlubzecon
Translated by George Hyde

Graphic by Roz Kirkelie
Graphic by Roz Kirkelie

Being a journalism major, George has to put up with a lot of crap from news outlets regarding his favorite hobby, gaming. He is constantly told by major news networks that his hobby has turned him into a blood-loving, misogynistic sociopath ready to massacre any school, movie theater or other venue of people gathering en masse.

Well, okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but at the very least, he’s told that he’s become desensitized to violence. And that’s true to an extent. But it’s not always true.

George went to go see “Lone Survivor” this past weekend, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were moments when he was squirming in his seat. While it wasn’t all realistic, it was still incredibly visceral.

Heck, he just about had to leave the theater when Mark Wahlberg tried to remove a piece of shrapnel from a wound.
My point is this: Yes, George is desensitized to violence. But not real-life violence.

Even works like “Battlefield” or “The Last of Us,” while they are brutal and are taken very seriously, are not realistic when it comes to violence. When juxtaposed to the real thing, they may as well be a parody of it.

But instead of giving a massive speech to demonstrate this point, I’m going to have you do a little YouTube searching. Before you do that, though, I’m going to give you a little backstory.

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R. Budd Dwyer was a Republican representative of Pennsylvania’s 50th district in the Pennsylvania Senate, and he also served as the state’s treasurer in his later years. He was investigated and convicted of bribery on several counts, and in 1987, he called a television news conference. It was here, on live TV, that he pulled out a revolver and ended his own life.

The footage is out there on YouTube, but before you go looking for it, know that it’s perhaps the single most disturbing thing you’ll ever see. I want you to watch this video so I can prove my point, but if you don’t want to watch it, I’ll understand.

For the rest of you who think you can handle it, I’ll wait for you to finish it.

You couldn’t handle it. I knew you couldn’t.

Chances are, that video just scarred you for life. It sure did for George. Even though he watches and plays a lot of incredibly violent media, a video as simple as that still gave him a chilling reaction unlike anything he’s ever had before.

Dwyer’s death wasn’t glamorous. There weren’t showers of gooey blood as headshots were popped. The mind knows that there’s a difference between real violence and fake violence in the media.

Even with something like “Lone Survivor,” George could still tell the difference between it and real-life violence. It was never exaggerated much in that film, but there was still enough to tell that the violence in that film was an illusion crafted by the filmmakers. It was brutal and visceral violence, made to make us feel uncomfortable, but it still wasn’t real.

If you ever wonder why post-traumatic stress disorder is such a big deal, imagine feeling the shock and horror of that video over and over again, every single day.

Yes, George is desensitized to violence. But he’s not desensitized to real violence. And he never will be.

To this day, he still can’t watch that video all the way through. He can handle “The Last of Us,” but that video is something he tries to avoid even today. Because no matter what kinds of violent media he’s exposed to, it will never, ever prepare him for the real thing.

Hey, there there. I’m sorry if this article scared you. Have a hug from a slug. Go watch an adorable cat video to pick up your spirits again. You deserve it.