FRAZIER: The power of positive acts when fighting teen violence

Published 4:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2023

Last week I wrote a column couched around the uptick in teen violence in Vicksburg.

I had, in my opinion, surmised that to try and curb this vicious behavior, it would take a community effort not just the actions of a few.

I also made reference to how media can play a role in deadly mischievous behavior by showing these acts of hatred and wrongdoings over and over again — how this could desensitize people to the point that the behavior is normalized.

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My thoughts and opinion on this are not a novel concept.

According to an article on the American Psychological Association website, “research by psychologists Douglas Gentile and Brad Bushman, among others, suggested that exposure to media violence is just one of several factors that can contribute to aggressive behavior.”

The article went on to say, “Other research has found that exposure to media violence can desensitize people to violence in the real world and that, for some people, watching violence in the media becomes enjoyable and does not result in the anxious arousal that would be expected from seeing such imagery.”

Apparently, not everyone appreciated my views on the topic, which is OK. I am old enough to know that you can’t make everyone like you.

And with that being said, know I’m not interested in starting a tit-for-tat. I only circled back on this subject because, while I surmised that the onslaught of watching bad behavior could have a negative impact, it occurred to me there was a flip side. Good deeds and acts of kindness could encourage others to follow suit.

Take, for instance, my sister-in-law. A few weeks before the Fourth of July, she hung an American flag out for the holiday.

Truthfully, I was surprised she attached something to the exterior of her home, but as to not digress, I will tell you this small gesture of respect for our country caught on. Others on her street decided to mirror her patriotism and hang Old Glory.

I, too, wanted to get in on the action and picked up a flag and flagpole at Walmart.

Isn’t it amazing how just doing one positive act can make a difference?

This reminded me of a hymn I sang many times as a youth. Written by Kurt Kaiser, the opening lyrics to “Pass It On” say it all.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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