On January 11, 2013, Vice President Joe Biden sat down to tackle the problem of gun violence head on and he decided one of the best best ways to do this was by having a talk with researchers and leaders in the video game industry.
Why wasn’t this meeting instead composed of NRA officials, psychologists, and security professionals?
Studies by several FBI profilers like Mary O’Toole, the US Secret Service in 2002, a joint $1.5 million study by Harvard and the Center for Mental Health and
Media, and a groundbreaking Supreme Court Case (Brown vs Entertainment Merchants Association) have exonerated video games of blame regarding violence in our country so how could anyone possibly be blaming them?
These studies, however, did not stop NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre from calling the video game industry a “callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against own people.”
Reactions like that of the NRA and Vice President Biden shouldn’t seem that strange historically speaking though.
There is a strong precedent for reactions like this against new and strange forms of media in the wake of tragedy ranging all across history.
It is human nature to be skeptical about the unknown and video games are an obvious target.
I’m sure that almost everyone reading this article has played video games at some point or another, ask yourself if they have really made you any more violent.
The NRA has specifically pointed out games like Grand Theft Auto as being vicious and violent, but speaking from personal experience I have to say that this game has not affected me in any tangible way and has certainly not instilled any thoughts of rage or violence in me.
The truth is though that video games and gun violence are linked but only in “correlation, not causation” as columnist Robert Brockway pointed out.
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of movies, TV shows, and video games center on and even promote gun violence and that can attribute to desensitizing us to guns and maybe even making us more willing to accept them into our society.
Instead of continuing this everlasting blame game of who is responsible for a maniac going into a school with an assault rifle and opening fire on children, lets first step back and admit that this is a complicated issue with no single answer and there may be no reason behind such a horrible act at all
Let’s try to have a mature discussion about this and actually try to see how we can avoid tragedies like this in the future and not immediately point the finger at something like video games.