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Violent Video Games – A Scapegoat

I’ve ran people over with my car in Grand Theft Auto.  In Gears of War, I’ve performed execution style curb stomps on my enemies heads and driven chainsaws through their bodies.  I’ve performed countless head shots in countless first person shooters with all kinds of weaponry.  To top it all off, I’ve even been part of a mass shooting at a airport in Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2.  Yeah, video games are violent, there’s no denying that.  Despite this history of violence I’ve had with video games, not once have I ever felt the need, urge, or desire to kill someone or shoot up a school in the real world (yay me).  Why are we talking about violent video games you ask?  Well, after the most recent mass shooting (the 34th in the United States THIS year) at a school in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, President Trump proclaimed that violent video games and movies are the cause of people going out into the world and killing people.  Once again, video games and movies are used as a scapegoat for a much larger problem that continues to be ignored: gun control.

Gear of War 4

I don’t own a gun, nor have I ever felt the need to.  Growing up, guns were just something I saw on TV or in the movies.  The earliest I remember guns being in video games is on the NES.  There was Contra & Dick Tracy, but fuck if I know what I was doing in Dick Tracy (did anyone?).  I was in kindergarten when I played it too, keep that in mind.  I may have had access to guns in that game, but I just resorted to punching people in the face.  Guns have definitely become more prominent in video games as the years have gone on, but I fail to see violent video games and their relation to mass shootings.  There is no evidence to back this up.  If someone wants to go out and commit a crime, they’re going to do it, regardless of whether or not they were playing a video game before it happened.  Putting the blame on violent video games and movies proves nothing.  There were no violent video games when the world was at war in 1914, and again in 1939 with World War II.  Is it proven that Hitler was a big Counter Strike fan when he ordered the mass genocide of the Jewish population?

I really had no idea how to play this game

Yesterday, President Trump suggested that violent video games and movies are the real menace when it comes to school shootings,

“I’m hearing more and more people seeing the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.  And then you go the further step, and that’s the movies. You see these movies, and they’re so violent a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe we need to put a rating system for that.  The fact is that you are having movies come out, that are so violent, with the killing and everything else, that maybe that’s another thing we need to discuss.”

To me, it’s just deflection.  It has already been made clear that Trump has been paid $30 million by the NRA, which is funded in part by small arms manufacturers.  If I was getting paid that kind of money, I’d argue that Despicable Me promotes villainy as being fun, and was absolutely the cause of this recent mass shooting.  It’s not only Trump that’s saying things though.  Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin thinks that video games fall under the same classification as pornography……

“These are quote-unquote video games, and they’re forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech.  It’s garbage. It’s the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency.”

Erik Kain from Forbes brings up an important point on the United States and their stance on video games and real world violence compared to other countries….

“There are other problems with Bevin’s claims.

For instance, the United States is the only country with this level of gun deaths and mass shootings, but it is not the only country in which people play video games. There are fewer mass shootings, fewer school shootings, fewer homicides and fewer suicides in every single other industrialized nation by an order of magnitude. Somehow these nations pull this off while their citizens engage in video gaming and pornography without also killing one another at unimaginably high rates.

And while there have been dozens and dozens of studies into the impact of violent video games on personality and behavior, none of these have concluded that games cause players to kill people in real life.”

How can you argue with that statement?  How has this not brought forth the act of  instilling proper gun control?  It’s just common sense people.

Modern Warfare 2’s infamous “No Russian” level

The Snead family, who took in nineteen year old Parkland, Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, have stated that they allowed him to bring his guns with him when he moved in after his mother had passed away.  The Snead family made it clear that Nikolas had to have his guns kept locked in a safe……. WHAT?  Explain to me why a nineteen year old needs an AR-15 type assault rifle in the first place?  There’s no excuse.  How can you justify someone owning something like that?  You’re living in the fucking suburbs, not on the beaches of Normandy.  I don’t give a shit if it’s his right, if that was my son or anyone’s son living in my house, they would be tossing those guns out into the trash.  I’ve been playing video games since the early nineties, and never has a game made me want to go out and buy a gun.  The way I see it, if a kid wants to own an assault rifle, that’s of his own accord.  A video game didn’t tell him to go out and buy it.

Battlefield 1

The argument of violent video games and movies always seems to pop up after a mass shooting.  No one wants to blame the gun for the problem, so they blame something else.  They blame the person.  Gun enthusiasts argue that it’s not the guns problem that someone used it to kill someone else.  Don’t blame that poor weapon that was designed to kill a living creature.  They would argue that it’s the video games the person was playing before they went out and committed the heinous crime that are to blame.  It’s a ridiculous argument.  Violence has been a part of our history long before video games and movies were created.  Guns have made it easier to create violence, not video games and movies.  The circumstances are simple: Take violent video games and movies away, watch these mass shootings continue.  Take guns away or instill proper gun control, watch these mass shootings cease to exist. – NVJ

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