Violent Video Games : The Root Of All Evil

Tex playing video games
Photo By RebeccaPollard on Flickr

Complete and Utter Nonsense

Another school shooting is blamed on violent video games.   The NRA calls violent video game manufacturers “corrupt”, and they are joined in admonishing game developers by congressmen and countless activist groups as well.  Make no mistake, school shootings are senseless acts, whose motives are completely unforgivable.  I don’t condone any school shootings.  There is absolutely no reason to perpetrate such horrific violence against the world’s most vulnerable group of people.  It’s the school shootings themselves that are evil though, and not violent video games.

Parents Are Partly To Blame

In what world is it OK for a video game to have more influence over a child than a parent?  That is parenting done wrong.  Is it the parent or the video game manufacturer that is responsible for a child’s well being?  Here’s a clue in case you weren’t sure – it’s the parent’s responsibility.  The parent is responsible for sitting down with a child and explain that the game is, wait for it, just a game.  The parent is responsible for talking with the child and explaining the difference between right, wrong, and entertainment.  If a child is consumed by a violent video game to the point they lose touch with reality, it’s time to ask a few questions.

  1. Who permitted the child to play the game in the first place?  Video games haven’t been given away for free until recently.
  2. Who is letting the child play the game?  If a child can’t handle what is on the screen, a parent should end the gameplay until they think the child is ready.
  3. Who is keeping an eye on the child?  Someone is preventing them from setting the house on fire.  Video games are not a babysitting service.

Let’s take a breather and think first the next time someone wants to pass the buck on who is responsible for why a school shooting happened.  Parents should open the door to their child’s room once in a while and see what’s going on inside.  Luckily there is a lot of good parenting going on, or we’d have a lot worse of a world to live in.  To those of you parents that are doing it right, thank you.  The world is eternally in your debt.

The System is to Blame too.  No Really.

Parents are responsible for children, but who’s responsible for adults?  Normal adults are capable of making decisions for themselves.  An altered mental state may change that, however.  Mental healthcare today is severely lacking.  These consumers (mental healthcare patients) are going to doctors for treatment, and then being released.  Let me reiterate that.  A certified medical doctor releases them, clearly thinking they are not a danger to anyone.  So are they going home and playing violent video games to amp themselves up?  Or are they going home and not taking their prescribed medications?  A lackluster mental healthcare support system is why some of these shooters go buy/get a gun and follow through with a really, really bad idea.  I am not blaming doctors, because I know insurance plays a part.  I have seen the minuscule benefits on health insurance plans.  Take a look at your own health insurance if you want proof.  The answer might be better care, better training, or better coverage.

As for the rest of the people not covered above, sometimes bad things happen in life that you have no control of.  Just ask the dinosaurs.

The Great Evil Of The 21st Century

Let’s do a little research on this new trend of violent video game induced school shootings.  Critics have been clamoring about violent video games since the 1990s.  You could go back to the 1980s for the roots of video games being widely available.  If you really wanted to dig deep, you could go as far back as 1947 when the first video game was invented.  It was a shooter (Legacy dibs to shooter fans) where you shot missiles at paper targets.  It was never developed commercially, but let’s just say 1947 for arguments sake.  So clearly before that point, there were no school shootings.  Right?  Wrong.  So very, very wrong.

    • July 26, 1764: Greencastle, Pennsylvania, Four American Indians enter a schoolhouse and killed the schoolmaster and nine or ten children (reports vary).
    • November 2: 1853 in Louisville, Kentucky. A student bought a pistol to school and killed the schoolmaster.
    • June 23, 1871: Lagrange, Indiana A teacher was shot to death in front of her students by a rejected suitor.

March 15, 1884: Gainesville, Georgia A group of drunk men approached the female academy, the girls fled into the school where the gang followed firing into the front door.

  • June 12, 1887: Cleveland, Tennessee a child went to the school and fatally shot his little sister’s teacher.
  • April 9, 1891: Newburgh, New York A 70 year old man fired a shotgun at a group of students in the playground of St. Mary’s Parochial School, injuring several students. The first known mass shooting in the U.S. where students were shot by an American citizen.

 

I skipped quite a few, and we’re not even to the 1900s yet.  There were also more school shootings in the 1950s, than in the 2000s.  I think you have a clear enough picture now to make up your own mind.  Let’s not look stupid anymore and mention violent video games as motive for school shooters.

Living Proof

I played Doom.  I played Doom II.  I played Doom 3.  (The game was Doom 3, not Doom III, it’s not a typo!)  I played Battlefield 1942, I played Battlefield 3.  I have played more violent video games than I can remember.  I have been playing violent video games since 1995, and I am not the only one.  I also own multiple handguns, multiple rifles, and various other weapons.  In my adult life, I have passed multiple psychological exams, and undergone numerous background checks (every time I bought a gun).  I have never murdered a single human being, or planned to.  Scary, isn’t it?  How someone that plays video games could have so much control over themselves?

Violent Video Games Get A Bad Wrap

When someone drinks and drives, we blame the person.  We don’t blame Ford for making the Mustang capable of traveling high speeds.  We don’t blame Budweiser for making them want to drink lots of Bud Light (Although, I do blame Budweiser for Bud Light because a light beer is not a good beer).  Stop passing the buck.  We should blame school shootings on the school shooters.  Parents should do their jobs, healthcare should do its job, and we can all leave violent video games out of it.

2 Comments

  1. The easiest argument to make that video games are not the cause of this violence is to look at other countries. Video games are global, so are movies and some TV shows. And if they any of those media had as much of a detrimental impact on society as some claim, we would see mass killings more frequently across the globe. In fact there’s more mass killings (not due to war) and gun violence here than anywhere else.

    Of all the potential reasons you describe the only thing we could really change is our healthcare system. We can’t change how people parent and I won’t go into gun control here. But if you’re interested in learning a bit more about how to fix our health care system check out this article: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/307617/

    It’s a long read, but there are some very good ideas on how to fix a broken system.

    • I’m pretty sure no matter what your political views are, everyone agrees our health care system needs some work. Take a serious look at the mental healthcare benefits on your own plan. If it was something everyone used frequently, I could understand why an insurance company would want to keep it under control. Considering that it’s only a small portion of people using it, why is it so limited? Shouldn’t mental health be treated like physical health in that you seek treatment until you are better? Maybe companies have a good reason for limiting the healthcare, but I sure haven’t heard it yet.

Feel like adding something?