Saturday, December 22, 2012

Video Games & Violence

     With all the respect in the world to the victims of the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut I find it ridiculous some of the analogies that media outlets make between video games and violence.  I was reading an article from the Huffington Post this morning and the author presented information in such a way as to portray a direct link with video games and violent behavior.  The article can be found here.

      Here is a small section of the article that illustrates my point.
"Someone in the class brought in a video game called "Counter-Strike," a first-person shooting video game in which players compete against each other as either terrorists or counter-terrorists, Frost said.

Lanza "seemed pretty interested in the game," Frost recalled, and would play it with other students. He remembers the weapons Lanza chose: an M4 military-style assault rifle and a Glock handgun.

During the rampage at the school, Lanza used a military-style assault rifle and carried handguns, authorities said."

     So what I would like to know is what Lanza had for breakfast on the day he played Counter-Strike?  Is it possible that he had the same breakfast on the day he went on this rampage?  If so, perhaps we should look into why that particular breakfast causes violent behavior.

     Look, these facts are utterly absurd.  For one thing, this other person can remember the exact guns that another person chose in a video game during high school some 2-3 years ago?  That is quite a memory.  And besides that, the game is a first person shooter with military style weapons.  What other kinds of guns is he going to choose?  A water pistol or a Nerf gun?

     If first person shooters or even video games in general cause violent behavior then why do we not have so many more cases?  I have read estimates that Call of Duty: Black Ops II sold between 6.5 and 7.2 million units on the day it was released alone.  That is just one game!  Literally millions of people play Halo 4, Black Ops II, and Battlefield 3 every single day.  If we are to believe the media that there is some kind of direct link between video games and violence then where is the evidence?  While we are on that subject, how many people below the age of 40 have not played a single video game?  Chances are pretty good that if someone commits a horrific crime and they are below the age of 40 they have probably played video games at least once.

     It is time that we start taking a good hard look at the real evidence that comes out in nearly every single one of these cases.  There are people out there that need help.  They have emotional, behavioral, and in general some psychological issues that need to be addressed.  Perhaps we are not doing enough as a society to help these people.  We need to better identify these behavior patterns and make it easier for parents to get some assistance.  Maybe I don't have all the answers, but I know that linking video games to tragedies like this while the underlying behavioral issues are clearly the problem is just downright ridiculous.

No comments:

Post a Comment