OPINION: Violent Video Games Are Not To Blame For The Connecticut Tragedy
It feels as though every time there is a national tragedy, the media is so quick to rush out and blame everything else but the real problem. They run out and blame guns, they blame the gun control laws or lack thereof, they blame mental illnesses, they blame today’s super-violent media. And they just love to place the blame on violent video games, and that’s what really gets me irritated. It’s something I’ve had to defend time and time again: violent video games do not make people violent. But I never thought I’d have to defend myself on my own show.
Earlier this morning on Lubbock’s First News, we talked a little bit about some of the possible causes of the tragic shooting in Connecticut. Co-host Laura Mac made the comment that violent video games may have been partially responsible for the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school. She went on to say that the games have become so realistic that, for some people, the line between reality and the game world may have become blurred.
With all due respect to Laura, I strongly disagree. As many of you are aware, I am an avid video gamer. I play a wide range of games, including those “hyper-realistic” shooters that the media loves to demonize so much. Not once have I ever had the urge to go run out and shoot up a school or gun down innocent people in the streets. Nor have any of my friends, who are all avid gamers. Nor have any of the gamers that I have met and spoken with. None of them have ever gotten the urge to commit mass murder just from playing a video game. And you know why? Because the vast, vast majority of people who play these games are smart enough and sane enough to know it’s just a game and it’s not real. No matter how realistic these games may get, we gamers would never get it confused with reality and would never run out and commit such deadly acts in real life. If you are so screwed up in the head that you start confusing video games with reality, you have no business playing games in the first place.
My thoughts on the Connecticut shooter (I refuse to acknowledge him by name and give him the attention he wanted) is that he was a disturbed, straight-up evil individual. And it’s not like he just played Call of Duty one night and it instantly made him a killer. He was screwed up from the start. He planned this attack out, made every effort to cover his tracks, planned every detail to ensure “maximum lethality.” Video games had nothing to do with it. This monster was an example of pure evil, and was most certainly not a victim of the so-called “violent media.”
I am so sick of the media blaming violent games and other irrelevant things for horrific tragedies like these. The only things we can really blame this horrific and heartbreaking tragedy on is the shooter himself, and his mother as well for begin such an irresponsible gun owner as to leave those guns out where her obviously mentally disturbed son could get a hold of them. The media needs to stop focusing on the possible sources of blame and focus on what’s really important now: rebuilding this community and protecting our schoolchildren.