Do Video Games Cause Violence? Politicians Blame Mass Shootings on Video Games
It was a terrible weekend here in the United States as not one, but two mass shootings took place in the states of Texas and Ohio in the last 48 hours, killing over 30 people between the two of them. Unfortunately, many did a disservice to these horrific incidents as several people began to cry out that video games cause violence.
Mass shootings have become increasingly common in the United States over the past two decades, and while many pinned the blame on loose gun regulation and a weak system for helping those with mental illness, politicians have begun pinning the blame on an easier target: video games.
Politicians from Senators to President Trump himself have called out the violence in video games as a leading cause of these mass shootings, citing “many studies” pointing to that conclusion.
While there are some “studies” promoting this idea, most with backing from parties interested in shifting the blame from other factors, the general scientific consensus is that video games do not, in fact, turn people violent.
Criminologists have long argued that this connection between gaming and mass shootings is not only wrong but damaging in that they turn public attention away from the real causes of such attacks, and thus prevent proper reform from stopping further incidents.
Of particular note is Mass shootings in America: Moving beyond Newtown, a 2014 study in mass shootings in the US that noted that this connection is no more than “myth.”
Even the News Media, Public Education and Public Policy Committee (NMPEPP) released a statement encouraging policymakers and news media to “not attribute acts of violence to video games or other fictional media.”
Community Response to Claims
While politicians have been trying to stir up public support for their claims that video games cause violence, many in the gaming and esports communities have quickly come out against them, calling for attention to be drawn to mental health and gun control crisis our country currently faces.
Many cite the low level of gun violence in other countries with high video game saturation, including gaming heavy-weights like Japan which has reported less than 10 shootings a year.
Gaming journalists have also been quick to react to the blame by politicians, with Rob “Slasher” Breslau taking to Fox News today to talk about the situation and explain why gaming isn’t to blame for what happened.
Jake will be covering the interview on Fox and, as always, stick with us for more as the situation develops. Before we go though, one more time for good measure: it’s a complete myth that video games cause violence. It’s time for people to find another scapegoat to blame for America’s problems.