Opinion — 12 May 2017

By Jeremy Julian @faithfulmantis

Was Christopher Colombus playing “Call of Duty” on the ship during his journey to slaughter the natives? Was Al Capone playing “Grand Theft Auto” when he orchestrated the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre? Were video games to blame when John Wayne Gacy murdered over 30 individuals?

The answer to all of these questions is no, considering that home video game consoles didn’t exist until 1972.

“Video games make killers.”

I have heard this said throughout half of my life. Mass killings occur in this country and an industry that has only existed for 50 years or so takes most of the blame.

It is truly a sad sight to behold, an individual with no regard for people who end lives for selfish reasons. People say video games are the culprit. FOX News writer Mike Jaccarino wrote an article titled “Mass Killers Often Share Obsession with Violent Video Games.” An irrelevant title considering that the correlation is just coincidence.

The Entertainment Software Association is the official American trade organization for the gaming industry.  According to a study done by the ESA in 2016, 63% of Americans regularly play video games. Mass shooters playing games is merely coincidence when you consider that most Americans are gamers.

The ESA also conducted a study on violent video games in 2016 titled “Essential Facts About Games and Violence,” stating,
“The truth is, there is no scientific research that validates a link between computer and video games and violence, despite lots of overheated rhetoric from the industry’s detractors. Instead, a host of respected researchers have concluded that there is no link between media violence and violent crime.”

Similar studies performed by Villanova Professor Patrick M. Markey and his wife Charlotte had the same results as the ESA.

The real issue with the claim about games and violence is that it creates blame for something other than the culprit. Individuals use the excuse to take away accountability from the violent offenders. These men kill and harm people because of who they are, not because of what games they may have played.

Individuals commit violent crimes like mass shootings and seemingly every time, video games are brought up. If there were conclusive evidence that correlated games to violence, maybe it would be relevant to bring it up in the conversation.

Doctors, psychologists and even the ESA that prove otherwise have done studies for years. There is evil in the hearts of many men, but that evil wasn’t molded by an electronic game.

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Paris Ellis

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