Rectify Gaming

Opinion: Video games get blamed (wrongly, yet again) on school shootings

Posted on February 24, 2018 by Sergio

Listen to this Article:

In the wake of the Florida high school shooting nearly a couple of weeks ago, there have been calls for more gun control and as well as other finger-pointing. It didn’t take long before President Donald Trump decides to blame video games for mass shooting.
Sigh! Here we go again (and to be “fair”, he isn’t the only politician to do so: Kentucky governor Matt Bevin has also called out on the popular platform).
It seems that we have learned nothing from the 40 years video gaming has been in existence, yet time after time after time, whenever mass shootings become the news, video games are one of the primary scapegoats. Perhaps it’s hard to blame the casual observer, since psychological studies indicate that long-term exposures to media violence can desensitize viewers. But why has the crime rate, despite the Florida shooting headlines, consistently fallen down for the past couple of decades? Even the American Psychological Association (APA) has finally admitted that there is no link between video game violence and criminal activity, but only short-term aggression.
Since we are talking about the shooting, how is gaming related to suspect Nikolas Cruz? So far, at the time of this publication, nothing is known on whether or not he did play video games. Even if he’s 19 years old and did play for long hours, again, going back to the APA, this still doesn’t establish a link.
Yet the most amazing thing I’ve read from the whole saga is host father’s lax attitude towards gun monitoring. In an interview with CBS’s John Blackstone, John Snead, the suspect’s host father says Cruz has the “right” to carry an AR-15 (the weapon used to gun down 17 people from the attack). Sneed said Cruz was taking in five to six guns, but didn’t know what kind they were. And he also knew Cruz was suffering from depression.
Yeah, your kid is bringing in weapons of mass destruction with a questionable state-of-mind, and you don’t even bother inspect them? I’m sorry, I don’t know too many gun owners (not by choice, mind you), but surely even gun owners would agree that this is highly irresponsible. If they don’t see it that way, then we have a much bigger issue in our hands.
There is, of course, the utter failure of the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff’s Department for not responding in a timely and professional manner. The FBI did not act on the tips that Nikolas Cruz was a grave threat, and one of the Sheriff’s deputies resigned for not confronting the shooter (three more deputies are also under investigation for the same reason).
But again, none of this leads to video games, and the vast majority of the gaming community are law-abiding citizens.
It’s going to take a very long time before video games are no longer the scapegoat (nor they should be at this point), but we’re going have to keep fighting for the reputation that we grew up and love. Don’t let the haters convince you otherwise.

Share Everywhere!

Currently attending Mt. SAC for a certificate in Video Game Design. Really enjoy old school games. "Part-time" writer, forever gamer.