Kind Hearts and Jackboots

Hey, United States of America, we need to talk. First off, I’m not a fan of talking politics on this site. There are plenty of sites that do that kind of thing. Unfortunately, politics has come knocking. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza slaughtered 26 people, 20 of them children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Anger and sadness are perfectly natural emotions to be feeling, a burning desire to radically reorganize society where no one will ever be murdered again, is not. 

Currently, in this country, there is a debate not only on gun control, but also video games. Yesterday, the President unveiled a 23 point plan that involves spending $10 million on a study on the effects of gun violence in society, specifically in violent media such as video games. In Missouri, lawmakers have proposed a 1% tax on games rated “T” or above. And rated they shall be, if Congress passes new legislation that forces companies to get games rated (currently a voluntary system).

Let’s get a few things straight, starting with this video concerning violent crimes in our society:

The sources for that video can be found at Reason.tv. Let’s do a quick study right now. Keep in mind, Reason pointed out that violent crime has decreased since the 1990’s:

Doom (1993)
Doom (1993)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)

Graphic realism in games has only increased in the past 20 years, yet crime is down. So, even if President Obama’s study can prove a link between violent media and actual violence, something no other study in violent media has been able to do, then what? Follow Missouri’s example and tax them? Where does that end? Tax violent movies? What about violent TV shows? There are plenty of violent books, yet we have no rating system for books. Well, we’ll just judge books on a case by case basis. Quick, get the Ministry of Truth on it!

America, you are on a scary path right now. A path that has historically ended badly. Our society faces a choice, regress into an aristocracy, where a ruling elite dictate to the little people, or self regulate, strive to become better people and help our friends and family. Crazy people will continue to be crazy.

In 1966, Charles Whitman walked to the top of a tower in Austin, Texas with a cache of guns and killed 14 people. 1966, probably didn’t learn sniping from Halo. In 1927, Andrew Kehoe detonated a bomb at a school in Bath Township, Michigan, killing 43 people, 38 of them children. 1927, 56 years before Bomberman was released. In 1892, it is widely speculated that, Lizzie Borden hacked her father and stepmother to death with an axe, creating a scene of ghoulish slaughter. 1892, Mortal Kombat? I think not.

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25 comments

    1. It’s completely ridiculous. They are simply playing the blame game and trying to find the easiest target to pin these acts of violence on. Because mental disorders are a really touchy subject, it’s much easier to target something like violence in video games.

      1. “Because mental disorders are a really touchy subject, it’s much easier to target something like violence in video games.”

        And that’s what makes this subject so sad and ridiculous. The REAL topic at hand is mental disorders and how there needs to be strong support to aid and prevent individuals with such problems from doing anything drastic. The first step is recognizing that these mental issues are not a horrible thing. It is apart of our species and we are suppose to help each other through it.

      2. Mental Illness has been the cause of almost all the major shootings this year. It’s like we are all trying to hide that fact. The sooner we embrace it, the sooner we will find a solution.

    2. In the 50’s, they were convinced it was comic books that caused kids to get bored with everything except sex and murder. In the 70’s, it was rock music that was responsible for all the drugs in the world. And now, it’s video games that sell kids guns and teach them that killing their schoolmates is the quickest way to build favor with the dark lord Haalpurgsnacht, or something like that.. Hysteria like this has been going on for generations, and history always proves it to be unfounded and ridiculous.

      Thing is, a lot of bad things happen in our world. And bad things make people react out of emotion. And when people react out of emotion, making themselves feel like they’re doing something to help the situation becomes more important than actually helping the situation.

      Changing the mental healthcare system, or any of the other factors that may have a chance of preventing tragedies like this would take a lot of work and time to make them feel like they’re doing something. Messing around with video games, on the other hand, is something that could be passed quickly! Then they can get that feeling right away! So, a lot of people go after the quick, easy option. It’s not an action based out of logic, it’s their emotions leading them to find a quick way to feel better. And rarely is good policy made out of trying to satisfy emotion.

      1. Very well put. This solution doesn’t really benefit anyone in the long run. Just look at the prohibiting era, we thought alcohol was causing all this violence and crime, so we made it illegal. All that did was create a new, more extreme type of crime that involved smuggling alcohol.

        People just won’t accept the fact that some people are bad, regardless of their surroundings or how they we’re raised.

  1. I am so happy that you guys posted this. I just had a discussion with my family last night regarding gun violence, and the possibility of Obama’s executive order on guns. This is so ridiculous that we are coming to this. There is a quote from Charlton Heston that I just love… “There is no such thing as a good gun. There’s no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys…” I think that explains it perfectly. We are headed down a very dangerous path… one that I don’t want to go down. And WHY IN THE WORLD would VIDEO GAMES have ANYTHING to do with gun violence??? It makes absolutely NO sense! I could go on forever about this, but I’ll stop here. It really makes me angry how ignorant people can be.

    1. That is a really good quote. It’s not as much the weapon as it is a person. Anyone who would consider shooting up an elementary school has problems far worse than violent video games. There is something fundamentally wrong with a person who can find a reason to kill children. Bad things can happen to good people. Sometimes there is no definitive answer and sometimes people can’t handle that fact.

      1. I’m absolutely with you on this point. The entire idea of the video game blame-game is utterly reprehensible. Clearly this is an issue rooted in mental illness and our inability as a society to handle, or even discuss the real solution in getting help to people who need it. I definitely don’t claim to have the perfect solution, but this is childish, and frankly disrespectful to all involved.

      2. I can totally agree with you there. No one wants to tackle the real issue because it’s something a lot less tangible. Mental illness is something the average person doesn’t understand and therefore feels uncomfortable approaching.

        -Mileson

  2. I wrote about this on my blog not too long ago (thanks for the like on it, by the way, it is how I found this blog!). I absolutely agree with you that the problems that stem don’t come from the video games, but other deep seeded issues that are being ignored. As long as there is something to blame other than what could actually be the problem, the problem will never be resolved. Kudos to this, and I certainly stand with you on speaking out.

    1. Hilary Clinton did a 10 million dollar study in 2005, that yielded no substantial evidence in a link between violence in video games and violence in real life. It’s a waste of time and money to pursue it further.

  3. This is a worldwide solution, blaming games for any crazy violent act someone does. It’s as you said: if that was the solution, they’d banned them years ago. What’s next? Blaming obesity on PacMan’s love of glowing dots?

      1. They don’t know enough, gaming is strange to them (why not be out in The Real World and meet Real People instead?) and they have no interest in knowing more about it either. Narrow minded and short sighted.

  4. There are a couple of points on this i’d like to make. Full disclosure I live in the UK and as such see absolutely no reason why anyone needs access to a gun at all times outside of somebody living in very remote areas with no chance of help from the police in an emergency.
    1st. I am not worried by this study. They aren’t going to find a link between violent media and crime because the amount of games and films sold compared to the amount of crime is so small that it would be irresponsible to stop the sales of such media. i think violent media can influence those with mental health problems. But again the numbers are so small that a blanket ban wouldn’t be sensible.
    2nd. The amount of money is tiny in comparison to almost everything else the US government spends and when this study shows that there is no correlation gamers world wide will be able to reference it and be able to hold their heads high.

    I think it’s mainly being done to shut up those who are blaming video games. It will give President Obama the chance to do something about the type of guns available to purchase for little effort which is the actual reason why there are so many gun deaths in the US. Once you’ve eliminated the other arguments for the deaths you’ll be left with the only one that matters.

    1. This is definitely a publicity stunt to appease the masses trying to blame video game violence on these shootings. While I personally don’t care if a civilian owns a firearm, (I would never own one myself) I strongly disagree with the types of weapons we have access to. Hunting for sport is one things, but when a civilian can purchase a firearm that fires 46 bullets per second, what is the purpose of that?

      I feel slightly ashamed that I love in a country where the only way a person can feel ‘safe’ and ‘protected’ is to carry around a firearm. Anyone who would shoot an innocent, unarmed person is either a psychopath or a coward.

      -Mileson

  5. Studies have already been conducted on the subject and have found that video games do not cause an increase in violence, or if they do, no more than any other form of media (music, movies, theatre…). It’s a waste of time and money, but I suppose they have to be ‘seen’ tackling the issue for the benefit of those who are too stupid to understand what the real problems are. Hopefully once this study is completed, the government will be allowed to make real progress on gun control.

    What some people don’t seem to understand is that violent media doesn’t make people want to kill others, personality disorders and certain forms of mental illnesses make people more capable of murder on that scale, which have been around since time immemorial or well before video games. We should be helping these people, not arming them.

    1. Exactly. We feel the same way. It’s a complete waste of time and money. There has never been conclusive evidence to support those claims and throwing another 10 million at research isn’t going to change anything.

  6. I think it’s ridiculous that they keep trying to blame video games as the issue. The issue is that the guy was a sick bastard with a twisted mind. Not video games. In fact I believe that video games are a great way to relieve stress and make me feel less angry. Because what better way to lash out at something than doing so at digital things? No one gets hurt that way.

  7. Its just politicians being politicians. The 1% tax on violent games (and I might be wrong, not being american), has been tried before and failed. Games are also protected under the first amendment, so any argument going against that will likely fail. As far as spending money on a study between any link between game violence and real life violence, a non bias research project will undoubtedly prove that there is no link, and even if there is, surely its better to know about it. The same will also apply to films, television, even books and music.

    Obama needs to say they are conducting research simply to show the ordinary person that he’s not standing back and doing nothing. It’s simply a gesture to the public. What the US needs to look at is dealing with and helping those with mental health issues, but this is something that’s been said thousands of times before.

    I also think the game press need to engage in the debate instead of shying away. The more discussion we have on the subject, the better we can dispel any false notions surrounding it.

  8. Agreed.It’s ironic really… Video games and violent media are a scapegoat for people who don’t like to accept reality. Reality is, someone who is highly motivated and not within sound mind are going to find a way to hurt people. It’s our job to lessen this, not by blaming objects, but by looking at how society works and how we can work towards fixing the cracks that these people are falling through. Reality is, it’s not as easy as banning video games, guns, violent media or anything else, it’s by working to better ourselves and our small circles of influence that we can help to reduce violence.

    1. Totally agree with you there. There are many deep-seeded issues with our society that cannot simply be resolved by passing a single bill or proposing a new tax. It will take many years and a great deal of hard before any noticeable progress can be made. I would love to see this country strive to achieve those kinds of results.

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