When tragedy strikes and the population is desperate for answers, we are more susceptible to accepting the wrong ones.
Maybe it’s the heartbreaking chain of shootings that have been happening lately, or the campus officer who was nervously eyeing students during the Video Game Club’s latest social, but I’m finally ready to talk about it: Unfair blame is put on video games for mass shootings.
By no means am I hating on campus police who are merely doing their job, but I am annoyed with how, for decades, authoritative media have put killers and their hobbies under a magnifying glass. This click-driven, ultra-focus places an unfair connotation on me and millions of other people who love to play video games.
My exposure to video games happened at a young age. One of my favorite genres is first-person shooters. I have fulfilled my mother’s worst nightmare and played uncountable hours of “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto.” I am naturally shy. Marksmanship is one of my favorite activities. According to what society has been convinced to believe, I am one mental disorder away from being a threat to the university.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
When disaster shakes a community, it’s natural to want answers. It’s our nature to seek understanding as to why something so awful could happen. It’s part of the healing process. Unfortunately, this causes many to jump to answers that provide a single comforting, yet incorrect, solution.
Video games have always been a popular scapegoat for mass shootings. Although the blame on video games has waned thinner in recent years, the negative implications from the media have reverberated through time. For example, an article from FOX News erroneously generalized mass shootings from 1997 and placed the blame on violent video games. What they failed to realize is correlation does not imply causation.
Multiple studies have been conducted that disprove gaming’s responsibility in mass-shootings. A long term study published this year by Christopher J. Ferguson found no links between violent games and behavior, and even questioned the processes similar studies used to provide different results.
Blame and ban video games. Let’s make anything that induces moral panic illegal, and the problem is solved, right?
It is human nature to find comfort during emotional times in being able to place the blame with the point of a finger. We look for these convenient, easy answers because as a collective society we are unwilling to admit we have failures. I know the answer to mass shootings is not a simple one. I definitely can’t find the answer on my own.
Let’s start the conversation.