Do video games lead to violence? There has been a major increase over the past few years of politicians and people making claims that video games are to blame for the recent surge in shootings. One of the most prevalent cases at the moment being overlooked is the Sandy Hook shootings, which took place on December 14th, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary. This day ended with twenty-six lives being taken away, but is it fair to say that video games led to this unforeseen act of violence?
Reports were issued the other day suggesting that it was inconclusive whether or not the shooter was compelled by violent video games. The Connecticut state attorney, Stephen Sedensky stated that video games may have had an impact, but there was nothing conclusive to suggest it as the reason for why the shootings occurred. The report went on to talk about the mental health of the shooter himself stating:
“What we do know is that the shooter had significant mental health issues that, while not affecting the criminality of the shooter’s mental state for the crimes or his criminal responsibility for them, did affect his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others, even those to whom he should have been close.”
Among the games found there were around six major shooter games (Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, etc.) they identified as being reasonable for the shooters behaviour, but at the same time found a large variety of Nintendo games, including Super Mario Brothers. One person even commented in the report saying, “[he] spen[t] the majority of his time playing non-violent video games all day, with his favorite at one point being Super Mario Brothers.” Last time I checked, Super Mario Brothers never enticed me to go on a shooting rampage regardless of how many turtle shells I threw at those koopas.
Believe me though people, I am not making light of this situation and I wish that politicians would not either. This young man was afflicted by deranged mental health problems, and to suggest that he was influenced by video games is almost an insult to the families affected by the murders. I am not saying that it is not possible that he was affected by playing various shooter games, but it is no different than a mentally unsound person watching a horror movie or murder mystery on TV and deciding that should be done. If it is going to happen, it sadly will regardless of media. Whatever the case is, we have to stop trying to blame other sources for what individual people choose to do. I play a large array of games, and yes, some of them are shooters, but I have never once had the urge to go out and enact anything close to what I play, like the majority of people.
We are now left with legislation trying to be passed to phase out violent video games, but none have been signed at the moment thankfully. President Obama has even directed the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on the correlation between virtual violence and real-world violence, in order to engage further studies into the matter. To me, this is a scapegoat to a real problem in our world, mental illness. Maybe we should think about investing more money in those studies then whether video games lead us to violence.
The investigation is closed until further reports come forward, but Sedensky does not believe this will be the case.
I’ll leave you with this video for further research into the subject of whether video games do lead to violence or not: