Several politicians and public spokesman, including the current President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, have claimed that video games have something to do with promoting violence. They were especially aiming at the recent Gilroy, Dayton, California, El Paso, and Ohio shootings that have claimed collectively 34 human lives and have left 66 people wounded. Now, this all happened in less than a week, and while finding who to blame for this, like the people who pulled the trigger, is important, it’s not right to use this as an excuse to score points with the voters.
This is nothing new. Ever since the late ‘80s and the ‘90s, people have been pointing their fingers at video games saying they promote violence. But, all studies conducted so far have determined that video games actually reduce violence as well as many other socially inappropriate patterns. It was the Surgeon General of the United States, David Satcher, that said in 2001: “We clearly associate media violence to aggressive behavior. But the impact was very small compared to other things. Some may not be happy with that, but that’s where the science is.”
The recent mass shootings in the USA have left the world in terror, but while nobody is rushing to blame video games except Trump and like-minded people, there are tons of echoes of disapproval on the web emerging as you read this. The main logical conclusion people are drawing here is that if the whole world is playing video games, and video games supposedly promote violence, why are there mass shootings primarily in the USA?
The Gun Violence Archive tracks the numbers for mass shootings, counting any occasion where four or more people are killed as such an event, and they are now at 255. According to The Guardian, the prestigious magazine, also counted all the shootings that happened in Canada in 2019, and counted all the incidents that happened (counting single victims) there against this one circulated number in the USA. They included the British Columbia incident in April, and a Toronto incident in June, of course., and it still doesn’t compare to the USA, if you view it proportionally to the population count.
Several other publications have used the same rule to subtract the number of shootings in all countries in the world, and most have come up with 0, while at the same time most of those countries are known for having strong video gaming communities. As far as we are concerned, we would like to quote the great late writer/comedian George Carlin by saying: “Did you ever notice that when something bad happens, it’s never the parents’ fault? Obviously, they can raise the child 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 years, if it turns out f*#@ed up, boy they had nothing to do with that…”