It’s the standard routine for Republicans after every mass shooting: Offer thoughts and prayers, and blame a whole range of things besides guns. So when President Trump followed the script after last weekend’s massacres in El Paso and Dayton, he predictably pointed a finger at video games.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
Since the Columbine school massacre 20 years ago, the gaming community has been a common scapegoat for politicians. Yet there's no conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has any connection to mass shootings.
In 2010, California tried putting restrictions on the sale of violent video games to minors, arguing the games make users more likely to act out. The Entertainment Merchants Association challenged it, arguing the law would go against the First Amendment.
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled there was no clear connection between graphic video games and actual aggression, calling the state of California’s claim that playing violent video games presented problems “unpersuasive.”
We asked gamers how they feel about being made the focus by politicians who otherwise refuse to act on gun violence.
“It’s a cop-out," said Jason Decker, 31. "I think it’s, you know, an excuse for people not wanting to do anything about gun violence in this country.”
“I just think that it’s absurd to think that some young man is playing a video game and decides, ‘This is fun, I’m going to go kill somebody now,'” said Michael Licari, 39. “That’s absurd.”
Cover: Terry Wang of Redondo Beach, CA and Phillip Feldman of Wilmington, DE discuss their frustrations over politicians blaming violent video games for gun violence. (Skype)