Over the weekend, the United States of America was rocked by two different mass shootings taking place over the course of 14 hours. Now that the dust has settled and blame begins to be pointed, President Donald Trump is taking aim at violent video games as part of the cause.
Video games have been the scapegoat of choice for incidents like these for decades, ever since the Columbine shooting where people blamed games like Doom for turning the shooters in that incident into psychopaths. However, science works against this hysterical finger-pointing.
While a large number of scientific studies have been conducted into the actual psychological effects of violent video games like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and more, most of these studies have indicated that the games and their content play no part in these incidents.
The finger-pointing at video games is even more idiotic considering that we know the motives for both of the shooters. The first shooter, who struck a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, committed a racist terror attack in order to “fight back” against what he saw as Hispanics “invading” America. The second shooter in Dayton, Ohio, had previously made kill and rape lists and was likely disturbed for a long time before this.
Trump and many other notable politicians have targeted video games in the aftermath of mass shootings before, and nothing has come of the discussions caused, so whether this leads to some form of regulation on video games in the future remains to be seen (but unlikely, as this song and dance has repeated many times before).
The Trump administration placing the blame on violent video games rather than mentally disturbed or extremely violent people having access to guns can also be seen as a way to avoid angering America’s National Rifle Association, a huge donor to his campaign that always lobbies against attempted restrictions on guns.
Either way, it may be a pipe dream for Americans (author included), but hopefully something can be done about the epidemic of gun violence that doesn’t involve pointing the finger of blame at gamers.