Entertainmenthas been a soft target of the media since decades. Be it comics, Hollywood,rock and roll, rap music or video games. It is no surprise that the latestvillain that stimulates people to commit crimes is the violent video games. It isno surprise that media raves and rants about the evils of video games toinsinuate the masses and intimidate the gaming industry and comes up withclumsily manufactured outrages like the ones listed in some articles.
Let usstudy a few cases which was much talked about during the period the crimehappened. AdamLanza was the man who massacred 27 in the Sandy Hook school shooting onDecember 14, 2012. He first shot his mother and drove to the school with his mother’sguns and shot 20 kids and 6 adults. .
The NRA ( National Rifles Association)was quick to blame it on video games. That day his brother Ryan was mistakenly identified as the shooter as Adamhad stolen the ID of his brother and had it on him. The media eventuallyrealized its mistake but news travels faster than the speed of light. Ryan wasaccused of the mass shooting and the media and virtual lynch spared noopportunity to seek his head. They dug into Ryan’s profile and found that he “liked” Mass Effect, a video game they were pretty sure had guns.
For the angry mobwho were ready to blame anybody but the shooter, bombarded the Mass Effect Facebookpage with threatening messages and accusing its creators for aiding andabetting a mass murder. After detailed investigation it was proven that thereal murderer Adam Lanza was addicted to a game called Dance Dance Revolution,a rhythm based dancing game which he played for 10 hours at a stretch. Anothermedia created myth that video games were turning players into killers is theDawson college shooting in the city of Montreal. The shooter – Kimveer Gill. Themedia instantly pointed finger at the video game Super Columbine Massacre RPG, becauseGill simply happened to mention to like this game. An in-depth look into hisprivate life revealed a lot of facts which were actually the reason behind thisaction. Gill had posted in a Web site called Vampire- Freaks more than 50 fotosof him in various poses holding a rifle.
Below one foto he had quoted – ” Livedfast, died young. Left a mangled corpse.” Below another picture Gill wrote – “I think I have an obsession with guns.” Another caption he said –” anger andhatred simmers in me.” He has writtenthat he was lazy and hated work, school and life.
Hours before the shooting hewrote in the website that he has been drinking whiskey since morning and hedescribed his mood as “crazy” and “postal.” A neighnour who lives across saidhe was a loner and hardly had any friends. It appears that Gill had apsychological problem and had a criminal bent of mind. He just happened to likethe game but otherwise had an obsession for guns. But the media claimed that videogames stimulated the crime.On April20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered their classmates and teachersat Colmbine High School. This time along with the violent video games, mediapointed fingers at the gun industry, pharmaceutical companies, school bullying.
Five years down, the FBI and psychiatrists have reached an entirely different perspective.Thepsychiatrist believe that the reasons are simply inexplicable. Harris andKlebold had been planning for an year to terrorize the entire nation . They wantedto eclipse the carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing. They were endeavouring to create an impact so devastating that theentire nation would shudder at their power. The psychiatrists studied the factsthat Harris and Klebold were radically different individuals. While Klebold washot tempered, depressive and suicidal, Harris appeared sweet and soft spoken.
Butinwardly Harris was cold, calculating and homicidal. While Klebold had selfharming tendencies, Harris wanted to hurt others. He was diagnosed as a psychopath.And unlike psychotic individuals, psychopaths are rational and fully aware of what they aredoing. Harris’s website posts were full of hateful messages. They concludedthat Harris was the mastermind behind the attack and had he survived andescaped, there is no telling what he would have done. But the media to grabattention and response from the public immediately attacks the screens andcontrollers for the crime done by an individual who has criminal tendencies.The mediascrutiny of mass shooter’s gaming habits ignores base rates and leads toconfirmation bias.
Considering the fact that 97% of teens play video games withviolent content, finding these games in a shooter’s home isn’t really evidenceof anything. In fact, studies linking violent games with even mild acts ofaggression remain controversial and have been rejected by every US court toconsider them; the US Supreme Court has described these studies as beingsignificantly flawed.Thereare millions of boys out there playing these games. Not everyone is turninginto a mass murderer. In 1950 the boogeyman for the media was comic books. Everytime there is new medium, it is pointed as the source of horrible behavior.
Itscomic books ; its rock n roll music; rap music; its video games.Scientificresearch and international and domestic crime data all point toward the sameconclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world. Violentvideo games may have small insignificant influence on a person’s aggressivenature, emotions and thought, but it’s a weak and meaningless link that makes littledifference in the real world.Finally,as the families mourn for the loss of their loved ones, the real reason is notuntreated mental illness, comics, guns, or video games. The real reason for anawful behavior remains unknown.