Here We Go Again

The NRA protectors, including Joe Manchin who bravely spoke out about gun control the other day, have now found their new scapegoat to deflect from the only lobbying group they fear as much as AIPAC. That scapegoat, straight from the newly chastised Sen. Manchin: video games:

Manchin spent more of the interview putting the focus on violent video games and mental health issues.

“Look at Grand Theft Auto, put out by Rockstar Games in New York City and see what it promotes,” Manchin said, adding later: “Shouldn’t that be looked into and maybe be banned?”

This will be a recurring theme, despite the fact that numerous studies and meta-analyses find an association between gun availability and gun violence, and no such association between video games and gun violence. I could bore you with study after study, but since that will just be rejected by wingnuts and blue dogs because the baby Jesus is not cited, I’ll just post this:

There-39-s-little-link-betweens-games-and-gun-violence-1094256

Anything to deflect from the simple fact that it is the widespread availability to guns that… leads to increased levels of gun violence. Remember how Marilyn Manson was responsible for Columbine and comic books and that crazy Elvis and his rock and roll were responsible for the degradation of society. This will be yet another success in the right wing plot to make knowing shit a liability.

Sigh. We live in the stupidest damn country ever, and it will be depressing to watch this meme spread, which, when boiled down to the core argument will be: “Easy access to guns for insane people doesn’t kill people, GRAND THEFT AUTO KILLS PEOPLE.” The only thing we absent from this idiotic debate will be Holy Joe Lieberman on Morning Joe talking about Call of Duty.

Can I just have my house secede from the nation?

*** Update ***

BTW- the Bushmaster rifle used to execute 26 kids and teachers was purchased in 2010. GTA’s last release was in 2008. But somehow, it was the 5 year old game and not the easy access to the weapon responsible for the massacre. And oh, yeah, the other diversion is mental illness. Sure, we should do something about mental illness, and most of the people that will now spend the next few weeks covering for the NRA screaming “DO SOMETHING ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS” are also the same people wanting to gut Medicare and Medicaid, the largest providers of mental health care. Apparently, according to wingnuts and gun nuts, there is no comparative level of mental illness in other countries- they are just uniquely high in the United States. I guess I should not be surprised they reject the normal distribution the same way they rejected the 2012 polling data. TRUTH- there are the same levels of mental illness pretty much everywhere. Advanced societies deal with them and don’t allow them to purchase assault rifles with 30 round clips. A crazy stance, I know.

I guess we should all just be happy that Lanza didn’t use an automatic crossbow like Van Helsing, because then we’d be blaming Demon Hunters in Diablo III and hunters in WoW and Blizzard would be in a world of shit. Bushmaster would be fine, because weapon sales are once again going through the roof, as they always do after every massacre. Because, in the Idiocracy, more weapons = more betterer!

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208 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Jake says:

    Quite the Senator you’ve got there in Manchin. Real winner.

  2. 2
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    This country really is a hopeless case. We’re actually having a conversation about mandatory armed schools in a non-ironic/satirical way. That’s just….god.

    What’s more, knowing some of these states, the laws might actually fucking pass. And yet there’s the gall of some folks to panic over the scary freedum-hatin’ libs running around taking everyone’s guns away.

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    I expect the cops or DA for that area to fairly soon list the motive as a reaction to Lanza’s mother moving to have him committed to a mental hospital. That seems to be the triggering event from some friends and family.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    Credit where credit is due.
    The fucking guy shot a piece of paper in his election ad. Did you really expect anything else?

  5. 5
    srv says:

    Hey, what’s that dude in your town with the billboard sign say? I’ve been worried about him.

    And correlation is not causation and all that theory mumbo jumbo.

  6. 6
    Soonergrunt says:

    @John Cole, top: That didn’t take long. Video games, huh?
    I can already see the wheels turning on that. It’s probably about time for the Entertainment Software Association to get their heads and asses into the game. Some of my winger/gamer associations are going to go into melt down.
    This video is about to become my new favorite.

  7. 7
    Narcissus says:

    “Look at Grand Theft Auto, put out by Rockstar Games in New York City and see what it promotes,” Manchin said

    There’s something weird about this, something code-wordy. It’s like a Pace Picante commercial, aimed at NRA zealots.

  8. 8
    Ash Can says:

    That’s disappointing to say the least, to see him go off on this stupid tangent after speaking out. I just hope Uncle Joe Biden steps up and goes all medieval on the gun-worshipers’ and gun lobbIes’ asses, and does it soon.

    (Edited for an important addition.)

  9. 9
    Liquid says:

    I do believe that “Videogames cause violence” ship has sailed.

    I’m waiting for an announcement that all weapons in Halo/CoD/etc. will be pulled for an indefinite period. Perhaps it can be an Onion article.

  10. 10
    ulee says:

    Gun sales are apparently booming. Good for everyone. Yeah!. I don’t have a gun but I do keep a hammer next to my bed, just in case. And my dogs alert me to garbage trucks and heating pipes clanking. I’ll take my hammer and dogs.

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The only thing we absent from this idiotic debate will be Holy Joe Lieberman on Morning Joe talking about Call of Duty.

    Oh, I think that’ll happen. I don’t think retirement will diminish HJL’s media presence at all. Look at Ed Rendell. Being a seemingly daily TV presence makes him (I’m guessing) more valuable as a lobbyist for fracking and Wall St. And HJL won’t be limited to MSNBC.

    I think it was Martin Bashir who was all but stroking out trying to explain to a couple of his more Village-friendly guests that violent video games are popular all over the world, while four or five random shooting massacres per year are pretty much unique to the United States. Teh point didn’t sink in, even a little.

  12. 12
    Ken Burd says:

    I do not think the fucking us gently will work this time. But, the onus is on people who believe we need to seriously address this issue to not get lazy or daunted. To join in beating the drum, we need to push our elected officials in a diligent way that we have not before.

    I am pledged to do so.

  13. 13
    Hawes says:

    You can secede, but then your neighbors who are armed to the teeth will invade and since you no longer have a tank…

  14. 14
    PhoenixRising says:

    How would you kill someone, let alone a roomful of people, with a copy of Grand Theft Auto? Break the disc and sharpen w a dremel tool?

    This reminds me of the old notion that a girl could be ruined by a book. Back in the day when ruined meant a specific fitness for the purpose of being a demonstrably inexperienced bride.

    It’s a painful reminder that symbolism is beyond the reach of some folks: pictures of guns don’t kill, any more than ‘Lady Chattersley’s Lover’ can knock up your daughter.

  15. 15
    freelancer says:

    It takes a while for the message to percolate up from the masses. On Saturday, my cousin’s wingnut boyfriend, who’s thirty fucking eight btw, was talking about the degradation of society and violent video games and our sick culture of hedonism without God and Prayer all over FB. I swear, this guy is a Millennial Phyllis Schlafly with a dick. But that was Saturday. Today is Wednesday.

    It needs some time to bubble up.

  16. 16
    JCT says:

    Well that didn’t take long – a whole 3 days max before he fell back in line. Although this is always a messy argument for the gun nuts, tons of them play video games.

    Hmmmm, seems to me people all over the world play these games. I wonder why it’s only the US where we have these white males driven to commit massacres. What could the difference be?

  17. 17
    GregB says:

    They’ll get my Grand Theft Auto when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

    Video game cassettes don’t kill people.

  18. 18
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Don’t worry, John. We’ve got the extremely progressive Barack Obama in the White House, along with all the congressional dems you worked so hard to elect and promote.

    I’m sure they are even now putting together a take no prisoners PR and education campaign designed to inform the public and counteract the lies from the gun nuts and their Republican supporters.

    Not only that, but I’m sure no arm will go untwisted in Obama’s relentless campaign to see meaningful gun control laws put into effect.

    Oh, wait…

    …you’re correct to be worried.

  19. 19
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I have to say that since I’ve started playing video games, I have gone out and shot TONS of people. Oh, wait. No I haven’t. It’s only been a couple of months, though, so give me some time to explode in rage and go on a murderous shooting spree. Asshole.

    My friend and co-blogger over at ABLC, Ian Boudreau, wrote a fantastic post about the correlation between video games and violence – and the results may surprise you.

    Spoiler: video games don’t cause violence.

  20. 20
    Ben W says:

    For what it’s worth, wordandimageofvermont.com has several very smart and moving posts about gun violence and the people who enable and excuse it, particularly the posts dated December 17 and 18. They express what I’ve been feeling since the killings much better than I could.

  21. 21
    Liquid says:

    They forgot to address digital downloads, like Steam. I haven’t purchased a physical copy of a game in nearly two years.

    But then I tend to forget that Hollywood believes the Internets is just as capable of directly killing someone.

  22. 22
    dead existentialist says:

    Can I just have my house secede from the nation?

    Uh, if you live in WV, won’t that make you part of the Confederacy (of Dunces)?

    Half of the people in this country are fucking nuts, and the rest of us are flabbergasted. And yet, somehow it’s working. Sorta. Human existence is a conundrum.

    ++

  23. 23
    beth says:

    I spent a lot of time in the car today so I listened to a bit of talk radio. All the shows I listened to were going on about violent video games, rap music and Hollywood movies. I thought to myself “oh, okay I guess they finally got the memo from the NRA regarding the topic of Friday’s press conference”. I give the right wing credit – they all get right on board like good little soldiers.

  24. 24
    Shalimar says:

    Wow, Canada has a lot of gun homicides compared to all the other sane countries.

  25. 25
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Shit, Looney Tunes has been teaching kids how to maim and kill for decades now. Thanks to them, all I do today is drop safes and anvils on people, paint the road stripes off of a cliff, shoot people in the face and whatnot.

    Manchin is one idiot in a nation packed with loud and proud idiots.

    Erick, Son of Erick, is pissed off at Boner and his Plan B. Erick is especially pissed off at members of the House who will vote for Boner’s Plan B, calling them what conservative white males consider the ultimate insult:

    Most pathetically, too many conservatives in the House of Representatives are signaling exactly just what sort of women they are.

    So… they are women and Erick hates them? War on Women!! ;p

  26. 26
    celticdragonchick says:

    That’s disappointing to say the least, to see him go off on this stupid tangent after speaking out. I just hope Uncle Joe Biden steps up and goes all medieval on the gun-worshipers’ asses, and does it soon.

    And does what?

    Any bill proposed will be run right down a rabbit hole through senate privilege (something that the unlamented Jim DeMint was well known for doing) or blocked in any of another dozen ways.

    If it survives that…it dies in the House. Period. Full stop. The GOP will not be going anywhere for another 8 years…considering how their districts are gerrymandered. They can afford to take a hit now when it is two years to the next election anyway. The NRA and their membership have a real long memory (much longer then the average voter) and we all know that no GOP congresscritter has any wish {or courage I suppose} to be primaried over gun issue…or taxes for that matter.

    If anything might get through, it would be a bill for mandatory trigger locks or safes (which would be a bonanza for gun retailers and play to the “safety mission” of several gun groups). For myself, I am buying locks for all of my modern firearms. I sure as hell do not want to see any of them stolen and used in a crime.

    Other then that…your best bet is at the state level.

  27. 27
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Look at all the violence in Nethack. Shooting up people is understandable, after dealing with termcap mode.

  28. 28
    Fwiffo says:

    The thing is, blaming video games isn’t even about video games. Video games are quite safe. The video game industry has more money (and lawyers) than God, and all the legal precedent in the world on their side. The old-coot crowd in Congress is perfectly aware of this (excepting those who are completely senile).

    The point is to find a politically safe target to scapegoat until the heat blows over. By the time their “studies” come back inconclusive, and their censorship fizzles in the courts, the country will have moved on from the horror of the latest mass shooting and the politicians will have safely avoided doing anything productive.

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    Then there was that popular violent video game all through the Bush years. They called it the Iraq war. It was lifelike real.

  30. 30
    ulee says:

    God save the village green……maybe we will, I don’t know.

  31. 31
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Chuck Todd, with all the pious and disappointed solemnity that he could muster, and he can muster a lot, was calling on “Hollywood” to do some soul-searching and long, hard navel-gazing.

  32. 32
    peorgietirebiter says:

    He’s not that skilled a thespian, so I think it is legit.

    You may want to pass on the Oscar Pool this year. Your Gov is quite the tool.
    Me, I’m blessed, mine has unshakeable principles. Rick Perry’s crazy is sincere.

  33. 33
    celticdragonchick says:

    @General Stuck:

    The quadrophonic stereo sound was, like, unreal! The dust and sand got to be real pain in the ass all over the floor, though.

  34. 34
    PeakVT says:

    Can I just have my house secede from the nation?

    Have you thought about how many new roommates that might bring you?

  35. 35
    MattR says:

    We can’t ban guns because that would violate the Second Ammendment so let’s violate the First Ammendment by banning video games. Makes perfect sense to me.

  36. 36
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    and it will be depressing to watch this meme spread

    I don’t think it will. Well, maybe among the Beltway media, but they’ll believe any old crap. Most people play video games or know someone who does, and they know they’re not mass-killers in waiting. People just aren’t gonna buy it. It’s not 1985 anymore with video games being a toy for kids under 12 and sad adults.

  37. 37
    Anya says:

    John, that’s not the worst thing your dumb ass senator said. He actually said this:

    “These are my friends,” Manchin, who previously served as governor, said of the NRA. “They’re good people. They’re hurting. They’re in pain the same way as every American about what happened to these twenty little children. And I’m not going to let anybody be villainized.”
    “I’m so proud of the NRA,” Manchin said later. “I’m so pleased they agreed to be part of this.”

    NRA are good people? The NRA that puts profits ahead of people. That NRA? The same NRA that has lunatics like Nugent and Chuck Norris on their board.

    Joe Manchin is fucking soulless idiot.

  38. 38
    BGinCHI says:

    Tipper Gore might finally win this one.

  39. 39
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Anya: Sigh. His ‘come to Jesus’ moment sure didn’t last long, did it?

  40. 40
    cmorenc says:

    So, people armed with a copy of Grand Theft Auto wind up going berserk killing other people with…devastating sarcasm? harsh criticism? insults?

  41. 41
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Narcissus: yes it is. Fuckin hayseeds don’t like our urban values.

    This crime was just like world of doomtheft. It’s eerie.

  42. 42
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Also, because I’m just Mr. Happy tonight, I really don’t think the country at large is as nuts about guns as people might think. Fewer people own guns than they used to (the people who do own guns tend to own more) and there was a poll shared here a few days ago that had pro-gun safety margins on certain topics that you don’t see just anywhere: 91% support banning ex-felons from owning guns, 86% support banning private ownership of assault rifles, that sort of thing. It’s really a small minority of people, smaller in some cases even than our beloved 27%, that have the NRA by the balls, and the NRA has congress by the balls, and that’s that. And the rest of us don’t speak up because we’re scared (and, I assume, for people who live in Red states, it’s really easy to start thinking you actually are a distinct minority.)

    Well, I don’t know if that’s optimistic, per se. I do think it’s more optimistic than “We live in a country where anywhere from 45-55% of people are absolutely insane when it comes to gun safety laws.”

  43. 43
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @cmorenc:

    Little-known fact. Up to 1 in 6 Americans can have a fatal allergic reaction to a teenager calling them a ‘fucktard’ online.

  44. 44
    Peter VE says:

    Yeah, it must have been all those video games Charles Whitman was playing, and all those violent movies that he was watching.

  45. 45
    celticdragonchick says:

    @cmorenc:

    So, people armed with a copy of Grand Theft Auto wind up going berserk killing other people with…devastating sarcasm? harsh criticism? insults?

    I can think of one idiot in Alabama who blamed GTA for his crimes:

    Devin Moore (born 1985) is a teenager from Alabama who sparked a large controversy over the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City when he committed three acts of first-degree murder against three Alabama policemen in 2003.
    Moore killed the two policemen and a dispatcher after being booked for committing grand theft auto. According to the Associated Press, when at the police station he said “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime.” He then grabbed the handgun of one of the police officers and shot its owner and two other officers in the head. Afterwards, he drove off in a police car but was later apprehended.

    In point of fact, I think he was a couple sandwiches short of a picnic to begin with anyway…and no game would have changed that.

  46. 46
    Anya says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I swear that comment made me so mad. Manchin is my least favorite senator (that includes crazy ass republicans). He only knows one thing: the dumb voters in WV hate the black guy so he goes out of his way to be disrespectful.

    I am going to bed because that douche is starting to make me feel stabby.

  47. 47
    J says:

    It’s ridiculous to blame video games when the problem is plainly fluoridated drinking water!

  48. 48
    celticdragonchick says:

    @J:

    It’s ridiculous to blame video games when the problem is plainly fluoridated drinking water!

    I blame it all on the Timecube guy.

  49. 49
    Triassic Sands says:

    It’s hard to compare the US to any other wealthy country — because we’re so much busier shooting each other, either accidentally or on purpose. It’s almost like there’s a totally different…um…gun culture in the US.

  50. 50
    smintheus says:

    Guns have been easily available in the US for a very long time. Random mass shooting sprees were rare in the US until about 30 years ago; since then they’ve become more and more common. There has been a change of some sort, to create such a phenomenon.

    It’s silly to pretend that this phenomenon is purely about the availability of guns. Just as silly to pretend to know that cultural changes, like the rise in entertainment celebrating shooting sprees, could not possibly have influenced it.

  51. 51
    Suffern ACE says:

    @JCT: I don’t know. It seemed like when the black youth were killing each other over the drug trade, there was definitely a problem of black culture that made life cheap and urban living that made life meaningless. When virginia tech happened, there was much discussion about how Korean culture didn’t handle mental illness well and Korean movies were violent. And now of course they’re still discussing rap music and the city when surburban kids shoot up movie theaters and elementary schools. That evil city, oh and Hollywood too.

    Fuck you chuck Todd.

  52. 52
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @ulee: I posted about this on facebook with the comment “Imagine arsenic sales going up because an employee at a restaurant poisoned his customers.”

  53. 53
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Anya: Sleep well. I’m sure Manchin will find a way to top himself. Sweet dreams!

  54. 54
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @smintheus: Oh wait, what happened about 30 years ago? I remember: A particular gun lobby started promoting the idea that the right to own and fire a large caliber weapon superseded any rights to not be subjected to the pain and damage of the large caliber weapons.

    ETA: There were some cultural changes as well. These generally involved people being told that their rights did not have to be infringed by any responsibilities to their neighbors or the country as a whole.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Anya says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Thank you! Just came back to say that it’s good to see you back! You were missed.

  57. 57
    smintheus says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): That sounds vague. Please point to some specific changes that would explain the phenomenon.

  58. 58
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Anya: Thank ye! I’ve missed you guys, too!

  59. 59
    Fair Economist says:

    @smintheus:

    Guns have been easily available in the US for a very long time. Random mass shooting sprees were rare in the US until about 30 years ago; since then they’ve become more and more common. There has been a change of some sort, to create such a phenomenon.

    Yes, availability of high-capacity semi-automatic weaponry. 40 years ago you couldn’t get a weapon suitable for a mass murder in a public location without a lot of trouble.

    Not that “regular” guns don’t cause unspeakable tragedy on their own. But a six-shooter isn’t going to suffice to kill 2 dozen people in the open in a minute or two.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    There has been a change of some sort, to create such a phenomenon.

    There has been — the kind of guns that you can use to commit these sorts of crimes have been more and more available to the public. Were 30-round magazines easily available to the general public 30 years ago? Semi-automatic rifles?

    It’s silly to pretend that this phenomenon is purely about the availability of guns.

    What’s really silly is to pretend that only the US has violent videogames, movies and TV. France is producing almost as many extreme serial killer movies as we are (High Tension was a big hit in the States a few years ago) and yet their murder rate is a fraction of ours and they never have the kind of mass murders we do. Why is that, do you think?

  61. 61
    GregB says:

    Banning Grand Theft Auto is the slippery slope to jack booted storm troopers kicking down our doors and confiscating our Red Dawn videos.

    I think the NRA is going to end up coming across as lunatics to many Americans.

    Surely when the discussion turns to culture, the culture of unfettered gun worship and stoking the anti-government fires of paranoia that it seems Nancy Lanza was soaking her sad deranged son in might come up.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Exqueeze me, but how many rounds are there in a box of Grand Theft Auto?

    Was Grand Theft Auto used to deliver all those 5.56 rounds into a bunch of school kids last week?

    The stupid. It burns.

  63. 63
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Obviously, when Responsible Gun Owning Hunter Types From America’s Heartland spend time teaching their children that tracking down and killing unsuspecting wild animals is just fine and dandy, that’s not ongoing psychological conditioning. No, siree.

  64. 64
    smintheus says:

    @Fair Economist: Automatics were available for decades in the US, without random shooting sprees becoming a common phenomenon.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, may I mention that The Troll Who Must Not Be Named was pushing this same line on Friday right after the massacre happened? Funny how a self-avowed leftist always manages to telegraph the next wingnut talking point.

  66. 66
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @freelancer:

    Clearly, it was GTAIII’s talk radio satire station “Chatterbox” that drove these 5 year olds to die.

    Nah, it was GTA: Vice City’s‘s VCPR and its bi-daily begathons.

  67. 67
    Ash Can says:

    @celticdragonchick: (FYWP etc my first reply, so trying again.) I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that Biden et al. will come up with something far from sweeping but nonetheless specific, such as placing limitations on the number of bullets a gun can fire without reloading. Naturally, Republicans and cowardly Dems will be against it, but they’ll have to go on record as being against it. Ideally, this all needs to happen while Newtown is fresh in the public’s collective mind, but the very least it would do is to shift the discussion, with the added benefit of calling out a few assholes.

    And I agree about action at the state level. Here in Illinois, we’re being treated to court-imposed concealed carry. I plan on writing my state reps and telling them to draft bills for open carry instead. As others have said, I want to know when I’m safe and when I have to get the hell out of somewhere, especially if I have my son with me.

  68. 68
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Machine guns were notoriously available to criminals in the early 20th century. And yet nobody seemed to think to walking into a school and shooting students.

    Obviously, countries with strict gun control laws are not likely to have many shooting sprees.

    That does not mean, however, that availability of guns inevitably means shooting sprees.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I think it was that blow job “easter egg” that was in Vice City.

    That’s what did it.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  70. 70
    redshirt says:

    Counterpoint: Video Games have some affect. Just like violent movies have some affect. Or having violence committed upon you when young.

    To blithely state culture/society has ZERO impact on the individuals raised within that culture is ludicrous.

    Our violent culture – that we’ve exported across the world in the last 30 years. Let’s give it a generation and see what happens – is part of this problem of kids going into fucking schools or movie theaters and slaughtering people.

  71. 71
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The Troll Who Must Not Be Named

    Are you talking about me? Pathetic

  72. 72
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The people who create GTA, btw, are based in Scotland, where they had one shooting mass murder in 1996, banned handgun ownership, and haven’t had any shooting mass murders since.

  73. 73
    Narcissus says:

    After we ban the vidya games we can get on that hippity hoppity music and the pogs and the hacky-sack

  74. 74
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Slightly O/T, but this is my favorite wingnut solution to school shootings thus far:

    Many homes now have “safe rooms” where people can hide till help comes.

    It seems like a fairly simple modification to many schools to first design doors that cannot easily be breached—steel doors in steel frames, with bulletproof glass if windows are desired. This simple modification, along with a panic switch the teacher can hit from her desk or even in a transmitter clipped to her clothing that would instantly lock the door, would keep an intruder out of the classroom. It would not be hard to accompany this locking mechanism with an automatic shutter on the window, so no one could see into the room.

    If further measures are desired, each classroom could have an additional safe room, or one shared by two back-to-back classrooms, in which classes could take shelter. As in home shelters, a dedicated phone line, even just an always-charged cell phone, and possibly a CCTV link, would let people on the outside know what was happening inside.

    The ability to isolate an armed intruder in a specific section of hallway, unable to leave or enter a classroom, would be a fairly simple modification to many existing schools and easy to build into new ones.

    My mother used to live in a high-rise assisted-living building, where the elderly residents were always burning toast or something, and the very sensitive fire alarms would go off all the time. When this happened, several fire doors on each floor closed automatically. It’s not a very high-tech ability. Trap a gunman in a 50′ foot section of hallway, without the ability to leave or enter any room, and you can do what you want with him.

    I’d ask her how much of a tax hike she’d accept to pay for turning every school into a safe-room-filled fortress, but I’ve already been banned for pointing out that a 39.6 percent rate on the top marginal bracket is not, in fact, soshulism.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @redshirt:

    Well, ya know, it’s one thing to have all that violence in the culture.

    It’s another thing to have the tools for violence readily available to anyone with the cash to make the purchase.

    That’s where we’ve gone tragically wrong.

  76. 76
    smintheus says:

    @redshirt: Exactly. Incredibly naive to assume that crazies can’t pick up the signals of what our culture glorifies. Even more ridiculous, when we know that some of the worst school shooters were obsessed with video games, to dismiss their potential influence out of hand.

  77. 77
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @smintheus:

    Still not addressing the issue of the ready availability of the tools of violence.

    Even if all that is true, the solution is pretty simple. Australia figured it out. Britain figured it out.

  78. 78
    smintheus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Eh, I think that is the point. The availability of guns means that the violence in our pop culture can explode violently in real life.

    Do you really imagine that you can get such stringent legislation passed as to remove virtually all guns from circulation? Because if not, it might make sense to stop sneering at those who talk about our violent culture, and instead start thinking seriously about whether it might be part of the equation.

    ETA: No, the solution is not “simple”. We have a 2nd Amendment that Australia and the UK don’t need to deal with. There’s no way in the world that gun ownership can be restricted in the US in ways that it is in those countries. You’re the one who’s refusing to address that basic fact.

  79. 79
    Petorado says:

    I could see the correlation if there was a video game called ” Grand Theft Elementary School”, but otherwise I ain’t seeing the direct causation of what happened in Newtown, except someone having a weapon in their hands that made them feel like they were the determiner of who would live and who died.

  80. 80
    Laertes says:

    I think it’s plausible that certain kinds of violent video games could contribute to violent behavior. Since I make video games for a living, this is something of a minority view among the people I mostly hang around with.

    I have discussions about this all the time, and I’ve searched high and low for any good evidence one way or the other, and I’ve found bupkis. I’d be real interested to see any decent evidence anyone’s got, either for or against the proposition.

    Some tips:

    1. The fact that you played Pac-man as a youth but aren’t afraid of ghosts today isn’t as powerful an argument as you may think.

    2. Rates of violent crime have been falling for many years now. There are probably lots of reasons for this, and it’s possible that several other factors were resisting this trend but got swamped by the countervailing factors. Claims that violent video games have anything to do with it, one way or the other, are going to require a convincing explanation of how all the other factors were controlled.

    3. One seemingly plausible hypothesis holds that especially realistic first-person-shooters in which the player shoots at figures that appear to be human have a special effect on the player’s natural inhibition to deadly violence. Data about aggregate game sales or time spent playing games that don’t isolate the games that meet these particular criteria won’t be much good for addressing this hypothesis.

    4. Almost every kid plays video games. The mere fact that this shooter or that plays them is not at all persuasive. You have to do way better than that.

    5. My proposed experiment is straightforward: Take a couple hundred kids and separate them at random into two groups, one that is required to play, for several hours a week, video games done in a photorealistic style in which players are promptly and consistently rewarded for engaging human-appearing targets with simulations of real-world small arms, and one group that’s forbidden such games. After a year or so of this, expose all the subjects to abusive home environments, and savage bullying and social isolation at school. Keep track of which group produces more spree killers, and how effective they are. So far, people mostly ignore this idea, or raise various ethical issues.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Don’t flatter yourself. Until you start accusing people who disagree with you of jerking off to footage from Nazi concentration camps, you will never be able to match the sheer insanity of The Troll Who Shall Not Be Named.

  82. 82
    Ash Can says:

    @smintheus: Don’t flatter yourself; this place has far more notorious trolls than you. And yes, other countries have had mass shootings too. Great Britain and Australia come to mind. And those countries stopped having mass shootings when, in response, the kind of weapons used in those shootings were banned. StatIstIcs show that more guns equals more shootings, and more automatic weaponry equals more mass shootings. To say otherwise is akin to climate change denial or insisting that there’s no link between a host of cardiopulmonary diseases and cigarette smoke.

  83. 83
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @smintheus:

    That sounds vague. Please point to some specific changes that would explain the phenomenon.

    Here you go. It’s got lots of words in it, so come back tomorrow afternoon when you’ve finished reading it.

  84. 84
    dead existentialist says:

    @Laertes:

    So far, people mostly ignore this idea, or raise various ethical issues.

    Probably with good reason.

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @smintheus:

    Again, how many rounds are in a box of Grand Theft Auto?

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Machine guns were notoriously available to criminals in the early 20th century. And yet nobody seemed to think to walking into a school and shooting students.

    Yes, because the kind of person who does the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre for a cash payment and the kind of person who shoots up a school for fun are exactly the same.

    You do realize that there was a huge outcry in the 1920s and 1930s about innocent bystanders being killed that led to the banning of those weapons for civilian use, right? We used to be smart enough to realize that if criminals were using high-powered weapons to commit crimes, the answer was to make it hard for them to get those weapons, not try to train our kids to rush the shooter.

  87. 87
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @smintheus:

    We have a 2nd Amendment that Australia and the UK don’t need to deal with.

    No, you have the NRA and a captive GOP and a wingnut fringe in the Supreme Court to deal with. Either you have the will to deal with them, or you are complicit. Take your fucking pick.

  88. 88
    dylan says:

    Has anyone suggested taxing gun and/or ammunition sales high and earmarking the revenue to mental health services?

  89. 89
    smintheus says:

    @Laertes: Before there were violent video games, films began to be fascinated with mass violence. Their effect now permeates our culture. Good luck trying to separate out the influence of any one medium.

  90. 90
    dylan says:

    We had a local elementary school that until recently hired itself out on weekends for some kind of urban paintball game.

    Bizarrely, someone objected to this use of school facilities, and unfortunately the business has moved on.

  91. 91
    smintheus says:

    @Ash Can:

    StatIstIcs show that more guns equals more shootings, and more automatic weaponry equals more mass shootings. To say otherwise…

    Please point out where this “troll” said any such thing.

  92. 92
    Laertes says:

    @smintheus:

    Good luck trying to separate out the influence of any one medium.

    Yeah, I have no idea how you’d do that. It’s not obvious to me that it’s even possible.

  93. 93
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @smintheus:

    Still haven’t found out how many rounds are in a box of Grand Theft Auto.

    Waiting patiently.

  94. 94
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    OK, even if we do ‘have a conversation’ about violent video games and movies-to what end? Banning them? Sorry, but we’ve got this thing called the First Amendment. Restricting sales to people under 18? Well, this guy was 20, James Holmes was 24, Cho was in his 20’s. So I don’t know what the point of that would be.

    Hundreds of millions of people around the world play violent video games and watch violent movies every day. But things like this shooting happen very infrequently (not infrequently enough, of course.) Yes, these shootings have seen a rise over the last few decades that’s coincided with a rise in violent pop culture and entertainment. You know, the same pop culture and entertainment that every other country partakes in, and yet, they don’t have these sorts of shootings. Even if you do think that violent video games may be a root cause for some people, wouldn’t the obvious fact that it’s a constant in a situation where the number of shootings in each country is the variable lead you to believe that actually preventing the shootings might be linked to something else?

  95. 95
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @smintheus:

    Before there were violent video games, films began to be fascinated with mass violence.

    And before, during and after that, there were a large number of actual wars in which actual Americans killed lots of actual other people. Americans really don’t need to resort to make-believe violence to permeate their culture. Are you really the kind of person who is happy to waggle a finger at Apocalypse Now as if there were not a Vietnam War to provide its setting?

  96. 96
    Laertes says:

    VDE: It’s important to confront the other side’s arguments in their strongest possible form. If you’re going to pretend that the other side thinks that small arms ammunition is bundled with game discs, don’t be surprised when people start to suspect that you’re only interested in fighting straw men.

  97. 97
    smintheus says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: nice heaping pile of condescension you got there. Aside from that, though, I see no obvious link between the NRA power struggles and specific changes that led to frequent, random shooting sprees.

  98. 98
    Laertes says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Restricting sales to people under 18? Well, this guy was 20, James Holmes was 24, Cho was in his 20′s. So I don’t know what the point of that would be.

    Well, that’s why you’d begin with some science. Once you’ve shown how the mechanism works, you might then have some idea about how to defeat it. There may, of course, be no such mechanism, in which case the ages of these shooters is completely irrelevant.

    But it’s not hard to imagine plausible mechanisms that could be defeated, or at least mitigated, by imposing age limits.

    It all starts, though, with demonstrating some solid cause-and-effect. As far as I know, nobody’s done that yet.

  99. 99
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Laertes:

    don’t be surprised when people start to suspect that you’re only interested in fighting straw men.

    Your concern is noted. In the meantime, we’ve had a couple of days of “arm the teachers!”, “turn schools into Supermaxes!” and now “blame GTA!”.

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @redshirt:

    Our violent culture – that we’ve exported across the world in the last 30 years. Let’s give it a generation and see what happens – is part of this problem of kids going into fucking schools or movie theaters and slaughtering people.

    Italy pioneered the slasher film with Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace. That came out in 1964. Some of the films made by his protege, Dario Argento, in the 1970s and 1980s still have never been seen uncensored in the US even on video because they are too violent for US audiences. (Opera, aka Terror at the Opera, is one I can think of that is still censored for US audiences.)

    And yet Italy doesn’t have these kinds of mass slaughter incidents. They literally started making those films before I was born and they still don’t have mass murders like we do. How many more generations are we supposed to wait and see if the effect you’re predicting will develop?

    If anything, I would say the problem with our violent entertainment is that it leads peple to believe that they are more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than they actually are. IIRC, there are more murders committed on TV every year than there are in the entire US, and we have the highest murder rate in the world.

    If you spend every night watching “CSI” and its spin-offs, “Law & Order” and its spin-offs, “Criminal Minds,” “Numbers,” etc. you could easily become convinced that it’s highly likely that you could become a murder victim and decide you need to buy a gun for protection. Or two. Or three.

    That’s really what I think the insidious problem of our violent entertainment is — it creates a sense of threat far beyond what is rational.

  101. 101
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Laertes:

    I’d like to know how many people have been shot to death with a copy of Grand Theft Auto.

    These jackasses are pointing at a video game and saying “there’s your problem, right here!” and ignoring the fucking elephant of all those semi-automatic weapons floating around out there.

    Grand Theft Auto has a body count of 0. That Buahmaster has it beat in that category.

    They obviously do not want to talk about the actual issue, and Grand Theft Auto is their straw man. I’m calling them on their straw man.

  102. 102
    Splitting Image says:

    @Anya:

    NRA are good people? The NRA that puts profits ahead of people. That NRA? The same NRA that has lunatics like Nugent and Chuck Norris on their board.

    Perhaps more importantly, Grover Norquist is on their board. You know all the talk about how the mental health issue is more important than the availability of guns, and what really needs to happen is meaningful health care reform that makes it possible for people with mental issues to get the treatment they need?

    Yeah, that Grover Norquist. He’s on the NRA’s board of directors too. I think that is the piece of the equation that a lot of people are missing where the NRA is concerned.

  103. 103
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @smintheus:

    nice heaping pile of condescension you got there.

    You’ve earned every bit of it, big boy.

  104. 104
    Whidby says:

    @smintheus: you obviously don’t care about the CHILDREN.

    /snark off

  105. 105
    Laertes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’d like to know how many people have been shot to death with a copy of Grand Theft Auto.

    Answer: None.

    Now, is that really your complete understanding of the case that violent video games might contribute to violent behavior? You think they’re arguing that games themselves are weapons?

    Is that really your A-game?

  106. 106
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Laertes:

    Is that really your A-game?

    You don’t waste your A-game on the bat boy.

  107. 107
    amk says:

    So munchkin folded in less than a day? what a brave boy with a gun.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    I see no obvious link between the NRA power struggles and specific changes that led to frequent, random shooting sprees.

    Really? You see no link whatsoever between the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban in 2004 and the increase of mass shooting events since 2004? It was all a co-inkydink?

  109. 109
    Djur says:

    @Gin & Tonic: When wands of digging are outlawed, only outlaws will have wands of digging.

    *deep breath*

    We need to teach kids to engrave ELBERETH on the floor whenever they’re in danger. I suggest that all teachers be mandated to carry +1 blessed athames.

  110. 110
    smintheus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: First, the violence of American culture appears to be much greater than the influence of violent American culture on other cultures.

    Second, we have changed out culture in the past when we’ve decided that we’re sick and tired of some aspect of it. We’ve made the common and acceptable, unacceptable and far less common.

    Third, how could it be any more apparent that banning guns would put an end to random shooting sprees? Be my guest; go ahead and do it. While you’re at it, repeal the 2nd Amendment. Meanwhile, until you’ve achieved that, could we ALSO start to address some of the cultural trends that have made this gun culture go in big for random shooting sprees?

  111. 111
    RobertDSC-PowerMac 466 says:

    There’s something weird about this, something code-wordy.

    It’s the fact that he knows the game name, the precise developer, and where the developer is from. Most people wouldn’t know that much info unless they’ve been coached or are using talking points.

    Besides, in earlier days, I used to play the last GTA game, GTA IV, to get 100% completion. It takes a fair amount of effort to wind up walking around and shooting civilians. If you choose to do that, the in-game police show up. If you shoot them, more police show up. If you keep doing it, the in-game version of the FBI shows up and kills you.

    I don’t think this is something folks would want to follow in real life.

  112. 112
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Laertes:

    Well, for the record, it’s been tried once and found not to pass legal muster: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06.....&_r=0

    This, by the way, is what makes me think that the ‘blame violent games’ talk coming from the right is nothing more than a dodge. They know that courts generally don’t allow it, and that no such ban or restriction would last long. But they’re willing to use it as a dodge because it gets people’s attention and leads to lots of frivolous crap that doesn’t improve gun policy in any way. So forgive me for sounded a bit jaded by the ‘blame violent media’ argument.

  113. 113
    redshirt says:

    @Mnemosyne: It seems recent to the last 30 years or so.

    Concurrent I’ll note with the “Reagan Revolution”. Also with the rise of religious fundamentalism in both the Islamic World and the US of A. Check out these cool photos of late 60’s Kabul.

  114. 114
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Had nothing to do with the article linked.

  115. 115
    mouse tolliver says:

    Santorum’s former spokeswoman pointed to a Rasmussen poll yesterday morning that said over 80% of the country wanted to do something about violent movies and video games ahead of doing something about gun control. So there it is right there. Video games and Hollywood. So what if they play the same video games and watch the same movies in other countries without having a mass shooting every couple of days?

  116. 116
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @smintheus:

    First, the violence of American culture appears to be much greater than the influence of violent American culture on other cultures.

    Vocab tip 1: “appears” is not synonymous with “pulled out of my ass”.

    Meanwhile, until you’ve achieved that, could we ALSO start to address some of the cultural trends that have made this gun culture go in big for random shooting sprees?

    Vocab tip 2: “ALSO start” is not synonymous with “change the subject”.

  117. 117
    Whidby says:

    Don’t confuse me with facts.

  118. 118
    GregB says:

    The gun manufacturing lobby and their stooges in Congress are blameless in their efforts to prevent any meaningful regulation of the gun manufacturing industry.

    The political right and their incessant drumbeat that the government is going to kill everyone in their beds is blameless too.

    I am pretty sure the the real culprit is the video game Mario Brothers. Mushrooms have killed thousands.

    The gun lobby and their employees in Congress and on TV are going to be using the gish gallop technique.

    They have no desire to actually debate this issue on the merits.

  119. 119
    Laertes says:

    @RobertDSC-PowerMac 466:

    It’s the fact that he knows the game name, the precise developer, and where the developer is from. Most people wouldn’t know that much info unless they’ve been coached or are using talking points.

    Rockstar isn’t just any developer. They’re uniquely provocative and uniquely media-savvy. They’re usually right in the middle of any media firestorm about violent video games. (They’re also an outstanding developer. Seriously. All the hype aside, these guys have revolutionized the industry in more ways than I can count. Whatever you may think of the moral content of their games, they’re masterpieces of inventive game design.)

    There’s nothing unusual about someone who’s concerned with violence in video games knowing exactly who Rockstar is, or in which city their HQ is located. That’s newbie knowledge in circles in which you’d be moving if you pay any attention to this issue.

  120. 120
  121. 121
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    The 2004 expiration of the 1994 assault weapons ban has nothing to do with an article about the 1994 assault weapons ban? Did you follow the link, or are you trying to change the subject?

    Here’s a timeline on CNN. Of the 12 worst mass shootings in the US, 6 have happened since the 2004 expiration of the assault weapons ban. But I guess that’s just a co-inkydink, too. After all, John Lott says more guns are always better!

  122. 122
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @smintheus:

    the violence of American culture appears to be much greater

    Oh, well who could argue with that?

    You make it sound like ‘changing the culture’ is just some thing we could do in our spare time while waiting for the conservative wing of the court to croak. Yes, point taken about the outsize and absurd levels of influence gun companies have over the government. Even with that, you think it would be easier to convince people (again, millions and millions of people) that James Bond and Bruce Willis and Modern Warfare and GTA are all suddenly lame and stupid? People who have loved that sort of stuff for years and have never once done something violent to another person? What exactly is your plan, since you’re so big on the plans? Reprogram them?

    You act like this is some open and shut case and that we’d all agree with you if we weren’t scared of losing our toys. Millions and millions of people play violent games and watch violent movies. A tiny, tiny percentage of them go on shooting sprees. How tenuous does the connection have to be before you let yourself give up on it. Or, think of it this way: let’s say the games do have a higher chance of turning already unbalanced or mentally ill people into shooters. Now, VDE’s point may be reductive, but the thing to keep in mind is that the game itself does not kill anybody. When they commit their shootings, they use real guns. Would it not make more sense to prevent them from getting access to those guns?

  123. 123
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @RobertDSC-PowerMac 466:

    It’s the fact that he knows the game name, the precise developer, and where the developer is from. Most people wouldn’t know that much info unless they’ve been coached or are using talking points.

    Good point, and yet Rockstar North, the core of Rockstar and the developer of the GTA franchise, remains based in Edinburgh; having walked passed their offices a couple of years ago, I can not report that bullets were flying. (You’d get the “New York” thing from Wikipedia but that’s mainly standard “coastal depravity” signalling.)

    Incidentally, DMA Design came up with Lemmings before GTA, which I can’t remember triggering mass suicides in the 1990s.

  124. 124
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Laertes:

    So, you’ve admitted that Rockstar’s products’ body count is zero.

    Now, let’s put that side by side Freedom Group’s products’ body count.

    This is what the NRA (a lobby for merchants of death like Freedom Group) and the gun nuts, and sacks of shit like Joe Manchin do not, under any circumstances, want to discuss. We need to talk about the violent culture, or video games, or Hollywood, or ANYTHING AT ALL besides all those firearms out there.

    You can have the violent culture all fucking day, but if you don’t have the tools to act on what that culture is egging you on to do…well, gosh, I guess those kids in Connecticut might be spending Christmas by the fire and not six fucking feet under.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Whidby:

    What a shock — the article doesn’t say what you claim it says:

    Why the difference? Fox is looking at all mass shootings involving four or more victims — that’s the standard FBI definition. Mother Jones, by contrast, had a much more restrictive definition, excluding things like armed robbery or gang violence. They were trying to focus on spree killings that were similar in style to Virginia Tech or Aurora or Newtown. The definitions make a big difference: On Fox’s criteria, there’s no uptick. On Mother Jones’, there’s a clear increase. (emphasis mine)

    So your article shows that there has been a clear uptick in spree killings — the only thing that makes it look like there has not been is if you add in all gun murders of 4 or more people, including robberies and gang killings.

  126. 126
    Laertes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Look, buddy, I’m right there with you if you want to ban guns.

    And I’m right there with you when you say that there’s no strong evidence linking violent video games with violent behavior.

    Where you and I part ways is your absolute certainty that violent video games don’t contribute in any way to violent behavior. I have to pull up short and say “hold on there, friend.” Either you’ve seen evidence that I haven’t seen, and that you’re strangely reluctant to describe, or you’re drawing conclusions that aren’t supported by the evidence.

  127. 127
  128. 128
    Djur says:

    Extremely violent media, in the US and abroad, predates modern mass shootings by decades. Have you ever looked at a pre-Code war comic?

    From the other side, mass shootings started to become common in the US well before graphically violent video games were available. We’re talking 30 years, right? DOOM came out in 1993, less than 20 years ago. If we’re talking about the negative effects of such games on Impressionable Young Minds, you need to provide for 5 or more years before teenagers playing these games become adults. 1998 or so — which means Kip Kinkel is your earliest bit of data.

    Problem is, there were a lot of mass shootings in the 15 years before then. Before the ’80s, there were two decades of political and quasi-political violence. Things changed in the late ’70s. The country’s politics went hard right. There was a backlash against drugs, women’s rights, gay rights, immigration, and Others in general. Susan Faludi describes the shift in excruciating, compelling detail in Stiffed and Backlash.

  129. 129
    redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: No video game maker is responsible for anything, unless they of course pull the trigger.

    But, in the grander scheme, those contributing to a violent culture share some blame for the inevitable consequences of such a culture – which is violence, unsurprisingly.

    Don’t tell me violent video games/movies/songs/ don’t matter, as if all the things we are acculturated to are meaningless. Would you say a boy raised in a tribe on the Amazon has the same mental tendencies conditioned by culture as a boy raised in front of the TV in America? Of course not – it’s ludicrous to even entertain the notion that culture plays no part in the people raised within it. For example: Is it a co-incidence that a child born to two christian parents is more likely to self-identify as christian, just as a child born of two muslim parents is more likely to self-identify as a muslim?

    Culture matters, a great deal. All I’d argue is we evaluate why we create the culture we do.

  130. 130
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    And let me just add, it’s hypothetically possible that Lanza would not have killed anyone had he never played GTA. It’s possible, but you can’t prove a hypothetical. But if you change the question to could he have killed anyone (or at least, as many people as he did) without a Bushmaster, then you’re moving out of hypotheticals and trying to unthread one ‘cultural influence’ from another and into the realm of actions. Could he have killed 27 people without a gun specifically designed to kill lots of people quickly? I, personally, doubt it. There is nothing as good at killing people that the average American has access to as a semiautomatic rifle. It would seem to me that removing that from the average American’s grasp is easier and more just than trying to discern whether GTA broke his brain or not, and what to do with all the other people who play it and are normal and well-adjusted and haven’t so much as punched someone.

    I probably sound a bit harsh tonight, and I’ll admit I’m very suspicious of people who have decided what movies and video games and books we the people are incapable of handling, and who say they’re really doing us all a favor by taking them away. Never seems to end well. Never seems to solve anything. And it certainly isn’t democratic.

  131. 131
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Laertes:

    Whether or not violent video games contribute is irrelevant to the actual issue…semi-automatic weapons being readily available to anyone with the cash to purchase one, and use it for who knows what.

    The last thing the NRA, the weapons and ammunition manufacturers, and the gun nuts want to talk about are the weapons. Let’s find a shiny object to distract people from our deadly product/fetish object!

    My point is that talking about or banning video games doesn’t begin to address the actual issue here, which is the proliferation of semi-automatic weapons, the weapon of choice for the spree killer.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Whidby:

    Again — stop posting easily disproven lies that only require reading the link that you yourself provided and I will leave you alone. Funny how you can’t seem to stop yourself from doing it.

    Though given that I was posting on this thread an hour before you were, one can’t help but wonder who’s “stalking” whom. Have you been looking to see which threads I’ve been commenting on in the hope of getting me to respond to you?

  133. 133
    handsmile says:

    @RobertDSC-PowerMac 466:

    It’s the fact that he knows the game name, the precise developer, and where the developer is from. Most people wouldn’t know that much info unless they’ve been coached or are using talking points.

    I noticed this as well, and consider it to be a deliberate “shot-across-the-bow” (if you will) against a politician able and willing to contend with the NRA and its apologists. Why mention New York City if not to signal their intent to go after its Mayor, Michael Bloomberg?

    ETA: Only the first paragraph above should be block-quoted. FYWP at all hours.

  134. 134
    Laertes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You’ve got a reasonably strong point to make. You should avoid cluttering it up with straw men. Nobody wants to listen to someone who sounds stupid.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @redshirt:

    Culture matters, a great deal. All I’d argue is we evaluate why we create the culture we do.

    If we’re going to look at culture, we have to look at the whole culture, not just popular culture. You can’t just look at TV and movies without looking at a culture that says it’s okay for a father to have a loose gun in the car with his child strapped into a booster seat.

    Which violent movie do you think taught him to keep a gun in the center console of his truck?

  136. 136
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @redshirt:

    Yet it’s all a diversion from the guys who are actually making money selling the tools used by guys like Lanza to slaughter schoolchildren.

    It’s bullshit. It’s a diversion. Let’s talk about ANYTHING but the fucking firearms, shall we?

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Laertes:

    Who are the straw men in that comment?

  138. 138
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Laertes:

    You INSIST on tossing the very straw men the NRA, Manchin, and the gun nuts are using as a diversion, right now.

    Don’t talk to me about straw men when Manchin starts yelling “video games!” instead of taking Freedom Group to task for profiting off selling tools used exclusively to kill.

  139. 139
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @handsmile:

    Exactly. The “New York City” is a very obvious cultural reference, and a shot at Bloomberg. As someone mentioned above, it’s like that Pace picante sauce ad. NEW YORK CITY!?!?!

  140. 140
    redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Oh yeah, sure, the NRA talking about video games is an obvious diversion.

    I’m talking about the real causes behind our issues, prime among them is our culture of violence. Which has escalated in the last 30 years.

    I blame Reagan. Seriously.

  141. 141
    Seanly says:

    We could take a page out of the 50’s & blame it on comic books…

  142. 142
    redshirt says:

    @Mnemosyne: Of course – all of American culture. But where’s the chicken and where’s the egg? Meme’s repeat and strengthen in the repetition. Certainly, Jimmy John Jones from Alabama didn’t much care about owning a machine gun in 1950, for some weird reason. Now, that’s all that matters. Why?

  143. 143
    Laertes says:

    The NRA talking about video games is stupid, self-serving, dishonest, and most likely ineffective.

    It is not, however, a “straw man.” Go look it the hell up, for Christ’s sake.

  144. 144
    gwangung says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If we’re going to look at culture, we have to look at the whole culture, not just popular culture.

    I’m working some stuff out here, but some of this comes from the notion of guns as a means of protection.

    I think that’s a misconception. Guns do not protect. They are an offensive weapon that allows you to kill the other guy before they can kill you. They can extend your reach. They can multiply your force.

    But they are not protection. Shields are protection. Body armor is protection. They reduce any harm that manages to touch you. Guns do not do this; if you get hit by gunshot, you will be hurt…SERIOUSLY, no matter what kind of weapon or gun you are carrying.

    Too many people get a sense of invulnerability when they wield a gun, and that’s simply not the case. You may have increased your survivability, but you have not reduced the threat of bodily harm to yourself, except in the most clumsy, indirect way.

  145. 145
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Laertes:

    Sure it is.

    It’s a diversion.

    They don’t want to talk about the far more deadly toys made by the firms that they represent.

    The issue of a violent culture is eclipsed by the fact that the tools to act out violence are readily available. You take away those tools, you’re going to reduce the violence. It’s that fucking simple. This is pretty direct cause and effect. Unlike blaming video games or movies.

  146. 146
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @redshirt:

    Would you say a boy raised in a tribe on the Amazon has the same mental tendencies conditioned by culture as a boy raised in front of the TV around limitless guns in America?

    FTFY. Perhaps Joe Manchin wants to look at the cultural conditioning of the local news, too?

  147. 147
    Laertes says:

    Since you’re probably not capable of looking it up, what the hell, I’ll explain:

    A straw man is a misrepresentation of your opponent’s position. It’s a weaker version of their real argument, which you then attack while trying to pass it off as the real thing.

    Example: “How many rounds are there in a box of Grand Theft Auto?”

    That’s a straw man because you’re dishonestly implying that the case against violent video games is that the games themselves are weapons or ammunition. That’s a very weak argument, but it’s not one that many critics of violent video games would offer, and it certainly isn’t their best case.

    However, it’s not at all a straw man to say “violent video games contribute to these spree killings.” That’s merely an unproven assertion. It’s an error to pass it off as fact because it’s not known to be true, but it’s just not made of straw. It can’t sing and dance, it’s not afraid of fire, and it doesn’t wish it had a brain.

  148. 148
    redshirt says:

    The Aurora shooter used some fairly sophisticated tactics in his mass shooting. I forget – what branch of the military did he learn those tactics in?

  149. 149
    spacewalrus says:

    As Basil Fawlty would say, “Whatever you do–don’t mention the guns!”

    I don’t know how a child in this country today could grow up to ever believe that our country is capable of doing the right thing if we fail to act now.

  150. 150
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    We can have a discussion about our admittedly violent culture AFTER we’ve taken away the deadly toys.

    Priorities. Priorities.

  151. 151
    Laertes says:

    @redshirt:

    The Aurora shooter used some fairly sophisticated tactics in his mass shooting.

    Hey, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that. I guess I’d gotten the idea that he just propped the door open, gathered his kit, and then came back inside and mowed down whatever helpless, panicked people he could see. What fancy tactics did he use?

  152. 152
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Laertes:

    OK, you’ve crossed a line here in your obdurate dumbassitude.

    The guys tossing up the straw are the NRA and Manchin.

    I’m reflecting back on them their own fallacious argument.

    Grand Theft Auto has a body count of zero.

    The Bushmaster, not so zero.

    Which product is the more immediate danger? Which product actually kills people? Never mind all this “but it has an influence!” crap. No one ever died from a fusillade of Grand Theft Auto.

  153. 153
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If the Aurora shooter didn’t have a firearm to execute his tactics, the entire issue is moot.

  154. 154
    kdaug says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Look at all the violence in Nethack.

    You leave my goddamned ASCII dog out of this.

    Wasn’t my fault he polymorphed into a red dragon.

    Granted, I didn’t bitch, exactly…

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @redshirt:

    Certainly, Jimmy John Jones from Alabama didn’t much care about owning a machine gun in 1950, for some weird reason. Now, that’s all that matters. Why?

    My short answer is the Civil Rights Movement and the massive backlash to it by whites all across the US, not just in the South.

    Weirdly, I think that it’s now becoming self-perpetuating to some degree: Jimmy John Jones’s daddy wanted all those guns because he thought the n*ggers were coming for revenge, so now Jimmy John wants them, too, even though the race war his daddy told him was coming never actually happened. But his daddy said it, he believes it, so he keeps stockpiling guns against a monster that’s never actually going to appear.

    Meanwhile, his job goes right-to-work, the public school his kids go to is crumbling, and his paycheck seems to get smaller every year, which only increases his sense of threat but makes it more difficult for him to figure out where it’s coming from. So he buys more guns.

    That’s the cultural problem we have. Our violent movies and video games reflect that emotional reality.

  156. 156
    Laertes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The guys tossing up the straw are the NRA and Manchin.

    Once again proving that you have no idea what a straw man is. Their argument is stupid and rests on unproven assertions. That should be plenty. It’s not a straw man, and you’re weakening your case and making yourself sound silly by insisting that it is.

    Why isn’t it enough for you that it’s wrong? Why does it also have to be a straw man? Are you aware that an argument can be both wrong and not a straw man? Why is this whole “straw man” thing so irresistible to you?

  157. 157
    Suffern ACE says:

    So I’m not really all that familiar with games. I understand from reports that call of duty is supposed to be the offender this time, not GTA. Anyway, for all their violence, are there actual games that involve shooting up schools, malls and movie theaters? Or killing your girlfriends family and then yourself? I’m not certain I’m getting the connection between call of duty and what happened.

  158. 158
    David Koch says:

    Shouldn’t we ban Willy E. Coyote cartoons which only encourages people to think they can play with dynamite

  159. 159
    redshirt says:

    @Laertes: Heh. So, once again I’m talking about something I have no idea about. Cuz I’m a huge fucking hippy and I hate violence and I try and avoid all reference to it, be it in real life or in fiction, or even on “the news”. So, I paraphrase what I recall reading on the web about the Aurora Shooter (who’s name I don’t even know, and don’t want to): He had body armor; he had multiple guns designed to drop and pick up the next one; he used flash grenades/smoke grenades to stun/confuse audience; he came in the ground exit and at first seemed as if part of the movie experience – could be co-incidence, or cunning.

    So, we’ve got a heavy dose of video game and comic book. With guns, and someone fucked up enough to act out upon all those violent tendencies.

  160. 160
    David Koch says:

    Wolverine!

  161. 161
    Laertes says:

    I’m not certain I’m getting the connection between call of duty and what happened.

    CoD is a soldier game. It’s guys with guns shooting at guys with guns. It’s not primarily about spree-murder of helpless civilians.

    The critics of violent video games don’t often connect the dots and explain the mechanism by which they think the influence works. One suspects that in many cases they don’t have a plausible hypothesis and are simply throwing out chaff in hopes of diverting attention away from some more valuable (to them) target such as, say, big scary murder guns.

  162. 162
    Dexter's new approach says:

    As far as I can tell, the violent video games and the gun industry engage in the same currency: Violent fantasies of killing the bad guys.

    But kids have played war games with toy guns and played with toy soldiers and shouted, “bang, bang” as the good in their hand killed the bad guys for ages. Video games are a modern version of that. Maybe more gruesome, but still fake.

    But in the US, the modern gun lobby and gun-nut crowd engage in real, adult fantasies of killing the bad guy. With real deadly guns and bullets. And they make sure the guns flow in this country to such a crazy level so to make these mass shootings – and guns deaths in general – way more common.

  163. 163
    OzoneR says:

    Meh, I don’t necessarily disagree with him. I don’t think they cause violence as much as desensitizing us to it.

    I’m in now way in favor of starting banning violent video games or shows, but I do think it’s a factor, along with the gun nut culture and lack of mental health care.

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @redshirt:

    If all he had done was burst through the door and start firing without the bells and whistles, how much lower would the body count have been?

    It’s the guns.

  165. 165
    Laertes says:

    The most plausible hypothesis I’ve heard goes like this:

    People mostly have a strong natural aversion to shooting other people with guns. Even people who want to overcome this usually find that they can’t. With specialized training it’s possible to remove this aversion. Realistic video games, played from a first-person perspective, using real-looking weapons to shoot real-looking humans, function as such training. And therefore these games lead to more violence because they can, in rare cases, turn people who’d just fantasize about mass-murder, or attempt it and fail, into successful mass-murderers.

    That’s the most plausible hypothesis I’ve heard, anyway, and obviously you could write several books about its’ weaknesses and all the unproven bits there, but that’s the rough shape of it.

    It’s not proven, but sometimes it keeps me awake nights. I don’t make THOSE kinds of games, but I’m in the industry, and the stuff I make is at least moderately violent.

  166. 166
    redshirt says:

    @Mnemosyne: Of course, the guns are what make it real. If there were no guns and these nuts were raised in Katana culture, folks would still die, just not in the same numbers.

    Again, I’m talking about the underlying causes and our cues of this violence. The Aurora shooter was clearly influenced by video games/comic books. Am I proposing a ban on video games/comic books? HECK NO! In no way, and I’m not even proposing any kind of censorship or editorial restraint either. Write what you want. However! The point I have been trying to raise is what is it about American society that makes mass murder an every other week occurrence? Culture plays a huge part. The biggest. Our 24/7 News plays a part – they almost glorify these events by their incessant coverage. You can picture hundreds of fucked up white dudes across the country getting drunk thinking, “yeah, I could do something like that” while admiring their 30+ gun arsenal.

  167. 167
    A moocher says:

    @Laertes: it’s a diversionary tactic.

  168. 168
    kdaug says:

    I hate to be the one to point out the obvious here, but:

    You know what else we didn’t have 30 years ago?

    Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News.

  169. 169
    Laertes says:

    The guy I’m mostly paraphrasing there is one Dave Grossman, if anyone’s interested in googling further. I don’t yet have a real strong opinion on how credible I find him to be, or how seriously I should take his body of work. Seriously enough that I don’t dismiss him out of hand (yet), but not so seriously that I take his word as gospel (yet).

  170. 170
    Laertes says:

    @A moocher:

    “it’s a diversionary tactic”

    I agree entirely.

  171. 171
    redshirt says:

    @kdaug: Precisely. American culture encompasses the whole equation, from Fox News to TMZ, NPR to PETA.

    Here’s the cause, by the way: Capitalism. The relentless pursuit to accumulate more. When gamed out in every scenario it produces the best, but also many failures (most fail). It produces the best spree killers, for example, since there’s so many case studies on which to build.

  172. 172
    amk says:

    We live in the stupidest damn country ever

    Yup.

  173. 173
    liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Were 30-round magazines easily available to the general public 30 years ago? Semi-automatic rifles?

    Look, I’m as pro-gun control as the next guy (IMHO there should be a complete ban on all pistols, for example), but semiautomatic rifles have been very available for at least as long as I’ve been alive (ie, almost half a century).

    If you amend that to “military-style semiautomatic rifles,” then I’m not sure, and perhaps the answer to that question is “no”. (And it’s possible that high capacity magazines weren’t available; don’t know the answer to that one.)

  174. 174
    Keith says:

    I would have died laughing if Manchin had mentioned “GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony” instead.

  175. 175
    Suffern ACE says:

    My understanding from my limited experience with House of the Dead II and III as well as Mythbusters, is that all those skills I think I’ve gained from shooting zombies and watching movie shoot em ups aren’t actually very useful if I actually had to use a gun. I’d do things that I thought looked effective, but which would cause me to miss the broad side of a barn. I would find the link more plausible if I had data on what the mass killers knew about their weapons outside of gaming. I don’t think the games desensitize as much as give false confidence when one has a plan. However, the only case I know of where the killer didn’t have experience using firearms is the Virginia tech massacre, and he was very effective despite only buying his first guns a few weeks before the shooting.

  176. 176

    If only everyone would wear the Alex Chiu immortality devices, this would not have happened. Mr. Chiu has all sorts of fascinating Solutions to the World Problem.

  177. 177
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Laertes:

    People mostly have a strong natural aversion to shooting other people with guns. Even people who want to overcome this usually find that they can’t. With specialized training it’s possible to remove this aversion.

    Say, by going to gun ranges or blasting away at the local fauna? I’m sure that the Manchin Munchkins, good deer-huntin’ folk, weren’t exactly enraptured the first time they went out and got Bambi blood on their clothes, and getting used to that is no less a form of aversion-removal.

    So: I’d happy to have a multitude of studies, as long as it left no cultural toes untrod upon, and was seen as the diversion that it is. Alas, the CDC isn’t allowed to study guns as health risks, because Congress has been cowed by the NRA.

  178. 178
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m just wondering why so many of you are ready to roll over and accept the NRA’s framing of this problem as anything, anything but the fucking firearms themselves.

    Stop aiding and abetting the merchants of death.

  179. 179
    👽 Martin says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Yeah, any argument that video games provides the kind of operant conditioning to make you a better killer would apply equally or even better that hunting and range practice makes you a better killer. They can’t advance this theory without digging their own hole even deeper, because if banning guns would make the real-life training problem go away, it would also eliminate access to a gun for those that trained on the video game, so there’s now no need to ban the game.

    The only argument that they could advance is that the games improve the likelihood that someone would pick up the gun in the first place. And there’s no evidence that’s the case. In every instance the shooter was angry about something, and with no way to address that anger, turned to violence. The game doesn’t make you angry (well it might, but only to cause you to shoot your console) nor does it deny you a remedy. Those are sociological problems. Are we (men in particular) conditioned to turn to violence as a remedy? Probably. But if games are a culprit, then so is about 50% of whats on TV or in the theaters. And men have been turning to violence to resolve their problems for far longer than TV and movies have been around, so a lot of it is almost certainly biological.

  180. 180
    👽 Martin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’m just wondering why so many of you are ready to roll over and accept the NRA’s framing of this problem as anything, anything but the fucking firearms themselves.

    Sometimes a topic is just interesting to noodle about. We don’t need to contain all of our thinking to political framing.

  181. 181
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Yeah, fun to noodle.

    The problem, as John pointed out originally, is if the NRA can get us all to noodle and not concentrate on the tools, then they win.

    Because they’re the lobby for the merchants of death.

  182. 182
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    They can’t advance this theory without digging their own hole even deeper, because if banning guns would make the real-life training problem go away, it would also eliminate access to a gun for those that trained on the video game, so there’s now no need to ban the game.

    While this may be true, you’re assuming that most people will follow this logical sequence.

    This is a terrible assumption. We both know this.

    Need to be primal about this. The correlation isn’t between video games and spree killings…it’s between the firearms themselves and the spree killings.

  183. 183
    Raven says:

    Jeopardy Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan 1953. A couple and their son are driving in Baja. Barbara finds WWII Vet Barry’s .45 in the luggage and he says “I have a clip of bullets”. SO there.

  184. 184
    g says:

    I have to admit that when my son first started playing Grand Theft Auto I was appalled by it.

    But still – is Manchin saying we need to defend the Second Amendment by gutting the First Admendment?

  185. 185
    hep kitty says:

    He’s been very weasely from the start. My bf actually and I are not speaking because I dared say that Manchin is a big ole puss and fuck him for waiting until 20 kindergartners got murdered in cold blood to start whining “but I never dreamed it could happen to babies.”

    But not before announcing he is a “proud” gunowner and member of the NRA.

    Why do they think they have to preface the word “gunowner” with “proud.” What is so fucking special about owning a gun?

    I don’t know, I own a tampon. I’m a proud tampon owner.

    No, somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  186. 186
    Older_Wiser says:

    My 22 yr old grandson plays them, and has never bought a gun or killed anyone. I must admit, though, I had to make him tone down the aggressively filthy language he used on other gamers who used it on him, too; it was just boring and loud.

    Neither I nor my 2 sons, even though we all watched westerns as kids, ever owned a gun or killed anyone. We never hated Native Americans, either. And I’m a huge fan of murder mysteries as well and must have learned dozens upon dozens of killing methods, if I were so inclined…

  187. 187
    Baud says:

    “Shouldn’t that be looked into and maybe be banned?”

    My guess is this is the NRA’s strategy to defeat gun control efforts — tie it to “video game reform” so the package is harder to pass.

  188. 188
    Todd says:

    Actually, my favorite parts of GTA:San Andreas don’t involve guns – beating cops to death with the double ended purple dong you find in their shower ranks up there almost as high as cutting up the hookers after finishing them off….

  189. 189
    kay says:

    @Baud:

    I’m less worried about video game sales than I am about gun nuts driving any mental health debate. They’re not credible.

    I know mental health advocates are always looking for increased funding and awareness, but getting into bed with people who want to put anyone with a concealed carry permit into an elementary school is, well, NUTS.

  190. 190
    Lojasmo says:

    @smintheus:

    I blame Asteroids…and Tron.

  191. 191
    Aaron says:

    I’m not a wingnut or a blue dog, and there will be nothing in this post about baby Jesus…

    …but posting misleading graphs is hardly proof of your argument, and linking to studies that were all published by the same Harvard think tank (5 studies, 3 total authors) is also suspect.

    Let’s consider the graph – per capita video game sales on the x-axis, gun-related murders on the y-axis. It doesn’t take calculus to realize that the other high-income countries on the graph that spend more per capita on video games are much smaller in terms of total population than the USA. Also, this is total video game consumption without parsing out violent video games (see post #188, perhaps the most disturbing thing I’ve heard all year), so there’s no way of knowing how many violent video games are being sold in, say, South Korea.

    All that to say that, perhaps there is SOMETHING to the culture of violence and violent video games. I support an assault weapons ban the same way you do, but I’m not going to crucify the “wingnuts” for thinking a very coherent thought – “Hey, maybe letting my kid sit in front of a screen all day and fill human beings with lead is not good for him/her.”

    Interesting that there has been a marked increase in the incidence of “going postal” since the dawn of the digital revolution in 1980. Coincidence? Maybe, but I for one don’t let my kids play violent video games and I discourage patients I see in my office from playing them.

  192. 192
    Lojasmo says:

    @Laertes:

    straw man

    You’re right. It was a red herring fallacy, now STFU.

  193. 193
    Chyron HR says:

    @Aaron:

    “I’m not a wingnut or a blue dog, but HARVARD HARVARD HARVARD PROFESSOR PROFESSOR.”

  194. 194
    Todd says:

    @redshirt:

    You know, that is an awesome page. I’d love to be able to share it with the sort of people who could learn and change with it, but can’t because they’d be immediately turned off by gratuitous profanity and would ignore the profound message.

  195. 195
    stormhit says:

    @Todd:

    I was about to say it’s inevitable that someone is going to read that and think “cutting up” people is a game mechanic that actually exists, but I see it’s already happened.

  196. 196
    Paul says:

    I hope Mr Manchin realizes that they also have violent video games in other countries, yet other countries don’t have our number of mass shootings. Instead, what they do have, unlike us, is less guns.

  197. 197
    Bostondreams says:

    @Aaron:

    so there’s no way of knowing how many violent video games are being sold in, say, South Korea.

    If you need to ask about violent video games and South Korea, then you know nothing about gaming, honestly. Violence and sex fill their games.

  198. 198
    Fwiffo says:

    My first Nethack ascension was a tourist (wishless) and now I own an expensive camera. Therefore, video games cause violence.

  199. 199
    Rob says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: I was going to point this out too. The developers of GTA are in Scotland, not NYC. I don’t know if he’s trying to equate the moral decay of society with those “dirty” urban areas or what. It’s ironic though considering NYC is very much pro-gun control.

  200. 200
    AnonPhenom says:

    War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Christmas, and yes … The War on Women.
    This fuckin’ country loves it’s wars. Winners and losers. Black hats and white hats.
    That jerk off Morning Glory-days Joe Scarborough, on the Monday after the shooting decrying the violent culture of “hollywood” and “video games”, went so far as describing the coming effort at gun control as a “battle” and a “war” to be won. Tone deaf putz.
    The people in this country will only become less violent when the plutocrats who control our policy decide it’s less profitable to rule the planet through the Pentagon and more profitable through some other, hopefully less ‘blow their shit up’, institution.

  201. 201
    JCT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Not to mention that fucking 50-round drum magazine that thankfully jammed. Now there’s something every “sporting rifle” needs.

    @kdaug: Yup — spewing more HATE than any video game.

    Really, this video game argument is absurd. Again, people all over the world are immersed in FPS games. It is the US where these massacres are occurring. We alone have nearly unfettered access to hi-powered semiautomatic rifles and hi velocity ammo designed to destroy everything it impacts (and is available to ANYONE over the fucking internet).

    Let’s play connect the dots and not waste time arguing about video games and movies (that most of the guns nuts love as much as anyone, BTW). It’s a diversion, lets’s not fall for it again. We have work to do…

  202. 202
    Nied says:

    @Aaron:

    I’m not a wingnut or a blue dog, and there will be nothing in this post about baby Jesus…
    …but posting misleading graphs is hardly proof of your argument, and linking to studies that were all published by the same Harvard think tank (5 studies, 3 total authors) is also suspect.
    Let’s consider the graph – per capita video game sales on the x-axis, gun-related murders on the y-axis. It doesn’t take calculus to realize that the other high-income countries on the graph that spend more per capita on video games are much smaller in terms of total population than the USA.

    Unless those countries have less than 100,000 people it wouldn’t skew the results since the y-axis shows gun related deaths per 100,000 people!

    Also, this is total video game consumption without parsing out violent video games (see post #188, perhaps the most disturbing thing I’ve heard all year), so there’s no way of knowing how many violent video games are being sold in, say, South Korea.

    Others have pointed out what an unintentionally LOLworthy remark this is Re: violence in South Korean games, but I’d also point out that if you go to Amazon right now and look at their top ten best selling games the top seller is a game about dancing, and the rest of the list features a cartoon plumber stepping on mushrooms, Mickey Mouse saving a fantasy land with his magic paint brush, another dancing game, and football. Depending on how you want to count Football that’s more than half of the top ten best sellers in the US being decidedly non-violent (note I did not count the same game on different platforms more than once).

    All that to say that, perhaps there is SOMETHING to the culture of violence and violent video games. I support an assault weapons ban the same way you do, but I’m not going to crucify the “wingnuts” for thinking a very coherent thought – “Hey, maybe letting my kid sit in front of a screen all day and fill human beings with lead is not good for him/her.”

    You may support it becuase you don’t know what you’re talking about (see above) but the practical effect is you’re enabling the NRA’s mis-direction play to stop any gun control from going into effect.

    Interesting that there has been a marked increase in the incidence of “going postal” since the dawn of the digital revolution in 1980. Coincidence? Maybe, but I for one don’t let my kids play violent video games and I discourage patients I see in my office from playing them.

    Yeah I’m sure games of Pong and Pac-Man are the root of all of this.

  203. 203
    spacewalrus says:

    @g: That’s exactly what they’re saying: to preserve the absolutism of the 2nd Amendment the 1st Amendment must be destroyed. Remember–a lot of them are the very same people who support passing voter ID laws for a non-existent voter fraud problem. Because clearly our right to vote isn’t as special as someone’s right to own a weapon that was designed for high-efficiency killing. That’s a completely unreasonable restriction on one of our rights in their eyes. Because how dare anyone suggest that what enabled the killer to put 3-11 shots in each of 20 kids in 10 minutes was a weapon designed to fire that many shots in that amount of time or that controlling the proliferation of such weapons in our society could possibly have any kind of tangible effect toward curbing such violence.

  204. 204
    Tonal Crow says:

    1. The 1st Amendment is phrased as an absolute.
    2. The 2nd Amendment is phrased as a conditional.
    3. Republicans conclude that we must cut back the 1st Amendment to “protect” a “right” that is “guaranteed” by the 2nd.

    Any questions?

    ETA: How long before Republicans propose a porn ban?

  205. 205
    Del says:

    @Laertes: I wouldn’t take anything Dave Grossman says seriously. I picked up both of his advocacy books (On Killing and On Violence) on the advice of a friend who swore by the guy. I expected to get serious discussion on the psychology of violence and warfare, what I got instead is an anti-pop culture (and video games in particular) ideologue who’s argument in the face of counter-evidence can, literally, be summed up as “I’m the expert, shut up that’s why”.

    He’s not a serious scholar, and is just one more in the long line of “experts” who appeal to people who don’t know any better. LIke Gingrich he’s what a dumb person thinks a smart person sounds like.

  206. 206
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Laertes: Um, not to toot my own horn, but if you check out my comment at number nineteen, you’ll see I posted a post by my co-blogger, Ian, on the topic of the correlation between video games and violence. Briefly, he discusses a study of the studies of the correlation of violence and video games. The study found that though most of the studies were looking for a positive correlation, one was not found. In fact, the study found that those who played violent video games had a decrease in aggressiveness.

    Here’s the link again.

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    mds says:

    @asiangrrlMN:
    Sorry, but as we all know, lack of correlation does not imply lack of causation. Whoops, hang on, let me start over …

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    Bugboy says:

    My kid plays GTA. But I watch all the games my kids play, I don’t use technology as substitute for parenting.

    The game is actually a rather hilarious satirical statement on the state of society today. If any of these people critical of it actually bothered to, you know, play it or even watch someone playing it, they might understand that.

    What is not so hard to understand is that, besides GTA, there are absolutely no video games where the the goal is so pointless and unrewarding as to mow down a bunch of helpless children in an elementary school. In full combat rig.

    Games where the bunnies don’t shoot back don’t really have much of a market beyond the gun club. You are more likely to find a game with killer rabbits. But that’s the whole idea behind video games: you can do something that you can’t do in real life.

    I’m not sure what this guy thought he was doing but it wasn’t playing a video game.

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