The Video Game Straw Man

There simply is no evidence that video games lead to murderous gun rampages.

Guns, however, are involved in every mass shooting.






204 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    The herring, it is red.

  2. 2
    PurpleGirl says:

    In the 1950s, the evil thing was comic books, then TV became evil when parents used it as a baby-sitter. Role-playing and live action games spent years as the evil thing of the devil. The internet and video games are the latest devils in disguise.Don’t need no facts or proof, they just KNOW.

  3. 3
    gene108 says:

    There simply is no evidence that video games lead to murderous gun rampages.

    Might not be right, but you have to admit that it does have a certain amount of truthiness to it, so it shouldn’t be ignored.

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    Those who have never played a video game can come out and say, as if stating a fact, these games promote gun violence. The gamers, on the other hand, are too busy play a game to go out and shoot people.
    Anything to avoid the problem.

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    The chicken is done worn out.

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    Based on the last couple of violent video games I’ve played, I’m hereby in favor of banning plasma rifles and shouting at people.

    That should solve everything.

  7. 7
    Cluttered Mind says:

    The ending of Mass Effect 3 made me want to shoot some people but I don’t think that’s quite the link that the scientists are looking for.

  8. 8
    R-Jud says:

    Dunno, I feel pretty hostile after playing I ♥ Katamari sometimes.

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    Yes, BUT.

    1) Tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New-York-Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show.

    2) Jesus! Capitalism! The flag! Apple pie!

    THEREFORE, we must support gun owners, which is to say the NRA. QED.

  10. 10
    balconesfault says:

    The visceral feel of holding a joystick to explode digital images on one’s 21″ monitor pales in comparison to the feel of a semi-automatic weapon in your hand, feeling the recoil and hearing the sound and watching the holes appearing in your target (or better yet, the target exploding).

  11. 11
    JCT says:

    Stop disrupting this important agenda (MOAR GUNS EVERYWHERE) with your lieberal facts, please.

    /wingnut

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    I agree with the critiques of violent video games.

    From Space Invaders, to Galaga, to the Halo series, if ever I see an extraterrestrial alien, I’m gonna shoot the fuck out of them cuz they would do the same to me.

    At least that’s what video games have taught me. ;-)

  13. 13

    Can’t waste an opportunity to be a moral scold in furtherance of a diversion away from the precious precious gunz.

  14. 14
    GregB says:

    These jack-booted storm troopers will have to take my Night of the Living Dead DVD from my cold dead hands.

  15. 15
    cathyx says:

    @PurpleGirl: I thought it was rock and roll music.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    Doesn’t some country like The Netherlands have the highest per capita video game usage and one of the lowest gun violence rates?

  17. 17
    Mark S. says:

    How Japanese people do multiplication

    I’ve got to say, that looks a lot easier than the way we were taught in school.

  18. 18
    👽 Martin says:

    The Constitution has become a religious text and the founders, prophets. It cannot be the fault of guns because the 2nd founders commandment decrees from God himself that guns are good. Therefore, it must be some other bit of Gods will that these shiftless people are perverting.

    Seriously, look at the teatards as a religion, and everything down to the 27% will make much more sense.

  19. 19
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    But, But…

    Republicans think 2 to 1 that Video games are so much more of a horrible killing factor than guns are!! GOP voters, wrong in the face of science? I just don’t believe it!!

  20. 20
    jeff says:

    Growing up I watched the most violent TV there has ever been, the WB Wiley E Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. To this day I have never thrown an anvil in the air and have it hit me in the head, put on rocket skates, or any of the other things that happened on it. These are all just smoke to obscure the fact that guns are getting into the hands of people that should never have them, and that the way to keep them out of those hands is going to take some hard work and though choices, so instead lets go after a safe and easy trope to crucify.

  21. 21
    General Stuck says:

    OT

    The White House on Monday categorically ruled out raising the Medicare eligibility age as part of deficit reduction.

    Asked during his daily press briefing if President Obama is willing to consider the idea, spokesman Jay Carney said, “No.”

    “The president’s made clear that we don’t believe that’s the right policy to take,” he told reporters.

  22. 22
    WJS says:

    no evidence that video games lead to murderous gun rampages

    Yes but, dammit, my gut tells me otherwise. Therefore, my decision is to ensure that misguided ideas are established as law. Moments later, I am re-elected to Congress and I win.

    Now if we can simply deal with the misguided ideas people have about God, sex, and all other forms of human behavior that are based entirely on gut instinct rather than logic, evidence, or reality, we’ll be good to go.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Oh, absolutely. Constitutional originalism is the mundane world version of Biblical literalism.

  24. 24
    👽 Martin says:

    @Mark S.: Try 79 x 88. It works well for low digits, not so well for high digits. It’s a nice visual alternative explanation for what you’re doing though. That helps some students.

  25. 25
    Cacti says:

    Or as Ice Cube said, Gangsta rap made me do it!

    “Prior to gangsta rap music, the world was a peaceful place, and then all of that changed.”

  26. 26
    Yutsano says:

    Y do u hate freedums u long-haired librul commie pinko?

  27. 27
    Maude says:

    @General Stuck:
    Yes, but, he wants to raise the age.

  28. 28
    WJS says:

    @Cacti: Yes, I was just going to add–why haven’t we banned gangsta rap and why wouldn’t that solve all of America’s problems, up to and including our trouble with overpriced data plans and spotty coverage while riding the Metro?

  29. 29
    SatanicPanic says:

    I don’t think it leads people to go out and commit mass murder, but if someone is going to go out and commit mass murder, is it possible they’ll be better at it they practice on video games? Just throwing that out there.

  30. 30
    General Stuck says:

    New gun laws ain’t gonna happen now folks, we are in a bonafide cold civil war for wingnuts to give a shit about that sort of thing.

    Obama can do some things with EO’s and maybe scrounge up some cash for funding enforcement of laws already on the books. But that is about it.

  31. 31
    gbear says:

    @jeff: …but the ACME company brochures make it all sound so easy, so certain, so foolproof.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    @Mark S.: Thanks. But that is kind of like they do in Japan, teaching some elementary school math in music class. Doesn’t make learning miserable enough. It wouldn’t work here. Too many parents and GOP Congresspersons would get upset.

    Now, about those threats to our domestic safety. I read that Mountain Dew is introducing a breakfast drink line. Let’s see what kind of mayhem that little ender-of-Western-Civilization gets started. We will wish we could just go back to violent computer games and assault rifles after that.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    @Cacti:
    “Prior to that heathen Elvis shaking his hips on TV, music was morally pure and girls behaved like ladies.”

    “Prior to that immoral dance the waltz being allowed, ladies didn’t act like common hussies on dance floors.”

    There’s always someone or something to blame if you’re a fundamentalist and afraid of change.

  34. 34
    ricky says:

    Glad to see the New York Times is reaching for the academic stars by plucking quotes from the notable academic elite at the branch outlets of the Texas and Texas Athletic and Military University Systems.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    @Violet: The invention of the wheel started civilization rolling down hill. That’ what my grandpappy told me.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @jl: And here I thought fire was to blame.

  37. 37
    ErinSiobhan says:

    Lots of video games in Canada. Not so many shootings.

  38. 38
    Maude says:

    @jl:
    The Mountain Dew breakfast, has no caffeine and has 5% juice. Someone thought this through to avoid being called a booster drink or a soda. Good on them.

  39. 39
    Gravenstone says:

    So apparently the new “Obummer hates the troopz” thing of the day is the claim that a Marine Corp honor guard was forced to remove the bolts from their ceremonial rifles during the last Inaugural Parade. A painfully naive FB friend (married to a loud and proud glibertarian, and unfortunately its rubbing off) posted a link to this today. It originate from a PJ Media moron name of Bob Owens, so I give it zero credence. Anyone here know more about it?

  40. 40
    gene108 says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The Constitution has become a religious text and the founders, prophets…Seriously, look at the teatards as a religion, and everything down to the 27% will make much more sense.

    Well duh… I thought the whole point of saying Jesus told the Founders what to put in the Constitution is so right-wingers would never have to go back and revisit their interpretations of the Constitution…

  41. 41
    BFR says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    is it possible they’ll be better at it they practice on video games? Just throwing that out there.

    No.

  42. 42
    RobertDSC-iPhone 4 says:

    So you mean I’m NOT supposed to pay a hooker to have sex with me, then run her over once she exits the car to get my money back?

    Shit, I’ve been doing it wrong.

  43. 43
    Schlemizel says:

    Some time ago, may have been the late 90’s some ass clown wrote a book blaming rock and or roll music for the decline of Western civilization. He pinpointed the early to mid-50s as the start of all the problems. Oddly it go some positive press at the time.

    What I thought they missed was a much more pervasive much more insidious addition to Western civilization that sprang up in the early 50’s, TV. But thats where the money is.

    Either way, TV, video games, rock and roll those are all just excuses.

  44. 44
    Trollhattan says:

    @Gravenstone:

    News to me but that’s gun counter Gomer, so it gots to be true. I’ve only seen articles about how Osama’s actual shooter “the shooter” has retired and can’t get disability benefits.

  45. 45
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Someone needs to do a study on what, if any, mental changes gun ownership causes.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    @ErinSiobhan:

    Lots of video games in Canada. Not so many shootings.

    Probably ’cause they play sissy-ass games like Kingdom Hearts.

  47. 47

    I don’t know, after playing Skyrim for four weeks, I went on a multi-state crime spree that involved putting baskets on people’s heads, looting their stores, and selling their inventory back to them.

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    @Gravenstone:
    It’s a re hash of the Clinton years.

  49. 49
    SatanicPanic says:

    @BFR: Doesn’t the army practice with games?

    I’m not trying to blame video games or give the NRA’s ridiculous proposal any credence, but I look at things like Call of Duty and I’m not talking about censoring the game or banning it, but I’m not entirely comfortable with that style of game either.

  50. 50
    Cacti says:

    @Schlemizel:

    the decline of Western civilization

    Funny how “decline of western civilization” is shorthand for “when white men stopped being the unchallenged alpha dogs in every field of human endeavor.”

  51. 51
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Violet:

    There’s always someone or something to blame if you’re a fundamentalist and afraid of change.

    “That Lutheran stuff is just a fad!”

  52. 52
    Gravenstone says:

    @Trollhattan: A quick Google search shows its all over the wingnutosphere. No great shock there. So yeah, poutrage du jour, nothing more.

  53. 53
    Bethanyanne says:

    @Comrade Dread: I think 4 weeks in is when I finally remembered there was a main questline.

  54. 54
    ericblair says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I don’t think it leads people to go out and commit mass murder, but if someone is going to go out and commit mass murder, is it possible they’ll be better at it they practice on video games?

    I really doubt it. Best case you’d have developed better situational awareness, but I can’t see anything else. It teaches you to run over first aid boxes and circle-strafe stupid AI, if that helps. Maybe the nutjob will end up camping on a spawn point somewhere and the cops can just go pick him up.

  55. 55
    BFR says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I’m not trying to blame video games or give the NRA’s ridiculous proposal any credence, but I look at things like Call of Duty and I’m not talking about censoring the game or banning it, but I’m not entirely comfortable with that style of game either.

    In CoD or insert whatever other game you like, there’s effectively unlimited ammunition, no such thing as recoil, you’re able to carry probably hundreds of pounds of gear and run at full speed without really getting tired much.

    You’re also able to recover from a gunshot wound to any part of your body except your head if you avoid getting shot for more than a few seconds.

    But other than that, it’s totally realistic.

  56. 56
    jon says:

    Obviously, the Dutch can’t shoot straight because their guns aren’t shaped like PS3 controllers.

    (Source.)

  57. 57
    slightly_peeved says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    played fps games since Wolf3d. fired a handgun at a range once. was terrible at it. guns are heavy and loud. the friend of mine that grew up on a farm – turns out he was quite a good shot. funny i know.

    really – is it anyone’s experience that people who play videogames a lot are better at physical tasks? skills like shooting are developed through the building up of muscle memory. moving a mouse a lot gives you muscle memory for moving mice, not holding a gun.

  58. 58
    Scott S. says:

    All mass shooters have been known water-drinkers.

  59. 59
    Cacti says:

    @ericblair:

    It teaches you to run over first aid boxes and circle-strafe stupid AI, if that helps

    It teaches you that if you press X, you can load a new magazine on the fly and never miss a beat.

  60. 60
    ericblair says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    I don’t know, after playing Skyrim for four weeks, I went on a multi-state crime spree that involved putting baskets on people’s heads, looting their stores, and selling their inventory back to them.

    I tried selling my crafted baskets to the local Walmart for 50% of the sale price until they got a restraining order.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Trollhattan says:

    @Gravenstone:

    Oh joy. From them to Fox & Friends to Stewart and Colbert, I guess that’s the usual progression.

    As a bonus, the zenith of Bob Owens’ “career.”

    http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/7135.html

  63. 63
    Scott S. says:

    @SatanicPanic: You can’t win a golf tournament by practicing with “Tiger Woods Golf.” You can’t learn to fly a plane by running a flight sim on your PC. You can’t learn how to train a kawaii lightning monster by playing “Pokemon.”

  64. 64
    Darkrose says:

    @Comrade Dread: I don’t know, after playing Skyrim for four weeks, I went on a multi-state crime spree that involved putting baskets on people’s heads, looting their stores, and selling their inventory back to them.

    I used to go on multi state crime sprees after playing Skyrim.

    Then I got an arrow in the knee.

    *ducks thrown cabbages*

  65. 65
    bago says:

    @SatanicPanic: When I see a murderer in a chair wiggling his thumbs, I’ll consider it.

  66. 66
    Darkrose says:

    @SatanicPanic: I’m fairly confident that if you put me in full plate and gave me a halberd, I’d fall over, even though I’ve been playing my polearm-wielding, plate mail-wearing Rift character for two weeks straight since he hit 50.

    And no matter how much I try when I’m driving on 80, I can’t make other drivers get out of my way by yelling “FUS RO DAH!” at them.

  67. 67
    Cacti says:

    @ericblair:

    I tried selling my crafted baskets to the local Walmart for 50% of the sale price until they got a restraining order.

    I tried shouting Fus Ro Dah at a mugger once. Then he pistol whipped me and took my wallet.

  68. 68
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Apologies for going o/t, and don’t mean to derail this interesting thread, but here I am in the hospital. Took myself to ER because I thought I was having a heart attack, and so did the doctors, but it turns out no, I’m not. But so far they haven’t run any further tests on me so I haven’t a clue. In the meantime, though, they managed to mangle my right foot when the foot rest on the wheelchair collapses and my foot fell to the ground while the chair kept wheeling. Now I can’t put any weight on that foot, so I am insisting on an xray.

    I think the hospital should pay for the xray, don’t you?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I know, right?

  69. 69
    SatanicPanic says:

    @slightly_peeved: I don’t think it would teach you to shoot a gun, but it might teach you to sneak around and avoid getting shot, how to guess where people are going to be. I’m not suggesting it’s perfectly analogous to a real-life situation, but since the army is doing this sort of thing I don’t think it’s stupid question.

  70. 70
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @General Stuck:

    Obama can do some things with EO’s and maybe scrounge up some cash for funding enforcement of laws already on the books. But that is about it.

    Fail, fail, and more fail. Is there anything Obama can get done against the republicans? Please tell me again why you said it was vital to re elect him?

    Shorter Stuck: We can’t because republicans are mean. And racist. Or something.

  71. 71
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck: That is definitely going to disappoint a lot of people at Daily Kos.

  72. 72
    Scott S. says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I don’t think it would teach you to shoot a gun, but it might teach you to sneak around and avoid getting shot, how to guess where people are going to be.

    You can learn the same things by reading books and watching TV and movies. You can learn the same things by watching people.

  73. 73
    Gravenstone says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Oh geeze. I hope they can get a handle on what caused the heart scare in the first place. And yes, the hospital bloody well should take full responsibility for your added injury to insult, on their property and at their hands. But of course you’re pragmatic enough to know they won’t.

  74. 74
    GregB says:

    Chris Matthes has just informed us all that the process for selecting the new Pope is very democratic.

    Quit sniffing the Pontiffs’ silken undergarments Chris.

  75. 75
    Darkrose says:

    @SatanicPanic: The thing is when people talk about violent video games, they make no distinction between types of games. Saying “violent video games could teach people to be more violent” is meaningless if you’re talking about, say, Skyrim or WoW…or one of the most violent games I’ve ever played: the Sims. (Too bad that in 3, Sims finally learned to get out of the pool even if I took the ladder away.)

  76. 76
    General Stuck says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Shorter Timmy – math is hard

  77. 77
    SatanicPanic says:

    Jeez, I expected mileage to vary, but come one guys, go easy on me here.

  78. 78
    Trollhattan says:

    @Darkrose:

    I have no idea what this is referencing, but I’m so going to start lipreading on I-80.

  79. 79
    Tonal Crow says:

    NRA position 1: Banning guns is stupid because murderers would just use hubcaps to beat their victims to death.

    NRA position 2: Good guys can’t defend themselves unless they have guns, because all other means of defense are useless.

    Huh?

  80. 80
    Seanly says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I was gonna mention this also! EDIT: I thought there was a book about the efforts to ban comics based on their alleged deleterious effects, but can’t seem to find anything at Amazon. Afraid to google it at work…

    It’s not the popular entertainment causing the problems.

  81. 81
    22over7 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    That happened once to the spouse (the heart attack scare, not the foot). Turned out to be the gallbladder. Don’t let them give you a lot of nitro or anything until you check out other things first.

    And sorry about the foot. Yes, they should pay. No, they probably won’t.

    Ok then, in the spirit of the thread…

    Hey, Joe,
    where you going with that
    joystick in your hand?

  82. 82
    Tonal Crow says:

    @ErinSiobhan:

    Lots of video games in Canada. Not so many shootings.

    Even more video games in Japan. Shootings, damn few.

  83. 83
    General Stuck says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I doubt it. The tea party of the left is just like the tea party of the right. They can only smell their own farts and that is what gets them up in the morning. Ain’t that right T and H?

  84. 84
    different-church-lady says:

    @Comrade Dread: When I was younger and played a lot of Myst, I went on a long staring-at-things-and-taking-notes-while-mysterious-new-agey-music-played-gently-in-the-background spree.

  85. 85
    Joseph P. says:

    I really suspect that violent video games did play a part in causing Adam Lanza’s rampage. It appears that all he did all day was hang out in his mother’s basement playing these games. For an unstable mind such as his, it could have been the thing that caused him to snap.

    Saying that there is no evidence connecting violent games to actual violence is meaningless—the proper studies simply have not been done.

    Of course the Republicans are using the issue as a red herring. But we shouldn’t overlook the very real possibility that there is a connection.

  86. 86
    jl says:

    @Maude:

    “The Mountain Dew breakfast, has no caffeine and has 5% juice”

    My deepest apologies to the Mountain Dew company, or whatever conglomerate owns it.

  87. 87
    Less Popular Tim says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Other than instantly giving you the total situational awareness of [TV’s] ISIS Agent Archer?

  88. 88
    different-church-lady says:

    @General Stuck: Oh, there will be some short-term sads that they’ll hide for a day or two, and then they’ll be right back at it using all the other things he hasn’t definitively ruled out yet.

    “Betrayal, betrayal, I love ya, betrayal, you’re always a day a…wayyyyy!”

  89. 89
    22over7 says:

    @Joseph P.:

    Do we know this? Last I heard, the cops had no way to know what the hell he was doing in that basement because he utterly destroyed his hard drive. Is more information available?

    Also, correlation, not causation. Otherwise every high-school-age boy in America would be homicidal. Most of the ones I know are just hungry.

  90. 90
    different-church-lady says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I think the hospital should pay for the xray, don’t you?

    Play your cards correctly and you could own a hospital.

  91. 91
    Maude says:

    @jl:
    Pepsico.
    Or however you spell it.
    It is clever and we could use a bit of it about now. If it tastes good, it will catch on.

  92. 92

    @different-church-lady: My brother was really into Zork. We couldn’t get him to do anything without giving him a written command, most of which he didn’t recognize.

  93. 93
    jl says:

    @Joseph P.: I agree that the research in the area is ambiguous. But lots of things can start off deadly killing and maiming sprees where there are lots of guns that can fire many bullets, and especially guns that can fire many bullets rapidly without reloading.

    A short list would include wide availability of lots of booze, coke, meth and other recreational drugs, layoffs, congested traffic, un or inadequately treated mental illness, jackass bosses and supervisors, vague grievances outside of Festivus season that cannot be properly aired, violent computer games, free floating paranoia and orneriness, just to name a few.

    I think that is why the violent computer game angle can be called a red herring.

  94. 94
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Darkrose: Yeah, I mean, Splatterhouse 5 I’m not worried about. But I wonder about first person shooters. And I’ve spent many hours playing them, they’re fun. But I’m not totally comfortable with them either.

    Not saying I want to ban them or that they’re some sort of causal factor in any gun violence.

  95. 95
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @General Stuck:

    I’m losing track here. Who was thrown under the bus, who got a slap in the face, and who was sold out? For a particular cadre it has to be at least one of the aforementioned.

  96. 96
    dmsilev says:

    @different-church-lady: When I was young, I went on a crime spree of stealing people’s lanterns so that they would get eaten by grues.

    Edit: I forgot about all those people I deliberately gave dysentery to.

  97. 97
    jl says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Somebody was slapped out by being faced in under a sold out bus? The heck you say! That is horrible.

  98. 98
    different-church-lady says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: As of the moment, only one thing is certain: somewhere a hippie got punched.

  99. 99
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Hell’s bells, I punched a few myself – and I was one of ’em at the time.

  100. 100
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Joseph P.:

    violent game purchases have increased massively over the past decade, worldwide. violent crime has, in most countries, been level or decreasing.

    the data simply does not back this up, especially when you look at the international perspective. yours and satanic_panic’s feelings aren’t a particularly scientific way of addressing the issue.

  101. 101

    @dmsilev: I still avoid tall grass to this day, because there are wild Pokemon there.

  102. 102
  103. 103
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @jl:

    It could have been worse; someone could have been made to walk the plank after being slapped under a bus.

  104. 104
    ericblair says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    But I wonder about first person shooters. And I’ve spent many hours playing them, they’re fun. But I’m not totally comfortable with them either.

    FPSs are definitely not everybody’s cup of tea, but international evidence is pretty compelling. You have high videogame use in countries with low gun homicide rates (NL, JP) and very high gun homicide rates in countries with pretty low videogame use (Nicaragua, Honduras). It’s just a moral scapegoat.

    And if videogames could teach me to bunny-hop around the Beltway I’d save a bunch on gas.

  105. 105
    SatanicPanic says:

    @slightly_peeved: we’re not talking about general violence though, we’re talking about mass shootings.

  106. 106
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @General Stuck: Yay! Great to hear.

    How exactly do video games play a role in mass shootings? I play a video game and then go out and start shooting people? Has that ever happened?

  107. 107

    @👽 Martin:

    And yet just today Hannity was calling for privatization of the Postal Service. I honest do not think that these so called constitutional conservative have ever actually read the document they claim to be upholding.

  108. 108
    Joseph P. says:

    @jl: I wouldn’t say that a possible link between violent video games and gun violence is a red herring. The red herring is the way that Republicans are using the issue to block any gun regulation.

  109. 109

    @dmsilev: And I almost forgot about the time I gave myself a concussion after repeatedly head butting a brick wall hoping gold coins or a mushroom would come out.

  110. 110
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    The power to establish and oversee a postal service is an enumerated power. Congress isn’t compelled to establish or to oversee the service.

  111. 111
    Keith G says:

    I have always had a bias hoping that games based on fictional socially discordant activities did not open a door leading to a greater chance for socially discordant behavior.

    But what do we really know at this time? As wide as the data is, I wonder how deep it is. Human behavior is pretty damned complex.

    Are there differing effects at differing stages of cognitive development? What about the effects on folks with preexisting emotional dysfunctions?

    On a side note, is there any connections or similarities between the cognitive impacts of violent games and the increased viewing of p()rn?

  112. 112
    Raven says:

    “Rock guitarist and gun-rights advocate Ted Nugent will attend the State of the Union address as the guest of Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman.

    “I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House chamber to hear from President Obama,” Stockman said in a release. “After the address, I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say.”

  113. 113
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Sure, he talks a good game now, but Obama wants to slap us all in the face with cat food under a bus! No, wait, punch us in the pulpit with a bully ice floe! It’s Negotiating 101!

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Gravenstone:

    Anyone here know more about it?

    Ably dissected by Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog.

  115. 115
    GregB says:

    Ted “I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War” Nugent.

    But please don’t call him a racist, it’s such a divisive thing to say.

  116. 116
    Jennifer says:

    I remember the first, primitive, violent video game, post-Pong but pre-Space Invaders. It was DeathRace 2000, in which the object of the game was to drive over pedestrians, which would scream, turn into a skeleton, and then a tombstone. I got really into the game after the then-13 or -14 year old me watched a segment about it on 60 Minutes (don’t laugh; this was pre-cable). Of course the segment was a hand-wringer about how the game encouraged violence etc. etc. I just thought, “that looks really COOL” and set about finding a place with the game console.

    In the 35-odd years since, I’ve never in real life run over a pedestrian, and I don’t recall there being any spike in the numbers of pedestrians mowed down by drivers during the late 1970s, so I’m guessing the effect of the game on people’s real life behavoir was approximately nil – as it is for shoot-em-up video games.

  117. 117
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    Maybe he will fulfill his promise to be in jail within one year if Obama is reelected.

  118. 118
    Raven says:

    @Baud:

    “I will be there with a deep, abiding respect for the office of the presidency,” he said. “I’m not here to represent any specific cause other than freedom and independence and ‘we the people.’ ”

    To illustrate his point, he noted that he would not be carrying any weapons as he usually does.

    “I will go in at least 20 pounds lighter than I normally walk,” he said. “I will be going in sans the hardware store on my belt. I live a well-armed life, and I’ve got to demilitarize before I go.”

  119. 119
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:
    “Loud mouthed old has-been and full time lunatic Ted Nugent will attend the State of the Union address as the guest of Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman.”

  120. 120
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    To illustrate his point, he noted that he would not be carrying any weapons as he usually does.

    So he won’t be carrying weapons into the U.S. Congress where the president speaking in the same room to illustrate his point. That’s why, huh?

    Please tell me that’s from Fox and not a supposedly reputable news source.

  121. 121
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Raven: And we’ll all be waiting with baited breath to hear what this racist has been rocker and draft dodger has to say.

  122. 122
  123. 123
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: You left off draft dodger.

  124. 124
    Cacti says:

    @Raven:

    “I will be going in sans the hardware store on my belt. I live a well-armed life, and I’ve got to demilitarize before I go.”

    Demilitarize?

    Thanks again Ted for showing that it’s all about the Rambo fantasies as opposed to actual service.

    When given the chance to actually “militarize,” Ted spent a week crapping his pants.

  125. 125
    Raven says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I think it’s bated.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    Baud says:

    @Jennifer:

    In the 35-odd years since, I’ve never in real life run over a pedestrian, and I don’t recall there being any spike in the numbers of pedestrians mowed down by drivers during the late 1970s

    In the early 80s, there was a sudden spike in frogs attempting to cross busy roadways and being struck and killed by vehicles. No cause was ever conclusively determined.

  128. 128
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:

    Here, I’ll make up for that oversight.

    “I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House chamber to hear from President Obama,” Stockman said in a release. “After the address, I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say.”

    Asked if he and Mr. Nugent were an “item,” Stockman said, “Look, Ted and I have an open relationship. I do have to say that when he puts on those fishnets and takes out his dentures I wouldn’t trade Teddy for the world.”

  129. 129
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Keith G: People were rightly upset about that rapist video game that came out (or was going to come out) in Japan a few years back. I don’t want to dismiss out of hand the idea that entertainment can have negative effects.

  130. 130
    Raven says:

    @Baud: Wasn’t that in Magnolia?

  131. 131
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Well played digger.

  132. 132
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    I gladly view their content without subscribing.

    @Raven:

    I think those were raining frogs, not road crossing frogs.

    Respect the cock.

  133. 133
    Jennifer says:

    @Keith G: I actually worry about the impact of pr()n on impressionable adolescents more than the violent stuff, though really none of it is appropriate for youngsters. My worry about the pr()n is that kids looking at much of it before their first real sexual experience get a twisted view of sex. I can’t imagine how bad it would be to be a teenage girl these days. Back in my day we had to deal with guys wanting to paw us and get into our pants all the time; these days I would guess they’re still doing that and also expecting anal.

    About the only thing you need to know about to get a picture of the impact pr()n has had on the larger culture is to look around at all the waxing salons. Boob jobs, too. Millions of young women didn’t just wake up one day and say to themselves, “you know what would be fun? To have some stranger spread hot wax all over my hoo-ha and then rip the hair out by the roots! And pay $50 for it too!”

  134. 134
    gelfling545 says:

    @Joseph P.: For an unstable mind, anything might be what causes it to snap and while anything might be the immediate stimulus the cause of the snap is the mental instability.

    Also if the proper tests have not been done there would be, quite literally, no evidence to establish causation although the low incidence or shooting sprees in other countries where video games are at least as popular(as others have mentioned) suggests they are not a major factor. Suppose, though, we accept for the sake of argument that playing video games may cause certain people to want to go out and shoot people. If they have no access to firearms no amount of stimulus can cause them to shoot anyone.

  135. 135
    Joel says:

    Thank god the Soviets played Tetris and not Missile Commander.

  136. 136
    kdaug says:

    @👽 Martin:

    It cannot be the fault of guns because the 2nd founders commandment decrees from God himself that guns are good.

    I love asking these fuckers about the 18th amendment, particularly in bars.

    I don’t love much, generally, but that one nears the top of my short list.

    Close second is asking them about the 21st. (Know what could happen to that 2nd?)

    Gospel my ass. Nip that shit in the bud.

  137. 137
    MomSense says:

    @John Cole

    “There simply is no evidence that video games lead to murderous gun rampages.”

    You lost them at “evidence”.

  138. 138
    HE Pennypacker, Wealthy Industrialist says:

    @SatanicPanic: Practicing with a videogame might improve your skills some tiny degree, but not nearly as much as buying a gun and going out to a shooting range. Just sayin’.

  139. 139
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Did anyone else hear about the Republican video game?

    It has no controls.

  140. 140
    Baud says:

    I miss the good old days when gays were the cause of all of society’s ills.

  141. 141
    Tonal Crow says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    @Keith G: People were rightly upset about that rapist video game that came out (or was going to come out) in Japan a few years back.

    Is that the one that lets you assume the role of John Boehner as he threatens to default on the debt?

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I’m not sure you read that article thoroughly — they’re actually using videogames to plan out defensive tactics:

    “When the men and women in the field identify a new combat tactic the enemy is using, we take all data from that event and run it through a variety of toolsets — through constructive-based simulations if you need a physics-based result — and then pipe it through the game software,” says Covey. Because the Marines, NATO, the Army and all major allies have purchased VBS2, SIMS can produce a single product and distribute unclassified products to all its allied partners.

    IOW, when the enemy starts using a new offensive tactic, they use videogames to analyze it and come up with a defense against it. It’s not really used to train soldiers in how to attack — they still use live practice and drills for things like that.

    The one thing you could potentially say about realistic videogames is that it might desensitize someone to the idea of shooting other humans, but that’s kind of like buying into Ted Bundy’s claim that porn made him a serial killer. All indications point to the fact that Bundy had an existing sexual desire to kill women and then sought things out that helped him fantasize about it, not vice versa.

  143. 143
    pluege says:

    There simply is no evidence that video games lead to murderous gun rampages.
    Guns, however, are involved in every mass shooting.

    This simple logic is elegant – it captures much of what any sane person would need to know about controlling gun violence in the US. But actually its more complicated than necessary. The ‘video-games-lead-to-violence’ is completely obtuse to the discussion. All any sane person needs to know to know that the US needs to greatly increase its gun regulations and ban altogether the tools of mass murder is the second thought: no assault rifles, automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high capacity ammunition and presto-magico: no more mass murders.

    the gun nut fetishists are a threat to every sane person in the US.

  144. 144
    MomSense says:

    @Scott S.:
    And oxygen breathers.

  145. 145
    dmsilev says:

    @Comrade Dread: I won some clemency from the court based on my record of having repeatedly shepherded small tribes of hunter gatherers to successfully launch colony ships to Alpha Centauri. Granted there was the occasional nuclear war along the way, but can’t make omelets without breaking a few eggs.

  146. 146
    Yutsano says:

    @Baud: Sigh. I just feel so neglected.

  147. 147
    MomSense says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Because I’m pretty sure that Mitt Romney could have gotten a lot of terrible, no good, very bad things done through executive order and through Congress.

    That was one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

  148. 148
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gelfling545:

    Suppose, though, we accept for the sake of argument that playing video games may cause certain people to want to go out and shoot people. If they have no access to firearms no amount of stimulus can cause them to shoot anyone.

    This right here. It makes far, far more sense to remove the crazy game-player’s ability to put his fantasies into action than it does to wring our hands about the bad effects of video games while allowing guys like the Virginia Tech and Aurora shooters to buy as many guns as they want over the internet.

  149. 149
    Baud says:

    @Yutsano:

    I still blame you for my personal failures, Yutsano.

    You are not alone.

  150. 150
    Trollhattan says:

    @MomSense:

    Just wait for the doubling-down thereof. It will be breathtaking.

  151. 151
    slightly_peeved says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    And again, the rest of the world plays violent video games. Not just plays – are fucking soaked in them. Call of Duty now makes ridiculous amounts of money; The Halo series has had more of an effect on culture than most movies you’d care to name.

    The number of spree shootings in the rest of the world isn’t much bigger, if not lower, than it used to be.

    That’s my big problem with the statement that ‘we haven’t done the studies’. We have real world data on video game violence. A significant majority of young male adults in Europe have probably played a violent video game. And in Europe, we get – what? Maybe 1 spree shooting a year. If violent games had any measurable effect on the likelihood of spree shootings, we would see spree shootings in Europe and Japan. Regularly.

    Also, I’d say that competitive sports would probably be a better training for spree killers than computer games. All that running around and stuff. Someone who stays in their room playing games all day is not going to be running around dodging cops too well.

  152. 152
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @jl:

    The Mountain Dew breakfast, has no caffeine and has 5% juice

    Then what’s the point?

    ETA: I used to drink the original Mountain Dew. My wife hated it, and called it Cougar Piss. Don’t ask why, because I never knew the reason. There’s what, 17 different flavors of Mt. Dew now?

  153. 153
    PurpleGirl says:

    @cathyx: Thanks. I thought I forgot something.

  154. 154
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Well, I can see how some people came to assume there would be a link between violent video-game content and actual real-world violence. The games we’ve all heard of where you can pick up a prostitute, have sex with her and then kill her do sound pretty bad. And whether every 13-year-old child player “gets” that the game is not condoning such behavior, well, I think we’d be too optimistic if we thought that was the case.

    But again and again, we hear of well-documented studies that show no link between violent content/actual violence. Facts are stubborn things….

    We hear that Klebold and Harris played games, but it also seems abundantly apparent that there were lots of non-game factors turning those boys into killers. I suspect that if you have a player who is already mentally ill, then violent game content might be a contributing factor. Have any of the studies suggested such a thing do any of you know? But if you have a relatively emotionally/mentally sound person playing such a game, the link to violence just doesn’t appear to exist.

  155. 155
    muddy says:

    @Death Panel Truck: It has more than regular Mountain Dew. 92mg vs. 72mg.

  156. 156
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mnemosyne: I suspect they might desensitize people to killing. That doesn’t mean they’ll actually go out and do it, but maybe it will make them more effective killers. I don’t have any great answer here, and obviously the first step is to deal with all the guns floating around. I agree with Joseph P- obviously the NRA is using it as a red herring, but that doesn’t mean I have to like Call of Duty. They’re pretty transparently war propaganda if you ask me.

  157. 157
    PurpleGirl says:

    @SatanicPanic: Well, I do have one friend (a gamer) who is always talking about the 1st-person shooter games developed by the Pentagon as training routines for soldiers.

  158. 158
    muddy says:

    @Death Panel Truck: When i was a freshman in college a guy in the dorm offered me Mountain Dew. I was not from around there and was not familiar with it. When I took a drink, he says, “No really it’s piss” and I sprayed it out all over him. Didn’t plan that but it worked out well.

    I have actually met several people who had this identical story about the first time they had it in the 70s.

  159. 159
    Mnemosyne says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    But if you have a relatively emotionally/mentally sound person playing such a game, the link to violence just doesn’t appear to exist.

    As far as I can tell, that is exactly the case — a normal person who has no trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality can play violent video games all day long with no consequences (except maybe a sore butt from all the sitting).

    Someone who is predisposed to act out violently will seek out entertainment that validates those feelings. If it’s not a video game, it will be a movie, a TV show, a book, or whatever. The form of the media doesn’t really matter to them as long as they can get what they want out of it.

    This is definitely one of those cases where correlation does not equal causation.

  160. 160
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Jennifer: Excellent point. There is pron for every taste, much of it astonishingly demeaning. I wonder if — in particular — teenaged boys who encounter such stuff assume that is normal sexual activity. We live in interesting times.

  161. 161
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    They’re pretty transparently war propaganda if you ask me.

    I think that’s a different issue, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re very useful for recruiting teenage boys into the armed forces because the video game makes war look so totally awesome, dude!

    But once those young people get into the armed forces, they discover pretty quickly that going on patrol in Afghanistan bears zero resemblance to their favorite video game. IIRC, a lot of them play first-person shooter games to relax after going on patrol because it gives them back a sense of control that they don’t have when they’re in an area where they could encounter the enemy.

  162. 162
    SatanicPanic says:

    @slightly_peeved: But again, we’re comparing apples to apples. For instance, Australia has had less… because they changed the laws after the Port Arthur Massacre. Same with Japan, we know why they have so few mass shootings. We’re talking about mass murder in the USA.

    I don’t think they cause anything, I’m only theorizing that maybe they make mass shooters more successful. But I’m not trying to ban your video games. Relax, I’m not coming for your consoles.

  163. 163
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thanks for the info.! It makes strong sense to me.

  164. 164
    MomSense says:

    @Trollhattan:

    Maybe they realized they didn’t have much of a hand?

  165. 165
    smintheus says:

    Yep, it’s pure coincidence that the rise of mass media celebrating random mass mayhem slightly preceded the explosion of random mass shootings. There can’t possibly be any connection.

    We know this because countries with virtually no guns that also consume violent mass media haven’t witnessed similar mass shootings…so the culture of violence is off the hook.

    Now the upsurge in random bombings in the early 20th century, that clearly was related to cultural developments. But that was then, and it involved bombs rather than bullets, so completely irrelevant.

  166. 166
    PurpleGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Oh, that’s terrible. Hope you feel better tonight and are home really soon.

  167. 167
    Keith G says:

    @slightly_peeved: I see SatanicPanic has already addressed this. Cross cultural comparisons of one issue that do not explored deeper cultural norms can be a bit tricky.

    I am just suggesting that there is more data out there to be gathered and studied.

  168. 168
    Helen Bedd says:

    Christopher J. Ferguson has written extensively about the lack of a link between video games and violence.

    Here’s a recent piece:
    http://www.thecalifornian.com/.....s-violence

  169. 169
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mnemosyne: It read that some soldiers with PTSD are using games like Call of Duty to cope. I’m not suggesting they’re all bad. I enjoy playing them myself for reasons I don’t understand. I just think a conversation about what kind of entertainment is good for society is worth having.

  170. 170
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Seanly: I vaguely remember a book along those lines being mentioned in a communications/sociology class I took in college.

  171. 171
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Seanly: The professor for the communications/sociology was Hope Klapper, wife of Joseph Klapper, the author of the text we used (The Effects of Mass Communications). President Richard Nixon called Joseph Klapper a moral degenerate. Professor Klapper said she was very proud of that.

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Now the upsurge in random bombings in the early 20th century, that clearly was related to cultural developments. But that was then, and it involved bombs rather than bullets, so completely irrelevant.

    Please point us to the violent films or books of the early 20th century that glamorized random bombings and caused young men to snap and start planting bombs the same way violent video games are being accused of causing young men to snap and start shooting large numbers of people at random.

  173. 173
    smintheus says:

    @Helen Bedd: How would one go about testing the hypothesis that mass shooters were influenced by violent video games, or violent movies? How do you evaluate the precise effect of celebrations of violence in a highly fluid and over-saturated culture upon those who are mentally unstable?

    Those who deny any connection seem awfully eager to dismiss what would appear to be the most direct ties – the consumption of violent media by mass shooters, and the eagerness of some shooters to see their killings memorialized on film. So what indirect measurements would there be to test the thing that so many on this thread are dead certain cannot be happening?

  174. 174
    pluege says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This right here. It makes far, far more sense to remove the crazy game-player’s ability to put his fantasies into action than it does to wring our hands about the bad effects of video games while allowing guys like the Virginia Tech and Aurora shooters to buy as many guns as they want over the internet.

    yep.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I just think a conversation about what kind of entertainment is good for society is worth having.

    It’s a conversation worth having, but it’s a different conversation than, “How do we keep guns out of the hands of people who will use them for shooting sprees?” Because, again, if violent entertainment caused widespread violence in otherwise normal people, we’d see it in other countries by now.

    The problem is guns. Not movies, not video games, not comic books. The problem is guns.

  176. 176
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Where did I attribute that cultural shift with movies? Talk about a straw man.

    Plainly the anarchist bombings of that era were related to the rise in popularity of the anarchist movement, with influences from the militarization of extremist groups in the labor movement. Cultural shifts don’t all require corporate generated entertainment to take hold.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    So, just to be clear, when Ted Bundy said the reason he started killing women was because of pornography, and swore that he never would have gone on his killing spree if he’d never been exposed to porn, you consider that a valid data point that requires us to have a deep discussion about the damage porn does to society?

    The problem is guns.

  178. 178
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: And yet we’ve had lots of guns in the US for a very long time. We’ve had a huge explosion of random mass shootings only recently.

    Why does it have to be exclusively caused by the availability of guns?

  179. 179
    General Stuck says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Hospitals can be very dangerous places, they can even make you sick if you aren’t already. Glad it wasn’t a heart attack. Get well soon:)

  180. 180
    Ksmiami says:

    @Schlemizel: no the true downfall of civilization started with the roman gladiator fights… It’s been downhill ever since

  181. 181
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Plainly the anarchist bombings of that era were related to the rise in popularity of the anarchist movement, with influences from the militarization of extremist groups in the labor movement. Cultural shifts don’t all require corporate generated entertainment to take hold.

    So video games represent a cultural shift that’s completely different than the way any other form of mass media of the past 100 years has affected our culture? Video games are quantitatively different than motion pictures, television, live theater, books, and comic books?

    Again, you’re going to have to come up with some actual data to support your premise that mass entertainment and mass political movements are the same thing and have the same influence on the actions of citizens.

  182. 182
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well sure. I’m not siding with NRA here. Any discussion of how to curb violence needs to focus on guns. I’m just conversing here because I don’t really have too many other avenues for getting my questions answered.

  183. 183
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So video games represent a cultural shift that’s completely different than the way any other form of mass media of the past 100 years has affected our culture? Video games are quantitatively different than motion pictures, television, live theater, books, and comic books?

    Straw man.

  184. 184
    Darkrose says:

    @smintheus: I’m not saying there’s no connection, or that the questions about violent media shouldn’t be asked. I’m saying that you have to ask the right questions.

    If I said that “20% of people* who spend more than 2 hours daily online for non-work related reasons have some form of social anxiety disorder,” the logical conclusion wouldn’t be “the internet gives people social anxiety disorder”. You’d have to do research comparing people on the internet with people not on the internet and the rates of social anxiety disorder among both. You’d also have to figure out whether a given person’s social anxiety existed before they were online, and if perhaps people are drawn to online interaction because it doesn’t trigger their social anxiety as much as other forms of interaction.

    With violent media, though, the inclination seems to be to posit a direct correlation before actually doing any research–and ignoring the one factor that all mass shooters have in common.

    *I totally pulled that number out of my ass, for the record.

  185. 185
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Why does it have to be exclusively caused by the availability of guns?

    Why don’t we make guns less available and find out? If we make guns less available and all of the gun murders in the US are automatically replaced with knife murders — if one guy goes into an elementary school and successfully murders 6 adults and 20 children using only a knife — then I’ll buy you a Coke.

    The problem is guns.

  186. 186
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: First Yellow Kid is acting up in the slums, then, before you know it, someone’s assassinating a Romanov Czar.

  187. 187
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    How is it a straw man? You’re the one who compared video games to the anarchist political movement of the early 20th century and claimed that they’re both social movements that changed American society.

    If you meant to make a different comparison, then make it.

  188. 188
    Steeplejack says:

    @Seanly, @PurpleGirl:

    Seduction of the Innocent (1954), Fredric Wertham. Wikipedia article here.

  189. 189
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Steeplejack: Thank you for the link. We did talk about the book in that class. And William Gaines became the publisher of Mad Magazine

  190. 190
    ruemara says:

    I’ve been playing druid for nearly 5 years. As of yet, I have not starfall/wrath anyone who has annoyed me. Not even that cop who gave me a ticket for nothing last week. However, now that I rolled rogue, I do have the urge to sneak around and pickpocket mobs.

  191. 191
    liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It makes far, far more sense to remove the crazy game-player’s ability to put his fantasies into action than it does to wring our hands about the bad effects of video games while allowing guys like the Virginia Tech and Aurora shooters to buy as many guns as they want over the internet.

    No, because that would interfere with the arms manufacturers’ 2nd Amendment right to make a tidy profit.

  192. 192
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Why don’t we make guns less available and find out?

    You seriously think you are going to succeed in banning guns in this country? I’m all in favor of banning the most dangerous guns, but sanguine about achieving it to begin with, much less permanently. In any case, there are so many guns left that violent culture, if it does promote violence among the unhinged, will have its way with the guns that remain in circulation.

    And fwiw, although there’s little discussion of the NYT article linked here, it does in fact provide some evidence for the link that everybody wants to deny. Undisputed evidence? No, and I doubt that any amount of evidence one way or the other would ever be beyond dispute. And yet there’s pretty clear evidence that violent games do heighten aggression to some degree.

    We train our brains every day in how to think by the manner in which we use it. I teach languages, and see the effect as students retrain their brains to learn and use new languages. So why would we imagine that brains trained to celebrate violence would not be reshaped by that training?

  193. 193
    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I said the anarchist movement involved changes in the culture of the country, changes that eventually made mass bombings not just thinkable but somewhat commonplace.

  194. 194
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    So why would we imagine that brains trained to celebrate violence would not be reshaped by that training?

    Because fantasy violence — which is what movies, television, and video games are — is not the same thing as real-world violence.

    Using a video game controller to “shoot” a set of pixels is not the same thing as taking a gun and shooting another human being, or even an animal. As many other people in the thread have pointed out, the main thing video games do is teach you how to play video games. You’re not going to learn to play guitar using “Guitar Hero,” no matter how high your score is, because playing the game is not the same thing as playing a physical guitar.

    This is why violence is high in high-crime neighborhoods — not because they’re playing violent video games or listening to violent music, but because they’ve actually witnessed people being attacked and murdered in the street. The real-life violence that surrounds them is far, far more damaging than any fictional violence they also see.

    It’s funny how you’re desperately worried about middle-class kids “learning” to be violent through video games but aren’t spending nearly as much time worrying about lower-class kids actually learning to be violent through real-life example and teaching in their own neighborhoods.

    @smintheus:

    I said the anarchist movement involved changes in the culture of the country, changes that eventually made mass bombings not just thinkable but somewhat commonplace.

    And that is what mass shootings are doing. Not video games or movies that portray mass shootings, but the actual mass shootings themselves. The actual death and destruction is what is inuring us to everyday violence just like it does to the people who are stuck living in shitty, violent neighborhoods. Not the fantasy of violence in video games, but the real thing.

    It wasn’t reading fictional stories or watching fictional movies about anarchist bombings that inspired more bombers — it was the actual bombings themselves that did it.

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    smintheus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Bombings obviously inspired more bombings, just as shootings obviously inspire furthe shootings. But both trends have grown out of cultural changes; they didn’t spring up for no reason.

    Those who’d deny any basis for these shootings other than the availability of guns have yet to explain why this phenomenon arose only in the last few decades, and why shootings keep getting more common and more violent.

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    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s funny how you’re desperately worried about middle-class kids “learning” to be violent through video games but aren’t spending nearly as much time worrying about lower-class kids actually learning to be violent through real-life example and teaching in their own neighborhoods.

    I think that this personal attack (and that’s what the above is) on this commenter is really misguided.

    It seems that he/she raises some points deserving thought that don’t align with yours. It happens. Don’t accuse her/him of classist (even racist) notions about who he “desperately worries” about.

    There are enough unknowns in the research of cognitive and emotional development to give rise to uncertainty about some of the notions you flatly assert above.

  197. 197
    Mnemosyne says:

    @smintheus:

    Bombings obviously inspired more bombings, just as shootings obviously inspire furthe shootings. But both trends have grown out of cultural changes; they didn’t spring up for no reason.

    Yes, but they didn’t spring out of mass media changes, which is the claim you’re making when you say the current spate of shootings were caused by video games.

    Those who’d deny any basis for these shootings other than the availability of guns have yet to explain why this phenomenon arose only in the last few decades, and why shootings keep getting more common and more violent.

    And by “the last few decades” you mean 1966, right?

    Frankly, it’s not that the violence is more common. It’s that it’s more commonly being turned against white people than against its former targets.

    And, yes, the fact that people have access to guns that hold a larger number of bullets than the two-shell shotguns or single-shot rifles or six-shot revolvers of 30 or 40 years ago does have a huge influence on how many people are killed in a single shooting.

  198. 198
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    My point is that real-life violence begets real-life violence, and that lower-class communities tend to be more violent because they witness far more real-life violence on a day-to-day level than middle-class communities. The handwringing about video games seems like a bunch of middle-class people trying to solve a problem using their main exposure to “violence,” namely mass media like video games and movies.

    I meant it primarily as a class comment rather than a racial one, so if it came across as me accusing smintheus of racism rather than classism (which is what I was aiming for), I apologize since that was not my intent.

  199. 199
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m thinking that apology is not called for. I just noted it since at times, even today on another thread, race is used here by some to shut down counter arguments.

    Gun people proclaim that guns are not a contributing factor. Media people argue that media is not a causal ingredient. I think it’s likely that both play a part, along with numerous other conditions.

  200. 200
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Frankly, it’s not that the violence is more common. It’s that it’s more commonly being turned against white people than against its former targets.

    Come on. You are using anecdote to launch sweeping generalization.

    Are there stats somewhere that show violence is impacting white people more now that at previous times? Or stats that show whites feel more victimized? And wouldn’t these be liberal whites anyway?

    And again, what’s with race?

  201. 201
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Keith G:

    You’re right that it can be tricky, but that’s the thing; violent games are a world wide cultural phenomenon, so the effect of them should have some consistency across otherwise different cultures. Ditto for the quite visible effect of gun control on homicide rate.

    I wouldn’t let my kid play the violent ones until he’s older, but I wouldn’t assume any scientific basis for doing so.

  202. 202
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    Let me clarify since (as usual) my thinking is evolving as I go along:

    It does seem somewhat significant to me that the first modern mass shooting didn’t take place until 1966, well into the civil rights movement. I’m at least somewhat influenced by the thinking of a Canadian sociologist named Elliott Leyton, whose theory is that serial killers and mass murderers choose to victimize those who they think are getting “above themselves” in society and need to be punished.

    I actually think that, weirdly, the modern mass shooting was due to the decline of racism. That is, people like Whitman who might have participated in racist violence a decade or two earlier to relieve their murderous impulses instead turned against their own communities. In a very strange way, it was progress.

    I think the current upswing in mass violence has a lot more to do with the easy availability of powerful guns and large caches of ammunition than it does with any mass media influences. The main mass media influence (if any) is the media coverage of the murders, which does seem to have an effect of encouraging others to take similar actions. Again, it’s not movies or video games or fiction TV or comic books — it’s media coverage of actual events.

    I think the focus on video games is primarily class-based since that’s really the only exposure to violence that most middle-class parents are familiar with.

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    Jennifer says:

    smintheus, you do realize that the line of reasoning you’re putting forward assumes a primacy of rights under the 2nd amendment superior to those under the 1st?

    I don’t believe the “culture of violence” is off the hook, but there’s not much in the way of a remedy that doesn’t go very afoul of the 1st amendment.

    You are, however, very badly mistaken in assuming that the “culture of violence” is a creation of modern mass media. This country’s history is rife with violence. Violence is our brand, and has been since, well, forever. Violence towards immigrants, violence towards minorities, family feuds, wars of conquest and aggression, etc etc etc. The modern culture of violence, if it can be deemed unique, took root and grew in very fertile soil. Media is just holding up a mirror. As a people, we love violence. We can’t get enough of it.

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    Journalmalist says:

    According to the article, most researchers agree “that violent media is one factor; it’s not the largest factor, but it’s also not the smallest.”

    Having read that, the conclusion I draw would not be “There simply is no evidence that video games lead to murderous gun rampages.”

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