Sunday, April 21, 2013

Guns don’t kill people, but video games do??

The logic that comes out of gun rights activists continually puzzles me. After the horrific events at Newtown, NRA president Wayne LaPierre infamously blamed everything except the gun which was used to kill 26 innocent children and teachers.  He blamed violence in video games, violence in the movies, and violence in music. The violence in video games has been particularly targeted as of late by Republicans.  I find this curious, since so many “gun rights” activists say that blaming guns for deaths is the same as blaming a spoon for someone getting fat. Guns don’t cause violence, but a bunch of zeroes and ones programmed to appear on a screen do??

Even more strange is that Republicans have recently taken to accusing liberals of overlooking violence in video games and media.  Conservatives accuse President Obama of giving the video game industry a pass.  Lawmakers are assuming liberals don’t care about the violence portrayed in movies and TV.  What liberals are they actually talking to? This must be more of the bulletproof logic (pardon the pun)that Daily Show correspondent John Oliver noticed recently.  Liberals are almost entirely against violence. Who were the ones protesting the war in Vietnam? Liberals. Who were the ones protesting the war in Iraq? Liberals.

I would self-identify as liberal and I detest violence to the point where I would consider myself a pacifist.  I know lots of liberals who are firmly against violence. I listened to a liberal teen perform slam poetry in which she decried the idea that shooting someone on a screen was somehow “okay,” while pointing out that real-life has no “reset” button.  My first semester in seminary, I took a class on theological issues in films in which the professor mentioned he was unsure about including a couple of movies that had significant violence such as The Passion of the Christ and Unforgiven. My ethics class this semester has an entire section devoted to the problem of violence.  Even today at church in “Sunday School” someone mentioned the problem of violence in entertainment.  So when I hear conservatives and Republicans accusing liberals of not caring about violence in media, I have no idea what they are talking about.

It’s not like all the gang-related shooting in Chicago were from kids playing video games then going out an killing each other.  Poor black kids can’t afford video game systems; its upper middle-class white teens and young adults playing these violent games—aka Republicans.  So, conservative lawmakers need to take a look in the mirror, and at their own voting bloc.

The problem with violence in entertainment isn’t necessarily that kids are going out replicating the violence they see on screen.  The problem is that violence in media desensitizes us the horrors of violence in real life.  When I see bloodied, mutilated bodies on TV, bloodied, mutilated bodies of soldiers and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t hit me as hard.  When I see torture scenes acted out in movies, the horrors of Auschwitz don’t seem so horrible.  Video of men so starved that they were literally skin and bone, of real people being mowed down by the bullets of Germans is less disturbing than that which I can see just by visiting my local Redbox. So yes, violence is a problem in entertainment, but not because it’s supposedly causing kids to go out and kill each other. But if we’re going to accuse video games of causing our violence, why can’t we also blame guns?


  1. I don't see you attacking Hilary Clinton or Bloomburg on their idea of blaming videogames on violence. I'm a Republican and I don't think that videogame causes violence (There have been very little as in VERY VERY LITTLE violence caused by video and those VERY FEW people were mentally unstable. I believe anybody who thinks video games cause violence is an idiot but hate how this article seems to point fingers only at Republicans.

  2. Dear anonymous,

    Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I would recommend you re-read this post. I recognize the problems of violence and media--my point was to point out the poor logic of blaming two dimensional objects in a screen yet not the three dimensional objects that are used to do the killing (aka guns).