Trump blames mass shootings on video games that glorify violence
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Over the weekend, two horrible mass shootings occurred in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio in less than 24 hours. 31 lives were lost and dozens were injured with one shooter dead and the other in police custody.
Since then, a lot of blame has been slung around, with a lot of it aimed at the video game industry. US President Donald Trump accused “gruesome and grisly video games” of glorifying violence, and called them the root cause for these acts, but he's just one of many voices.
Many Republican politicians have expressed the same sentiment in the past few days. Yet, they all seem to be avoiding what should be the biggest cause for these violent acts. Gun control. It is agreed that guns can't shoot themselves but access to these weapons also play a major part in how they are used. Making it harder for individuals like these from accessing guns would go a very long way in preventing situations like this from happening.
Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick claimed that video games teach "people to kill." A huge exaggeration but one that many are happy to agree with. The shooter from the El Paso shooting allegedly wrote a manifesto which referenced the first person shooter, Call of Duty, which the lieutenant governor has latched on. However, the shooter is also believed to have gone about this horrific act in order to stop the "Hispanic invasion of Texas."
This clearly shows signs of racism, if nothing else. He also chose the location because it is normally frequented by Mexicans. President Trump was quoted to have said. "In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul." Sadly, he's made statements in the past that one such as this shooter could have used to fuel his hatred of immigrants and race mixing.
Former FBI agent Maureen O'Connell, claimed that the shooter probably spent the majority of his days playing games like Fortnite, which dehumanize people by “blowing their heads out.” Those words sound a lot more violent than Fortnite but maybe it's because the game has stylised graphics.
The media is presently torn between those that are accusing violent video games for mass shootings such as these and those that feel they're just using the game's industry as a scapegoat to avoid the root causes of these tragedies.
If left to continue, this narrative could spawn into big restrictions in video games and their content. Including these two recent shootings, there has been more than 250 shootings in the U.S. in 2019 so far. Far more than any other country even though esports and video games are global industries.
Multiple studies have been published which claim that video games are actually a positive influence. Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University claims that “Video game consumption is associated with a decline in youth violence rates.”
“The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,” said professor Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, regarding his study's findings.
How things will play out is still unknown but it is clear that both sides of this argument have no intentions of backing down.