Video games represent something more than just entertainment for other people. For instance, I grew up playing video games from a very young age and I am certain that just like me, many people value them too. So, why am I talking about video games, in the last two decades politicians have been proposing that violent video games as a major reason for the school shootings happening across the United States. But, is it? What is the real issue? Why they rater bring to radar video games than other more obvious reasons? These and more should be clarified to provide you enough insight of video games and the epidemic school shootings in the US.
First of all, one of the arguments made by people in pro of video games rising violent behavior and crime that the more are sold, the higher crime rates should be right? According to the data provided by, “Entertainment Software Association,” their post had a graph from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting about the violent crime rate and video game sales from 1998 to 2015. Which showed the complete opposite from the first claim because as video game sales were increasing through the years, crime rates per 100k people had been decaying (3). Then why the topic had remained so hot? The Amplifier Magazine has the perfect definition for this occasion, “confirmation bias” or “the tendency to pay attention only to information that confirms prior beliefs and ignore that which does not” (Ferguson, et al 1). I agree that “confirmation bias” is a point that needs emphasizing since so many people believe what the media keeps putting out, instead of considering hard facts and data to draw own conclusions.
Additionally, drawn from the previous point, arguers in pro of video as violent behavior trigger say that one common factor between all the perpetrators of shootings had played violent video games to a degree. According to the essay, “Violent Video Games Train School Shooters,” used as main focus the following, “On June 18, [2004,] a 12-year-old boy, dressed in camouflage, walked into his Bull Run Middle School in Prince William County, Va., armed with a rifle, a knife, butane fuel and 100 rounds of ammunition. He planned to take hostages, take over the school and settle scores”(Thompson 1). Afterward, the investigators confirmed that later searching his house, “We found 13 of them, including the commando games Splinter Cell, Operation Wolf and Halo”(1), which are violent shooting games. However, the article, “Video Games Are Not Responsible for People’s Violent Actions,” explains that across the vast majority of studies, such results are so weak that inconclusive or hard to link the two factors together (Ferguson 1). Although I grant video games that could impact someone’s behavior, I still maintain that playing virtually a video game and picking a gun to do unlawful acts are two different spectrums, where one is more extreme than the other one.
Furtherly, school shootings are the compound of many factors until the perpetrator ends up acting, just like a globe filling until it can no longer handle the air explodes. This can be evidenced when Wan and Bever, write, “The 2018 FBI study found that shooters typically experienced several stressors in the year before they attack: financial pressures, fights with classmates or co-workers, and substance abuse. And on average, shooters displayed four to five concerning behaviors that those around them could notice — the most frequent being behavior related to mental health, interpersonal conflicts or some sign of violent intent” (Wan and Bever 1). So, when dismantling this information, we can infer two points. Insisting on video games is the main cause that is not true because correlation does not necessarily mean causation. For example, we do know they have played video games, but also ate lunch every day, So, I eat lunch too, does it mean I am going to do something of that degree? And the other point is that we should stop blurring all the other issues related to it, such as mental health, gun control, public safety, etc because they are being overlooked instead of trying to pinpoint just one cause and magically fix the problem.
Lastly, there is for sure one thing school shooters have in common the easy access to guns. This factor does seem to prevail upon our problematic. The United States is not isolated from other countries. So why not look at data. The article, “Are video games or mental illness causing America’s mass shootings? No, research shows,” states, “America has nearly 400 million civilian-owned firearms, or 120.5 guns per 100 residents — meaning that the country has more guns than it has people. The second-closest country, Yemen, had 52.8 guns per 100 residents, according to the Small Arms Survey” (Wan and Bever 1). Also, an article from CNN, “How US gun culture compares with the world,” exposes that, “Gun homicides rates are 25.2 times higher in the US than in other high-income countries” (Fox 1). These two facts speak for themselves, By focusing on video games, people overlook the deeper problem of gun control in the US. Moreover, should not be a surprise of shooting happening when guns are infesting the nation and people value them more than a greater adversity.
Although, video games could impact our society for better or for worse. School shootings should be looked as a enough breakpoint, politicians should put aside their differences to solve the problem the right way, for the benefit of all, not their precious gun rights or use as mere propaganda of themselves.