The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution declares: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Without a doubt, this amendment grants us protection and safety. Unfortunately, this amendment is not just employed for protection, but it is also exploited to take the lives of the innocent. As a result, mass shootings occur frequently and remain a major problem that has yet to be solved in the United States. In attempts to defend gun industries, many politicians point to video games as the main culprit for why most violence takes place. A recent article from New York Times expressed that politicians continue to blame these video games despite the evidence showing no correlation exists between video games and violence. Thus, video games are merely a form of entertainment; they are not the cause of violence.
Due to recent studies and research, experts have stated that there is no causational relationship between video games and violence. In the article, “Video Games Aren’t Why Shootings Happen. Politicians Still Blame Them.”, the rhetor Kevin Draper reported that politicians continue to pin the shootings on video games even though research has shown that “no such link exists” (Draper). This blame scheme appears to be common among the political sphere: anytime a shooting occurs, the politicians accuse every other possible factor besides the gun used to commit the murders. The article demonstrates some credibility as it is posted on the reputable New York Times website. Moreover, it was published August in 2019 which shows that the concerns surrounding gun violence in video games are still a relevant topic. This further supports the appeal to ethos. Additionally, Draper included mostly statistics and expert testimony of researchers to express the nonexistent correlation between video games and violence. For instance, the experts concluded that violent video games and movies “are not a risk factor for serious acts of aggression” (Draper). I personally played an assortment of video games growing up, but I have never felt aggression or motivation to commit violence. There are times when I can be competitive with my friends during a gaming session; however, this never escalates to anything beyond a friendly contest. Throughout the article, Draper relied heavily on logos to convey the bad reputation the gaming industry is receiving from politicians. The rhetor included findings from the media psychology division of the American Psychological Association which further revealed how politicians are more inclined to turn a blind eye to the research and facts.
The rhetor attempts to bring out the absurdity of the accusations through the use of comical statements made by the experts. Draper quotes Chris Ferguson, the head of the research, stating that “‘data on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive’” (Draper). The inclusion of this phrase appeals to pathos as it insinuates that the false claims made by politicians are a nuisance. This also calls the intelligence of politicians into question. Secondly, the article emphasizes how politicians continue to blame video games to avoid dealing with gun laws themselves. This is due to many politicians being supported by powerful organizations such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) which can be considered as the secondary audience. For instance, during the 2016 presidential election, the NRA contributed $31 million towards Donald Trump’s campaign (National Rifle Assn Recipients, 2016). This inevitably paid off for the organization as President Trump would side with the gun industry whenever a mass shooting occurs. He would purposely avoid talking about guns and gun laws and instead associate other causes to the incident. To put into context, there have been ten major mass shootings since 2016 and two of which occurred at high schools (Worst Mass Shootings). Because of this, President Trump condemned video games and his administration assembled a federal commission on school safety (Draper). Their “final report downplayed the role of guns” and advised “educational agencies” to enforce “internet safety measures” and “rating systems”. However, nothing was said about video games after hearing from researchers (Draper). Instead of incriminating video games, more restrictions on obtaining guns should be enacted. Gun laws are inconsistent among the states, and guns can be bought easily from one state and used illegally in another causing more shootings to take place. To tackle the issue of gun violence, gun laws should be addressed and revised instead of blaming video games and other unrelated causes.
The primary audience this article targets is the gaming industry, especially video game players and developers. At its core, video games provide a form of interactive entertainment that is distinct from other media such as movies, television, or sports. Over the years, the advancement of computing graphics and engines allowed video games to be more creative and realistic. The gaming industry is at its peak and the future of video games looks promising. However, the constant barrage of bad reputation from news media and politicians could jeopardize its industry. For instance, making video games requires a team of skilled software engineers, programmers, graphic artists, and sound designers. If video games are banned, many companies would be out of business and the game developers would lose their jobs. In fact, it is video games that caused me to major in Software Engineering. One of my personal goals is to become a game developer. It would be a huge missed opportunity if the gaming industry changed considering how much success it had achieved.
Because video games are used as scapegoats, it is clear to see that they are not the cause of violence. The constant blaming whenever a shooting occurs ultimately comes down to the irresponsibility of politicians refusing to acknowledge the danger of guns. The irresponsibility and false accusations are costing the nation many innocent lives and jeopardizing the careers and businesses of the gaming industry. It is a matter of time before the nation succumbs to violence, not because of video games but the lack of revisions to gun laws.
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