Violent video games blasted by Republicans following El Paso and Dayton mass shootings

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Aug 5, 2019 3:47 PM

UPDATE: US president Donald Trump has now weighed in on the matter, condemning violent video games and blaming them for the recent mass shootings in America.

Taking a podium at the White House, Trump called  the shootings "barbaric slaughters" and said, "our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” The irony runs deep from a man who has done much to embolden these very ideologies which he now criticises.

"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society," said Trump. "This includes the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately."

I mean, this is a ludicrous state of affairs. That violent games can be targeted before the guns themselves is just mind-blowing. Anything and everything is getting the blame rather than the core issue which the rest of the planet can see from a mile off.

With the president himself weighing in though, things could get quite turbulent from here. He's obviously got more sway than just about anyone in the world, and if we start seeing stricter measures in place then this could certainly trickle to the players.

You can watch the address yourself here.

Original Story: 05-Aug-2019 - Violent video games blasted by Republicans following El Paso and Dayton mass shootings

Here we go again, it’s Groundhog Day in the world of video games as conservative politicians once again lay into violent video games and suggest they could be linked to the torrent of mass shootings taking place in the United States.

Top House Republican and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has responded to the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, claiming first-person shooters can dehumanise gamers and outlining how it could be a problem for future generations.

"This may be a place where we could find this ahead of time," said McCarthy while appearing on Fox News’  ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ show. 

"The idea that these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals. I've always felt that it's a problem for future generations and others. We've watched studies show what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also weighed in with his two cents as well, appearing on Fox & Friends to say “How long are we going to ignore—at the federal level particularly—where they can do something about the video game industry.” The El Paso shooting is thought to be a hate crime specifically targeting immigrants, including the shooter sharing his manifesto on 8chan (nice one THQ Nordic, that ‘marketing’ move gets more painful by the day), but hey, it’s the games to blame. 

“Why are we allowing young people or anyone to go to a website to learn and be killed and be praised to put this manifesto out,” he continued. “Why are we allowing—90 percent of our children is the estimate, between the ages of 12 and 17—watching video games? Again, larger than the music industry and the movie industry combined.”

I’d probably blame the rise of white nationalist terrorist screw-ups and terrible gun laws before I tackled games which are available around the rest of the planet and, interestingly enough, don’t contribute to daily mass shootings in the Netherlands, Australia, or basically anywhere else but the good ol’ US of A.

As you’d expect, there have been endless studies into the effect of playing video games, particularly in terms of children and young adults. The New York Times published a report last year indicating there was no evidence to link video games and mass shootings; a Supreme Court Justice said in 2011 that psychological studies indicated the connection between violent games and harmful effects on children does not cause children to act aggressively; a study in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ in 2018 discovered there was a 0.08% rise in aggression based on teens playing violent games. That latter discovery is so statistically tiny as to be largely pointless and pales in comparison to other triggers which can contribute to violence.

What it all boils down to are there are many factors which come into play when someone goes out there and does something truly horrific. It’s absurd to think someone could play a game and just go out there and try and replicate it without any other factors coming into play. 

There are political views to consider, mental health, upbringing, access to firearms (USA has 4.4% of the world’s population and 42% of the world’s guns), and the level of societal violence. Most of these things cannot be a particular determinant, but instead a correlation of factors. If mental health were specifically to blame, for example, we’d have to assume the US has an inordinately high percentage of citizens with severe mental disorders compared to other countries, something which just isn’t true.

The only indisputable correlation we have right now is with the number of weapons in the US and the proportion of mass shooters. The only other country with a higher rate of mass shootings per 100 million people is Yemen, a country with the most people in need of humanitarian aid in the world, the highest rate of corruption in the Middle East and, incidentally, the second-highest rate of gun ownership worldwide behind the US. It’s hardly the finest company for the land of the free to keep.

Image Source

This willingness to use, and the prevalence of, guns, contributes to the eye-opening statistic from Berkely’s Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins that you are 54x more likely to die during a robbery in New York than you are London.

But, as ever, despite this correlation, there’s a contingent of politicians (who rely on the gun vote to stay in power) pointing the finger of blame at violent video games despite a tiny 0.08 link with a rise in aggression. It's an oldie but a goodie in terms of diverting the blame, a scapegoat which gives rise to sensationalist headlines and plenty of moral panic - perfect politician fodder.

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00:24 Aug-11-2019

Excuse me, I murder ***ty drivers in GTAV so that I don't* have to in real life. Ease off there, Cheeto in Chief.

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05:28 Aug-07-2019

okay ,my country didnt experience a mass shooting despite such a pubg boom in past couple of years.

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18:08 Aug-06-2019

Stop being so immature and defensive guys - Video games ARE violent. Still it does not mean video games are to be blamed on mass shootings.
However you could argue that a lot of young kids are unattended while playing video games for hours and hours on end.
Parents are needed to be more involved.

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20:17 Aug-06-2019

Wow, didn't realize Rated E games were violent. Also, no one is denying the fact that video games could be violent. We're simply outraged that high political figures are STILL blaming such heinous crimes on video games. It's absurd and shameful to rest the fualt of something so unspeakable on an innocent hobby that literal hundreds of millions enjoy on a daily basis. Also, I don't see what children has to do with this article, we're talking about correlation to mass shootings & murdres, well, there lack of. I've heard the same thing ten years ago; "Parents are needed to be more involved.". I heard the same argument then and and actually, according to a McAFee study finds that-

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20:18 Aug-06-2019

ninety-two percent of parents let kids play at least an hour a day. A total of 15 hours per week. There is however the concern of the type of content they're exposed to while playing and parents admittedly buying them video games that are not age appropriate. So I suppose parents should indeed be more involved in some ways. I just don't see the connection to this article. The youngest out of mass shooting from my knowledge are 18 and up.

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21:25 Aug-06-2019

I am not referring to any particular shooter - I am talking about the culture we are currently living in violence is everywhere and parents don't seem to be very engaging with the media their kids are consuming from a small age.

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00:50 Aug-07-2019

Which culture? Which country are you referring to? Because according to the FBI & Uniform Crime Reports, violent crimes has dropped significantly since the 1990s in the largest cities of the U.S. If I may ask, what are you basing this off? Any source of studies you can link, please?

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04:46 Aug-07-2019

There's a bloody "mature content" warning in these games... and certainly retailer don't hand out games to children. Its the parents who buy them to feed their 6 year old wannabe man-slaughters . So its not the industry's problem. But i can see your point..and sort of agree

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17:51 Aug-06-2019

here we go again...
it easier to put blame on the games rather than put blame on easy access to gun or calling an american a terrorist.(this two are the same s@it with different nationality or religion).

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17:28 Aug-06-2019

Hmm, it's funny that this is the one thing that both sides agree with. And it's wrong.

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11:10 Aug-06-2019

Booool sheeet...95% of the video games are about riding dragons and collecting shiny junk

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19:13 Aug-06-2019

Lol, don't forget hoarding in skyrim :D

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11:10 Aug-06-2019

There's no mass shootings in my country... Odd...

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17:59 Aug-06-2019

And mine as well

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08:56 Aug-06-2019

Politicians are once again blaming the easy target instead of getting to the source of the problem.

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08:19 Aug-06-2019
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19:15 Aug-06-2019

Hmm, not sure about the image. I live in the united states and no government has given me a gun yet.

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07:42 Aug-06-2019

Weapon industries in USA is an industry that is too big to fail. It is also one of a powerful force behind US gov. American will stop at nothing to keep their outdated 2nd amendment and mass shooting is one of the by-product of it.

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06:48 Aug-06-2019

Dear politicians, keep your dirty hands off my hobby and out of my life.

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11:07 Aug-07-2019

Once can wish.

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03:21 Aug-06-2019

I'd argue that games can have the opposite affect of increasing aggressive tendencies. They could decrease them... I mean did anyone playing Halo play it while they were shouting KILL! KILL! KILL! or something else? Call of Duty? The really good ones had themes that could make you bawl, like the WWII ones. CS GO? Felt aggressive? I don't think so. If these people truly want to find out whether...

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03:26 Aug-06-2019

...games are a problem they should simply listen to the experts on psychology. Then again this is the country which has the Flat Earth People in it so...


Anyway this shouldn't be a moment to simply point fingers but to pay respects to the victims in any way you can. R.I.P

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19:19 Aug-06-2019

I do remember a story where a guy was playing Counter strike. Some random guy online kept knifing him in the game. The guy got so fed up, he tracked him down and stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Here's the story: https://kotaku.com/man-spends-six-months-plotting-murder-of-counter-strike-5550609

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20:00 Aug-06-2019

Well.. In some cases, it only increases aggressiveness. I know some people who'll start smashing and throwing stuff simply because they can't achieve their goal. (does quite often happen with shooter or combat games).

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01:31 Aug-06-2019

I think it's just the ease of access to internet that is starting to show its ugly head.
The ability to easily create echo chambers, spreading hate and terrible ideologies. 8chan for instance, has been talked about for being a breeding ground for mass shooters. It's amusing that /r/columbine hasn't been banned yet...

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08:16 Aug-06-2019

that because those forums are memeing. 99% of those people are not serious about what they say on those forums. But of course when one person does it the whole forum is to blame. Like for example if someone on gamedebate is gonna talk about shooting up something in the US and they actually do it, then when the same logic is applied to this site, it should have the same effect.

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09:10 Aug-06-2019

The difference being they would be banned immediately on here


A platform with absolute free speech will always devolve, circling the drain downwards. 8chan was devised as a free speech utopia, it's become a white supremacist hellhole. I wish Jordon Pietersen luck with Thinkspot, he'll very quickly end up with the same thing.

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01:26 Aug-06-2019

Come on man, how long is this bull**** gonna continue, i'll guarantee you 1000% that even if games didn't existed, they would've found something else and would've thrown the blame on that. Everyone knows what it's all about. Use your brain, not your deep pocket, and before someone here says "who am i to lecture" no, i'm not here to lecture at all, so think twice before replying and downvoting the hell out of this comment cause upvotes/downvotes don't even matter, what matters is if you think with your head or not at all.

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03:32 Aug-06-2019

Remeber when people blamed Rock for sometime?

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09:12 Aug-06-2019

as in, The Rock?

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20:35 Aug-06-2019

Lol, sorry no, the music genre, as well as heavy metal. I believe in the late 70s, 80s they were blamed for violent murders or deaths.

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09:07 Aug-07-2019

Oh hahaha that makes more sense lol, I wondered what poor old Dwayne had done wrong. Yeah true, always need a scapegoat, Marilyn Manson, enemy of the state.

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00:24 Aug-06-2019

my brother was a corrections officer in California, he says guns aren't required to kill someone. all you need is motivation. so guns are just a tool to unleash your motivation,so like before time and time again politicians are dead wrong and really show how they only care about votes and not the overwhelming evidence that states " there is NO correlation between violence and playing violent video games". Well done trump you've once again showed how far the rights hand is so far up your ass, that you are solely the same puppet bullet points that they have clinged to since the time of night trap.

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00:09 Aug-06-2019

So does the same go for movies too, cause both games and movies have ratings to tell you there is violence in them

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00:04 Aug-06-2019

video games dont kill people people kill people. Also the easy access to guns doesnt help.

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19:55 Aug-05-2019

His opinions don't matter and will never take effect on anything. Psychology has over time proven that there's no actual connection to mass shootings or violence from playing video games. As to what the core of the issue is, in my opinion I think it's mental health. Because regardless of the involvement of firearms or not, there are numerous ways to get the same casualty results that you would get from a gun; vehicles, knifes, bombs (chemical weapons/acid), etc. I imagine anyone willing to grab a gun and massacere hundreds has an underlying mental health issue. I noticed you didn't include that the USA has a much larger population than all those countries combined.

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19:58 Aug-05-2019

According to the WHO (World Mental Health), an estimated 31.0% (If I read the information accuretly) in the United states suffer from DSM-IV/CIDI disorders. 31% of 300 millon is 93 million. This is nearly the population of all other mentioned nations in the that statistical grid. So of course we're going to see higher numbers than in other countires. As for Yemen, well like it states: it's a highly corrupt nation with massive need of humanitarian aid. Please do correct me if I'm misreading these statistics. I can't point it out but I feel I'm missing something?

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20:54 Aug-05-2019

You are reading the mental health numbers correctly yeah, but in the case of the graph this is proportionatal so population doesn't matter.

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21:07 Aug-05-2019

Ah, I see. Thank you for the article, it was written incredibly well and I like the you linked your sources. It's pretty absurd that after nearly 40 years politicians are still somehow blaming video games for violent crimes. If I've ever seen anyone deflecting the issue, it's these guys and anyone who tags along with this ridiculous notion. Shame on them.

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09:19 Aug-06-2019

Thankyou! Yes, it's crazy times and unfortunately I can't see it changing anytime soon. It's sad that the only way to disprove this claim is to ban violent games, wait for the mass shootings, and then blame something else.

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19:47 Aug-05-2019

Well we play games in Europe too. We don´t see many mass shootings here.Let me tell you what,raise your kids better.Education in the USA sucks hard. USA doesn´t even have universal health care.

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19:50 Aug-05-2019

You can´t make America great if you can´t provide the most basic things. Safety,education,health care etc.

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19:12 Aug-06-2019

I agree Narkady, education is the worst in America, as well as parents raising their kids. Just today I saw a mother texting, while driving, while a kid was right beside her. What message does that give to the kid?

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19:18 Aug-05-2019

While this is a heated debate, people should watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXGgI2E5JUw


Video games are not the problem!

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