Here we go again. There has been another mass shooting in the United States and violent video games are brought to blame by the mainstream media faster than you can say Wolfenstein 3D. We have heard this on-and-off since the Columbine high school massacre in 1999 and it’s getting quite tiresome.
Yes, Eric Harris (Columbine massacre) was a Doom fanatic and immortalized himself on the Internet by creating in-game levels that closely resembled his high school. Yes, Anders Breivek (Norway massacre), Adam Lanza (Newtown massacre) and Aaron Alexis (Navy Yard massacre) were all big fans of Call of Duty. But are these bloody 1st-person shooters really the trigger that sends volatile young men over the edge? Why did they all share a common affinity for violent video games?
The answer is really quite simple and understandable, and to this day I am amazed how I have not witnessed a single mainstream media figure who has presented a similar argument in detail. Here it is.
A person who has an ongoing habit of feeling mentally disturbed, bitter, jealous, envious, or just outright angry with the world is going to channel those unpleasant emotions and attempt to self-medicate through one of the easiest and most gratifying sources which are available to them. For most young males in the developed world, this is violent movies or video games. It is just common sense to assume that potential spree killers are not going to have a large repertoire of “G” rated recreational pursuits and hobbies that coincide with their devolving moral character and judgment.
As a rule of thumb, bitter and homicidal young men generally do not bother with such things as My Little Pony, flower gardening, or doing charity work at the homeless shelter. Such innocent, mellow, or gracious activities do not adequately serve as a sufficient outlet to self-medicate their pent-up testosterone and rage. Instead, they attempt to seek solace in a digital world of violent fantasy which is available right in their very own bedrooms. Violent video games are an easy outlet for attaining temporary relief of the problems and frustrations that these men encounter in their day-to-day lives. They are not the source.
If violent video games were truly the source which causes people to suddenly snap into committing unspeakable acts of violence, then why is South Korea among the safest societies on the planet? South Korea has among the highest per-capita spending on video games than anywhere else on Earth (far more than the USA), and a wide variety of violent titles are without doubt among the most popular.
In fact, the violent computer game Starcraft is actually so popular in South Korea that competitions between the nation’s best players are televised events, where lucrative financial rewards, tabloid stardom, and graduation to being a sex symbol are on the line. (Hey, what’s normal to them amazes us.) Yet with all these countless numbers of Koreans who regularly rip Terran marines apart with their armies of zerglings on their computers, the nation of 50 million people has somehow avoided a mass shooting. In fact, hardly anyone gets shot in Korea, period.
Of course, Korea is by no means an anomaly. Around the world millions upon millions of people who enjoy violent video games do not wake up in the morning and exclaim “I’m all jacked up on Starcraft and Call of Duty, and I’m gonna murder somebody today!” It just doesn’t happen that way. But the mainstream media in the United States literally wants to make such shallow arguments seem plausible. Here is a recent example.
Fox News host Martha MacCallum and frequent contributor Dr. Keith Ablow recently said that video games, not guns, are to blame for the mass shootings in America. I kid you not. They actually believe that a conscious human being, 100% in control of his/her destiny in choosing between what’s right and wrong, and wielding a tangible firearm accompanied by a very loose trigger finger, is somehow less responsible for mass shootings than these fantasy realms which inhabit a TV screen called “video games”. MacCallum even said that ”guns are irrelevant” to mass shootings. That’s umm…. interesting logic. So are cars now irrelevant to vehicular homicide?
Why does the mainstream media constantly resort to these brain-dead arguments that violent video games are the root cause of mass shootings, while completely neglecting other key factors? When are they going to stop pretending that mental health issues and the potentially devastating side-effects of psychotropic drugs are not the real culprits? Just what is the mainstream media trying to hide?
Here is the answer. In the United States, the mainstream media is doing their best to maintain access to the $2.4 billion dollars a year that pharmaceutical giants spend on television advertising. If CNN, FOX, or any of the other three-letter, alphabet-soup networks run stories that present prescription drugs in a negative light, they risk losing a vital source of revenue. For some news outlets, money speaks louder than morals, and unfortunately things are not going to change anytime soon.