Play Life, Live Games: Video games aren’t to blame for shootings
America was once again rocked by two senseless mass shootings last weekend that claimed the lives of 31 people and wounded dozens more. After incidents like this, which are way too common in our country, people always ask why and point fingers.
President Donald Trump pointed his fingers at the video game industry.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” President Trump said Monday in a White House address on the shootings. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
The president’s thoughts were echoed by other Republican leaders, who said video games are too violent and desensitize our youth who later have no remorse over killing a human being.
Blaming video games for violent acts is an old subterfuge tactic that Republicans have used for decades to distract people from talking about the real issue. It doesn’t take long to find glaring issues with their claim though.
The violent video games people play in the United States are the exact same violent video games people are playing in the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Australia and Canada. If violent video games were a contributing factor in the United States’ gun violence epidemic, you would expect to see a similar amount of violent gun deaths in the other countries.
But the United States is the only first-world country on the planet where this amount of gun violence takes place.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation did a study recently on gun violence around the world. In 2017, there were 0.06 violent gun deaths in the United Kingdom for every 100,000 people, 0.04 in China and Japan. Here in the United States, we had 4.43 violent gun deaths for every 100,000 people in 2017.
These countries also have people with mental health issues, same as us. The only real difference is the number of civilian-owned guns in the country. Politicians talking about video games right now is just a distraction tactic. Don’t fall for it. The only thing that will make a difference is our political leaders working together to come up with some common sense gun law reforms.
Unfortunately, the odds of that actually happening are probably a lot lower than the odds of getting shot at a Walmart.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.