Obama calls for game violence research:
It is truly baffling to me that people immediately jump to blame violent video games when a shooting happens and that now $10 million dollars will be spent on game violence research. What ever happened to plain old criminology? There are a myriad of other ways to explain such tragedies but for political leaders to be so quick to point the finger at video games reeks of intolerance, stereotyping, sexism and ultimately disrespect. Violent video games are so pervasive now that, in my opinion, it is akin to saying that there is a connection between young men who wear shorts and violence. Virtually every young man wears shorts. Virtually every young man plays violent video games. There are no actual numbers that I could find regarding the percentage of men who play violent video games but we can assume from the fact that since over 85% of video games include violence (in whatever capacity) that the numbers are high.
But what’s with talking about men all the time anyways?
I take offence to the fact that violent video games are being blamed for shootings because, like a large portion of the gaming culture, it completely disregards the fact that women play violent video games too and make up nearly half of all gamers. 62 mass shootings — defined as a single spree that killed at least four people — have been carried out in the U.S. since 1982. Only one was perpetrated by a female. In 2006, Jennifer San Marco fatally shot her former neighbor, then drove to work and killed six colleagues before turning her gun on herself (http://theweek.com/article/index/237938/why-are-there-so-few-female-mass-murderers). If women play these games too, then why are there virtually no mass shootings committed by women? Probably because there are other criminological factors such as simply being male, having a mental illness (Adam Lanza, Dylan Kleebold anyone?), checking off the majority of boxes on Hare’s psychopathy checklist (Eric Harris anyone?). Or maybe because they interact with anti-social peers (differential association) or for whatever reason feel they cannot achieve popularity, fame, wealth etc through legitimate means and therefore attempt to obtain these things through crime instead (theory of anomie, strain theory). Or perhaps they do not play sports or have pro-social relationships? (social control theory). These are much more plausible reasons for a mass shooting.
Ultimately, we are asking the wrong question.
The question should not be asking why people commit mass shootings. It should be asking why people don’t commit mass shootings. Since there are so many gamers, we must ask why young men who play violent video games do not commit violent acts if we really want to find out what actually causes these mass shooting tragedies. And I am willing to bet that video games are not the cause.