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ARE VIDEO GAMES A "CULTURAL PROBLEM?"

One Politician Believes That's the Case.

by Felipe Parada

Here we go. We knew this was coming. It was just a matter of time before the video game industry gets dragged into another politic-filled episode of "Who's Fault Is It Anyway!". A show where everyone points the finger, lives don't matter and nothing gets done. This comes in the wake of yet another school shooting that involves a "troubled youth". Let's all take a deep breath, hold hands and say in unison, “The problem is video games.” At least that's what politicians go-to line always seems to be.

 

This time around it's Kentucky governor Matt Bevin that's assigning the blame. The subject was brought up while he was speaking with radio host Leland Conway after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. While the initial topic was gun control, Bevin made it apparent to bring up the topic of “culture” by stating that "a cultural shift was to blame for the rise of school shootings." I can't make this stuff up. Bevin went on to say that:

"The gun is not the problem. We have a cultural problem in America and people have got to face up to this … And then you look at the culture of death that is being celebrated. There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it — and there’s nothing to prevent the child from playing them — that celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same things that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off whose lying there begging for their life.

 

"These are quote-unquote video games and they’re forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech. It’s garbage. It’s the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency. We’re reaping what we’ve sown here."

When Bevin was asked if video games should be banned, Governor Bevin responded:

 

"I think we need to start by having an honest question about what value any of these things add. Why do we need a video game that encourages people to kill people … I’m asking the producers of these products and of these video games and these movies, to ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope that you’ll make a couple bucks off of it — at what price?"

I honestly don't even know how to respond to this. My initial reaction to hearing this was a hard "eye roll" followed up by a "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!". I really don't understand why gamers need to be dragged into this? He makes it apparently clear that every gamer out there is "ready to kill" at a moments notice. He fails to take in account that his Instagram account was littered with imagery of dead animals, widespread racism and a deep love for firearms. But no, “The problem is video games.”

 

Governor Bevin is not the the first politician to link video games with violence. Right after the Columbine massacre a bunch of Psychiatrists attempted to blame the actions on video game addiction. Somehow we are being "trained to kill". I remember when Manhunt 2 was released back in 2007 some representatives went as far as saying that the game was "Murder 101."

 

I'll just go right out and say it, There is no causal link between video games and violence. None what's so ever. I am a hardcore gamer and I have never owned a gun nor have any inclination on firing ANY weapon at ANYONE (only if it's self defense). There is a greater issue at hand, and for politician's to take the easy way out and blame video games is outright despicable. There are so many countries out there with an equal amount of gamers living amongst society and they have almost 75% less shootings than we do. Countries like Japan have almost no shootings at all and have extremely strict rules if you want to own a gun.

So the real question is, "What are WE doing wrong?" We as a society need to start living with "Others in mind." What has blaming video games accomplished? Go ahead, I'll give you a minute......Exactly, another year, another shooting and no answers. Something needs to be done, sooner rather than later Politicians need to stop playing the "Blame Game" and focus on making our schools safe again. As much as politicians like to blame video games, one thing we know for sure is that this is not a game. It was never a game, this is our lively- hood at stake, we need to make America safe again.

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