|Doesn't this mean violence is going down?|
By now, most of you have heard about the shooting in a naval yard in Washington DC. I hadn't heard about it until I called my dad and asked him why the flags were at half-mast. Frankly, it's horrible and I'm appalled at how these things keep happening.
Also appalling? The media has, yet again, pointed the finger at video games being the root cause of this incident. Of course they did. Right away, let's just point out that there is almost literally no actual science that supports any of these claims. Let's also mention that I've been to panels about this exact topic (Kelli Dunlap Rules!). There is an unbelievable amount of bias in the media about this topic, and I'm pretty tired of it. Take a look at most of the articles that are out there about this incident. Almost all of them make mention that the perpetrator was an avid video gamer. To the point that he would play shooters for 16 hours a day or more... y'know... like a normal person...
A lot of these stories are careful not to point out a direct causal relationship to his violent act and his gaming habits, but in mentioning video games at all, they're playing to a social stigma that already exists. I really wish there was some way to educate the normal masses on what science is and how it works, or better yet, how it explains things in our world around us.
Kotaku has an excellent article with some pretty awesome video clips about the shooting. Fox News has a very great way of pointing out things that have summarily been proven to be incorrect or just wrong. At one point in a video in the article, the host brings up the comment "Every time something bad like this happens we look at is there a connection between video games and the shooter?" Then he proceeds to talk about all the most recent and heinous shootings and their perpetrators. Has it not registered to anyone that video games are so popular that it is reported that 97% of teens play games, 50% of which in the last day or so? Or how about the fact that the Entertainment Software Association says that the average gamer is 30?
Later, a comment is made that violent video games need a warning. Are they talking about the ESRB rating that says when a game is made for a certain age group? Or do they mean a warning that says a game might be addicting (although that science is dubious at best!)? With both of these comments, the shooters were old enough to legally purchase and own the games they played.
Then one of the hosts suggests that we gamers need to have "frequency testing" to determine how often these games are being played. Should I even need to go into why monitoring video game usage is not something that should happen? Why not monitor alcohol consumption for people? I know plenty of people from college that nearly failed or did fail because of the amount of booze they consumed. How about those parents I know that consumed so much alcohol they couldn't be a person, much less a parent. Let's monitor their usage. Are you telling me, media people, that Video Games are that big of a threat? Big enough to warrant monitoring?
There is an entire episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit! about this EXACT thing, it's worth watching (there is some adult language):
Sigh, I could talk about this all day.
Hit me with comments,
PS Please read the Kotaku Article, it's fantastic.