Columbine and the Aurora, Colorado shooting. Two tragic events that many Americans know about very well. But what about these two events make them similar? In the Colorado shooting, CNN Profiler Pat Brown, blamed violent video games, saying “teenaged psychopaths get inspired by video games and want to make it real.” In the aftermath of Columbine, Harris (one of the shooters) “expressed enthusiasm for the planned shooting, saying it would be “like fucking Doom.” He also pointed out that the shotgun was “Straight out of Doom””. Most recently, Fox News showcased a student case study that linked the colorado shooter to his history of playing World of Warcraft and deemed it worthy enough to focus on it. Citing : “On May 30, 2012, Fenton and two graduate students presented a Student Health Case Conference talk called “World of Warcraft: The Use of Archetypes in Psychotherapy” during the university’s psychiatry department’s grand rounds. World of Warcraft was reportedly one of the video games that James Holmes frequently played.” In the minds of people that are less in tune to the video game industry and culture, it’s probably very easy to instantly direct blame on video game developers and publishers for putting these forms of violence into society.Before I break down how I feel about this topic matter, let’s take a quick look back into history and what society had deemed to be violent. Compared to todays standards for hi-resolution, tessellation, bloom effect filled graphics, its hard to believe games of yesteryear were taken so seriously. Carmageddon, Grand Theft Auto, NARC, Thrill Kill, Mortal Kombat; were all titles that had controversy circling around them even to the point where some of the titles involved attempts at passing legislation to ban them. As a result, the ESRB was established in 1994, in response to outlash of these types of games. This puts control of what young children and young adults are exposed to back into the hands of a parent or guardian. Often times poor parenting or clueless parents will end up buying little Johnny or Susie these games simply because they saved up enough allowance to buy them, without looking into detail the type of content their children are exposed to. It’s not the fault of the video game developer or retailer, its the result of parents turning a blind eye or not educating themselves. At the age of 18, you officially become an adult by law and you are now able to perform adult functions such as purchasing Mature rated games. Growing up the ESRB rating system was fairly new and my parents didn’t pay much mind to the types of video games I played. During my younger years, I played a lot of violent video games. I never once thought to myself about performing a violent act in real life to try and mimmick something I saw in a game.
Some examples of sensationalized News Reports for Violent Video Games.
There are many types of people in this world. Every person handles situations in life differently than the next. The way we handle situations and the way we perceive the world are molded at a very young age. Normal functioning humans in this world know the difference between right and wrong. Just like we all know it is wrong to shoot up a movie theater, a school, or a market. I do not claim to be some sort of criminal psychologist, but I do know there are people in this world that are known to have mental issues. These individuals have a pre-disposition already wether from improprer upbringing, experience a traumatic event, or a chemical imbalance to perform violent acts. I am not saying that violent video games can’t be an ignition source for the fuel inside of a mental case, I am saying it isn’t the root cause, and it digusts me completely, to see news organizations claiming it to be a major contributing factor. Violent TV, music, news, are all factors that can be included in this ridiculous argument of forms of media being causes for random acts of violence in the world. There are people that feel they are right in this argument and by removing a single source of violent media, will cause some sort of magical and divine decline in violent acts. Just like there are people that saying banning and outlawing guns will make the world a safer place. They are wrong. We live in a world where some parents are not parenting any longer, a world where video games/tv and computers are becoming the parenting tool of choice. You can stick your kid in front of a device and they won’t move. To a majority that is a good thing considering their “busy” lives and schedules. Society and the media need to stop focusing on the content creators of this media and start focusing on how parents can become better at their jobs. Parenting. On the other end of the spectrum you have parents that shelter their children to the point that when they will get exposed to media forms that show these forms of violence it throws them into a shock where unknown tendencies or hidden mental afflictions can ignite. Just like with anything in life, a good balance of everything is key. Too much of anything is usually not advised, but at the end of the day it comes down to good parenting, guidance, and counseling. One day, I hope media in print or video will chalk up violent and hanous acts to mental instability rather than pointing the finger.