YOUTH VIEW: Playing the violent game blame

Most people have the ability to see the difference between fictional media and reality.

Brian Calderwood

Everyone was devastated when on December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, U.S.A. It was revealed that before the shootings, Lanza frequently played the violent Call of Duty video games, which is where he gained his fascination with guns and weapons. Some advocates for the banning of media violence believe the game is what led Lanza to committing the heinous act. As an avid gamer for at least seven years, I’m completely against the notion.

This is a scene that has been repeated often over the last few years. The first-person shooter videogame genre, which includes games such as Call of Duty, where people typically take on the role of the protagonist, has been gaining popularity in North America, and becoming more realistic with every installment. However, are these games to blame for the increasing number of shootings in recent years?

Some sources, like the American Academy of Family Physicians, show “that media violence leads to actual violence…” After conducting “more than 1,000 lab experiments,” they suggest that media aggression can also desensitize young people to brutality. The American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with the same conclusion.

If video games cause hostile behaviour, why then does every gamer not grab the nearest object and try to bludgeon people? The answer is simple: Most people have the ability to see the difference between fictional media and reality. I’ve played violent games for years and I’m not aggressive at all.

Not all analyses have come out with this result. Some experiments conducted have, in fact, come out with the opposite conclusion, which suggests video games help to decrease real life destructive inclinations. As Erik Kain of Forbes Magazine explains, “No study has ever shown that violent video games result directly in actual violence, let alone mass shootings. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, though the numbers suggest it’s very unlikely.”

In 2010, there were 11,422 homicides committed with firearms in the United States. Few of these have been related at all to vicious videogames. In fact, as violent videogames have increased in popularity, yearly shootings have decreased. Millions of people, old and young, play savage, brutal games and it’s quite obvious that many have not gone on mass shootings. I played my first M (18+) rated video game when I was around nine years old, and I have no hostile feelings towards others, to this day.

The point I am trying to make, of course, is that when a person enters a park and brutally murders 40 people in cold blood, it is not because they played Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto or Assassin’s Creed, but because they already have severe violent tendencies. If someone is hostile and mentally unstable, chances are that they should not be playing games which contain large amounts of bloodshed and carnage. While the games may help trigger the act, the person is the one who makes the decision to commit it.

– Brian Calderwood is a Grade 11 student at Belmont secondary school.

Just Posted

Skygazers spot mysterious flaming object during Sunday’s lunar eclipse

University of Victoria astronomer explains the “glowing object”

Evicted UVic student questions Saanich’s housing bylaw

Emma Edmonds had been living with six roommates, while the bylaw states you cannot exceed four

Sooke trade show targets local business

Sookrama planned for April

Plecas report: Thousands spent on trips, booze, magazines and a wood splitter

Two suspended B.C. legislature officers have been accused of ‘flagrant overspending’

Ousted legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Canadian navy plans to extend life of submarines

The fleet has turned a corner after a troubled start

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in B.C.

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Vancouver Island pot giant Tilray buying Ontario cannabis company for $70 million

Nanaimo cannabis company to acquire Natura Naturals and Ontario greenhouse facility

Most Read