Video game violence and our bubble wrapped society

As we saw on Friday morning, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre didn’t throw the Second Amendment under the bus, which has led to more than a little controversy. While I can appreciate the fact that the NRA is loathe to rush into an ill considered gun grab as a solution to isolated incidents of social, mental and societal collapse in the form of infamous villains, I felt that some of Mr. LaPierre’s comments missed the mark in an important way.

And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like “Bullet Storm,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Mortal Combat,” and “Splatterhouse.”

With all due respect to the NRA and their representatives, attempting to ward off criticism of guns by placing the blame on something else is precisely how we’re going going to lose this argument. This is yet another case of Americans riding out like Arthur and his knights seeking some tool, some toy, some talisman… some Unholy Grail to blame. And if we can only find it and brandish it before the citizenry, we can proclaim, “Here it is! We have found the source of ultimate evil! And we shall have Congress destroy it and then peace shall reign across the land!

This way lies folly. Children can certainly be influenced by their early experiences, and each will react to such stimuli in their own way. But as with all things, humans are generally a lot more resilient than some would imagine. Let us stipulate for the moment that several of the mass shooters since the late nineties – no… let’s say all of the shooters – were players of video games with violent themes. How many were there? A dozen? Let’s say one hundred. How many copies of those video games were sold? Just for a starting hint, more than eleven million copies of the third edition of Grand Theft Auto alone.

If you were researching the cause of a horrible disease which cropped up among one hundred people, and nearly all of them ate mushrooms – along with eleven million other people who also ate the mushrooms and demonstrated no symptoms – would you conclude that you’d found the cause? Or might you look further? This is insanity.

As we briefly discussed on Tuesday, the final arbiter of what entertainment our nation’s children consume is their family. And their parents are the only suitable police for determining what shows they watch, what games they play, and discussing all of the ramifications with them. The other choice is to turn it over the to government – an organization which can hardly claim a winning track record on social construction. Their only tool will be to bring down the ban hammer and shut down access to everything which might possibly contribute to setting off a handful of badly damaged maniacs. And at the same time, that access is cut off to the millions who would not be affected and removing the choice from their families.

As I was saying last night to some friends on Twitter, every generation gives rise to a few monsters. You don’t fix that by shackling everyone else. You stop the monsters. Placing the blame on any range of tools and seeking to solve the issue by removing said tools from the workbench does nothing but bubble wrap our society and eliminate any sense of responsibility from families. This isn’t a solution. It’s a dodge.