Last Saturday the New York Times reported that once
again several groups and politicians are putting together a concerted attack
on violent video games, in response to the horrible events in
Newtown, Conn. Who can blame them after the senseless killing
of 20 children and six educators by Adam Lanza? The video
game industry is countering through well organized lobbying
But the banning of violent video games was vetted through the
American court system all the way up to the Supreme Court in 2011,
which declared it unconstitutional.
The Times reminds us that "Justice Antonin Scalia,
writing for the majority, wrote that evidence linking games to
violence was unpersuasive and that games had the same legal
protection as violent literary classics like Grimm's Fairy
Tales or "Snow White."
So, will new regulations stand? It will depend on their
Discussing studies that debate the link between video games and
violence, the Times article also reminds us that "the
scientific record is mixed." Some say that violent games
desensitize and others find no link to bullying or
I wonder how in Lanza's case we could measure the specific
effects of violent video games over that of movies, television or
exposure to guns.
In that same issue of the Times another article reports
that in anticipation of Obama's tougher control Americans are
stocking up on
guns. The Times quotes an independent gun dealer as
stating that "If I had 1,000 AR-15s I could sell them in a
week." An AR-15, I learnt, is a semiautomatic riffle.
The same gun used by Lanza in Newtown.
Apparently some groups that support gun control are asking Obama
not to spend all political clout on an assault weapons ban, which
will be a tough sell to Congress. Instead they suggest that it be
spent on more important goals like universal background checks and
cracking down on gun trafficking.
Wouldn't it be more effective for the anti violent video
games lobby to join forces and resources with Obama in his gun
control campaign? If Lanza had no access to an AR-15 (or any
such weapon) perhaps he would have stayed home playing his video
Ban the guns not the games?!
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