Blaming the symptom for the disease

Let’s get together and blame video games!

A six-month study released by Iowa State University found that video game violence influences players to be more aggressive with proven teaching techniques.

My regular readers probably know that I do not ever advocate blaming outside sources when some kid shoots up his school.  Just as it is not the fault of the gun when someone kills someone, neither is it the fault of a video game.  What concerns me a lot of the time is that in our haste to protect and defend the 2nd Amendment, I’ve seen plenty of gun owners develop tunnel vision and toss blame onto other issues.

A perfect example of this is the book I just finished reading, Written in Lead.  I have the recently issued addition, which added three chapters: one for Waco, one for Columbine, and one for the DC/Beltway Snipers.  The author of the book is unabashedly pro-gun, which comes across much more strongly in the later chapters.  What concerned me is that in his chapter on Columbine, he descended into the easy trap of forcing the blame onto violent video games.

I will admit that they make an easy target for gun owners; the media gets almost as hysterical over Doom/Half-Life/Grand Theft Auto as they do over Evil Black Rifles.  I understand the temptation to push the blame onto that, and then breathe a sigh of relief because our issue isn’t being attacked.

The problem is that it’s a stupid idea.  It doesn’t address the problem, and it just delays the inevitable attack on firearms.  The people that blame the symptoms aren’t going to stop just because they’ve blamed one, they want to get rid of everything that they think is scary and evil.

Blaming video games isn’t the answer, just as blaming guns isn’t the answer.  I have played “violent video games” since I was 9 or 10, and I didn’t turn into a murderous sociopath, and neither did any of my brothers.


  1. unfortunately that is an easier target than to admit it is the lack of parenting and our failure to teach our kids to give a damn about anyone else that is causing the problems…..strange how it seems the kids taught personal responsibility and empathy for others don’t seem to be the ones with the problems. . . so goes the death of the golden rule . . . no more do onto others as you would have them do onto you. . ..

  2. Although you could draw a statistical correlation between playing video games and working growing up to work in the video game industry. Out of the four of us, 50% are now making our livings helping to make some of these violent video games the best that they can be.

    I also claim that my findings are just as valid as any other study, since I have a provable statistic. Pay no attention to the sample size, that’s not important.

  3. I think some women writers were complaining a few years back that GTA allowed the NPC women to be killed, ignoring the fact that *all* NPCs could be killed.

  4. The thing that gets kids and adults to become uncontrollably violent is not having enough experience with violence and its outcomes from a young age. No dodge ball, no school fights, no slapping each other around, not allowed to play with knives, not allowed to play with fire, not allowed to say a word, not allowed to do this or that – sooner or later it explodes into an “Am I ever gonna do whatever I please today” sort of frenzy.

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