You’re Not Helping

The new Fox & Friends host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck (formerly the lone conservative on ABC’s The View) suggested during the Tuesday morning show that “the left” was trying to make Monday?s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard about “gun control.” Instead she pointed out that the country doesn’t need a national registry for guns, it needs one for to [sic] track video game purchases.

As a gun owner and a gamer, I find remarks like this to be firmly in the “you’re not helping” category. Millions of people in the country (and many more all over the world) — including myself — enjoy playing video games, including those with violent content. The vast, overwhelming majority of gamers are ordinary people who go about their lives without harming anyone.
Is there some overlap between violent madmen and those who play video games? Almost certainly, just as there’s some overlap between violent madmen and those who use toothpaste, watch movies, hold particular religious beliefs, listen to certain musical groups, hold a specific political view, etc. However, as far as I’m aware, there’s no conclusive evidence that any of these things have a causal relationship with violent outcomes.
As fellow gun-rights supporters have pointed out, violent crime rates have dropped over the last few decades while the number of privately-owned guns has increased. Over the same time period the sale of video games, including violent ones, has also increased as has their realism and detail.
Blaming video games for violent crime is a bold claim. Is it possible? Perhaps, but if I may quote Carl Sagan, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Such evidence is not forthcoming. Making unsupported claims of this type is silly, counterproductive, and makes gun-rights advocates look absurd by association.

2 thoughts on “You’re Not Helping”

  1. My only comment here is that, with young folks, they may have some undesirable effects…
    That being said, I also play some fps games but haven’t found that it creates a desire to go shoot up the world.
    Being a lifetime hunter/shooter, I understand the destructive power of firearms, where, on the other hand, children who haven’t seen first hand effects have no clue

    1. There’s been quite a bit of research on the subject, and there’s not really any conclusive evidence that video games (or movies, or music, etc.) is linked to violent behavior.
      Am I open to the possibility that it’s possible? Sure, but there’d need to be some evidence.
      That said, I’m all for keeping things age-appropriate. A 10-year-old probably shouldn’t be playing Call of Duty any more than they should be watching Saving Private Ryan.

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