Vice President Joe Biden opened a meeting with video-game makers at the White House on Friday, part of the Obama administration's response to the mid-December shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The White House is seeking input from game-makers and the entertainment industry about cultural factors that may contribute to violence.
So what about any tie between violent video games and mass shootings - do video games cause people to pick up guns and go out and kill people? I don't believe so - at least not the tens of millions of gamers who play video games everyday. Video game violence has been around since the early 80’s. It is true that video games have gotten a lot more graphic and violent over the last 20 years with games like Mortal Combat, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty. But any theory that playing these games would move even a small percentage of the tens of millions of gamers in the U.S. to go out and kill people, is a stretch. Otherwise we would have already had hundreds of mass shootings. The reality is that 99.9% of people who play video games will not pick up a gun and go shoot 30 people. Why? Because most civilized human beings have a trigger in their brain that tells them what’s right and wrong. Even if they had an axe to grind, most people know there are better ways of settling things and realize the serious consequences for commiting murder and mayhem. It’s that right and wrong trigger, a moral compass, that prevents them from picking up a semi-automatic gun and mowing down 30 people.
Unfortunately, there are those who may have a chemical imbalance, personality disorder, or may be “mentally ill”, who may not have that trigger. The line between what’s right and wrong is blurred. These are the people in our society that require help. Our government has a role to play in helping these individuals by providing the support and the tools so that they can live functional lives and be contributing members of society. There also needs to be stricter guidelines on prescribing antidepressants & other medication that are overprescribed today. Parent’s also have an important role in monitoring their children who have mental issues, the activities they engage in, and making sure their children seek the proper therapy.
As for the gun control issue. There’s extreme views on both sides. There are the pro-gun users who, for example, want to arm teachers with guns believing that if everyone had a gun, they could protect themselves. That sounds a little crazy to this writer - if teachers wanted to be cops, they would be cops and not teach. Then on the left you have those who want to ban all guns. Well, it’s too late for that. For the thousands of irresponsible gun owners there are millions of responsible gun owners who will refer you to their second amendment right to “bear arms”. Although you could argue that when our forefathers wrote the 2nd amendment, back then it took almost a minute to load your musket and then it was “one” shot. Back then we were also protecting ourselves from “the British were coming”.
So what should be done to address the recent spike up in gun violence and mass shootings? For starters, the government can start by closing the loopholes so that it’s not so easy to get a gun at a gunshow where there aren’t always background checks. Secondly, we should seriously consider banning these rapid fire semi-automatic guns and the huge magazines that are attached to them. The high-capacity gun magazines like the one Jared Lee Loughner allegedly used in Tucson when he was able to fire 31 bullets in 15 seconds because he supersized his Glock 19 handgun with a high-capacity magazine. His massacre ended only when he stopped to reload and bystanders wrestled him to the ground. If he had used a standard magazine and was forced to reload earlier, some of his victims might have been spared. Does anyone really need a gun with a high-capacity magazine to hunt or protect themselves?
Gun violence is so much higher in the U.S. then in most western civilized countries and it has less less to do with video games and more to do with easy access to guns. There are the same violent video games in Australia, UK, and Canada and all those countries have much less gun homicides then the U.S. It is because we have a gun culture. Because in America guns are much easier to get because our laws and regulations are lax. People argue that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This is true, but guns are the tools to enable it. Some of those guns causing much more death and destruction the others. So we need to address that reality.
I’m not saying take guns away completely because it’s not going to happen - and that has less to do with "the right to bear arms" and more to do with the fact that the NRA is such a powerful lobby force in politics. Nevertheless, President Obama and VP Biden are moving forward to address the issue as they should. We cannot as a society stand by any longer and do nothing to stop the slaughter of innocents. There is no perfect solution and you’re going to upset people on both sides. In the meantime, if you’re a gunowner and you have kids, it is your responsibility to explain to them what’s right and wrong and how dangerous a gun is. You also need to lock up those weapons, and you need to always be aware of the situation around you.