We need to stop blaming gun-violence on video games
It's time to place the blame where it belongs -- shoddy gun control laws and a a politicization of social justice reform
The Fourth of July shooting in Highland Park, IL is deeply tragic. A young white man shot seven people and injured another couple dozen who were attending a parade celebrating the national holiday.
And so, the cycle begins again as we all ask “why?” Inevitably, video games come up in conversation whenever there’s a shooting, mostly from gun advocates like the NRA.
Tucker Carlson blames anything except slack gun-control laws:
Look at Robert "Bobby" Crimo. Would you sell a gun to that guy? Does he seem like a nutcase? Of course he does. So, why didn't anyone raise an alarm?
Well, maybe because he didn't stand out, maybe because there's a lot of young men in America who suddenly look and act a lot like this guy….Like Crimo, they inhabit a solitary fantasy world of social media, porn, and video games. They are high on government endorsed weed….They're numbed by the endless psychotropic drugs that are handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors.
And of course, they are angry. They know that their lives will not be better than their parents, they'll be worse. That's all but guaranteed, they know that — they're not that stupid. And yet the authorities in their lives — mostly women — never stops lecturing them about their so-called privilege. "You're male! You're privileged." Imagine that. Try to imagine an unhealthier, unhappier life than that. So, a lot of young men in America are going nuts. Are you surprised?
A lot of men are angry, he’s got that right. The rest is more smoke and mirrors, deflecting from the real issue. So this woman is going to use whatever privilege she possesses to try and drive away the smoke.
The New York Post goes on to draw conclusions from the shooter being a “Call of Duty” player to living out those gaming moments in the real world.
It doesn’t matter that professionals have debunked the claims that video games cause desensitization or promote real-life violence. Even the late Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia scoffed at the idea that video games are what cause real-world violence:
“[video games] show at best some correlation between exposure to violent entertainment and minuscule real-world effects, such as children feeling more aggressive or making louder noises in the few minutes after playing a violent game than after playing a nonviolent game.”
There will always be angry, bitter, privileged individuals who want to punish the world around them for their self-perceived wrongs. But we don’t need to make it easy for them to lash out. We don’t need to keep guns as readily available and accessible as they are for high-risk individuals.
Video games can be violent. So can movies, books, music, and our real-world news. But consuming these forms of media does not turn an otherwise peace-loving and kind individual into a mass murderer on a rampage. Will a violent person engage with this media for their own satisfaction? Sure. But they weren’t formed by video game consumption. They were formed by so many other factors first.
Catholics are called to be stewards of the Earth, which includes not just the actual planet but everything and everyone living on its rocky surface. After Uvalde, Pope Francis exhorted the US “to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms.”
The Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Cupich, further says:
Sadly, not every US Catholic is on board with such sentiment from our spiritual leaders. There are times when the Constitution seems more valued than the Catechism.
Tackling social issues like poverty, income inequality, racism, mental health resources, and the educational system, all of these will see a decrease in gun violence. It’s not about weed. It’s not about “lecturing women.” It’s not about video games. But social justice has gotten so deeply wrapped up in American politics that one side disregards it as part of a “liberal agenda” rather than the bare minimum we should be doing for our fellow humans.
But it’s easier to place the blame on video games or just about anything else. It’s easier to blame our consumption of media. It’s much easier than advocating for social justice, which is our root calling as Catholics.
And as people die in their schools, in their churches, or at their local parades, the message sent is loud and clear: your life doesn’t matter as much as my gun.