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Violent video games to blame for massacre?

by Nicholas Holden (Holden ZA)  Posted Monday, December 24, 2012 12:30:00 PM

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The recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has seen a wave of attention hit the shores of the video gaming industry. This attention has been derived from the fact that the alleged killer, Adam Lanza, was known to have played violent video games such as Call of Duty. This has led to widespread criticism of the gaming industry from the public as well as the 'higher ups' such as senator Rockefeller and the National Rifle Association (NRA). 

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In recent weeks there has been a tremendous amount of development regarding the problem solving in hindsight of the shootings in Connecticut. After delving deeper into Adam Lanza's world, investigators found out that he used to play games for hours, hiding away in the basement of his home.

This juicy piece of information has led to mass appeal against violent video games, with most critics stating that the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary were caused by the desensitizing nature of the video games. Critics believe that video games eventually allowed Lanza to be a relentless killer an without video games that these murder would not have happened. However, the video gaming industry has not been the only one in the spotlight. For the first piece of information regarding the murders came to the surface before the the eventual discovery of Lanzas gaming history. That initial discovery was the involvement of guns in the murder of 20 kindergarten students. 

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Adam Lanza 

With the guns being involved a lot of pressure has been placed onto the NRA and they thought relieving that pressure might help their cause, so where did they point the finger? Video games. In a recent press conference the spokesperson of the NRA had the following to say, 

"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people," NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said. "Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, and Splatterhouse" 

The spokesperson went further as to also condemn the entertainment industry,

"Then there's the blood-soaked slasher films like American Psycho and Natural Born Killers that are aired like propaganda loops on Splatterdays and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life."

The NRA has not been the only well known voice to air against the entertainment/gaming industry.

As senator Rockefeller has recently introduced a bill that highlights the need to research the relationship between violent behavior and video games. This bill would see the National Academy of Science to investigate how violent games and programming would effect children. 

Rockerfella had the following to say on his website:

"Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children," Rockefeller said in a statement to his website. "They have a responsibility to protect our children. If they do not, you can count on the Congress to take a more aggressive role."

These latest shooting have brought up 2 issues namely :

1) Should guns be made available to the public? 

2) Does violent video games lead to violent behavior ?

These questions are both extremely difficult to answer on the behalf of the public as they are two issues that draw so many different view points. Hopefully if any positive can come from these shootings it's the fact that these questions are now going to be looked and given much more attention. I'm not saying that those answers will be greeted with applause, but soultions are needed. Who knows we might see a flip in the reality of gaming and guns. Where as you had to have a licence to use a weapon maybe you will need a licence to play violent games. All I'm saying is that allot is possible whilst these questions remain unanswered. 

What is your opinion, let us know! Do you think violent video games should be removed from shelves or do you believe that the world of gaming remains unaffected by the latest tragedy? 

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



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