Blaming Video Games For Mass Shootings Is Ridiculous; Stop It

from the nice-try dept

Mike just wrote about how, in the wake of the abhorrent mass shooting that occurred in upstate New York over the weekend, some of our leaders have begun the normal cleansing ritual: blame the things we already hated for the new bad thing that happened whether that makes any sense at all or not. In the case of the previous post, both public servants and buffoonish Sunday news talk hosts discussed how this was all the fault of Section 230 (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) and everyone’s favorite boogeyman, social media. It is abundantly clear to anyone with a brain that these two scapegoats were already targets for those now blaming them. Apparently, these people were simply lying in wait looking for a trigger so that they could shout “Social Media! Section 230!” and they decided that 10 people losing their lives in a racist attack was just that sort of thing.

As Mike said, it’s ridiculous and it should stop. The alleged shooter in this instance wrote a manifesto of absurd length, patiently detailing out his motivations for his actions. Those motivations largely concerned race, false theories about the replacement of white people within the country, and hate. To read those musings and then choose to blame an entity entirely absent from discussion is deeply cynical.

But if you thought this was going to end with social media and Section 230, well, you haven’t been paying attention. Because some trains are never late, some folks, who would very much like to obscure where this alleged mass murderer got these ideas about race from, would like you to assume this is also the fault of video games.

In case you cannot view the embedded tweet, I can summarize the Fox News host’s two main concepts. First, the host wonders aloud what could possibly be going through the mind of someone like the alleged mass murderer. Second, he suggests that these mass shootings have all gotten so much worse at the same time that video games have become more realistic and violent.

Let’s do this in reverse order. Casually tossing in some correlation with video games and mass murders being “worse” is quite pernicious. If Fox News has any data it would like to cite, then it should do so. As someone who has reported on this topic for something like a decade now, witnessing how gun rights groups blame gaming, politicians from one side of the aisle blame gaming, and even major media groups tacitly blame gaming, I’ve also noticed how the actual facts concerning the link between gaming and violence mostly amounts to a spectrum of “doesn’t really matter” to “definitely doesn’t matter“.

So why are a Fox News host, and others on the right, bringing this up while also feigning curiosity as to what was going on in the shooter’s mind? Quite possibly it’s because that host knows damned well that the shooter’s manifesto contained ideas quite similar to some Fox News hosts and other like-minded networks.

On May 14, a man allegedly shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, using weapons adorned with white supremacist messaging. A writing uploaded online before the attack, and allegedly from the shooter, invoked the false “great replacement” conspiracy theory as the motive for the attack. The conspiracy theory claims that certain people, particularly Jews, are trying to “replace” white Americans and remove them from power. It was originally popularized in far-right online spaces but has since been espoused by some high-ranking Republican politicians such as Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, as well as conservative media personalities like Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

Now, I want to be very, very clear here: to date, there has been no indication of the alleged shooter name-checking any of these hosts or networks or politicians in his writing. Instead, he indicates he found content on some backwater sites. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that the hosts and politicians mentioned above have very much parroted sanitized versions of “great replacement” theory in broadcasts viewed by millions of people. That sort of speech, evil as it may be, is protected speech. But it’s quite silly for those working for those same networks to simply ignore that issue nearly entirely and instead point at video games as the cause of the shooting. As Fox News has done, for instance.

This is purposeful, there can be no doubt. Extreme cable news outlets know what they’re doing. And, in some small part, they have blood on their hands. That they choose not to alter their programming, even as the crime scene is spattered with the blood of innocents and the bodies are being fit for coffins, is equal parts infuriating and unsurprising.

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Comments on “Blaming Video Games For Mass Shootings Is Ridiculous; Stop It”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Because it easy to blame video games, fox news is hardly going to criticise right wing Politicans who spread racist conspiracy theory’s about immigrants or its own hosts who talk about the replacement theory
Almost every country in the world has 18 rated video games widely avaidable there is no other country that has mass shootings on the scale of America
Obviously they don’t want to talk about bringing in strict gun control laws that don’t make it so easy for people to buy rifles or automatic weapons
New Zealand had one bad mass shooting
and soon after brought in strict gun control laws

Anon E Mouse says:


Adding to this. Right wing politicians (or politicians in general) have their media machinery and lawyers primed and ready, any talk of blaming them for anything will meet immediate pushback. Vaguely blaming video games without naming any specific companies is much less likely to meet serious resistance. Why tell the truth that’s likely to bite you in the ass, when you can use an easy low-risk lie?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

TAC Truism

Humans are unable to move forward until the blame has been “properly” assigned for an event.

Literally 10 people lay dead & the debate is was it video games, was it Faux News, was it Twitches fault, was it anything.
10 people are dead, but people care more about making sure the things they want to blame are correctly blamed.
Those to blame are society.

Obviously the mental health check was a failure.
Obviously the law failed, those clips were illegal in NY.
Obviously the media failed, because it repeats the lies.
Obviously the government failed, because they STILL haven’t offered up a single fucking thing that might avoid the next mass shooting beyond thoughts and prayers.
Obviously the family failed, because they didn’t seek help (but given calling 911 ends up with the person in crisis dead can’t blame them for not calling).

A nation poised to force women into having less rights than a corpse, and we can’t even think to touch the sacred guns in any way.
A nation where 1 million people died because their sacred right to be an asshole mattered more than others lives.

Humans are at fault.
There I solved it all & properly assigned the blame, each and every one of you is responsible.
Now that the blame is properly assigned, FUCKING FIX IT.

Stop allowing people to die to own the libs or the magas.
Jesus called, he called the lot of you cunts.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I wonder how those assholes felt about that game showing members of the Ku Klux Klan aligning themselves with the Nazis.

The best thing about that scene, by the by, is how it implies an obvious truth: The allies of fascism should never feel truly safe. Once fascists deal with the “undesirables”, they’ll inevitably turn inward because they need an enemy. Fascism only survives when fascists have someone to hate⁠—to subjugate. In the context of that scene, the Klansmen might say and do the right things; they might seem fascist enough. But if they make one mistake⁠—if they say one wrong word or make one wrong gesture⁠—the Nazis will subjugate them (or kill them) without thinking twice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

To be fair, Imperial Japan’s Plan B for when a swift victory against China was not viable was to…

Commit more resources to a “decisive strike” against America while conquering Southeast Asia.

They believed that were fucked regardless of what they did. I highly doubt they had a plan for dealing with Hitler other than “kick the can down the road and hope we have something by then”. And that’s me being very charitable to Imperial Japan High Command.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

JJ says:

check your facts

Replacement theory was started in highly progressive France in 2011.

Democrats have openly talked about it for years. It’s part of their strategy on open borders. Joe Biden has talked about it. If it was a negative issue or racist they wouldn’t have been so open about it. Maybe some racists have turned it around (don’t really know) but doubt this has anything to do with this shooter. He is crazy. There were warnings that went ignored. He went to high school in a hazmat suit. Maybe Covid made him crazy. Hopefully we’ll learn more.

Mass shootings have gone up in last two decades despite more stringent gun laws including eliminating automatic weapons. In some cities guns are completely illegal, except under rare circumstances. In last five years, 51 people on average die from mass shootings….it was 8 in the 1970s. In the 70s, KKK membership was in the millions, now less than 5,000 members, per FBI. Racism & discrimination has declined significantly since 1970s although democrats think all white people are racist for political purposes. So why the increase in mass shootings? What has changed in last 20 years?

Anonymous Coward says:


If it was a negative issue or racist they wouldn’t have been so open about it. Maybe some racists have turned it around (don’t really know) but doubt this has anything to do with this shooter.

Perhaps you should investigate the “great replacement theory” before you tell people to check their facts. You might learn whether it is or isn’t a negative/racist issue. Having open your mouth first, though…

Anonymous Coward says:

That they choose not to alter their programming, even as the crime scene is spattered with the blood of innocents and the bodies are being fit for coffins, is equal parts infuriating and unsurprising.

First the leopards came for the easy targets…

rest assured though, that the Leopards Eating People’s Faces voters will get their turn.

nerdrage (profile) says:

easy to demolish this argument

Japan has a lot of very violent and nutty pop culture elements, including video games, and their gun death rate is basically zero. Due to strong gun control laws. That should be enough evidence on how to fix the problem. If the problem continues not to be fixed, it’s because people want the problem to continue and the deaths to rack up. Dolts.

ECA (profile) says:


No we cant blame ourselves.
We cant blame the family
We cant blame the kid for not having enough brain cells.
We cant figure out whats wrong so we point. to anything else Besides what Is/could be wrong.

And the bad part is, Is the person alive so we can ASK them WHY?

People care allot, but its hard to decide things when everyone is pointing All over the place. And those are OPINIONS, not NEWS.

If any of these news agencies have ANY of the great Publishing AWARDS, Lets go and remove them. Please.
That, of we NEED the Flying Fickle Finger of FATE, AGAIN.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
John85851 (profile) says:


When Alec Baldwin accidentally shot someone with a prop gun on the set of “Rust”, politicians and Fox News were falling all over themselves about gun safety and how this can never happen again and how there needs to be stricter rules about guns.

But we have another mass shooting and no one talks about gun safety or gun control. Instead, they find something to blame other than guns.

President Biden said the same thing as Obama about the mass shooting: “This is not who we are.”
Um, yes it is: we care more about the one accidental death on the set of a movie than we do about the 10 people who were killed in yet another mass shooting.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


But wait it gets worse…

WSJ (a Murdoch company) editorial calling out the media/politicians to not promote replacement theory and other divisive things, without directly managing to name Tucker Carlson or Fox News (a Murdoch company) who promoted this concept more than anyone else has in decades and is still promoting insane shit designed to turn people against each other.

Anon says:

Weird and Stupid...

You have to wonder – if the shooter was so concerned about “replacement theory” but had to drive 3 hours to find a place where there was a large enough black population for his warped psychotic actions, just how much impact on his immediate surroundings was this “diversity shift” actually having? It was all silos with echo chambers.

The problem with social media is the thing 230 was meant to address – if every post has to be vetted before being made public, most social media would cease to exist.

I grew up in the era of Bugs Bunny, 3 Stooges, Popeye – yet there was not a plethora of poked eyes, kids beat to a pulp like Popeye, or explosions or anvils dropped on heads. To quote “Beef” from Phantom of the Opera “I know real real from drug real.”

That One Guy (profile) says:


That’s like saying that drinking alcohol causes drunken behavior so drinking lemonade also causes drunken behavior. Even if one category of content has a correlation with an act(and so far all you’ve provided is an assertion to that effect) that doesn’t automatically follow that another category would have a similar correlation, you would still need to demonstrate the latter by providing evidence of the link.

bhull242 (profile) says:


If those pornograph[ic] Japanese manga featuring children causes people to become child molesters, […]

Something I don’t believe to be true, nor have I seen anyone else here asserting that that’s the case, so [citation needed].

[…] I have no issue with video games being blamed for being responsible for creating mass shooters.

I mean, there have been a ton of studies into this, and the aggregate result is that they do not appear to do so. As such, there is reason to expressly disbelieve that that’s the case.

Additionally, this doesn’t logically follow from the premise, and the premise is not necessarily true.

You can’t have it both ways.

I don’t believe either are true, nor have I seen that claim anywhere here, so that’s a moot point, but it’s also not necessarily true. If a bunch of studies are done into both issues and the results show no good evidence of any link between video games and violence (which is actually the case) but also a strong likelihood that hentai featuring children increases child molestation, then both, “Video games don’t cause violence,” and, “Hentai featuring children cause child molestation,” can both be true without any contradiction or double standards. These two statements aren’t mutually exclusive.

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