The Pile On Blaming Video Games For Texas Shooting Begins
from the ready-fire-aim dept
Now that we’re encountering mass shootings in America on what appears to basically be a weekly or so clip, all the tired, made-up, bullshit talking points that get trotted out to shift blame are coming off as even more tired and made-up than they did previously. We’ve now had three mass shootings that have been all over the media in the past 3 weeks — while, by definition, there have already been over 200 mass shootings that have occurred just this year in America — all of which used a common AR-15 long-rifle weapon. Beyond that, there aren’t a ton of similarities in the shootings. One appears to have been a racist attack on an African American neighborhood, another the random desire of a sick individual to specifically shoot up an elementary school, while the most recent in Tusla thus far looks to be a more targeted killing event for reasons unknown at the time of this writing.
But, again, all three incidents have two things in common. First, multiple firearms were used, but all included an “assault-style” weapon (yes, I realize this term is problematic). Second, the pro-gun crowd has retreated to those tired talking points I mentioned in the opening. It was social media. It was rap music. And, because of course, it was video games.
And while a certain segment of the popluation will flail about to blame literally anything other than access to firearms for these gun deaths, the pile on to blame video games has begun. It began with Texas’ Dept. of Public Safety Chief Steven McGraw, who first acknowledged that police officers in the building did a whole lot of nothing while children were murdered until Border Patrol showed up, but then pivoted to the evil of “cyber gaming.”
This has to stop. The link between video gaming and mass shootings not only hasn’t been proven, but there are plenty of studies showing the potential for gaming, even violent gaming, to defuse the desire of otherwise potential shooters. To be clear, that isn’t proven either, but that isn’t really the point. The point is that there is zero reason to mention video games in this context at all, even as a throwaway comment such as McGraw’s. Other countries have violent video games and, ostensibly, whatever “cyber gaming” is. And yet they don’t have our mass shooting or gun violence problems.
But McGraw wasn’t alone. Ted Cruz made his way to the NRA Leadership Forum for a jaunty speech in which he also blamed violent video games, while the crowd he was clearly attempting to absolve of any responsibility nodded along.
I can’t make this point enough: there are responsible, thoughtful, caring gun owners in America. I have personal relationships with some. But there is nothing about trying to scapegoat video games instead of giving an inch on access to guns that is responsible. I’ve said this before, but if the NRA and their ilk simply believe that they want their toys more than they want to compromise to stop the deaths of their fellow citizens, including children, I really do wish they’d just say so. It would be horrible, but at least it would be rational.
Instead, monied interests produce fingerpointing at irrelevant targets. Perhaps we can coin that a “mass blaming”, whenever these talking points get trotted out after a mass shooting.