Over the last few decades, the mainstream American press has blamed gaming for several violent acts that have occurred in the real world. From the Columbine shooters playing Doom to Ander Breivik playing Modern Warfare 2, violent titles have always been accompanied by ridiculous accusations and attemptive escape from true justice.
Since the expansion of the arcade scene during the 80’s, the majority of people are unsure of what gamers feel when and after they’ve played games. Whether the games be violent or they contain certain substances, parents in America are wary of what their children consume even if it is in the virtual world. When something upsets those parents that don’t want their kids to even watch such occurances, sometimes their opinion gets amplified by a part of the press that always says something will bring the destruction of society.
Though I’ve never studied psychology, I think I have a pretty good understanding of the human desires after working in multiple jobs that required me to understand what people wanted and how fast they wanted it. This simple line of human coding streams over all human emotions whether normal or just plain deceiving of their fellow man. Since before the printing press, few voices had an opportunity to be heard to spread news so covering up acts by certain individuals by blaming certain outlets was very easy but now in the information age with the Internet covering up certain things is more difficult than it once was.
The thing that bugs me the most about the human reaction to gaming is that they believe they can blame games for their own issues which they have been of accused for their poor choices. Enough talk about sciences and time to get into what the actual human reaction is to the gaming industry. The fact that games are still blamed for killing rampages is about as foolish as believing that Hitler’s actions against the non-Aryan community was justified because of his dream for the world. That previous statement may seem hyperbolic because if you compare the number of deaths from the Third Reich which has never been able to conclude a finale number that strays around in the hundreds of millions to the smaller ammount of deaths blamed on games which is under a few hundred. How many people’s deaths does it take to create a crisis because of ‘social’ reaction though?
For me, it takes only one injury to cause a crisis when an issue is blamed on a source of media whether it be a book or an electronic game. Recently in Winter Haven, Florida, a man was accused of executing two of his friends and what he was accused of because of his actions: playing video games. WTSP reported on this story back on the 26th of April. Local police chief Gary Hester (seen below on the right) blamed EA’s latest blockbuster shooter Battlefield 3 for Joshua Davis’s actions. According to local detectives, Joshua was addicted to playing Battlefield 3.
During the TV report, a psychiatrist was interviewed to get his opinion on the situation. He said something to the affect of playing the game concurrently caused Davis to be nullified by those actions he saw on screen to help him be more accurate with his actions with the gun he held. As he is a professional who has studied the particular science, I respect what he has said, then forgot it as most likely the only video game he has ever played was Solitare on his PC. To get an accurate report of the situation, you have to be a psychologist that has played such violent games to gather what could be called ‘accurate research’.
The psychiatrist’s natural human reaction brought him to a conclusion without any true evidence of his speculation for Joshua Davis’s violent act. Something that could be brought up in this case is that Joshua’s friends that he executed could have aggravated him over the last several years and with no emotional release from such things could lead his emotions to implode in a tragic act.
My conclusion to the human reaction to gaming when it comes to violent acts is humanity as a whole is too willing to blame something else instead of the suspect: the person holding the gun. When it all comes down to it, it is always the aggravator’s fault for such a violent act that could have been avoided by a simple intervention. Don’t be so willing to blame the games but instead look at the key facts of the situation that could have caused the incident. The Columbine shooters weren’t inspired by iD Software’s shooter title; they were inspired by their hate for the classmates that made them feel terrible about themselves. Ander Breivik wasn’t inspired by Infinity Ward’s title Modern Warfare 2 but he wanted to stop the increasing Islamic population in Europe from overcoming what he termed as ‘true Europeans’.
The simple message to this piece is don’t blame the games for your actions and don’t let your natural human judgement place wrongful characteristics on someone that is most likely a great human being. We are people that are trying to get along a planet that is too small for all of us and we need to realize that we are all more similar than we realize.