Against the background of two “jokes” per day, industry representatives, journalists and the Internet acted as a united front.
What happened in El Paso and Dayton
August 3 in the United States, there were two mass executions with a difference of 13 hours. First, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius staged a massacre at the Walmart supermarket in the Texas city of El Paso. A few hours later, there was shooting near a bar in Dayton, Ohio – it began 24-year-old Connor Betts (Connor Betts). 32 people became victims of two attacks, several dozen more were injured.
These cases of mass execution are not connected in any way, the only thing that unites them is that this happened within one day. Crusius was inspired by the attack on mosques in New Zealand and even published his manifesto on the 8chan image board, where he talked about the “Latin American invasion of Texas.” Due to the manifest, Cloudflare has stopped serving the site.
Less is known about Betts’s motives: unlike Crusius, he was shot dead by police during an attack on a bar. Before that, the American managed to kill nine people, including his own sister. According to media reports, Betts was suspended from high school for creating a “death list”, where he included other students.
Politics vs. Games
After two “jokes” in the USA, they once again started talking about why mass executions are being held in the country so often. And Republican politicians began to associate the increased brutality with the popularity of video games.
Shortly after shooting at El Paso, Texas Vice Governor (state where the city is located) Dan Patrick appeared on Fox & Friends, asking the federal authorities to “do something with the gaming industry.”
Later on another Fox show, Senate Republican minority leader Kevin McCartney appeared, supporting his colleague. “We saw studies showing what games do to people. Look at the photos [shootings], you can see the same thing in games, ”he said. According to McCartney, the ability to shoot at people “dehumanizes” gamers, and this will become an even bigger problem in the future.
On August 5, Donald Trump spoke about the negative impact of video games. The US President held a press conference where he made a statement about what happened in Dayton and El Paso. Trump called for an end to the “romanticization of violence” in society. According to the president, it is largely provided by two things – games and the Internet.
We must stop the romanticization of violence in our society. Among other things, it is provided by shocking and terrible video games, which are now everywhere. For troubled young people today, it’s easy to immerse themselves in a culture that praises violence. We must stop it or significantly reduce it.
This is not the first time Trump has raised the topic of violence in video games. In 2018, he already drew parallels between the “brutality” in the industry and shooting in Parkland. “I heard that violence in video games is increasingly affecting young people,” the president said.
Video game statistics
The influence of video games, or rather, the genre of shooters, is often associated with the crimes of young people. The New York Times recalledthat the first accusations began back in the 1990s, when Wolfenstein 3D and Doom were at the peak of popularity. Since then, this topic has surfaced after numerous “jokes” – from the famous Colubmine to Dayton.
In response to statements by Trump and other politicians, several American media published materials criticizing the connection between games and mass shootings of recent years. Channel CNN cited several arguments about why the Republican position is wrong and to look for reasons why “shutingov” should be in other areas.
- Some studies do find a connection between video games and the aggressive behavior of children. But aggression is not murder yet. There are still no studies proving the influence of games on the desire to arrange a mass execution;
- Quite the contrary: there are several studies at once, proving that the passion for video games does not lead to “cruel behavior.” Scientists from the USA and Britain independently came to such conclusions .
Vox answered all the allegations in one graph: journalists compared the leading countries in the consumption of video games with how many violent deaths from firearms occurred in 2017. Only one country showed abnormally high results – the USA.
Journalists at The New York Times emphasize that in Japan and South Korea there is a very developed video game market, but despite the popularity of shooters, there are almost no massacres in these countries. At the same time, these countries have much stricter laws on the carrying of weapons compared to the United States.
At the same time, in the online manifesto of Crusius, video games are really mentioned: in one of the moments he is sent to the Call of Duty shooter. But Dr. James Aivory, who studies media and video games at the University of Virginia, advises not to draw any conclusions from this: “Of course, some killers play games. But this is how to say that the offender wears shoes, which means shoes increases crime rates. “
Trump’s statement about the brutality of video games and their connection with the killings caused a widespread reaction in social networks. Users launched a flash mob on Twitter with the hashtag #VideogamesAreNotToBlame (“Video games are not to blame”), criticizing the politicians’ attempt to “dump everything on the game”.
The flash mob was joined by popular bloggers, streamers, e-sportsman and industry representatives.
Wait…that's it??? Violent video games and mental health? Not the high powered weapons of war being sold to civilians by the millions that are actually being USED to carry out these acts of domestic terror??— Cory Barlog 🎮 (@corybarlog) 5 August 2019
Wait … what’s the deal? Violent video games and mental health [guilty of terrorist attacks]? Not a powerful military weapon, which is sold to millions of citizens and which are directly used to arrange all this horror?
Sorry, but they really are not to blame. Video games helped me in the best way. Through games, I met amazing people whom I consider to be very close friends. Stop blaming video games and music for executions
Mass executions in the USA in 2019: 251. Mass executions in other countries where there are video games: 7
Saying Call of Duty provokes murder is like saying Mariokart provokes car accidents
Fortnite is not the reason for what happened in El Paso and Dayton. Call of Duty did not lead to Parkland. Halo did not result in a Sandy Hook fire. Doom did not lead to Columbine. Games are simply the last social horror story from those who do not want to take the blame
Boomers say video games are violent / I’m building a house in Minecraft
Video games helped me: raise 10 thousand dollars to help sick children, find friends for life, get a great job. Games are not to blame for senseless cruelty
Trump was also answered by ESA, which holds one of the largest gaming exhibitions E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). Her representatives also emphasized that the games are popular around the world, but so many massacres occur only in the United States.
More than 165 million Americans play video games – as do billions of people around the world. But in other societies where games are as widespread as in the United States, there is no equally tragically high level of violence.
from ESA statement