Video Games Don’t Cause Shootings. . . But They Don’t Prevent Them Either
To the editor:
In Kevin Draper’s August 5, 2019 article “Video Games Aren’t Why Shootings Happen. Politicians Still Blame Them”, he attacks an extremely modern theory that tends to be held by particularly ancient people. Of course, we are talking about the theory that video games cause violence. This belief over the past decade has become more and more popular as mass shootings have become common place in American society.
Kevin’s argument is very appealing to people who identify as “Gamers” like me. We gamers share a love and passion for video games. To some of us it is more then some free time or a hobby, it is an escape, our meditation, a place we can socialize with people from around the world and so much more. However, to think our video game community is impenetrable from enduring or inflicting real world violence is absurd. This video game society is not some utopian state, it is just like the imperfect society we all share.
The Jacksonville Landing shooting for example was a shooting that occurred at a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament on August 26, 2018. Who or what are we to blame for such a shooting this time? Dissecting such a tragic event we could blame video games and their “violent nature”, but this football video game is based on the NFL. Does the blame now shift to the American sport of football and its violent tackles, physicality, and head traumas? Or, do we agree that neither one of these issues are a factor and that we blame the shooter, David Katz. After he lost, maybe his over competitive nature and missed opportunity of prize money that he may have been relying on to live, pushed him over the edge or triggered an undiagnosed mental health issue? Maybe, we forget all logical reasoning and disapprove that a formula of all the stated and unfound hazardous factors could have been the cause of such a disastrous event and just blame it on an inanimate object such as a gun.
Do I believe that video games cause violence, yes they could, can, and probably have when the wrong construction of awful conditions have been inadvertently fused together. Do I believe that video games can solely cause violence, hell no! The main problem here all stems from the, undiagnosed, untreated, undiscovered, and lack of awareness around mental health issues. To be able to perform such a hideous act of violence is an unhealthy mind set or some menacing chemical combination going on in our brain and body that has been left untreated. In the United States alone, almost half of adults (46%) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, and only 41% of that 46% will receive professional health care or services. However, with the proper education, you can support the change in the conversation around mental illness and its health care. We owe it to the patients, future generations, and loved ones around us to help find better ways to deal with mental health issues. Go get educated, support those around you who suffer from mental illnesses, get help for yourself if you need it, and raise mental health awareness.