Mass shootings have become an all too commonplace reality in the United States today. The press cycle can’t even finish talking about one mass shooting before another takes place. In the past two days alone, shootings in El Paso and Dayton have claimed the lives of more than 30 people, with more than 50 injured. As usual, politicians are issuing statements left and right in the wake of these disasters. In the case of President Trump, that statement was a criticism of violent video games.
President Trump blames shootings on violent video games
President Trump laid out his plans in a recent statement to the press. Most of his talking points had to deal with background checks to prevent mentally ill people from possessing guns. He also indicated that he’ll be pushing for the death penalty in cases of mass shootings. However, his second talking point placed much of the blame for these tragedies on the “glorification of violence” found in society, and especially in video games.
We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.
McCarthy also blames violent video games
It’s unclear exactly what Trump means by “stop or substantially reduce” violence in video games and in society in general. At this point in time, President Trump has not put forward any specific plans for violent video games. He is joined by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in blaming video games. Speaking with Fox News on Sunday, McCarthy said the following:
But the idea of these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others — I’ve always felt that is a problem for future generations and others. We’ve watched from studies shown before of what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.
It’s unclear what studies McCarthy is referring to. No substantial evidence was provided by McCarthy to link violent video games with mass shootings.
Trump’s meeting with the ESA
President Trump also blamed violent video games and movies after the Parkland shooting last year. He then met with members of the Entertainment Software Association. Attendees called the meeting “bizarre,” “unproductive,” and “respectful but contentious.”
Republican Representative Vicky Hartzler also attended that meeting. She argued that, despite having no evidence linking violent video games to real world violence, we should act anyway. She argued that it just “intuitively seems” like viewing violence would desensitize young people.
Media Research Council President Brent Bozell also attended that meeting. He argued that video games need to be regulated as if they were alcohol or cigarettes. He also argued that people are just “playing politics” if they don’t believe violent video games lead to violence. As with Representative Hartzler, he provided no evidence for any of his claims.
In the end, nothing came of that meeting. No reforms or restrictions were passed. At the time, a spokesperson for President Trump stated that the meeting was just the first of many steps they’d be taking. With Trump now blaming the video game industry once again, perhaps we’ll see their next move.