President Donald Trump addressed the nation on August 5 about the two horrific mass shootings that took place over the weekend. One of these shootings took place at a Walmart in El Passo, Texas and another in Dayton, Ohio. A total of 31 people were killed in the shootings and dozens injured. With the debate around guns spinning up again, a familiar medium has begun to take some of the blame. During the address, President Trump blamed the internet and video games for impacting the individuals responsible for carrying out these crimes.
During his speech, Trump said, “the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds.” He went on to state, “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.”
Along with Trump, GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appeared on Fox News following the shooting in El Paso. McCarthy remarked that he believed video games dehumanized individuals and called it a “problem for future generations.” He went on to state that “we’ve watched from studies shown before what it does to individuals.” However, the link between real-world violence and violent video games has yet to be proven to exist. In fact, there have been multiple studies disproving this concept entirely.
Following these comments from McCarthy, Trump, and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, multiple political and entertainment figures denounced blaming video games for causing mass shootings. Hillary Clinton, California Congressman Eric Swalwell, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with many others took to social media to disavow this connection. Esports consultant Rod Breslau went on Fox News earlier today to challenge President Trump’s claim.
Blaming video games for real-world violence is not a new trend, as multiple titles such as DOOM, Mortal Kombat, and Grand Theft Auto have all been called out by various political or media figures. The violent nature of their content makes them easy to target, especially since some video games can be quite brutal. Yet, all of the research points to there being no link between these two – a fact well known throughout the gaming community.
Recently, Heavy posted a piece by Christopher J. Ferguson – a professor of psychology at Stetson University – about the lack of evidence behind the violence and video games correlation. With over 15 years of researching this topic, Professor Ferguson stated that ” there is no evidence to support these claims.” In his article, Professor Ferguson lists out multiple sources – including the United States Supreme Court – that disprove this theory. While politicians can yell about this topic, there is simply not enough data to prove any of these theories.