Now I don’t care what you think about gun control. Whether you think we need more guns to stop guns, or more restrictions on guns, that is not the topic of discussion for this post.
What I do want to discuss is the NRA throwing video games and other forms of media under the bus.
Really, NRA?! There are so many good arguments for having guns and having the NRA. I’ve heard them before. Did the NRA use any of them? No! Instead we have a piss-poor attempt to shift the blame onto video games and the media. But let’s let the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, speak for himself:
There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like “Bulletstorm,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Mortal Kombat,” and “Splatterhouse.”
So we have a game where you kill mutant monsters, a campy graphic fighting game, a shoot ’em up driving game, and another zombie and monster fighting game. One of these games doesn’t even have any guns! Yes, all of these game are violent; they are all very mainstream; and they have a wide range of followers. But does the content of the video game really matter?
As Ace said to me when we were discussing this issue:
I think over half the population gamed today, and yet that number of people managed to not murder anyone.
Gaming isn’t just something a small group of people participate in anymore. Playing video games has become as common as watching movies. But LaPierre also blames all violent media. He goes after movies and music video games as sources for why shooting happens. However, other countries, like Japan, have just as many violent video games, movies, and music videos as the U.S., but they have way less violence than we do.
Blaming violence on the media is the biggest scapegoat ever and has been around since the very existence of violent media. And it’s very clear that LaPierre was looking for a scapegoat since he couldn’t come with a better defense for his own organization. Among the big name video game titles he mentioned, he also listed a little known flash game called Kindergarten Killer.
It’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research staff can find it, and all of yours couldn’t … or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?
Maybe no one else found it because it’s an obscure and crude point and click game, created by a morbid young teen with no actual ties to the video game industry, and, that though it’s still around, it was eventually taken off the original site it was posted on. And maybe, Mr. LaPierre, your research staff found it because they were pointedly looking for a scapegoat to their own controversy and problems with the media.
Kotaku writer Owen Good had this to say about the inclusion of Kindergarten Killer in LaPierre’s list of violent games:
Kindergarten Killer‘s almost total obscurity, to say nothing of the fact it is a flash game lumped in with four longstanding console series, makes it the most laughable inclusion in the NRA’s strange news conference today, severely weakening the NRA’s claim that all video games are purposefully and callously violent. As the work of a bored teenager, it is by no means representative of the “shadow industry” LaPierre condemned. Sure, it’s awful, and easily accessed by children over a web browser; so is most anything violent, pornographic, or shocking to the conscience.
The fact remains that the media and, in recent years, especially video games have been used as a scapegoat for people to blame violence.
All I have to say is this to Mr. LaPierre: Just because you aren’t savvy enough to construct an actual intelligent and thought-out argument for your cause does not give you the right to throw something I love to the wolves. This geek girl will not allow you to shame her nerd culture.
Most people don’t kill others in random acts of violence and they certainly don’t do it because of video games and other forms of media. It’s absurd to even make such an argument and I pity Mr. LaPierre for not being able to think of something better to defend the organization he represents.