As I don’t want to repeat the information already presented in the Youtube video I made to pitch my initial idea I am just going to sum up my digital artefact in one sentence. I want to investigate why the media always uses violent gameplay as an excuse to why mass shootings occur. This topic is super relevant right now especially due to the two devastating mass shootings which happened in America the last week in El Paso and Dayton which were once again linked to the idea that the shooters played violent video games and therefore that is why these mass shootings have occurred.
However, this is not the first time violent gameplay has been blamed for mass shootings this theory has started from politicians, in particular, Donald Trump who has on numerous occasions been quoted that “playing violent video games glorifies violence and brutality”. Mr Trump has always used violent gameplay as an excuse for mass shootings which are happening in his country, however, he has completely ignored the fact that these people who conduct mass shootings are usually white supremacists who idealise his own opinions about the world and that they have very easy access to highly powerful weaponry. Now after these two recent mass shootings Donald Trump believes he is able to stop these from happening again by taking action against violent games and removing them from the shelves of American stores but is this really going to fix the issue when you have guns for sale in the same store?
These are the types of questions I want to investigate through my series of blog posts for this digital artefact. Why has Donald Trump started this theory? Is it tactical for his own gain or just easier for him to blame it on something else?
Through much research, I have already found many academic and non-academic sources on this topic. Some which are recent and linked to the newer mass shootings like El Paso and Dayton but others are older and linked to other mass shootings where this idea has also been used. One academic source I found talks about the history of this idea and how it started in the mid-1990s when people had this moral panic that violent games were to blame for violent behaviours in school. However, it wasn’t until 2005 when Hilary Clinton publicly said in a press conference that “violent video games are putting the youth at risk”. This idea was then accelerated during Donald Trump’s presidency when mass shootings would occur he would instantly blame violent gameplay. Now in 2019, Donald Trump wants to take action against these video games like I mentioned earlier.
Other academic sources I found specifically research this idea and have conducted many tests to see if this theory is correct. It is now proven that video games do not create violent tendencies in teens. In fact, only 20% of all school shooters have ever actually played games considered ‘violent’. As playing video games is considered a normal activity for teenagers to do it is clear that any teen who is going to engage in a mass shooting is therefore not doing normal things their peers are like playing games. It has further been proven that the United States is not the largest consumer of violent video games however they have the highest violent gun death rate. This clearly shows there is no link between violent games and mass shootings however even with all the evidence against him Donald Trump continues to use games as a scapegoat.
Even though not a game player myself this idea enrages me as I feel that someone in such a high power like Donald Trump should actually own up to what is occurring in his country and not just take the easy way out. I hope through the use of my digital artefact I can dive deeper into these ideas and questions I have initially laid out. I also hope to find an audience who also feels passionately about this topic and to hopefully engage with my blog posts which can aid me with future research.
‘Donald Trump Partly Blames Video Games for Mass Shootings’, TMZ, 5 August 2019, accessed 11 August 2019, < https://www.tmz.com/2019/08/05/donald-trump-violent-video-games-mass-shootings/ >.
Fantz, A & Griggs, B 2013, ‘NRA draws heat over its new shooting game’, CNN Business, 16 January, accessed 11 August 2019, < https://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/15/tech/gaming-gadgets/nra-shooting-game/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1LKmB6v_PwxTKWDnZvhgZj4kR_K9GHHqY_b4Tk30WfhSQ93fzSVeWsybc >.
Markey, P & Ferguson, C. (2017). ‘Teaching Us to Fear: The Violent Video Game Moral Panic and the Politics of Game Research’, Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong, One Manhatten Square, pp. 99-115.
Whitten, S 2019, ‘No evidence that violent video games are causing mass shootings, despite politician claims’, CNBC, 9 August, accessed 11 August 2019, < https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/09/no-evidence-that-violent-video-games-are-causing-mass-shootings.html >.
Keneally, M 2018, Breaking Down the Debate Over Violent Video Games and School Shootings, ABC News, viewed aa August 2019, < https://abcnews.go.com/US/breaking-debate-violent-video-games-school-shootings/story?id=55324231 >.
Kohler, W 2019, Walmart Pulls Violent Video Games but Continues to Sell Guns, Back2StoneWall, viewed 11 August 2019, < http://www.back2stonewall.com/2019/08/walmart-pulls-violent-video-games-but-continues-to-sell-guns.html >.