Violence and Video Games: Scapegoatism

I usually stray away from blogging about sensitive content that may offend people. I would never want to offend any of you, and always try to keep my blogs fun, light, personal and informative. I decided tonight to make a slight change and blog about a relatively unpopular opinion. Now please, before I begin, let it be known I value and appreciate other people’s opinions. I am open-minded and friendly in all my debates, and I do not want anyone to read this and feel I am being patronizing. I write on the subject hoping it will be regarded as an open forum and would love to hear all your opinions on this.

I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the events regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The news of this shook me to my core. It’s always a huge loss for humanity when events like this occur, and unfortunately it seems these events happen all too often. These were children. These children could not have any inclination that when their parents dropped them off at school and kissed them on their foreheads – that this would ultimately be the last time. Their lives were taken from them because someone was sick. The shooter was a 20-year-old boy with a history of mental illness and other disturbances. Now, we will never know the full story of his upbringing and we will absolutely never, ever understand him. We will never know his thought process, his feelings or his motives. Not only did he take the lives of 20+ children, he took the life of his own mother. It’s hard to wrap ones head around because the vast majority of humanity can not relate to this behavior at all. The shooter was more disturbed than we will ever be able to cognitively understand, and that essentially is wholly the reasons for his actions.

More like, Video Games: Society's scapegoat.

More like, Video Games: Society’s scapegoat.

For some reason though, it seems that people are so quick to look past the fact that this child was mentally ill, and rather start placing the blame on other unrelated issues; primarily the finger is pointed at video games. Sure – you can cut me off right now and say that I’m biased because I am a martyr of sorts for the video game industry and community. I can say that I grew up on video games and am extremely well-adjusted, but this isn’t about video games. It should never be about video games. It’s being reported that because this child played Mass Effect 3 that he was “encouraged” to commit this act. What about the millions of others that played Mass Effect 3 – what crimes have they committed? Why whenever there is an act of violence by a young adult are video games thrown into the fray of excuses? What about the young adults not exposed to gaming, what is their excuse? To blame video games for encouraging violence is just a scapegoat for inattentive parents and an easy way out for society. Instead of addressing actual issues like mental health, which is a way bigger issue in regards to violence than it seems anyone wants to admit. We don’t need less video games. We need to be more attentive and offer more support to young adults suffering from any of the array of mental health issues plaguing children. I realize this is easier said than done, but what has been done? Whenever a mass shooting happens people continually talk about the changes that need to be made, but once it’s out of the news it seems to go completely out of mind again until the next incident. It’s so easy to use video games as a distraction from the real issue but let’s be real:

The world has been an extremely violent place since way, way before video games.

The world is a mess. We are so quick to turn away from violence occurring in real-life physical wars going on and place blame on a war simulator instead. Remember when the Columbine shooting happened, and everyone blamed Marilyn Manson? They hardly focused on the two shooters. They immediately blamed Marilyn Manson – not because he was there, not because he personally encouraged them to commit this act, but simply because he made music that these two kids happened to listen to. What if these kids listened to Enya – would she be to blame? I doubt it. Here is an interview with Marilyn Manson from the film Bowling for Columbine. I happen to feel he makes extremely poignant points on actual issues.

Humanity has a lot work to do. A lot of the time I feel embarrassed to be a person. I wish I could just go back to being star-dust and float through space and time unencumbered. Despite the violence, the blaming – the omnipresent sadness that floats in and out of all our lives, there is still so much good in the world. More importantly there is so much good YOU can do as a person. You are an individual and you have so much to offer. We as people have so much power. The power to destroy, but also the power to repair and rejuvenate and make a difference. We are the one species capable of so much on such an individual level. I think if we all stopped being stoic and malcontent, we could really make a difference.

Here are 26 great examples of positive humanity in motion.

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7 Responses to “Violence and Video Games: Scapegoatism”

  1. Calypso Says:

    That’s what the media does…they want to hurry up and place the blame on someone/something so they can extort some sort of law out of it, like more gun control, instead of placing the blame on who actually committed the crime. Some people are just evil and they do evil things.

  2. Momma Pwncess Says:

    My sentiments exactly. Thank you for posting this. I was literally writing something similar until my comp updated as I was writing and deleted everything. Kudos on this. As a mother and a gamer I am both deeply saddend and enraged by what has happened and what is happening in response to it.

  3. Momma Pwncess Says:

    Reblogged this on Achievement Unlocked: Mommyhood and commented:
    I don’t think I could have said it any better myself. It’s like she is echoing my thoughts exactly.

  4. Ray Says:

    Love the blog Krysti. Very well put, and the first thing that popped into my mind as well was the Bowling for Columbine documentary. Some of society quickly likes to place blame on media sources like TV, movies, music and video games. I remember way back when Dungeons & Dragons the original fantasy dice game was blamed for some murders. No one looks at the individuals committing the acts, or sorry if this is touchy, the ease of which for such individuals to attain guns. Being Canadian I may not be the best to talk about US laws, but personally I think laws in every country should be so that guns are VERY much hard to attain. The amount of guns should be limited and to paraphrase Chris Rock, charge $5000 per bullet. However, all of that would be moot if laws are not enforced. I just find it funny that since 9/11 security has been stepped up 10 fold in airports, yet this is not the first school shooting. This seems to be as big, if not a bigger priority in my opinion to make it safe for kids to go to school and learn. Make it safe for teachers to go to school and teach.
    Of course, this is an outsiders opinion and my own.

  5. Leonerd Says:

    I’m from Brazil, so when the Realengo School Shooting happened every single person in my school (religious one) started putting pressure on me and my friends because, like the shooter, we played and still play violent games such as GTA, and in my case Manhunt 2…
    (Such games a re a gateway satan can use to get to you,… They are going to fuck your mind up….)
    People were so crazed about the fact that Wellington Menezes, the shooter, played violent games that they forgot he had really creepy writtings about islamic stuff and a history of being hardly bullied because of his Jehovah-Witness education. Videogames are easy to blame, and something the close-minded/overly religious love to bash… And so they could forget the guy was also schyzofrenic.
    Great post, Krysti. And a virtual hi-five for you, o/
    I’m definetely going to share it on facebook.

  6. Kristen Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. People need to address the real issues. The reason Mass Effect was brought into it was because at first they confused the shooter with his brother and on his brother’s facebook he had liked ME, so of course it became the root if all evil.. Even after it came to light that they had the wrong person, people were still attacking ME. I think we should do something to better our society, raise awareness and maybe even raise funds for what we believe needs to be fixed, not play the blame game.

  7. Prince Anime Says:

    This is an important topic and I’m glad you took time to talk about it. Marilyn Manson’s outlook on Columbine and the media continues to be the most thoughtful examination of the subject I’ve heard. People were too busy blaming what they perceived as evil for the shooting, while no one bothered to ask the people of Columbine.
    And the same is occurring now. The media’s scapegoatism has been apparent for a long time, but if we don’t continue to speak against it, people will continue to use tragic events as a method of pushing their misguided and selfish agendas.

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