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article imageVideo game industry receives political heat for Newtown Tragedy

By Can Tran     Dec 20, 2012 in Politics
As blame is pointed towards guns, blame is also pointed towards video games. Senator Jay Rockefeller D-WV plans to introduce a bill calling to research video game violence.

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Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut endured one of the largest mass shootings in United States History, the second deadliest mass shooting in the United States with the Virginia Tech Massacre still being the first. However, Sandy Hook may be the most severe due to the fact that most of the casualties were children ranging from 5 to 10 years of age. Following Sandy Hook--and any other mass shooting, especially one at a school--many were quick to blame the video game industry.
Anti-video game crusader and disbarred Florida lawyer Jack Thompson immediately blamed those in the video game industry for what happened. In a Kotaku article, there is speculation that the NRA plans to place blame on the video game industry and Hollywood. While there is negative opinion towards the gun lobby, there is the assumption that it may attempt to place the blame on the video game and film industries for violence in games and in films.
When it was misreported that 24-year-old Ryan Lanza was the shooter. When people looked at Ryan's Facebook, it showed that he “liked” the “Mass Effect” series. Many outraged people directed their anger towards the game. However, it was revealed that the shooter was actually 20-year-old Adam Lanza. Adam is the younger brother of Ryan.
There are those that in Congress that are leading calls to investigate the video game industry. The call is being led by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. He currently directs the National Academy of Sciences. He's calling upon the National Academy of Sciences to examine violent video games and programming will lead children to partake in acts of aggression. Also, Rockefeller plans to press both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend their studies into video games and aggression.
Rockefeller, referring to recent court rulings that struck down a California law. Under the law, the sales of violent video games to minors were banned. In addressing that ruling, Rockefeller talks about how those people “still don't get it.” Keep in mind that the Sandy Hook shooting took place in Connecticut and that law only applied to California. This is an example of how politicians are quick to blame the video game industry.
This is due to Adam playing games such as “Call of Duty.”
Rockefeller also talked about the changes in technology which give children such access. Keep in mind, video game ratings are regulated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). Game stores have to ask the ages of those that purchase such games. In this respect, it ultimately goes down to parental responsibility.
This can be said about access to firearms.
In a Politico article, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut also called upon addressing video games and their role in spawning violent culture.
However, the notion of blaming entertainment let alone video games is coming from criticism. The Politico article also talked with people on their take about video games. According one person, who wrote for the group Think Progress, blaming video games is trying to avoid policy solutions.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) said that a broad range of factors had to be determined to figure out why Lanza shot people. In a TIME article, it reports as video games rose in popularity, youth violence went down. Also, it points out that Cho Seung-hui who committed the VT Massacre did not play any violent video games. An article on Business Insider reports that there is no link between games and shootings. It uses statistics gathered from the ESRB. According to what the ESRB says, the average gamer plays video games about 8 hours per week and 67% of households in the United States play video games. Also, it points out that 40% of all gamers are female; yet, the shootings were perpetrated by males.
The National Review, in a recent article points out that video game restrictions wouldn't help. Plus, it points out that doing so would be against the US Constitution. It also points out that most retail stores that sell video games refuse to sell violent games to those that are underage. The article calls out to parents to watch their children carefully and to keep a close eye on their children if they take a not-so-normal interest in violence. The article ends by saying it's not fair to blame violence let alone what happened at Sandy Hook on video games.
In an NBC News article, psychiatrists who are both gamers say the parents need to get more involved. He said for parents to get to know the games and movies their children enjoy. It's the same thing as getting to know their friends. One of the psychiatrists talked about attended Seattle's Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). He said that if video games let alone the violent ones created violent people then PAX would be a very dangerous and life-threatening experience.
In an ABC News article, an associate professor of psychology at Texas A&M was interviewed. The professor said that exposure to violent games, movies, and so forth are not connected with mass shootings. Dr. Chris Ferguson, the professor, said that focusing on those issues is wrong. Ferguson said that it causes people to get distracted from the real issues such as guns and mental health. He said this: it's always easy to blame what people don't understand. That includes video games.
In article on The Atlantic Wire says that this is somewhat of a battle between the NRA and the video game industry. In this battle, the NRA is “winning.”
This is an example on how blame is being pointed at many different factors. It is obvious that guns are being blamed. However, it shows that video games are also being blamed for what happened in Newtown. While pro-gun advocates are rejecting that guns are to blame for what happened, the video game industry is doing the same thing in rejecting claims that video games are to blame.
More about Video games, Video game industry, video game lobby, Esrb, Entertainment software association
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