Chuck “le Head” Grassley (R-etarded) from the great state of Iowa, come on down! You’re the latest tool of the pro-gun lobby to spout the line that Video Games are somehow responsible for many of the more famous mass shootings in recent history. As the article points out, the fact that 63% of Americans play video games might be a good contraindication of Grassley’s statement.
That, however, would make for a very short article.
Since I am not a Congress-critter with an army of staffers to do my research for me and I don’t have people like Wayne LaPierre and his conspiracy-nut goons at the National Rifle Association spoon feeding me cherry picked data that supports their political agenda, let’s see what a cursory Google search yields in the way of information.
What About The Japanese?
According to data in a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Japanese spend $55 per capita on video games. Americans, by way of contrast, spend only $44 per capita. The Japanese market has games that would make Larry Flynt blush and Quentin Tarantino say “Damn, brother. You should back off the violence a little.”
In 2008, (Remember: Quick Google Search… not hardcore research), the United States had just over 11,000 gun-related homicides. (11,030 to be exact) The Japanese? 11.
I don’t see much of a connection there, do you? You know what statistic does seem to connect well to the rate of gun-homicides in our respective countries? In the United States, there are 88.8 owned firearms per 100 people. In Japan? 0.6 firearms per 100 people.
Maybe The Dutch?
“Dutch Courage” is a term that refers to the “bravery” that someone has after downing a few stiff drinks. No insult intended to my orange-clad friends, but there is more evidence coming to light that carrying a gun can give people a false sense of bravery. People appear to lose their sense of conflict-avoidance and can, in some cases, actually seek confrontation when they believe that they have an advantage-via-firearm. Many folks who claim that they carry a gun for self-defense appear to be people who carry a gun to feel safe while acting like a belligerent jerk. However, instead of studying this data and learning from it, even if it means reaching some uncomfortable conclusions about gun-ownership, many people (not all… not trying to paint everyone with the same brush here.) find it easier to blame violent video games.
It isn’t just Guns…
Then there is the story of Colleen Lachowicz. Senator Lachowicz, back when she was “Candidate Lachowicz” came under fire from the Maine GOP for playing World of Warcraft. Part of the campaign actually described the mechanics of playing a Rogue (“stabbing things”) and tried to apply them to her personal character. Granted, I’d be the first to stand up and cheer if she went dancing through the Maine State House while spamming a real life version of “Fan of Knives”, but I would guess that she is as likely to do that as I am to strap a keg of beer to my back while I travel the world looking for people upon which to smash the aforementioned keg.
Politicians spend their careers pandering to well-funded interest groups in order to engage in the next campaign. The ignorant and the stupid votes count just as much as the thoughtful and conscientious votes do. Unfortunately, groups like the NRA can use fear and misleading data to coerce donations from the weak and gullible a lot easier than other groups can use logic and reason to inspire intelligent people to make their voices heard. Short version: It’s easier to scare up votes by blaming violent video games than it is to take a hard look at what is really causing some of the problems in our society.
Politicians like easy.
Look, I’m not anti-gun. I actually quite enjoy shooting guns. I think the Second Amendment is just as important as the First Amendment. However, the fact of the matter is that the gun debate is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who shepherds the mentally weak through the valley of darkness for he is truly his brother’s keeper…
All I’m asking is that people take the time to hold our politicians accountable for sensationalistic and stupid statements like the one that Chuck Grassley made.