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Government Games Science

School Shooting Prompts Legislation To Study Violent Video Games 1168

Posted by Soulskill
from the blame-game-will-commence dept.
New submitter seepho writes "Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a bill directing the National Academy of Sciences to lead an investigation to determine what impact violent video games have on children. Senator Rockefeller commented, 'Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process.'" This legislation was prompted by reports that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was a gamer. A draft of the bill is available online.
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School Shooting Prompts Legislation To Study Violent Video Games

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  • It was Star Craft... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @03:36PM (#42339039)
    The shooter played Star Craft. Not a FPS, not some blood and gore style of game, but a strategy game. Its about as violent as chess (ok, it has a bit more blood then most chess games).
  • Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @03:39PM (#42339095)

    Good, so we can finally put that myth to rest. Or by "study" do they mean "find some evidence that shows a correlation between them no matter how faulty the logic may be"? I'm guessing it's supposed to be the latter. After all, you can't earn many political points by commissioning a study that doesn't allow you to create a scapegoat or enact some laws to crack down on the "problem", and the fact he is proposing this now means it is, most definitely, a political move to create the appearance of action (never mind most of the time what should be done is nothing, because bad shit happens sometimes).

  • Re:Games are violent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @03:43PM (#42339173)
    Guns and shooting ranges are not violent in and of themselves. Target shooting is a mental exercise, a bit like meditation, it requires quite a bit of focus and mental control to be good at shooting. You've got to simultaneously be both very observant of the world around you (which way is the wind blowing, how fast is it blowing, etc.) and at the same time block it all out. You can't just go in and empty your clip in 2 seconds and expect to hit anything. If you've never been shooting, you should and you'll see that it is anything but violent. It is a form of mental exercise.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @03:46PM (#42339219)
    Children in Britain play exactly the same video games that American children play and they don't run around shooting each other all the time. America has a culture of gun violence and until that changes these terrible events will keep happening.
  • by TemperedAlchemist (2045966) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @03:50PM (#42339301)

    As a philosopher, I would assert that some pieces of classic literature can be very dangerous: children may learn how to think.

  • by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @03:58PM (#42339439) Homepage Journal

    I suggest getting people to watch this video [youtube.com]. That, among other things, is brought up.

  • by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:05PM (#42339545) Homepage

    If you want to have a reasoned debate you cannot selectively use facts.

    Wikipedia tells me that for the past five years, Switzerland has only permitted 2,000 of those with military issue weapons to store ammunition at home. Prior to that the ammunition was strictly audited. It's hard to kill using a gun with no bullets. Prior to 2007, the auditing requirement would make use of the weapon rare.

    You also neglect to mention that the weapons are issued to civilians who have undergone military training. This is not like turning up at Walmart and buying a semi-automatic.

    Comparing gun use in Switzerland to that in the US is like comparing chalk and cheese. Unless you're suggesting as a solution to gun crime that everyone of age should be conscripted to receive military training and the government should be allowed in private homes to audit your weapons?

  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:06PM (#42339571) Homepage

    When bringing up Switzerland in a discussion about gun control, you're being dishonest unless you also point out a few things:

    1) For someone to have a gun, they need to serve three months in the military where they'll be evaluated and trained

    2) The population of Switzerland is smaller than that of New York City. Sample size matters.

    3) The poverty in Switzerland is half that of the United States.

    And finally, Switzerland's voters are increasingly in favor of tighter regulations and ending the military-gun-at-home policy.

    I'm also a bit unclear about some of the ammunition laws in Switzerland. While guns are easy to come by, it seems the ammo is more controlled than it is in the United States. And, the free ammo that the militia get only contains 50 rounds, sealed and numbered.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:19PM (#42339787)

    Indeed, the amount of gun violence in the US is disproportionately higher than any other country on earth.

    [citation needed]

    I have no citation that the statement is correct, but here is citation that it is wrong:
    List of countries by firearms related death rate [wikipedia.org].

    If you sort on gun-homicides, you will see that the USA is 14th. Most of the "winners" are in Latin America.

  • Re:Games are violent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:21PM (#42339819)
    Of course calm doesn't mean stable but the idea that taking your kid out target shooting instantly trains them on how to be a mass murderer is absolutely ridiculous.

    And "assault rifle" is an absolute bullshit description which basically amounts to "this gun looks dangerous" there's nothing in the 1994 Assault Weapons ban that really bans anything functional in the guns. Basically its the gun equivalent to trying to reduce speeding by banning people from owning cars that are red, orange, yellow or have flames painted on.

    For example this gun: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/uzi_pistol_2245800_rs-tfb.jpeg [thefirearmblog.com]

    Looks dangerous, but really its just a semi-automatic pistol firing a .22LR cartage. Such a thing would be banned under the terms of the '94 ban. However, http://cdn2.armslist.com/sites/armslist/uploads/posts/2012/07/13/470085_01_browning_30_06_bar_640.jpg [armslist.com] would not be banned, despite the fact that a 30-06 has a whole lot more energy behind it and could do a whole lot more damage: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Z_e7UMpSDh0/S-x2DjLi22I/AAAAAAAAE6U/LbntDs3L6UU/s1600/comparisonlabel.JPG [blogspot.com]

    If anything, hunting rifles are -more- dangerous than so-called "assault weapons" because they've got more power behind the rounds. They are also far more accurate.

    It amazes me how much of a knee-jerk reaction people have when it comes to guns. Especially from people who have never really shot one. Real guns are quite different than those that Hollywood portrays. Shooting is completely different than that which Hollywood (and video games) portrays.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:23PM (#42339849)

    Even the NRA shouldn't have a problem with people properly securing their firearms.

    Wanna bet? I have spoken to people at the rifle range about this sort of thing; I get two responses to the "keep your guns in a safe" proposal:

    1. Good idea, and I do it already!
    2. That means I'll need extra time to get my gun if someone is breaking into my house!

    Which response do you think the NRA-types are giving?

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:37PM (#42340069) Homepage Journal

    If you want to have a reasoned debate you cannot selectively use facts.

    Agreed, and that's a two way street:

    Wikipedia tells me that for the past five years, Switzerland has only permitted 2,000 of those with military issue weapons to store ammunition at home.

    From the article:

    Prior to 2007 members of the Swiss Militia were supplied with 50 rounds of ammunition for their military weapon in a sealed ammo box that was regularly audited by the government. This was so that, in the case of an emergency, the militia could respond quickly. However, since 2007 this practice has been discontinued.

    Re: selective use of facts - the article refers to government issued ammunition. Waffentragschein (gun permit) holders can still purchase (and, therefore, possess) non-government issue ammunition.

    Pot, meet kettle.

    You also neglect to mention that the weapons are issued to civilians who have undergone military training. This is not like turning up at Walmart and buying a semi-automatic.

    I neglected to mention a lot of things, as they were non sequitur to the point I was making, and I'm not in the habit of needless pontification.

    Regarding this point of yours, I personally believe proper training should be mandatory prior to allowing an individual to purchase any firearm.

    Unless you're suggesting as a solution to gun crime that everyone of age should be conscripted to receive military training and the government should be allowed in private homes to audit your weapons?

    I suggested no such thing - I will, however, recommend for future reference that you fully read and understand the premise of a post before you respond to it, thus assuring that your statements are at least relevant to the topic at hand.

  • by xevioso (598654) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:40PM (#42340115)

    While the OP had it wrong, it's not by much. Only a few countries have a higher amount of gun violence per capita.

    So, citation provided.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate [wikipedia.org]

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:49PM (#42340285) Homepage Journal

    Psychopathy is a mental illness

    Not quite, but within most people's understanding of mental illness.

    , it's a dysfunction of certain regions of the brain.

    Definitely false. Psychopathy is not believed to be caused by failed brain function.

    Lack of empathy is a clear indicator of the malfunction.

    No, no it isn't. It's a single symptom, one that it shares with other conditions. People are known to be willing to kill dehumanized subjects, without any mental illness, or mentally justify their actions a host of ways. No licensed psychiatrist would diagnose Psychopathy(which is a term that has fallen out of favor for sociopathy and a few other conditions) just on a lack of empathy.

    Superficial glibness, cruelty to animals, numerous minor criminal offenses, repeated instances of lack of self control. If you can provide evidence of more than one symptom your argument would have a lot more merit.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:53PM (#42340343)

    Assault rifles are already banned, assault rifles have select fire. The weapon used in this attack was semi-automatic only.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @04:58PM (#42340453)

    He had no assault rifles. Assault rifles are defined as being select fire full auto or burst mode. Those kinds of guns are illegal for new production in the USA.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_rifle [wikipedia.org]

  • by xevioso (598654) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:30PM (#42341763)

    Google is your friend.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/potential_connecticut_school_shooting_8HMOSbP38TXwSYYsVGkYLO [nypost.com]

    "Lanza used two handguns — a Glock and a Sig Sauer — and a .223-caliber assault rifle, an official said."

"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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