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Video Game Industry Starting To Feel Heat On Gun Massacres 1006

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-down-the-controller dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While much of the scrutiny following the lone gunman-perpetrated massacres at Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT has fallen on the National Rifle Association and its lobbying efforts against gun control, the shooters in both of the aforementioned incidents seemed to have been encouraged by violence in movies and video games. The New York Daily News' Mike Lupica reported last week that investigators of the Newtown case found a huge spreadsheet in the Lanza home where 20-year old Adam Lanza had methodically charted hundreds of past gun massacres, including the number of people killed and the make and model of weapons used. A Connecticut policeman told Lupica 'it sounded like a doctoral thesis, that was the quality of the research', and added, '[Mass killers such as Lanza] don't believe this was just a spreadsheet. They believe it was a score sheet. This was the work of a video gamer'. In response, the Entertainment Software Association and other lobbyists representing the video game industry have ramped up their Washington lobbying efforts. While still tiny in dollar terms next to the NRA's warchest, this effort seemed to help derail a proposal to fund a Justice Department study of the effects of video games on gun violence, offered as an amendment on the gun control bill by a Republican senator. A spokesman summarized the ESA's position: 'Extensive research has already been conducted and found no connection between media and real-life violence.'"
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Video Game Industry Starting To Feel Heat On Gun Massacres

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  • Media coverage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thepike (1781582) on Monday March 25, 2013 @11:56AM (#43271737)
    If we're going to blame some form of popular media, it should be the news media, in my opinion. Sure, you can argue that maybe video games desensitize people to violence and (apparently) allow people to keep score (ban Parcheesi too, or cribbage), but I would say that the constant coverage of killers and whatnot on the news is what makes it worse. I have no evidence to back this up, but it certainly gives people ideas about what to do or how to do it, as well as showing them that if they do this sort of thing they're going to live on in news coverage long after they're dead. If these are, as often portrayed, lost souls reaching out for something (in a very inappropriate way), what better way to go than to emblazon your name across all news outlets?
  • Re:Dum dum dum (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Monday March 25, 2013 @12:12PM (#43272013)
    Some time ago a normal looking guy tried to bum some money from me, supposedly for a cup of coffee. Instead I offered to go into a deli with him and pay for his coffee, which he declined. I talked with him some more, and he told me how he asks strangers for money daily, but not because he needs the money. It's a game of points to him. One dollar is one hundred points. I realized that he obviously had some deeper mental issues, and after (unsuccessfully) trying to explain to him why he shouldn't do that to people, I left him.

    To all outward appearances this guy seemed 'normal', but he did have his own weird point scoring game inside his head that he plays on people. (And I thank God that the 'points' he plays for are really just pennies.)

  • by kbg (241421) on Monday March 25, 2013 @12:31PM (#43272387)

    Of course you can legislate guns. Bombs are illegal hence they are legislated just as guns should be. People can of course kill people with other tools beside guns like knives, hammers etc but knives and a hammer primary purpose is not to kill people and you can't kill multiple people with them in a short period of time. Guns primary purpose is to kill people.

  • by gosand (234100) on Monday March 25, 2013 @12:43PM (#43272575)

    I don't *blame* the gaming industry any more than the gun industry or the entertainment industry for these shootings.
    If it wasn't an AR-15 it would have been a rifle or shotgun or something else. If there were no guns, obviously shootings wouldn't happen but violence would still exist. But that isn't the world we live in, and we make violence "easy". And before that little switch in your brain flips and you think for a second that I am saying we should ban or take away ANYTHING (guns, video games, movies) then you are 100% wrong. More laws are not the answer and are far from it.

    What I think needs to change is our attitudes towards violence. OUR attitude. EVERYONE has a part to play in this, and it has to be voluntary. The NRA needs to get their heads out of their asses and realize that providing access to any type of firearm with no restrictions or checks will make it much easier for everyone to have guns - and that includes people who really shouldn't have them. (and yes, I know that determining WHO that is would be nearly impossible). But we have to try. Movies/TV/Entertainment companies (including video gaming industry) needs to understand that they DO glorify violence. We are inundated with violence, from FPS games to movies to TV shows. I don't watch any of them, but there are entire series of TV shows around horribly violent acts (CSI, etc). If you can step back for a second and look at it all holistically - it is very saddening.

    I think that Jon Stewart and the Daily Show said it well when they said we have to change our attitude and culture around guns. They likened it to smoking. The message has to change, the overall general attitude towards things. Think about these trials that occur, like the Jodi Arias trial. It was a horrible murder, but let's be honest - in this country and world it happens a lot. But there are shows that are dedicated to follow the trial, to examine it, to discuss it in such desensitizing detail that it is sickening. I really don't get the whole obsession that people have with violence. It's why I quit watching the local news. Over time, I think that it really starts to alter your way of thinking about the world. If any of you have kids, especially boys, then there are nerf guns and foam swords and killing this and that, good guys vs bad guys... again, nothing new. But that can't be our only message that they see, and it is harder and harder to shield them from that. My own kids had to go through a "shooter" drill at school, and that is how they learned about the Newtown shootings. They are in K and 2nd grade!

    What I would really like to see is the video gaming industry to take some kind of responsibility for this - not because they are at fault, but because it is the right thing to do. And not by slapping ratings on games, or limiting sales to minors, or anything like that. But by really taking an internal look at what they are producing and self-regulate it. They have the power to influence through what they do, and I think the message being sent is a very harmful one.

  • by pijokela (462279) on Monday March 25, 2013 @12:43PM (#43272579)

    You honestly think availability of weapon does not matter at all in these killings? That's rich. I guess we should legalize pipe bombs, machine guns and antipersonnel mines, because people wanting to use them, will use them anyway. Now, like, only criminals have them!

    It's really not that simple. Some measure of gun control is a good thing.

  • by jeremyp (130771) on Monday March 25, 2013 @12:44PM (#43272595) Homepage Journal

    Cars are dangerous objects in the hands of the incompetent. This is why anybody who drives a car has to demonstrate a level of competence before they are allowed to use one on the public road. Is it too much to ask the same for gun owners (where use = carry)? Also, do gun owners in the US need to carry insurance? Because I think they should be required to.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:12PM (#43273029)

    Did it stop Adam Lanza? No, because he just took his illegally.

    What should have stopped Adam Lanza is his mother not being able to buy the weapons in the first place.

  • by ai4px (1244212) on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:22PM (#43273169)
    I'm all for seeing if a person is a full citizen and therefore eligible to exercise the 2nd amendment. But limiting rounds in a magazine? Also, I got to nit pick your assertion that it might take more than 10 rounds to hit a target. 1 warning shot, leaves 9 for multiple assailants.... Sure a little extra range time might be worthwhile, but in the heat of the moment defending my family and home the last thing I want to hear is "click". What is pissing me off right now is that there are laws regarding background checks that are not being enforced... so naturally we need more laws, right? In 2009, Alice Boland pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to threatening the president and members of Congress -- after that she spent time in a Texas prison mental institution.

    None of it was enough to stop the 28-year-old from entering the grounds of a private school in Charleston called Ashley Hall last month and trying to shoot staffers.

    Boland bought her .22-caliber handgun from a dealer in Walterboro SC. A background check failed to identify her as a mental patient possibly because of a rule that allowed the government to drop charges after her guilty plea.

    And we have the right to a speedy and public trial, but some states are not reporting metal health judgements citing HIPA and privacy laws. Well, kids, if the trial is public so is the verdict.

    Me thinks the politicians love laws that aren't enforced so they can pass more and more draconian laws.

  • Attrition... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turp182 (1020263) on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:28PM (#43273267) Journal

    A US based militia in a conflict against the government could last as long as Afghanistan or Iraq wars. These wars were/are wars of attrition. They last until the aggressor decides to leave.

    How long would an individual last? Hard to say, not very long in direct combat. But our wars are no longer direct with large armies meeting on the field.

    How long would such a war last? Until the government decides to stop it.

    The key question: Have we killed all of the insurgents and terrorists? No. It's a war of attrition, it goes on forever until one side decides to give up (people who live in the war zone will never give up, something the US has a problem understanding in my opinion).

    Winning isn't possible, other than "The only winning move is not to play" (Wargames).

  • by ai4px (1244212) on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:35PM (#43273393)
    You do realize that Article 1, section 8 of the constitution says that congress cannot allocate money for more than 2 years for an army, right? We're not supposed to have the standing army we presently have. Standing armies expensive... just look at the cost in the past 10 years. Funny, isn't it, that we seem to always have something go on about every 2 years isn't it? 1989 the USSR failed leaving the US with no standing enemy. By 1991, Saddam had popped up on the radar. Coincidence? Bonus points if you can name all of our military actions since WW2.
  • by concealment (2447304) on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:36PM (#43273407) Homepage Journal

    Since we have not means to read another persons mind a lot of modern psychology involves analysis of the self. After doing so it is hard to think highly of oneself or other humans ever again.
    While chemically complex, we are pretty trivial beings.

    That reminds me of this essay:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/sorry-but-your-soul-just-died-1276509.html [independent.co.uk]

    However, I'd say there's a few counter-arguments.

    1. We can become less trivial. Our culture encourages triviality through consumerism, or individualism, or egoism or something like that. Narcissism? It's an -ism, and it means we're basically "amusing ourselves to death" as Neil Postman says. We could fix that.

    2. Compassion. I imagine most people think dogs are trivial. I love dogs. They are pure-hearted. Compassion encourages us to not worry so much about triviality.

    3. Discover new worlds. There are other planets, new challenges, possibly other dimensions to explore. Maybe we're just bored and underchallenged, like students at public high schools?

    Maybe not as impressive as I hoped it would be when I first thought of this message, but there it is.

  • by Petron (1771156) on Monday March 25, 2013 @01:52PM (#43273611)

    The Second Amendment isn't for a militia. The government doesn't need permission to arm any military unit.

    The Second Amendment states:
    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    It does not say: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    The right of the people shall not be infringed. Why? Because the people who formed the government experienced a government that took away their firearms. The colonies were under the rule of King George and when the peasants were getting uppity, the first thing they did was to disarm them. It is easier to 'govern' an unarmed population. In fact look at the Bill of Rights (first 10 Amendments). Each one is a reaction to the over step of government under King George. Citizens starting to revolt? Ban their publications (1st), take their weapons (2nd), place soldiers in the homes of bigger trouble makers (3rd), Search people if you think they may be part of the trouble makers (4th), Skip trials for trouble makers (5th)... All of these things were fresh in the minds of the founders when they wrote the Bill of Rights, to ensure their new government would never be come as oppressive as the one they just left.

    So the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the arming a government militia, but to arm people against a possible corrupt militia, or against any other tyrant that may come by (burglar, gang leader, ex-boyfriend that wants to 'teach her a lesson'... etc).

    And while people love to compare gun crime in the US vs gun crime in countries with strong gun control... but also look at crimes without guns. How is breaking and entry, theft, rape, all compare? There was an article I read a while back that discussed why burglaries were higher in (I think the UK) vs the US and the research showed that burglars were afraid of running into a home owner with a gun. (don't have the article handy, was well over a year ago I saw that).

    Penn & Teller in their 2nd Amendment BS show asked, "What would happen if we trained and issued a pink pistol to every woman when they turned 18. They can sell the gun, not carry it, their choice, but they get one. Lets say half give up their 'pinky' because they don't want it. What would happen to the rape cases when a rapist realizes that there is a 50% chance that Jamie has a gun...." I'd say that is a pretty big deterrent.

    Guns have the same reaction as aircraft. 99.9% of the firearms in the US aren't used in crime. We have well over 280 million. Enough so if we distribute them 88% of the US would be armed. Statistically, you more likely to be beaten to death (or just wounded) by a bat, fists, or knives. But now and then we have the big airline crash that causes people to say "Hey! this is unsafe! who cares about the number, look at the death count at this one incident"

    and for a disclaimer: I do not own a gun. Never have. My father had a couple of hunting rifles, but we only went target shooting. I don't see a need to change the first amendment (ban video games), or the second due to the actions of a very few (statistically speaking). I'd rather punish those few harshly.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday March 25, 2013 @02:09PM (#43273851)

    Do you not see the danger of just deciding one day that we no longer need to follow a provision of the constitution?

    What if the government decides that freedom of the press is likewise dangerous and outdated; do they have your approval to simply ignore it?

  • by Meeni (1815694) on Monday March 25, 2013 @02:23PM (#43274053)

    Its always about video games. Video games this, video games that. But what about TV?

    I have kids, and honestly, the content of most young programs are just shocking, when you think twice about it. They have removed all sexual innuendo because that would make fundamentalist Christians choke on their breakfast, but the thing is full of ninjas slicing one another with blades of all sort, beating up, etc. Violence is always the solution to pretty much every problem thrown at the characters.

    And if we just consider Hollywood production and its love affair with gun and explosions...

    But then, it must be the video games fault. Mmmkay.

  • by tehcyder (746570) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @06:01AM (#43279453) Journal

    The primary purpose of a gun is to propel a bullet to hit what the shooter wants. It is designed to ABLE to kill things (including people), but they are not designed so that killing is their primary function. I have several guns, and guess what? The only thing I have ever shot is targets.

    Right. And the primary purpose of an nuclear missile is to propel a warhead to hit what the firer wants. It is designed to be ABLE to kill things (including people), but they are not designed so that killing is their primary function. The UK has many nuclear weapons, and guess what? The only thing we have ever blown up is targets.

    Your argument is totally specious.

    Now, guns can be used to kill animals as well as people, granted. Hunting is a legitimate use, and can quite easily be controlled by only giving hunting licenses to people who need them, have training and aren't insane.

    But to say that is a basic human right to have guns so you can go target shooting is just ridiculous.

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