Skip to main content

View Diary: NRA response: It's Hollywood, video games, and won't anyone think of the gun manufacturers? (473 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Sigh (7+ / 0-)

    Liberals generally support evidence-based policy. Cigarettes and alcohol are demonstrably harmful, and they're demonstrably even more harmful to children and adolescents than to adults.

    Present some evidence that violent games have a long-term, statistically-significant positive correlation with violent behaviour, and you'll have a plausible liberal argument for restricting them.

    You can't, though, because there isn't any.

    Sure, there are studies that show that children express more aggression and less empathy immediately after exposure to violent media. But that's about as far as it goes. Modeling violence onscreen produces short-term, small increases in aggressive thoughts and sometimes non-criminal aggressive behaviour, mostly as measured by other 'play'-type activities like hitting toys or 'punishing' a losing opponent with a blast of sound.

    Everything beyond that is speculative...reading MRI tea leaves and concocting stories about how violent games might desensitize the developing brain to violence. The problem, of course, is that I can concoct equally-plausible stories about how violent games might provide a safe outlet for aggression in the same vein as sports and play-fighting (but with even lower risks). And my stories are just as if not more consistent with the available data.

    Some good info here:

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:23:37 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  It's true, we can't allow ourselves (0+ / 0-)

      to become distracted.  Guns are a problem and I hope no one out there is going to suggest that we need more evidence.

      That said. I will never understand why we are willing to approve of  violence and death as entertainment.  

      N.B. considering something to be unacceptable and banning it outright are two different things.

      •  We approve (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prinny Squad, salamanderempress

        because it's not real. Like...really, really, not real. At all. There is nothing whatsoever real about it. It's not even real actors pretending to do violent things; it's actually, totally, 100% fake.

        I'm not shooting people in Halo 4. (Or even aliens and robots.) I'm shooting pixels. With other pixels. In fact, that's not even true. No pixels are harmed. I'm pressing a button, which is instructing the console to display a pattern of pixels that looks like a gunshot.

        If I'm successful, the computer will pretend that the thing I shot at died. Temporarily, of course. Nothing actually 'dies' even within the context of the game universe - they're just temporarily defeated. Even chess has a more convincing form of 'death.'

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:25:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The same argument (0+ / 0-)

          that gun enthusiasts state about target practice. 9 - 10,000 deaths every year in the US by gun makes your unscientific anecdotal laugh fest less funny.

          YOU can tell the difference. YOU are not compelled. YOU haven't let it get to you. Because we all know the entirety of the human experience can be summed up by your personal reactions to stimuli.

          Put down the controller, pick up a science book. Of any sort, really.

          •  The studies are, unfortunately, mixed. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            For obvious reasons, I've looked out for these.

            I've seen no long term studies; the short term studies have produced mixed results.

            Believe it or not, those of us who make games do pay attention to this sort of thing.  It's less clear cut than your comments presume.

            My advice to parents, of course, is to pay attention; look beyond the single letter rating to the full description - easily available on the web.  Halo is not Call of Duty.  Call of Duty is not Grand Theft Auto.  You have to know your own kid and know what they'll be able to handle.

            (I have my own rant about half written on the ESRB, totally unrelated to this incident. Eventually it will appear in my own diaries.)

      •  Why shouldnt we aprove of it? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, fuzzyguy

        Show us a data based reason why and you will change a lot of minds. So far its all Speculation, and speculation can  be everything. It could be that i strongly believe that all depictions of bears on tv support violence, so i want to ban Winnie the puh. Without having to support my belief with data, just as you dont support yours with data, who is to say I am wrong? maybe without winnie the world would be a perfect place, I just have a gut feeling about that you know, so lets ban him and see......

        "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

        by Mudderway on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:56:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think there ought to be a lot more research (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm from the reality-based world so would not favor regulation without some sort of rational basis. But I do work with victims of violence, both here and abroad, and I truly hate these sorts of video games.  I am willing to accept that there may not be a direct correlation between them and acts of violence.  But I have some passing familiarity with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and Iraq - and there really is a synergy between the video and film images of violence and the way that child soldiers dress, refer to their actions and to the construction of what they consider manhood.  What happens here in the US doesn't stay here, and way too many kids imitate violent action videos and films and games in situations in which the consequences are far more severe.  Would they be child soldiers and killers without these video games, and merely construct their identity differently with the same end result?  Perhaps.  The problem is, how the hell does one do a control group study, ethically or not, to test this sort of thing?  

      There may be no proof because proof is hard to demonstrate.  All I know is that these games make me sick... even as I accept a first amendment argument for not banning them.  Should rigorous evidence exist that they do lead to more violence, then regulation is in order.  In the meantime, boys (and alleged men) who get off on this could be subjected to at least a little ridicule or social pressure for getting off on shooting virtual people.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:54:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You too? (6+ / 0-)

        You're super smart.

        This thread is a perfect example of how quickly the NRA and Gun nuts can distract people from talking about gun ownership regulation for the sake of public safety and instead have them spinning their wheels talking about limiting the 1st Amendment by adding regulation to an already regulated industry.

        Video games did not kill those kids.

        A crazy kid with firearms killed those children.

        And I think that it is probably provable beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Newtown shooter and the others like him could have been watching nothing but the Teletubbies and Barney for their entire lives and they would still be mentally ill.

        •  No this thread is a perfect example (0+ / 0-)

          of how warped the GOP has people like you. You perceive perfectly acceptable and logical regulation of violent materials as a GOP Christian thing, so you reject it. This despite the fact that socialist progressive nations are totally on board with such measures.

          I am not distracted. My very first reply stated precisely that I was staying it should be both (and quite a few other aspects of society). You just have the typical attachment to easily obtained violent materials in the way that the gun owners want a free for all of guns.

          No one said violent games kill kids. And the guns didn't inspire them to kill. Nor did guns by themselves desensitize those kids. Nor did said guns provide a romantic context for their usage.

          Look at you. Screaming about the first amendment and regulation just because someone thinks that showing a 13 year old callous, even romanticized killing, might not be a bright idea. Among other things.

          You are acting more right wing than you know, particularly in the global context. With the same kind of logical underpinnings.

      •  And I want to add one other thing for (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OHeyeO, Prinny Squad, ivorybill

        you to think about...

        My oldest friend in the world has a troubled son.

        She is perhaps one of the sweetest and kindest people who walks this earth.  She has had three sons.  Two of whom are reflections of their Mother in how they engage the world.  The other son, though, has been trouble since he was born.  

        This kid was bullying his older brother at nine months.  He is in his late teens or early twenties now and over all of those years the stories that I've heard from my friend about the trials that she's gone through trying to manage this one son have been amazing.  

        I remember when he was about three years old, he took some sweet stuffed animal from one of his brothers and destroyed it in a sick and twisted way.  My friend has spent her time as his mother trying to expose him to "nice" things, "happy" thoughts, "good" movies, etc. and that kid has found a way to twist or destroy or sadistically attack whatever she's offered him.  He can't be trusted with animals.  He can't even be trusted with his siblings who have learned to basically flee when he gets into one of his tears.

        No one did anything bad to this kid.  His Mother would NEVER allow that to happen to him.  He started out that way and he's going to be that way for the rest of his life.  The thing that has always stuck with me about the sadistic attack on the stuffed animal is that I know that at that point in his young life he had NEVER seen anything from Hollywood or the video industry that was violent.  At just nine months he had not even had his eyes open very long, he barely had any command of language and nor did he have life experience that would have impressed him one way or another to express "good and bad" behavior.  The anger, aggression, violent tendencies were totally natural for him.

        My friend has spent his lifetime trying to help him and to restrain his dark and dangerous tendencies.  Video games are the least of her worries.  If he got a gun, though, she'd be rightfully panicked - as should we all - trust me.  A trip to the Zoo with that kid when he was about eight was scary enough for me and kids never scare me.  The kid was scary at the Zoo!  All I know is that input was not this kid's problem.  It was output from him that we all had to worry about.

        All FWIW.

        •  Learn what anecdotal means (0+ / 0-)

          Listen, your stories might make you feel good on a broad range of topics on this site, but as it regards to statistical data and broader more scientific discussions on what goes into making society more violent, it is inappropriate.

          I get it. You like video games. If you think they're innocent, make a game about violent rape. It's just a game, right? But killing is okay. Very consistent. And again, as has been posted many times over, the correlation between violent media (not just games in specific, you're just attaching yourself to something few have mentioned and is newer so less studies) has been established.

          Go youtube Manhunt 2. Tell me why that's appropriate for anyone, let alone a 12 or 13 year old. Go get it for this friend of a friend of a friend of an anecdote of yours. Should be safe. Just pixels, right?

          •  I don't play video games. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I don't watch violent films.

            I don't have weapons.

            I have been tested by an attack on my life and it has been proven that I am not likely to want to kill anyone else on this earth even when provoked by people trying to take mine.

            That's the most powerful "video game" I've ever had to play.

            I marvel at people who will join the military and believe that they are prepared to kill another human being.  I'll bet that there is some portion of people in that group who are more like me than not.

            I know from my study of history that art is more a reflection of a society than it is a primary driver of that society's behaviors.  This theory also basically proves out on the individual level in that the expression of emotion of various artworks that are provoked in the patrons is generally in the form of intake and rarely results in output.  In other words, you can look at a violent image, porn or the happiest picture of life around and the people experiencing that art in whatever form are not going to do anything more than take it in.  They aren't originators - or rather they rarely are originators of the ideas - and they are more often than not incapable of emulating any of the scenarios in their own lives for whatever reasons.

            •  Your theory (0+ / 0-)

              is not peer reviewed, not scientific, and what is called "anecdotal" even if all of your claims are taken at face value.

              You are not the only one here with military experience and if you think that story gets you off the hook from going and seeing what I'm talking about, it doesn't.

              Go ahead. It's on youtube. Manhunt 2. First one that'll come up is "all the executions in manhunt 2" LOL We're talking literally the only goal of this game is to sneak up on people and kill them in increasingly gruesome ways. And not happy slappy CoD ways either. We're talking a lot worse than even that. Ice pick in the head. Suffocated with bags. This isn't Saving Private Ryan stuff. This is snuff. And I'm not even saying ban it. Just make it less profitable. Let the industry largely regulate itself through economic considerations.

              I reject your excuse making for violent media every bit as much as I reject the NRA's excuse making that guns aren't sentient and kill people of their own accord (yet).

            •  There's a lot we agree on (0+ / 0-)

              First, I don't dispute that the NRA is trying to divert attention from their own sick profiteering in order to shift the conversation.  Understood and agreed.  I'm personally in favor of an assault weapons ban, licensing gun ownership, much stricter controls on access in general, and using taxation on ammunition, etc.  I also don't dispute the solid evidence of correlation between easy availability of guns leads to a much higher death rate... although truly getting that death rate down might require even tighter controls than are politically feasible.

              Second, you are exactly right that some children for some unknown reason become sociopaths, and this may have nothing to do with parenting.  Some kids seem to be missing empathy, and when that is combined with uncontrollable anger, those kids are dangerous.  I wish it could be otherwise for your friend, and her boy should never have access to firearms. It may well be that Adam Lanza was going to go down this violent path regardless of whether he had as much access to games simulating killing as he did.

              My point was not to divert attention from the need for gun control or claim that video games create sociopaths. It's more about the sort of culture we want, and the ways in which American culture is so ubiquitous throughout the world, and how that influences our societal tolerance for violence.  I was in Colombia a few months ago and saw the incredible saturation and penetration of the most violent films, games and media from the US, and was struck by the way that these cultural markers are embraced by criminal gangs.  It's just not healthy the way this glorification of violence and equation of manhood with killing has infected Colombian society (and Mexican society). Now there are reasons driving this violence that have nothing to do with video games - namely 50 years of warfare against the poor, the endless war between and against narcotrafficantes, and a low-level civil war over access to natural resources.  But I don't think this cultural embrace of violence helps in any way.  Colombian partners have to deal with human heads washing up in the mangroves behind their houses - and they are terrified by these young men imitating imported films and video games in their clothing, language, and behavior.  Maybe this is a chicken and egg situation - the endemic violence begets a market for violent media which begets more violence.  Regardless, it doesn't help - and my point was that if there actually was some rigorous way of demonstrating a causal link between these materials and violence, then regulation should be up for discussion.  That evidence does not exist now, so I'm not advocating for regulation.

              “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

              by ivorybill on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:41:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You are not nearly as (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Practical Progressive, fuzzyguy

            fun or charming as the real Tony Stark.

            Also, you're still wrong.

            I played Manhunt 2. I haven't attacked anyone.

            It was a pretty interesting game. Messed up, sure, but that was the intent. In fact, I thought the dark and twisted storyline was quite creative. I didn't see the twist coming.

            The game might freak people out (frankly the house scene scared the crap out of me), but it's not going to make someone grab a plastic bag and suffocate someone with it.


            Are you sure you're just not projecting? Because for the rest of us, these games don't have diddly effect on how we act.

            •  Again anecdotal (0+ / 0-)

              "I played Manhunt 2. I haven't attacked anyone."

              I've fired a gun and was trained to fire a gun both as a teen and as an adult. I haven't committed mass murder. Your logic is wrong and it's doubly wrong considering the related topic.

              So tell me. Since I have never once talked about banning any of that. Never once. What is your specific beef with the avenues I have actually stated? I'll wait while you check to see what my actual argument was, as opposed to the fake straw man one you've created.

              I am as fun as Tony Stark. You just happen to be a snickering disingenuous Senator Stern type. :)

        •  We had a kid in our Cub Scout den like that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Asked a fireman on one of our field trips "What is it like to burn to death slowly?" We finally made his dad come along to meetings to help with him.

          There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

          by OHeyeO on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:01:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Imagine being his dad or mom trying (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to figure out how to negotiate all of the pressures and fears that they live with everyday.

            It is a testament to my friend's character that she still tries to keep a good attitude and often tells me these stories in the most hopeful, but also completely realistic tone.  I haven't a clue how she hasn't totally lost it over the years.  The desire and commitment to do good things for everyone involved and the public at large reveals what I think is almost super-human strength on her part.  As a society we should be helping her more and I am pretty sure she'd laugh at anyone who suggested that taking video games would solve the problems she's faced with her son.

    •  There is a correlation. (0+ / 0-)

      Your metrics are arbitrary, as is your wording. You can concoct all you want and attempt to falsely narrow the discussion all you want. The studies exist and the evidence is as strong as it ever can be with psychology. It's not as if one type of thing is the cause of all violence, but it has a strong link.

      So yeah, you can feel free to just deny it and justify your violent media however you think you can and maybe you are a true "liberal" and also left wing in many places but you're certainly not left wing when you play and play coy with violent media and its link to more aggressive behavior.

      You'll be where I am in ten years. I don't mind waiting as you and the others evolve. A lot of you were the same ones against gay marriage and pot legalization and ridding workplaces of sexism as much as one can. I was ahead of that curve as well.

      •  That article is specifically about TV. (5+ / 0-)

        Games, as an interactive medium, are fundamentally different from TV.

        Part of the problem with TV is that kids, especially young kids, perceive it as real. Games, on the other hand, are easily understood as play/fantasy.

        The serious long-term effects of TV are also mostly linked to exposure of younger children. Children under 5 almost never play violent games, and even the under-10 set has only limited exposure; the games that usually prompt concerns tend to demand much more advanced eye-hand coordination and spatial reasoning than younger children can manage.

        And I assure you, I won't come around in 10 years. I'm male and under 30. I grew up with games, and so did all of my friends. Our professional trajectories, personal relationships, and creative pursuits are all deeply intertwined with our history/experience with games. You'll have about as much luck convincing us that there's a problem with games as you would convincing our grandparents that there's a problem with church.

        As for your comments about marriage equality and marijuana legalization: As is typical for my generation, I've supported both since long before they were politically viable. The only thing that makes me unusual in that respect is that I learned those positions from my mother.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:00:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You don't get to limit discussion to what you want (0+ / 0-)

          I have never stated anything about games so you can get beat. I'm sure there are studies on that as well. Not really tracking it down for a guy who says things like this:

          "And I assure you, I won't come around in 10 years. I'm male and under 30. I grew up with games, and so did all of my friends. Our professional trajectories, personal relationships, and creative pursuits are all deeply intertwined with our history/experience with games. You'll have about as much luck convincing us that there's a problem with games as you would convincing our grandparents that there's a problem with church."

          They call that anecdotal. So quit pretending to be the expert here when you don't even know what anecdotal is. You're just making the best specious argument that you can. Kind of like the Global Warming deniers. Go ahead. Show me studies that refute any link between the two. You are aware that studies of this nature can and may show evidence the contrary, right? Right? Bueller?

          •  The studies *are* mixed on games (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But I don't know of any that suggest it's good for kids to play highly violent games at a young age.

            I wish Tony Stark's position were completely unjustified.  It isn't; it just isn't black and white.

            While I don't want to see violence in games banned, I welcome the conversation. If nothing else, it provides a brake on the move toward more and more graphic violence.

            I would like to see (and haven't) a study focusing on online games - the amount of blatant bullying in the online arenas worry me much more than the content of the games themselves.  (See the sims-online protection racket scandal, for one.)

          •  um (0+ / 0-)

            Kyril's comment was strictly about violence in video games, you widened the topic back out to violence in media, and he narrowed it back to violence in video games.  Video games are particularly being attacked in this context, and kyril has general and specific knowledge about the subject.

            Narrowing discussion is perfectly valid when topics covered by a broad brush approach have fundamental differences that may affect outcomes.

            And you want studies?  Here's a study.


            Ten seconds of googling.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site