Like the title says, I am a gamer. I've played video games since the days of the Atari 2600, in fact it was my first system. I even played the legendarily bad E.T. game, still have it too, somewhere packed away where it will do no harm. There has always been some degree of violence in video games whether you were playing Defender or Space Invaders it was always there on some level.
Millions of people are gamers these days. Many of them play first person shooters, and for them that's fine. Personally I hate them but that's more a matter of personal style taste than having a problem with the actual content. Heck if Dishonored was a third person game I'd likely play it because I like what I've heard about its content and story.
Now the reason I bring this up is because, once again, my hobby is being accused of causing a slaughter. Last night on the Five Brian Kilmeade tried to blame Dynasty Warriors for the shooting in Connecticut. Later that night Bill-O had former West Point psychologist Lt. Col. Dave Grossman on and he made the tired old claim that "murder simulators" are to blame for the problems in society, and for the tragedy that happened last Friday. To his credit, in this one instance, Bill-O said that 99 out of 100 kids who play violent games never do anything violent and that's true. Grossman's response was that 99 out 100 kids who don't wear seat belts don't get hurt, implying that the regulations we have to keep people safe on the road are needed to protect society from the ebil, ebil video games.
I said yesterday that video games are not the problem, the problem is the lack of a support system for people with mental health problems.
I live with mental health problems everyday. I am diagnosed as bipolar with anxiety disorder and panic disorder. I'm lucky that I was able to find state help in going to counseling and in getting Medicaid to pay for my medication. Without my medication I would be a basket case and while what I have isn't as bad as say, Schizophrenia, it would be a terrible burden on not just me but my family as well.
I play games to vent, to escape and to not think about the challenges I have in life and I'm more than a little tired of the stereotype that gamers are just one violent game away from becoming a psycho killer. We aren't. You need only look to charities like Child's Play that raise millions of dollars to help sick kids.
I say all this because now it appears that retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman wants to investigate the affect violent media has on people. I say again that its not the games that are the problem, its the fact that we still treat mental illness as something to be ashamed of. States all over the country are cutting mental health services and more and more people are falling through the cracks and not getting the help that they need.
The SCOTUS has already decided that video games are protected speech under the First Amendment and Lieberman is just going to waste more tax payer money with this farce of an investigation.
We have to speak out about the real problem and find a way to get help the people that need it. What the best solution is I don't know but I welcome the discussion.
That's all for now
May God bless you and may God be gracious to you
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Edit 7:05 pm Michigan time: Wow. Many thanks to those that reced and those that commented. I was just writing to get something off my chest and I'm humbled that so many people read my poor offering. Thank you one and all.