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Fuck you, old man:

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill Tuesday night that would have the National Academy of Sciences examine any link between violent games and media and violent acts by children, industry sources say.
No, no, no. Do not do this, do not spend your time and our money on this. Not in the name of what happened in Newtown.

We do not have unlimited resources and political capital to work with, on gun control of all issues. We must deploy those resources well. We must stay focused on the core problem: the ease of access to weapons designed for efficient mass murder. We must stay on message. We must keep our priorities straight, and that means not blaming Call of Duty for murderous psychosis.

I played every violent videogame I could get my hands on, for exactly the same reason I love roller coasters: the temporary experience of sensory elevation. Emphasis on "temporary." It's a rush, pure and simple, and when it was over, I'd move on to dinner or homework or music or whatever else. Yes, that's right, I could splatter gallons of blood across a dystopian hellscape for 75 minutes and still manage to get through the rest of the day without killing anybody. And this was true for virtually all of my friends: none of us would hurt a fly. We understood the difference between style and substance, fiction and reality; we hadn't yet learned to write a pompous term paper on those subjects, but we grasped them innately.

And you know what: if we hadn't? If that had been beyond us, if we'd been trapped in some horrible confusion and conflation of those different spaces that drove us to murder? That wouldn't be the videogame's fault. If your brain is trapped in such a state, if your moral compass is that much of a blank slate, something has gone horribly wrong long before you picked up that controller. And it's that root cause that should be one of our two priorities.

The other priority, of course, is the actual gun, not the pixelated one.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a mature response. It's not the (0+ / 0-)

    actual person who creates the violence, who sets the stage for the tragedy, who commits the crime.

    Now, can we work together to figure out how to show the rest of this community that fact???????

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:50:47 AM PST

  •  Thanks for your data point of one. (3+ / 0-)

    While I don't ever expect any direct causal link to be shown between video games and murder, the fact remains that the US swims in a cesspool of daily visual violence unmatched by any previous human experience. Tie that to our ideologic birth by violence and the permanent stain of "other hatred" that saturates our gun culture, and you've got a brew that makes our murder rate what it is---the highest in the industrialized world.

    •  You said it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amsterdam

      "While I don't ever expect any direct causal link to be shown between video games and murder..."

      Nope, I don't expect that either! I DO see, however, direct causal links between easy access to (non-virtual) guns and murder. And since, like I said, we have extremely limited political capital on this issue, why not spend it where it counts? If you really believe GTA is contributing to the murders, does that necessarily mean that this is the best use of the Senate's time and money?

  •  No, it's not just the video games. (8+ / 0-)

    It's not just the guns and it's not just the mental illness. It's some combination of these. When humans are involved, nothing ever has a simple explanation. What do the recent mass shootings have in common ?

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:55:26 AM PST

  •  Take a month off as a thought experiment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rizzo, chrississippi, Neuroptimalian

    and fill the time void with non-screen activity.  Then let us know what you did, learned and felt.  One month is a drop in the bucket, say, Friday till the Inaugural.  Good luck, and happy holidays.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:00:35 AM PST

  •  SQUIRREL! (3+ / 0-)

    Here we go again.  Expect Good old Joe Lieberman to demand the right to censor gaming...

    again.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:00:40 AM PST

  •  Sounds like you have an addiction. nt. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, Neuroptimalian
    •  the internet psychologist definition of addiction (0+ / 0-)
      Addiction, noun
      Frequently engaging in an enjoyable activity that I don't enjoy as well.
      However, given that the diarist's one reference to playing video games was followed by a description of how he would briefly play and then move on to other activities such as homework, I'm pretty sure nothing he wrote here indicates, you know, actual addiction.
  •  From twitter: (10+ / 0-)

    Scientists are baffled at Canadians ability to watch movies and play video games and still not kill each other.

    If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. Albert Einstein

    by kharma on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:05:14 AM PST

  •  We've had an awful lot of diaries from (5+ / 0-)

    gamers who are terribly worked up about any aspersions against their hobby.

    I'm probably a more avid gamer than anybody here, having played almost every day for more than 25 years.  

    I don't agree with you.

    Obviously computer games like RPGs and MMOs like World of Warcraft don't make people killers.

    But an obsession with very nasty violent games such as Grand Theft Auto might well glamorize violence, dehumanize victimes, and be a contributing factor to murder.

    Of course it would not be "the cause," but it damn sure could be a contributing factor.

    •  People with underlying mental health (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, bontemps2012

      or 'mood' or 'psychotic' illness/issues + heavy exposure to video games + an availability of weapons easily can add to "potential tragedy"/

      But that is like State Farm saying X number of red cars will be in wrecks this December 24th. They will be pretty close to correct but they can't predict WHICH CARS will be involved.

      And so it will be with America's Massacres.

      it's not just one thing or another but collections of issues.

      And those who want to focus on one thing or another as the 'real cause' will continue to do so ....

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:48:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  FWIW, I think it's important to distinguish (3+ / 0-)

        between categories of computer games.  Chess and Civilization, for example, are war games, but obviously not tied to violent acting out in the real world.

        But some games are really nasty.

        •  The important distinction (0+ / 0-)

          is not between violent and nonviolent games, but competitive and noncompetitive games, as another commenter pointed out.

        •  violent games aren't really tied to violent acting (0+ / 0-)

          out either. With that said, as someone who went to a few chess tournaments in middle school, I have seen people get VERY aggressive and even violent (well, angrily knocking over pieces) over chess... those are stronger reactions than any I've seen from any video game.

          And speaking personally, the only "aggression" I've ever felt in response to a game was a response to the difficulty of the game, not the content. For example, Fallout 3 (an easy and extremely violent game that involves no interaction with other people) just makes me feel sleepy. FIFA 13 (a nonviolent and very difficult game that is played competitively online) on the other hand...

          Similarly, arguments on the internet likely cause more real world aggression than any video game.

          •  Interesting comment. (0+ / 0-)

            I agree that Fallout 3 was a snooze, despite the almost consistently glowing reviews.  I started it four times and just could not get past the first couple of hours.  But I disagree with your claim that it is an "extremely violent" game.  Nah, it's just an average RPG.  

            You kill monsters in order to get stronger so you can kill bigger monsters . . . .  Repeatedly.  I like that kind of game in general, but it's not the kind of wicked violence I've been talking about.

            Don't know about FIFA 13, need to investigate that.

            •  I actually enjoy Fallout (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Timaeus

              but all those Bethesda RPGs just have a soporific effect on me for some reason. As for how violent it is... eh, they're definitely worse than GTA and most shooters in terms of gore and just generally the player's ability to play as a horrible monstrosity.

              FIFA 13 is a great game, but you need to learn a bit about soccer to get good at it and, since its easily the most popular sports game worldwide, the online competition is absolutely brutal.

              •  BTW, I started Fallout 3 so many times (only (0+ / 0-)

                time that's ever happened for me) because it's made by a company in Bethesda, Maryland, where I grew up, and it features a huge map of the Washington, D.C. area.  I was born in D.C. and have lived and worked there for many years.  I kept thinking it would be cool to prowl around old stomping grounds in a game with highly accurate environmental details.  They even copied the flora from local parks like Great Falls.

                Alas, it was a snooze.  I never got far enough to actually get into downtown D.C.

                In contrast, a fellow lawyer friend of mine, with no ties to D.C., thinks it is one of the all-time greatest games.

                You're very wrong that Bethesda RPGs are gorier than GTA.  At least that's my opinion.

                As for FIFA, not my thing.

      •  Paranoid schizophrenia. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus

        A subtype of the main Axis I organic schizophenia diseases.

        Associated with most of the attacks on groups of strangers.

        This recent attack produced a reference to Asperger's, which is a common misdiagnosis for the early, milder stages of PS. Social difficulty is the shared characteristic. The Asperger's kids do not become violent, suffer hallucinations, or commit suicide.

        "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012

        by bontemps2012 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:58:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But there has to be something to work off of. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amsterdam

      A videogame is not going to turn a well-adjusted, nonviolent person into a killer; there has to either be something terrible already in them, or conversely, a lack of any other guidance system. Both of those speak to a horrendous, alienating environment, and possibly some level of mental dysfunction. Again, we need to set our priorities. What's more important: that horrendous environment or the videogame being used as escapism from that environment? The pixelated gun or the real gun?

    •  I don't see much difference between WoW and GTA (0+ / 0-)

      but good job covering for the kind of games you prefer.

      •  Now THERE is a bullshit comment. (0+ / 0-)

        WOW is a cartoon.  GTA is a knife in the gut.

        If you don't see the difference . . . well, what does that say about you?

        •  clearly, I'm a moral abomination (0+ / 0-)

          but aside from that, I would argue that, to the extent that there is a difference, WoW's more cartoonish depiction of violence as a consequence-free path to social prestige and cool stuff is more glamorizing and dehumanizing than a game where victims actually react negatively and the narrative emphasizes the corrosive societal influence of violent crime.

          What makes GTA unsettling is that it does humanize victims and acknowledges it when the player chooses to make the main character a genuinely terrible human being.

          With that said, in GTA, while you can certainly be a horrible person, you can also play a good guy, obey traffic laws, protect people from muggings and do vigilante missions for the police. It's more like Skyrim or Fallout in that regard.

          •  but this is what I like about DailyKos (0+ / 0-)

            It's a place where people sharing common values and goals can vehemently condemn one another as unethical monstrosities due to minor differences on peripheral issues.

          •  to clarify my point a bit (0+ / 0-)

            To me, both games are essentially cartoon violence and I don't see why a game where violence is purposefully depicted as deviant, antisocial and criminal is more likely to "inspire" someone than a game where violence is purposefully depicted as a heroic and glorious way to solve problems.

            And just hypothetically, if we're discussing some delusional loon who thinks he's been wronged or oppressed, which do you think he would identify with more?

  •  It’s Video Game Competition, Not Violence (2+ / 0-)

    http://www.apa.org/...

    Students were told they were participating in two different studies, one to study eye tracking while playing video games, the other a food study. In actuality, the two were tied. The test was to see what behaviors picked up from the video-games (if any) would influence how spicy the subject would make a food item for another person who doesn't like spicy foods. More spice => more violent behavior was picked up.

    In the 1st experiment people played the bloody hack and slasher "Conan" or an open world racer "Fuel".
    In the 2nd experiment, people played "Mortal Kombat Vs. DC", "Marble Blast Ultra" and a co-op shooter "Left 4 Dead".

    The results:

    On average, students who played the highly competitive games, “Fuel” and “Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe,” prepared significantly more of a hotter sauce than participants who played “Marble Blast Ultra” and “Left 4 Dead 2,” the least competitive games. They also had significantly higher heart rates.
    Some researchers believe that they have already shown that violent video games are a risk factor for aggressive behavior and that this effect stems from the violent content in the games . On the contrary, results from the present study indicate that video game competitiveness, not violent content, is responsible for elevating aggressive behavior in the short-term. The present findings lead to a new direction in video game and aggression research and should encourage researchers to continue to critically examine this issue.
    Back to saving the princess.
  •  Along the same lines... (5+ / 0-)

    folks like to blame television and movies, too, for the  negative aspects of our culture.

    Now, let's think about that for a minute.

    In almost every sitcom and in most movies, the "good" people prevail, and the "bad" people receive their just desserts, yet I fail to see these outcomes having a positive impact on our culture.

    No one in our nation's history, before setting out to do something wrong, has ever stepped back and said, "Gee, maybe I ought to rethink robbing that bank, because I might end up in prison, like on that cop show I saw last week."

    Josef Stalin never played a videogame or saw a violent movie.

    I hope our alleged leaders focus on the real issues at hand here and stop attacking the low-hanging fruit.

    It's not violent video games.

    It's not violent movies.

    It's not rock 'n' roll.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:18:47 AM PST

    •  TV has been linked to upticks in violence for 50 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shippo1776

      years.

      And like the gun lobby, there has been relentless efforts to get these studies ignored.

      Video games are going to doubtlessly be a factor as well - I see people obviously wanting to screech "Nooooooo" to that as well.

      Profit is always more important than people's little lives.

      FACT: 99% of people aren't going to do anything to actually hurt anybody. These horrific events are 'rare' in the overall population thing, but the frequency has been increasing steadily over the years. it's a tiny, tiny fraction of a percentage point. Part of 1% who pull these stunts.

      The idea that one can prevent this tiny fraction from acting out by curtailing the general rights of the 99% is a popular, feel-good thing right now, but clearly isn't an approach one wants to hold one's breath on as 'this is gonna do the trick!"

      Most people who drink alcohol don't get into traffic accidents because they follow the rules. Some people DON'T follow the rules, leading to an alcohol-related death every 20 minutes. But why aren't we trying to eliminate alcohol altogether?

      Alcohol kills people: end of discussion - why are we not banning it to save lives?

      it will make no sense to ban everybody from video games because a fraction of 1% MIGHT do something ugly. Some will argue that people need to suck up their rights, stop playing video games and stop all their drinking because they are as guilty as the drunk driver (or video gamer) who killed somebody. (I worked with a guy who was a gamer addict: would play non-stop for 3-4 days at a time and then get into traffic accidents because he'd try to sleep and drive. Yeah, he was a major dumbass.)

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:00:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll bet tens of millions of people ... (0+ / 0-)

      have considered robbing a bank but decided against it because they figured they'd be apprehended and imprisoned.  I can't prove that, but you CERTAINLY can't prove that NO ONE

      in our nation's history, before setting out to do something wrong, has ever stepped back and said, "Gee, maybe I ought to rethink robbing that bank, because I might end up in prison, like on that cop show I saw last week."

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:11:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  100% of people (0+ / 0-)

        who didn't have access to guns, didn't kill people in a shooting massacre.

        •  And another percentage of armed people ... (0+ / 0-)

          saved their own lives and the lives of others when confronted with a bad situation when the cops were too slow or far away to be of any help.  Should we go kill them because they shouldn't have been armed and otherwise whould have died?  I'll let you deliver the news to them yourself.

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:22:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  CSI did it for me (0+ / 0-)

        From watching the show I've learned that every police force has a billion dollar machine that does nothing but analyze down from parkas - in Miami.

        I'd be caught for sure.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:27:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  can't they just read one of the existing studies? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure there's dozens.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:59:26 AM PST

  •  Proof that it isn't video games (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antimony, amsterdam, Stroszek

    Canada, South Korea, Germany, Great Britain, Japan - all huge gaming nations.

    None of which have the same problem we have in the US with homicides by firearm.

    All your Supremes are belong to us. For Great Justices!

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:24:17 PM PST

  •  I kind of agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stroszek

    I grew up watching The Roadrunner and I have yet to attempt dropping an anvil on anyone's head.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 01:23:31 PM PST

    •  contemporary research on children's TV agrees (0+ / 0-)

      Roadrunner is better for kids than most of the garbage on TV today. In fact, researchers found a lot of "educational" and "moral" TV increased negative behavior in children by teaching them new ways to insults others and strategically avoid consequences (while attempting to teach them it was wrong, of course).

      Roadrunner, on the other hand, just makes kids laugh.

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