Like Always, Idiots Are Blaming Video Games

This happens every time. On CNN:

...criminal profiler Pat Brown was brought on the air to discuss anything that could be gleaned about last night’s killer so far. As not much information was readily available, Brown was forced to theorize, guessing that, for Holmes, last night was the best night of his life and one that he had planned extensively for. She also guessed that this planning may have involved repeatedly playing violent video games.

Do we have to do this? Millions of people play video games and would never consider doing something like that psychopath did in Aurora. Mental illness and easy access to guns -- those are the only blame-worthy issues here. Anything else is facile nonsense.

(h/t to Colleen Kirby Attorney at Law)

  • tommybanana

    If the video game point is being made as a diversion from the gun control
    issue then it is idiotic but otherwise it is a valid point, no?

    Anyone with a son will see that video games are very addictive and allow kids to
    live in a fantasy world where they can play with fantasies of mastery and violent
    revenge. If people lose a clear distinction between reality and fantasy then can’t one
    imagine that the violent fantssy world gaming can tip into reality with such
    devastating consequences.

    Having said that I am not proposing banning video games.

    • mrbrink

      The problem I see with your suggestion(s), other than the mobile laboratory you’ve set up inside the head of the criminally insane, is that the guy who shot up Batman didn’t think he was Super Mario. He thought he was “the Joker.”

      And just how much time does a studying neuroscientist have to catch up with Grand Theft Auto IV? I’m guessing very little, but it’s irrelevant. There was gun violence before violent video games. Charles Whitman wasn’t playing Pac Man.

      Blaming gun violence on pornography, comic books, rock & roll music, violent movies, television, rap music, and now video games are the historical stepping stone patsies for people with their warmongering, torture-condoning, toxic waste dump of a head jammed so far up their asses that it’s just become easier and more convenient, less confrontational, to point the finger at anything other than the obvious.

      Because the one true link that all of these crazies have isn’t the music they listened to, or the video games they played. Their one true link staring the whole country in the face is the easy access to guns, made easier and easier every year by the hard-selling alcoholic used car salesmen of the gun lobby.

      The winning concept never seems to be the idea that conflict resolution is being taught by parents who argue that torturing human beings is sensible policy. That wars of choice are a necessary byproduct of freedom. That cutting social services are just something we all have to sacrifice to appease the wealth hoarding Gods of capital. That our Latchkey kid culture is stressing us the fuck out. It must be the M-rated video games! This time! So just put a gun in your hand and your conflict is already half-solved! No muss, no fuss. Bringing a knife to a gun fight is for squares, Daddio. Just brandishing a gun, or the rumors of gun, will let everyone know that you can shoot them if they harass and bully you!

      The gun pushers are using the 2nd amendment like some sort of sacred birthright. It’s kind of like every beer and hard liquor company in the country coming together to try and put a drink in every American’s hand just because the Constitution says you are allowed to drink.

      These are the grown ups.

      • Razor

        The guns certainly make it easier, but I don’t think it’s JUST the gun either… considering the proliferation of guns in American culture, we’d have one of these mass shootings everyday if it was just the guns.

        Something is already off about these guys before they even have the gun. That’s not to say I don’t agree with your overall point that the NRA is basically the devil on the shoulder of these lunatics, but something pushes them to the brink in the first place.

        Your point about stress strikes a chord though. A former med student snapping under the pressure wouldn’t exactly shock anyone.

        • mrbrink

          “we’d have one of these mass shootings everyday if it was just the guns.”

          Razor, just since 2005, the list of mass shootings is 62 pages long.

          If a mass shooting doesn’t happen everyday, it happens pretty damn regularly.

          • Razor

            I don’t deny we have a problem with gun violence, but there’s a difference between many of the incidents on that list and what happened in Aurora.

            Just doing a quick glance, I do see a lot of mental health issues and that seriously needs to be addressed… but a lot of it also sounds like gang violence and people murdering someone they know. Not to downplay those tragic events, but again, it’s not “the gun” that’s making people do that. It makes it easier, sure, but people are going to murder each other everyday even if we melted down every gun on the planet.

            Not trying to sound like a “guns don’t kill people” gun nut or anything, but I think there’s a more complicated reason why Americans kill people. I’m sure some would argue it’s the guns, I would argue we’re just a more violent people in general.

          • mrbrink

            Availability is a problem, though. With more gun control it would be more difficult to, say, murder your whole family if you were unable to acquire a gun as easily as you can right now.

            Minors are still going to find a way to get booze, but the laws in place make it more of a hassle, and a deterrent.

    • Treading_Water

      If the video games are that much of a factor, why doesn’t the news from Korea, China, and Japan contain more stories of mass killings? Those cultures are fully immersed in video games. If violence in media is the trigger, then once again you would think Japan with it’s strange embrace of demon tentacle rape of cheerleaders would lead the world in mass killings. If it’s just access to guns, then why aren’t Canadians shooting up malls and public spaces?

      This seems to be a fairly uniquely American problem. Other cultures have the violence in media, easy access to guns and video games that we have, but they manage not to randomly kill each other. The violence in this country, while at a lower level than countries actively involved in armed insurrection and civil war, is still far too high for a purportedly civilized first world nation.

      • tommybanana

        We have had this kind of shooting in the UK – hungerford & dunblane – although generally by older people and without the assault rifles. Obviously Norway too and France…..

        Re: research:

        I do research on social science type issues and it is quite hard to prove this kind of thing. Not being to prove it doesn’t wipe out the possibility that it is a factor, but again I don’t know for sure.

        It would be good to be able to say : 1) can we not let these kind of people get assault weapons and

        2) why do these people turn out like this

        without the asking of one question being seen as argument against asking the other.

  • mrbrink

    When some nut goes ape shit it never fails to bring out the stupid.

    Blaming video games, or the hippity hop music, or the pants on the ground, or cell phones, or what the fuck ever, is the default stupid switch these cowardly dumb assholes turn to when they’re afraid to give honest answers because they’ll be bullied by rural gun-toting wingnuts who think the government of the people is out to get them.

    I’ve read comments that said, “can’t blame guns, got to blame the individual.”

    Like this is an isolated incident. It’s not. The list of mass-shootings, just since 2005, is 62 fucking pages long!

    We have metal detectors in our elementary schools, for fuck’s sake. Something is seriously wrong, and it isn’t wrong because there’s not enough “law abiding” fat fuck Americans with concealed weapons.

    You can be mentally unfit, but if you can get a gun, and all mentally unfit motherfuckers seem to get them with great ease, this shit is going to keep happening. And fuck you, high and mighty gun owners, who surround yourselves with more guns and ammo than any human being needs in a lifetime. You’re fucking crazy, too. Civilized people don’t turn to guns when they get scared of the dark. We look out for each other, turn on some lights, and get a dog.

    Some other idiots have written something to the effect of, “well, if he couldn’t get a gun, he would have just used gasoline, or a bomb.” Because those things are so much easier to conceal and ignite than a lightweight semi-automatic rifle!

    We allow shit-kicking used car salesmen to sell us on the idea of MORE guns– more guns that are flooding our streets– to counter all the guns already on our streets!

    Double-down, America! This is the gun for YOU!

    Most of us don’t live in straw-grass-chewing sheep-fucker paradise. We live in cities and suburbs where the crazies and the criminals step out from dark allies before you can reach for your cute little monogrammed nickel plated paper weight. We go to grocery stores for our food, rather than taking the kids out for a full day of blood sport hunter-gathering because skinning and bleeding out our dinner isn’t something we need to do anymore.

    But we let the same people who privatize our prisons, cut our access to healthcare and education, depress our wages and pollute our air and water convince us that more guns are the answer to our fears and paranoia.

    They’re perpetuating and manipulating the fear market.

    It’s an economic bubble of blood and fear and they’re all criminal accomplices every time there’s a mass shooting using their product.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Hear hear, mrbrink.

      • tommybanana

        there are 2 separate points here, no?

        yes availability of guns – particularly assault rifles & high capacity mags – that contribute to the scale of these atrocities and should absolutely be banned and gun ownership be more rationally controlled.

        But there is the question of why people end up wanting to do stuff like this. I am not sure that violent video games aren’t a factor amongst many others and in people with a vulnerability. The argument that many people play video games but dont kill is only effective against a claim that video games will turn anyone that plays them into mass killers.

        • Razor

          Show a study then. This is a drum people have been banging for 20 years now and the only link that’s been shown is that video games can temporarily increase aggression in those predisposed to it. Tough to link that to someone who planned this for months.

          What video games contributed to the Luby’s massacre? Did Pac-Man Fever drive James Huberty to kill 21 people in a McDonald’s? We don’t have the phrase “going postal” because of Paperboy.

  • Debbie Wild


    Do you play video games primarily about blood and guts and killing?

    Did you when you were younger?

    Just curious.

    • Razor

      I do and did. I started playing Mortal Kombat, in all its spine-ripping glory when I was around 9.

      My mom let me dress as Freddy Krueger for Halloween when I was in preschool, much to the chagrin of my teacher and the adorable little bunny that sat next to me.

      All my life, I’ve watched brutal horror movies and played the most violent video games. I even used to draw really gory comics when I was about 11, which I’m pretty sure would land me in some sort of group home if I grew up in today’s world.

      All that said, I also bawled my eyes out when I watched Toy Story 3. If I see a stray animal, I have to stop everything I’m doing to help it get home or at least to a no-kill shelter. I’ve never been in a fight in my life (although I did get punched in the face once). And I can’t stand the sight of an actual dead body.

      I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back or anything, and I understand this is purely anecdotal, but I had a childhood loaded with violent (yet fictional) imagery that seemingly had no effect.

  • DKEL

    Mental illness, easy access to guns AND OUR CULTURE OF FEAR. (As highlighted brilliantly in Bowling For Columbine.)

    Oh…and crippling income inequality is an ingredient in the recipe.

  • muselet

    … Brown was forced to theorize …

    Forced? By whom? Had she been locked into a suicide vest by a mad segment producer? Was her dog being threatened?

    It’s bad enough that people like Pat Brown are in news producers’ Rolodexes—they have absolutely nothing of value to add to the discussion—but what’s worse is that people like her are incapable of saying they have no earthly idea why this particular individual did this particular act because they have no information beyond what’s been broadcast (which in this case was nearly none).

    CNN should be ashamed for putting Pat Brown on the air, and Jon Bershad of Mediaite should be ashamed of using the word “forced” to describe anything Pat Brown did.

    (Apologies for the rant.)


  • Draxiar

    Oh it was probably Video Games, Rock and Roll, Dungeons and Dragons, Movies, TV, the Pot, Godlessness, and Pee Wee Herman. It couldn’t *possibly* have *anything* to do with relaxed laws in obtaining military grade automatic firearms…no not at all.

    *rolls eyes*

    • Razor

      To be fair, the guns didn’t MAKE him do it either.

      Perhaps a point could be made about our violent culture – and I don’t mean horror movies and video games, I mean the horror on the news every night – but the gun specifically didn’t make him violent. He would’ve killed someone or multiple people regardless of gun laws.

      And I say that as someone who 100% supports gun control because it does make a difference with your run of the mill criminals, but disturbed individuals like this… there’s probably nothing that could’ve been done to stop it, scary as that is.

      Stricter gun laws may have lowered the body count, but that doesn’t mean a tragedy wouldn’t have occurred.

  • Bob Rutledge

    It’s un-Murrikan to deal with the actual problem when there’s profit to be made peddling palliatives.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Whatta surprise from these people. Blame just about everything except the obvious. Nope, nothing to see here folks, keep moving along.

  • KanaW

    Not only that, but the people who castigate video games for turning people violent are the same ones who say that Beck and Limbaugh are not inciting anything.
    *Mental whiplash*

  • Michael Norris

    Colorado is one of the largest beer-producing states in the country. Definitely in the top five. But we are in the lowest of all fifty states in mental health treatment. What does that tell you?

    • drsquid

      Not very much with respect to a grown adult who had only been there a year with all known loved ones back in California.

      If he had been planning this for months, he had addressable problems before he ever set foot in Colorado.