Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Virtual Target Practice

Trey Smith


In a recently released report about the Sandy Hook school shooting of last December, one of the revelations is that the shooter (Adam Lanza) possessed a video game called School Shooting. As reported by the Guardian, the game features "a character controlled by the player who enters a school and shoots students."

I am sure that some people will point to this particular game as being a cause of the tragedy. Other people will broaden the scope to say that all violent video games are part of the problem and, consequently, should be banned. Still others will point out that millions of people play violent video games and yet they don't commit heinous acts, so the problem obviously isn't the games themselves.

Where do I stand on the issue? Sort of in the middle.

I do think violent video games are part of the problem, but that doesn't mean that I believe they should be singled out. Violence permeates our society. Our federal government has a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. This perspective has trickled down to local police forces. Even ordinary citizens -- like George Zimmerman -- wrap themselves in the shoot first mantra.

Most of the top box office draws in the film industry employ varying degrees of violence to sell tickets. The same is true for television programs. Heck, a good deal of the most popular music these days is filled with violent themes. When you add in the amount of violence showcased in a great deal of the "hallowed" religious tracts from the Abrahamic religions, the whole thing ends up tied neatly with a bow!

Yes, a video game entitled School Shooting is vulgar, but so too are the violent themes that seem to worm their way into every nook, cranny and crevice of our lives. Banning one tiny element won't make that much difference at all.

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