Donald Trump pitted video game creators against some of the “harshest critics” of violent games in a closed-door meeting this week. Instead of focusing on who was there and what they said, let’s take at why they were there and how video games have been studied – extensively – with regard to violence over the past couple of decades.
The United States Secret Service and the United States Department of Education released a report in the year 2004 which studied all school shootings between the years 1974 (the earliest year data was available) and 2000. They worked with 37 incidents involving 41 attackers. Out of 41 attackers, 5 exhibited an interest in violent video games. On the other hand, just under one out of every 4 attackers in that study expressed an interest in violent books.
You’ll find an abundance of articles like Engadget’s “For the people in the back: Video games don’t cause violence” that show study after study concluding the same thing. You’ll also find one unmistakably true fact that should well have ended this conversation immediately. It comes from the Entertainment Software Association.
“Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation.” – ESA
In reality, it seems a whole lot more likely that this violence is caused by toxic masculinity. As Them writer Bryan Epps notes, “From 1982 to 2017, only three American mass shooters have been women, whereas 93 have been men.” Also of note: every mass shooting was committed with a gun. But let’s see how video games were to blame.
According to Fortune Magazine citing OpenSecrets, the National Rifle Association contributed $11.4 million USD to the Trump campaign for the 2016 election cycle. The only sum they contributed more toward during that election cycle was AGAINST Hillary Clinton. Probably because she’s literally out on the streets with a cartoon-sized fishing net, taking all the guns she’s aware of. Watch out!