The call for sensible gun control has remained front and center in the news, led by the survivors of the shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been scrambling to find a straw man scapegoat to refocus the debate around, and he seems to have landed firmly on video games. (Which, gee, that sure has to piss off all the Gamer Gaters who voted him into office.)
Yesterday, Trump gathered a group of video game industry experts, as well as conservative critics of violence in video games. The attendees did not, however, include any scientists, which is a strange choice for a meeting designed to discuss “violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children.”
Expected attendees at POTUS meeting today to “discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children,” per WH pic.twitter.com/6y61gTYZbT
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 8, 2018
Of course, the organizers didn’t even seem to know who was on the panel, as they misidentified Pat Vance, President of ESRB, the non-profit that assigns ratings for video games and apps.
For the record… it’s “Ms. Pat Vance”. @PatriciaEVance https://t.co/KJq6hMVYo7
— ESRB (@ESRBRatings) March 8, 2018
On last night’s Daily Show, Trevor Noah tackled Trump’s misguided focus on video games rather than on guns. As he says, this argument that violence in video games is to blame for real-life violence is nothing new. Politicians have been arguing this for decades. However, researchers have been studying the connection between video games and violence for just as long, and haven’t come up with any evidence to back up claims of causation.
“There have been hundreds of studies on this issue, and they have shown that there isn’t any connection between violent video games and violent activities,” Noah says. “Now, that doesn’t mean that video games have no influence on you because let’s be honest, everything we consume as human beings affects us somehow. Sex and the City might make you want to go to brunch. Karate Kid might have made people join the local dojo.”
Now, to be fair, Sex and the City was largely, if not entirely, responsible for the Cosmopolitan’s incredible rise in popularity, and Hunger Games did, in fact, inspire girls to take up archery. The entertainment we consume does have an effect on us. But, as Noah points out, violence in video games does not automatically lead to violent behavior. And we know this because other countries have proven it to be true.
In Japan, where gaming is nearly as popular as it is in the U.S., there was only one gun death in 2015. One.
Noah says, “Look man, the truth is, many countries around the world have figured this out. The most effective and realistic way to limit gun violence is to regulate who has access to guns.”
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