US Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, in the wake of the latest senseless tragedy that has hit the US where gun violence is concerned, has hit out at videogames, TV and film as culprits.
"There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them," Bevin said during an interview, as highlighted by ArsTechnica
. "They celebrate the slaughtering of people...
... There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life."
This isn't the first time games or various other forms of media have come under scrutiny for gun violence, specifically in the US, with gun laws remaining largely unchanged.
To highlight that last factoid, in 2013 after the horrific massacre of young children at the Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, we looked in-depth at gun violence, videogames and causal links.
Alarmingly, and our reason for re-posting this piece, this is still as relevant as ever and points to just how little change, from a legislative perspective, has occurred, while games and more remain as convenient scapegoats for a larger, endemic problem.
Here's a snippet from our in-depth report, which is almost five years old:
To put things in perspective people once said that reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had a tendency to corrupt juveniles with its glorification of violence and descriptions of bestiality, a tenuous thread of association that is mostly laughed at in retrospect. In a similar vein, it’s ridiculous to think that if you read lots of fantasy books you want to uproot your existence to make like Don Quixote. So why then is it assumed by so many groups and individuals to be fait accompli for a person who likes games that are violent to they themselves be violent? It is a flawed and erroneous assumption countered well by this report by Forbes, from April 2012, showing that even though videogame sales have incrased rapidly, the rate of violent crime has fallen.
Click here to have a look at our still-relevant in-depth discussion surrounding real-life gun violence and games
Such a view is covered in more detail by Forbes in another article using 2011 sales statistics showing the five biggest videogame markets in the world compared with firearm deaths. The biggest market is the United States ($13.6B) followed by Japan ($7B), China ($6.8B), South Korea ($5B) and the United Kingdom ($3B). This is compared with firearm deaths of 10.2 per 100,000 in the United States, 0.07 in Japan, 0.19 in China, 0.13 in South Korea and 0.25 in the UK. It should be noted with the high figure of the United States it is not clear if that reflects firearm deaths by suicide, a rate that in this article is given as more than 50%.
There’s a lot that needs to be taken with a grain of salt in the above statistics given that it tracks overall videogame sales and not the specific sale of violent videogames. A pertinent distinction as games most often blamed for violent crimes such as Call of Duty with Anders Breivik and Doom and Wolfenstein 3D with the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, are not big sellers in Japan. A quick look at vgchartz.com (beginning of March in this case) shows that while Black Ops II is No. 3 in Europe and the US, it only just breaks the top 10 in Japan, which is dominated by handheld sales. Yet the overall figure shows an interesting disparity between the United States and the other countries, a disparity large enough to exclude videogames as the soulless trainer of killers they are made out to be.