The Visualized Violence of Video-games

August 27, 2018

 

If you are a young American male, there is a good chance that you have fond memories of shooting your friends in the face. Strangers, too. You probably have a weapon of choice, and you might even have an opinion regarding the effectiveness of the M4A1 Carbine versus the AK-47. Whether you're using automatic or semi-automatic rifles, you know how to maximize your kills before you run out of ammo.

 

Something like 90% of American children play video games, and a large percentage of those games depict violence. Shooter games are, of course, a favorite for boys. For some reason, American parents have decided that it is a good idea to let their young, asocial boys lock themselves in their rooms and visualize killing for hours per day. Whatever your politics, you should be able to recognize that this is not the best idea.

 

What I have said so far is obviously true, but you hate me for saying it. After all, you love playing Call of Duty and there is no risk that you'll ever become a mass shooter. Taking away your freedom to play violent video games won't make anyone any safer!

 

Check yourself. That is the exact same argument gun owners make. But, unlike you, gun owners can provide a legitimate safety reason for owning their gun. You just want to play really badly.

 

The idea of banning violent video games never gets off the ground in American politics because so many Americans play. The idea of banning guns, however, gets traction because only 40% of American households own a gun. When it comes to things we do, our freedom trumps everyone else's safety. When it comes to things other people do, we can negotiate—and even their Constitutional rights are on the table.

 

This is why Mike Pence should begin a crusade against "violence in video games." People will hate him for it. But that is a feature, not a bug. By changing the political conversation to a plausible causal factor in mass-shootings, Pence could unite both Left and Right around the cause of freedom.

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