When tragedy strikes, everyone feels the impact of it. It doesn’t matter where or when it happens, or who it happens to, it never feels good. But what makes it worse is when other things besides the people who do wrong get blamed for tragic events. All too often, video games and the gaming industry are given an unfair and condescending view by the news when something horrible happens, giving way for individuals who don’t care about video games the chance to speak ill of them again. It’s a tired and overplayed narrative we’ve all had enough of since the mid-90s, and it’s long past time that everyone stop blaming video games for the tragedies caused people.
The debate about video games causing violence is a never-ending argument between people that don’t want to see facts and want to push a certain agenda. Despite studies that constantly show gaming has the inverse effect on violent behavior (some concluding that it makes people calmer), there are many individuals who’d quickly point the finger at the games people play for their irrational and criminal behavior. The narrative becomes “gaming is the problem”. We saw this in the 90s before the creation of the ESRB, we saw this during the Hot-Coffee debacle with Grand Theft Auto, and we once again see it now with some recent tragedies happening in 2018. And not only is it disrespectful to those affected by events taking place, it’s also very tiring and infuriating.
The acts of one person can’t be used to paint a broad stroke for an entire legion of people who share a common enthusiasm or hobby. For that one person that goes into a tournament and opens fire at innocent people, there are hundreds and thousands more who would never do something like that, despite playing the same game or types of games.
So why is it that when things like this happen, the news, other organizations, and political knee-jerkers with an opinion simply blame the games rather than the individual? Why does the headline in a news story need to say “Suspect Was Disgruntled Gamer” rather than “Suspect Was Disgruntled Man or Women”? It seems a little disingenuous when that is used to describe the horrible individual and their actions that followed, all for the sake of being easily digestible for the public and pushing the blame on something marketable.
This isn’t the only thing that is tired and overplayed, it’s what comes after that makes it even more saddening. Like clockwork in attempt to push a selfish agenda, there are people who will say anything to put the blame on video games while taking away the blame from the real cause of the problem. It’s crazy to think how some will believe that the gaming community fostered an individual to shoot groups of unarmed, innocent people.
Even crazier to think that somehow that ties into the gaming community being a massive group of racists who encourage this kind of behavior. Its outlandish statements and hate-filled ideas like these that disrespect all of those affected by such a tragedy, but also insult the intelligence of everyone for the sake of attention. It’s hollow, desperate, ill-advised, and lacks any element of class or dignity. And yet, we still see it way too often on the news and through social media.
This all needs to stop. It’s long past due we stop trying to blame video games for the violence that occurs, and start blaming the people who caused it. We’ve all come way too far to be stuck in the same position we were in only a few decades ago. Gaming has become a larger entertainment industry, but has also continuously provided a lot of good for people who partake in the hobby. That needs to be recognized and drown out the many stories and lies about games causing the tragedies we see. It’s never fair to condemn something that people enjoy because of the actions of one person who went over the edge. But it’s worse to continue to do so while trying to gain attention over the well-being of people dealing with real consequences from these tragedies. We all have to do better.
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