Violent games: not the real problem


Xander Donahue

A friendly reminder from the Gamer's club at LHS next to a photo that characterizes how some feel about violent video games.

Xander Donahue, Staff Writer

Receiving news notifications detailing the latest mass shooting is no longer an abnormal occurrence. Now it seems like a routine part of life. With every new act of violence that surfaces, different communities are affected. With every new shooting comes new controversies.

The latest group of people devastated by a senseless act of violence is the gaming community. On Sunday, Aug. 26, David Katz opened fire after being eliminated from the Madden 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. Two people were killed during the shooting and many more were injured.

“The tragic situation that occurred Sunday in Jacksonville was a senseless act of violence that we strongly condemn,” read the tweet sent out by EA Sports. “Our most heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the victims whose lives were taken today and those who were injured.”

As of now the community is focused on supporting those who were directly affected by the shooting and is sending their best wishes to gamers all across the globe. Other people, however, want to focus more on changing the video game industry. Scholar Steve Hilton, for instance, believes that the shooting most likely has a link with violent video games and that action should be taken to prevent young adults and children from being exposed to those types of media. During a recent discussion that aired on Fox, Hilton, who was a guest on the show, compared the effects of playing violent games to smoking.

“When we think of other risks to our children and their health, for example smoking, we actually take action and we ban those things […] and I think there’s a role for that now,” said Hilton.

Jackson Godschalk, the president of the LHS Gamer’s club, however, has a very different opinion concerning this issue.

“[…] once in a while you have a parent or people just saying that because so and so played video games it caused violence… that’s never really true,” said Godschalk.

The truth is that everybody who voiced their opinions on violence and Katz’s actions didn’t actually know if he played violent games at all. People simply jumped to a conclusion in order to justify their statements. The war against mature games has already been going on for years, making it a scapegoat for parents and adults upset about.

The claims made by those who spoke during the Fox News segment concerning gaming are fundamentally flawed. Anybody could take their same argument towards violent games and apply it to every type of media. One could argue that violent films or inappropriate books cause violent outbursts, but that’s never really mentioned during the conversation that aired. Granted, the shooting did happen at a gaming tournament, but the game that was being played was Madden 19, not one of the violent, “shoot-em-up” games that starts arguments between parents and their kids.

The kinds of things that are being said are generalizing the entire gaming population. Essentially misrepresenting everybody who enjoys “violent” media, it causing an argument that vilifies those who are passionate about doing what they love.

“It’s like judging someone just based off the acts of one person,” said Godschalk.  ¨Sure they may be in the same group. […] sure me and [Katz] might share the fact that we like video games but that doesn’t mean that I’m gonna shoot up the school or kill anyone because people play video games, you know?”

The controversies surrounding this delicate subject may remain for years to come, but in the meantime all we can do is support those affected by this tragedy. In reality, it is not violent video games that are the problem, but the fact that citizens have access to tools of destruction. Generalizing communities and blaming media is never going to solve any problem surrounding this topic. Hopefully people will come to understand that… one day.

Correction: 9/10/18

An earlier version of this article had minor grammatical errors. They have been edited for clarity.