As you’re probably aware by now, President Obama has addressed the nation with his gun control plan in the wake of the horrible school shooting in Connecticut.
In addition to making gun laws tougher, including universal background checks, Obama also wants to look into the possible effect of violent video games.
This isn’t the first time video games have been called to task in the wake of a tragedy. Usually both gaming and films come under fire in the wake of a shooting, and the research into violent games will indeed be part of the President’s plan.
Although gaming wasn’t the primary focus of Obama’s speech, the President said he wants the Centers of Disease Control (CDC( to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
"I will direct the Centers of Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it – and Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds," Obama declared. "We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence."
While there’s many that would argue that researching video games may not be a good use of tax payer dollars, because the research probably won’t turn up much, if anything, but The Entertainment Software Association released a statement saying they were very open to talking with the President. (PC World reports that Obama wants to dedicate $10 million to analyze the potentially harmful effects of games).
And we’ll certainly see a lot of arguments in the near future about the influence of gaming on real life violence. At least one psychology professor told USA Today, "During the past 20 years as video games became more popular, youth violence plummeted to 40-year lows," while others have argued that video games make kids more aggressive. Video games making potentially making a kid aggressive is one thing, but can they truly push anyone over the edge to becoming psychotic?
In the wake of the horrible events of Connecticut, it’s natural for people to want to do anything they can to try and avoid such a tragedy in the future. It’s only human to do so. Yet sadly, this dark day in human history couldn’t have been predicted or prevented, which makes us all feel helpless.
Call of Duty made over a billion dollars in sales its first week, and it hasn’t caused millions of gamers to derange, nor was it the catalyst for a deeply disturbed person to finally snap and commit murder. The unfortunate truth is even if movies and video games become completely free of violence, it will never prevent real life violence from happening.