News media and shootings

Usually I stay out of this topic but I want to address it this time in a general approach to news media and shootings. In our age almost every time when there is a shooting the news media of all kinds are quick to blame it towards violent video games. But why?

The main reason should be obvious: because it sells. For some news it is because they cater to a certain audience or to feed their investors preconceptions. Others are calling themselves main stream and are therefore simply willing to write anything as long as it sells. If the general news media were remotely interested in a more objective and down to the subject reporting our news would read drastically different.

In most cases the main spotlight by media is put towards the shooter and the actual victims are just a foot in the news. A cold number. Some offer interviews with so called psychiatrist to analyse the shooter but we forget to look at the victims and at the outside causes.

Another reason for this kind of blame is human nature. We actually need something we can blame. Many cannot accept that something just is. We need to see a reason because our mind wants to understand something that fundamentally cannot be understood. Blaming something or someone allows us to cast away any direct or remote responsibility. By pointing at gaming many feel to have a weak target they can blame this onto thus they do not need to ponder about other causes like social surroundings or society.

What makes a person go mad at such a level and shoot so many people? We must admit and accept one fact: we will never truly understand that. It is beyond reasonable science to understand a human mind on that level. But we can look at some of the drivers behind it.

The discussion about the availability and laws for guns is as old as the problem itself. In my opinion there is much more than that to it. What about the people around him? They are part of the cast of such a tragedy too. In many cases you can notice that shooters were often bullied, socially isolated and often driven to a point where they alone cannot see a way out. Please forgive my analogy but it is similar to a cornered animal. Nothing is more dangerous than a cornered mind, animals and humans alike because they will go to any extreme to get out of it! Isn’t society guilty too because they ignored someone who needed (and often asked for) help?

Of course guns are part of the problem too. Again there is more to it than you see in the first place. Search for some statistics and you will see that most modern countries have proper laws in regards to arms of all kinds. Then compare this to the number of victims of shootings among those countries. No matter how you turn it the United States of America are always on top of that sad list. Is it because of poor laws? I don’t think so. In almost all recent cases known to me the shooter had the guns already at home. Either those were (mostly) legally acquired or they were part of the parents unsaved(!) property. Yes, I do blame parents. Why in hells name do you have a gun at home? Why is it not properly hidden and in a safe? Why was the munition not properly stored separately? These are the questions we shall ask as well if we look for someone to blame.

Guns in itself are a special problem in the USA: a cultural problem to be exact. There are gun laws and illegal arm sales like everywhere else in the world. But in America guns are part of the culture. Many claim that the constitution was always meant to grant them the right to have a weapon at home. This isn’t the wild west any more and the founding fathers wrote all this very long ago. As time changed maybe its time to change some things. The problem here is that this part is so deeply rooted in American history and culture that it is giant task to accomplish any change at all. Until that time the USA will always have the highest casualty rate in shootings.

That being said: 100% security is impossible. There will always be shootings, mad people and genius maniacs who build a bomb in a kitchen.

There have been many studies already investigating the link between aggressive games and violent games. Especially the first ones were useless because of data size and methodology. Recent studies are far better and most disprove a direct link that would even remotely allow that a gamer would turn into a killer. There is actually one more item that proves that violent games are neither causing or supporting aggressive behaviour: the gamers themselves or specifically their number. How many people bought the call of duty games or medal of honour? If we takes the average for our data sample and compare it among modern countries how many of all those killer game players turned into violent beings? Let me help you: none!

The Times is actually running a very interesting article. Professor Chris Ferguson (psychology and criminal justice) at the Texas A&M University tells the following to Time Magazine:

As a video game violence researcher and someone who has done scholarship on mass homicides, let me state very emphatically: There is no good evidence that video games or other media contributes, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth.

Read the full article here: Time Magazin: Sandy Hook Shooting: Video Games Blamed, Again

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