On Friday, the National Rifle Association called for armed police
officers in every school to stop future travesties like the Sandy Hook
Elementary School mass shooting from happening. To no one's surprise,
violent video games, along with music videos and movies, were partially
blamed for the incident.
The old violent video games argument is
back, even though studies have shown lack of proof of them causing
violent behavior, with even the Supreme Court having ruled in favor of
gamers in the United States. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of
the NRA, quoted games like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat
and Splatterhouse as exposing violence to children. Yes, Mortal Kombat,
a game first released in 1992 and would be considered PG-rated these
days. Where was the mention of Call of Duty? Or was it omitted because
that's about the military and is A-ok by NRA's standards?
game LaPierre failed to mention was "NRA Gun Club," a very bad PS2
title released in September 2006. Published by Crave Entertainment, it
lets gamers shoot more than 100 types of firearms in shooting ranges and
open environments. The game, which features a nice close-up of a gun on
the cover, was rated for everyone ages 10 and up. It also includes
detailed descriptions on every firearm.
Mike Marcellin, managing
director of the NRA, said in a press release at the time: "In keeping
with the NRA mission, this game tests marksmanship in a sporting
environment and emphasizes responsible use of firearms. This is a fun
and exciting game, challenging all ages and all levels of firearms
Critics of violent video games will point out that Call of Duty and
other first-person shooters teach individuals how to shoot guns. It's a
ridiculous claim that I and other gamers just shake our heads at. Anyone
who's played these shooters will tell you just how unrealistic they are
in the first place.
Which is why I find the NRA's response to
the shooting so hilarious, besides them wanting to turn every school
into a prison-like setting (let's add electric fences and guard towers
while we're at it). It's reeks of hypocrisy. Individuals won't become
gun experts after playing NRA Gun Club, but what makes this game
different from other shooters is the whole point of it is to ...
actually learn about and shoot all kinds of real-life guns. If you're
going to go around blaming violent video games for mass shootings,
that's your right to do so. But don't blame Call of Duty, Halo or
Battlefield. Blame this one!
Yes, NRA Gun Club is target shooter
and you're not actually killing anyone, but in the end it's just like
every other video game out there - violent or not. It's fake. It's a
fantasy world we put ourselves into, just like reading a book or going
to the movies. From Japan to Canada, everyone's reading, watching and
playing the same things as Americans are. Yet, you hardly hear horror
stories like the tragedy in Connecticut elsewhere.
I don't know
the exact solution, but I'm pretty sure it involves mental health and
gun regulations of some sort. I know one thing, though: It sure isn't
regulating violent video games. If we keep focusing on that, the problem
will never be solved.
Get even tinier thoughts at www.twitter.com/JeffHoard921.