I’m a Detroiter, Love Guns, Play Video Games, and I’ve Never Killed Anybody

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Detroit has a really bad rap.  If you were born and raised there, the assumption seems to be that you’re packing heat around the clock no matter where you go.  A place Jeremy Clarkson once described as “Drugs, violence, murder, terror. The end of days.”  Until I moved to Canada, I was fairly regularly going down to the gun range to get in some practice.  If I was feeling especially saucy, I’d even pick up an MP-5 (it’s a sub-machine gun, not an assault rifle) and throw a couple of magazines full of lead down the range.  Oh, and I’ve played video games for over 20 years.  From Super Mario Bros. to Doom, Wolfenstein 3D to Halo, and just about every Final Fantasy game, I’ve easily dropped a few thousand hours of video games in my life time.

And I haven’t killed a single soul.

If you believe in stereotypes, you’d think I’d be a poster child of violence.  If you ask Mr. Clarkson, I’m probably pretty far behind on my expected murder-death-kill quota.  The simple fact of the matter is that no matter how mad I’ve gotten, no matter how unfair my circumstances, I’ve never had the slightest inclination to pick up a gun and end someone else’s life.  How is this possible you may ask?

Could it be that I’m just not crazy nuts?

After the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook, it wasn’t even an hour or two before I heard that the kid was an “avid fan” of Call of Duty.  This report was corroborated by an official source: the family’s plumber.  Then, something more extraordinary happened; the gun industry, seeing an opportunity to not make itself a scapegoat in the matter, shot video gamers in the back by immediately placing the blame on game publishers.

Start a war with a multi-billion dollar industry and its fans when you yourself are on shaky ground?  Achievement unlocked.  Release your own video game featuring guns after taking up the “video games are making killers” banner?  Even better.  I also love the fact that they blamed Grand Theft Auto V for the incident in DC, when the game hadn’t even released yet.

And in the meantime, two kids in Toronto coming home from buying Grand Theft Auto V break into an elderly gentleman’s home.  What did they steal you may ask?  Nothing.  They only tried to take the man residing in the home, because it was burning to the ground.

So while blame gets thrown on both sides of the fence, and government officials try to make new rules that only apply to the people who support them (which excludes the people who are actually doing the shooting), I posit to you another theory:  perhaps there are people out there that are just unbalanced.  Perhaps, there are people who are just plain evil,  and perhaps by placing the blame on something other than the crazy evil person, we are actually encouraging crazy evil people to go out and do terrible things.  We need to stop enshrining the people who commit these horrible acts (because of course it wasn’t their fault after all), and instead salt and burn their bones and strike their names from the record.

There are millions of gamers on the planet today.  Many of which are playing games like Call of Duty, Doom, Splatterhouse, Battlefield, and far worse, but they haven’t killed anybody, and more than likely they never will.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s because video games and firearms aren’t making us into the perfect little psychopaths that the media claims we are.

About This Post

September 20, 2013 - 6:39 pm

Feature, Gaming Life, Opinion

  • Bjoernsen

    Well, I think we agree that this isn’t about gamers or gun lovers as much as it is about crazy nuts, but you take the argument to the wrong place. Hundreds of thousands of people out there are GTA-playing gun nuts, but the vast majority of them aren’t criminal. There’s really little question abou that, even if the media can portray it otherwise.

    However, say that you as a person are 0.01% likely to commit murder. Now, if we can prove that chance rises to 0.05% after you’re exposed to guns and GTA, then that could be a problem on a larger scale, even if you’re still incredibly unlikely to commit murder. So is it worth restricting access to GTA and guns to lower those rates?

    Now, I’m not saying these are the actual numbers at all. It’s in fact very little evidence that suggest correlation between video games and violence (the same can’t be said for guns and violence though), but realise that even if only the nutcases will commit murder once they get a gun in their hand, we still have a responsibility to not trigger those nutjobs.