In the ongoing circus side-show act that is American politics, video games are once again being blamed for the general moral decay and psychological rot of society.
I can almost hear your exasperated groans – however it is important to bear in mind that our US brethren shape to a large degree our beloved video gaming pastime, so we might as well pay attention when political issues arise that bring video games into the American national debate.
Following on from the horrific crime that was the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, America’s gun laws have once again come under public scrutiny.
On the side of guns is Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the American National Rifle Association (NRA). On 21 December he spoke during a press conference: “There exists in this country a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, and Splatterhouse.”
LaPierre tied this in with the media in general, heaping equal blame on the music and film industries: “Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like American Psycho and Natural Born Killers that are aired like propaganda loops on Splatterdays and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it entertainment. But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
I love a good conspiracy theory, and LaPierre obliged by saying that the media, their corporate owners, and stockholders, are “silent enablers” and “co-conspirators,” with an agenda to “demonize” lawful gun owners and “fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking.”
Now despite the ill-timing of his sudden assault on all forms of mass-market entertainment, could he have some valid points? Speaking from a global hub of mass-market entertainment, California senator weighed in with his own opinion.
“I find it mind-boggling that the NRA suddenly cares about the harmful effects of ultra-violent video games. When our law was before the Supreme Court – while several states, medical organizations, and child advocates submitted briefs in support of California’s efforts – the NRA was completely silent,” said Yee in a statement posted to his website on 21 December 2012.
Yee accused the NRA of dodging the issue and attempting to “pass the buck.”
“More guns are not the answer to protecting our children… The NRA’s response is pathetic and completely unacceptable,” said Yee.