Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guns and Games: Some Thoughts

By John P. Smith

Freelance Writer

I recently read an article on guns and video games on the internet. This article.  (And for those who don’t take a well-written article by seriously, study their user demographic and web hit statistics and get back to me.)  I actually agree with some of the things the author said:  If modern video games are contributing to the mental deterioration of those who would perpetrate an act of violence such as Sandy Hook or Aurora, then we, as gamers, are part of the problem. We, then,  need to find out how we're part of the problem, stop being part of it and start being part of the solution.

Of course, the major target of the government and our never-ending supply of cowardly liberals is gun control.  I’ve written a separate article about that.

As for video games, the first step in finding out how we're part of the problem is research.  This association to video games remains, at this point,  nothing more than marketing spin, hearsay and modern accusations of witchcraft.  The terrible people who killed dozens of people played these games.  While that may be true, it actually explains nothing.  These awful people probably also watched reruns Friends every day and FOX News every night.  What does that tell you?  Nothing.  We know nothing of the relationship between violent games and homicidal, suicidal sociopathic idiots.

Once we understand our contribution to the overall problem, then we can start working on it.  And no, this is not a stall tactic.  When your car stops because you've run out of fuel, there's no point in raising the hood and jiggling crap around when you know the problem is under the trunk.  If you don't know why the car stopped, mucking about under the hood is as likely to make things worse as it is to help.  That's what the government is doing right now; mucking about looking for a solution when they don't understand the basic problem.  So, while they know nothing of the root cause of the problem, they at least, by damn, appear to be doing something.  That is, of course, making a spurious connection to a fairly recent phenomena: video games.

If there is a connection, as is pointed out by Robert Brockway’s article on, then it is our responsibility as gamers to defend our chosen pass-time.  The video game industry and gamers cannot, and should not, bear the brunt of the blame for attacks that amount to individual acts of terrorism.

At the same time, if video games, violent or otherwise, contribute any at all to pushing a mind to the point where it would snap and compel an individual to take the lives of innocent moviegoers or elementary school children, then it’s also our responsibility -- our duty in fact -- to do whatever we can to fix it.  As a recovering alcoholic, I can tell you from experience that denial will not make the problem go away.  And in many ways, what we're seeing here is denial.  Mr. Brockway has some interesting, and in my opinion viable, suggestions on how to begin.

I suggest we begin with education.  As a martial artist trained with sticks (combat cane), staves (bo staff), my bare hands (jujitsu), and a gun owner professionally trained on care and use of firearms (8 years military service, concealed carry,) I can tell you that the common thread between all these potentially violent activities is education and understanding.  In all my years of training, the one thing that has always been of paramount importance is that violence is never the desired outcome of any confrontation, it does not by itself solve problems and, as such, should always be the last option.

What educational options do we offer that teach the consequences of violence?

And, at what point did we become unable to defend our selves?