Let’s be clear: there is no evidence that violent video games cause real-life violence. None. There are a few people with axes to grind who will wave a handful of studies in your face. But the comprehensive studies, including the US government’s own study, have shown, at best, a tenuous link to mildly aggressive behavior.
Every time a mass shooting comes up, the video game thing surfaces because the shooter has usually played some. Of course, that’s like saying he also went to the bathroom. Almost everyone plays video games these days and almost all men (and criminals are almost all men) have played some violent video games. Trying to ban a game because a spree shooter played it is like trying to ban tennis shoes because he wore them.
These facts do not stop the game grabbers, of course, because they’re interest is not in facts (or violence, for that matter). What drive them is a dislike for violent games. And so they will do and say whatever they can, take advantage of any tragedy, use any invective to get what they want. I had thought the rhetoric had reach a low when David Grossman called first-person shooter games “murder simulators”. But Ralph Nader found a new bottom:
Speaking of today’s presidential inauguration, Nader let loose on President Obama and threw a wild punch at video games while he was at it.
“Tomorrow I’ll watch another rendition of political bullsh-t by the newly reelected president, full of promises that he intends to break just like he did in 2009,” Nader said. “He promised he’d be tough on Wall Street, and not one of these crooks have gone to jail—they got some inside trading people, but that’s peripheral.
“We are in the peak of [violence in entertainment]. Television program violence? Unbelievable. Video game violence? Unprecedented,” Nader said. “I’m not saying he wants to censor this, I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of electronic child molesters.”
We might be at the “peak of video game violence”. But you know what else we are at, Ralph? The trough of real-life violence. Real-life violence has fallen by more than half in the last 20 years, at the precise time gaming was surging. Not much of a correlation, is there, Ralph?
(I’m calling a new rule: whenever anyone talks about violence and does not acknowledge the precipitous drop over the last two decades, you can ignore anything else they have to say. By ignoring one of the most important facts about violent crime, they have waved a big red flag that they are not really interested in violence; they are interested in whatever ideological issue they are pushing. With government-worshiping Ralph, it’s clearly censorship.)
You know, I tired of Ralph Nader. I tiring of hearing about how principled he is. Ralph Nader is a wealthy man who, according to Schweizer’s Do As I Say, Not As I Do has made tons of money off monopolists, outsourcers and businesses that benefited from his activism. He has fought against unionization of his organizations, which are infamous for using “balloon payments” to pay their employees sub-minimum wage. He himself is infamous for overworking and underpaying his own people. He made his name on claims that the Corvair was unsafe; claims that proved to be true of most other cars at that time. He was a apologist for Communism, claiming he admired the austerity of the lifestyle.
There were always reasons to just ignore him. Now we’ve got one more.