I don't feel like talking about videogames today. Really its the idea of laughing, smiling, or having any kind of fun after reading some of the details about the unspeakable acts against humanity that some piece of shit unleashed in Newtown, Connecticut this morning. It's the kind of thing that makes you question the nature of life, and how different we actually are from the primates we are descendants of. Unless you make your living spouting hate speech on news channels, truly a most noble profession. Sure enough, it only took about an hour, but Fox News brought out some schmuck that made the connection we were waiting for.
(On a side note, this chode actually used the term “computer games”. When was the last time you used that phrase? Anyone out there still playing Zork or Red Baron with that particular bit of vernacular still in their back pocket?)
And that was all we needed. The internet is sharpening their pitchforks ready to go to the mattresses in defense of their media of choice. “Shame on them!”, we say! “How dare you use an atrocity of this magnitude to attack our innocent video games!?”, we also say! But it seems in our fervor to lambast the grandstanding done by our favorite cable TV talking heads for their incredibly ignorant and archaic arguments used to capitalize on a national tragedy, there's one question that never really gets asked in our circles:
What if they're right?
So lets be clear: yes, you're right, Grand Theft Auto did not somehow magically brainwash the aforementioned asshole into gunning down an elementary school. That is a patently absurd argument, and the millions upon millions of people who lead perfectly normal and law abiding lives on top of playing copious amounts of videogames are proof of that.
But, man, I gotta tell you, I spend a LOT of my day killing people. Or aliens. Or mutants. Or tigers. Or Zombies. I spend more time looking down the barrel of a gun than the president of the NRA. The list of people I've gunned down without batting an eyelash is large enough to inhabit a small country. And so have you. No, it's not the same as taking the lives of 20 children and 6 fine educators, but the act of aiming a gun at a persons head and pulling the trigger is something we are all too familiar with. And it's our hobby. It's what we do to have fun. To unwind after a long day's work.
This was witnessed during my leisure time.
How this has affected me in real life is something I do not know. It's impossible to tell because I have no reference to the kind of person I would be if videogames didn't influence my life in some small way, as they have certainly influenced yours. If someone was shot in the face right in front of me, would my reaction be different after seeing endless virtual renditions of the same act thousands of times? I've never picked up a gun before. Am I a better shot than a novice who doesn't play videogames? If I was the sick fuck who did this in Connecticut, and I was as obviously disturbed as he was, would I have found the actions he took today easier to perform because of the digital blood on my hands?
It is very easy to write this off as a preposterous notion, especially right now when you feel that videogames, this wonderful medium that has enriched our lives, may have inspired us in some way to do something more with our existence, may have even dictated a career path to some of us, is under attack. And you should be defensive. You turned out okay, right?
One of the unfortunate byproducts of the horrendous news coverage we see in the United States is peoples need for someone or something to blame, and these bumpkins targeting videogames is as tired as it is shallow. But, if I were to play the role of cable news pundit and find one arbitrary reason why these events unfolded today, the answer is simple: America's gun culture. A culture that romanticizes, worships, and fetishizes a machine that does unspeakable destruction throughout the world on a daily basis. What just happened in Connecticut is a byproduct of this mindset. I hope someday we grow out of it, because I sure as shit don't see how a culture that perceives the #1 source of pain and misery across this planet as a cool part of their identity is supposed to lead humanity to a better future. But for now, our media is dominated by firearms. Guns are represented as the ultimate means to an end in our society, and we experience that definite end on a daily basis in the media we consume.
And if you don't think videogames are part of that gun culture, and in some small way contributed to this calamity, you're fooling yourself.