Cops die, videogames did it (obviously)

In yet another instance of videogames being seen as more responsible for crime than criminals are, this year’s 60% rise in American police officer shootings has been conveniently pinned on harmless plastic discs by a member of the law enforcement community. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman would like to believe that gang crime is caused by ‘cop killing sims’ and not, you know, idiots who think gangs are a good idea.

Of course, streets gangs have been around since the 1900s. The notorious Crips gang was founded in 1968, long before Grand Theft Auto had even been imagined. Street gangs have been killing things for decades upon decades, so anybody who claims that crime is any worse now thanks to videogames is, quite frankly, talking out of their arse. In the case of Grossman, he’s clearly not very good at his job, either.

“Every time [officers] take down a gang house, there’s always one thing that will always be there,” claims Grossman. “It’s a video game. The video games are their newspaper, their television, their all-consuming narrative. And their video games are all cop-killer, criminal simulators.” You know what else you typically find in a gang house? Guns. Some people (not myself) would claim that guns are to clearly to blame. Would Grossman like to see guns banned, to the point where his men cannot legally carry them? Somehow I don’t think he’d be so quick to blame incidental objects in that case.

We like to pretend that crime is a million times worse today than it was in the long long ago, but it truly isn’t. Just because today’s psychopaths are more publicized, it doesn’t mean they haven’t always been around. You ban the stress relief of videogames and I’m willing to hypothesize that crime will go up, not down. Of course, you don’t have to be a cop to be smart enough to guess that.

James Stephanie Sterling