Trump & GOP Blame Video Games For Mass Shootings After El Paso & Dayton, Despite Evidence From Experts To Contrary
President Donald Trump and several Republican lawmakers were quick to blame violent video games after two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend killed a combined 31 people.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” President Trump said on Monday in a White House address in which he also called for mental health reform. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
Just moments after Trump’s speech, the hashtag #VideogamesAreNotToBlame started trending nationwide on Twitter. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) tweeted a graph that compared video game revenue and mass shootings in other countries. The graph showed how low the number of gun deaths in nations like China and South Korea are despite the fact that they have huge video game revenue.
Hey @realDonaldTrump: Our son plays video games like Fortnite & Overwatch. So I play them to be cool. No mentions anywhere of a Hispanic “invasion”; or Mexicans are “rapists”; or immigrants should “go back” to where we came from. Also, see chart below.#VideogamesAreNotToBlame https://t.co/sln20oRhby
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 6, 2019
President Trump faces a choice: bring the country together to pass commonsense gun safety measures—or blame the internet. He has decided to side with the NRA, whose lobbyists and campaign contributions control the Republican party. #VideogamesAreNotToBlame pic.twitter.com/r4IeRDsYKz
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 5, 2019
I went on Fox News with @DanaPerino to talk about how video games don’t cause real life violence, why this only happens here in America despite gaming and esports played worldwide, and why mainstream media needs to get it right #VideogamesAreNotToBlame pic.twitter.com/FFKxEGK90P
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 5, 2019
Other prominent GOP leaders who cited video games as a reason for massacres like the ones in El Paso and Dayton were Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), the House minority leader, and Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick (R).
“We’ve watched from studies, shown before, what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others,” McCarthy said on Fox News.
Since the 1990s, many politicians have tried to tie first-person shooter games and other violent video games to mass shootings, despite ample evidence that suggests there is no link between the two.
The Supreme Court has even acknowledged it agrees there is no connection between video games and violent behavior. In 2011, the court struck down a California law that prohibited the sale of violent video games to children. The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion.
“Scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities,” the American Psychological Association’s media psychology division said in a statement.
Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor at Stetson University in Central Florida, heads the panel that helped issue this statement.
“The data on bananas causing suicide is about as conclusive,” said Ferguson. “Literally. The numbers work out about the same.”
Some studies have also shown that video games are linked to mass shootings significantly more often when the perpetrator is a white male rather than a minority. According to a study conducted by Dr. James Ivory at Virginia Tech University, media coverage of mass shootings was eight times more likely to mention video games as a potential cause for such tragedies when the shooter was white than when said person was black.