By Tim Chua
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof committed a crime that would disfigure the face of video games to this day.
During a prayer service, Roof barged into an African-American methodist church in Charleston, South Carolina and proceeded to open fire on the unsuspecting citizens, leading to the deaths of 9 people. Roof then attempted suicide, only to discover that he ran out of ammunition whilst shooting. He was promptly arrested.
This is not the first time that video games were blamed for situations like these. A year after this incident, a shooting in Munich killed 9, and injured 16 more. Once again, the shooting was blamed on games, seeing as how the perpetrator, an 18 year old German-Iranian, was a fan of first-person shooter games.
However, these accusations are false. Here’s why.
I, myself, have played tons of video games all my life. Some games were peaceful, and child-friendly, while some… not so much. While people are out there shooting civilians, people who play games for fun, like me, are being misunderstood and put on the same level as these mass murderers, even though we’re completely innocent. Not all of us become blood-crazed fiends after playing a few violent games.
Video games have grown into a huge industry. Hundreds of millions of people play video games. However, according to a New York Times article, a study was conducted to see if violent games and crimes have anything in common, with the researchers saying that the results and the research was not very well done, leading them, and us, to conclude that there likely isn’t a connection at all. It seems like all this “evidence” of people shooting others thanks to video games is simply anecdotal evidence; influenced by other beliefs. Do keep in mind that with such a high percentage of teenage boys playing violent games, it’s quite unfair to draw conclusions as general as these.
It’s quite simple; video games don’t cause violence.
There are many events and things that factor into these incidents that we simply don’t take into account. Roof believed in something that did not come from video games. He believed in racism, and that’s why he shot up the church. Roof was likely raised in an environment where he was taught lies about the African-American people, and he saw them as murderers, thieves, liars. That’s why he committed this crime. Not because of video games. Out of anger, people are blaming perfectly normal, mentally stable, innocent gamers, and putting them on the same level as mass shooters. It’s quite unfair, no?
Besides, there are bigger problems to worry about in the current world.
- Shoichet, Catherine E. “Munich Shooting: 9 Victims, Gunman Dead.” CNN, Cable News Network, 23 July 2016, edition.cnn.com/2016/07/22/europe/germany-munich-shooting/index.html.
- McCrummen, Stephanie. “These Are the People Dylann Roof Stayed with before the Charleston Church Shooting.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/09/12/an-american-void/?utm_term=.e646657b0bba.
- “Charleston Church Shooting.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_church_shooting#Shooting.
- Scutti, Susan. “Do Video Games Lead to Violence?” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 July 2016, edition.cnn.com/2016/07/25/health/video-games-and-violence/index.html.
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- Carey, Benedict. “Studying the Effects of Playing Violent Video Games.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/science/studying-the-effects-of-playing-violent-video-games.html?pagewanted=all.