There has been much speculation surrounding the involvement of video games in Adam Lanza's mass killing spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Although the official investigation has yet to release its report, there is significant evidence that Lanza was an avid and enthusiastic player of violent video games. Earlier this week on Monday, a CBS news report raised eyebrows when they claimed that Lanza was partly motivated by the violent video games he had been playing, just as the Norway shooter, Anders Breivik, allegedly was. Despite many people's claims that violent video games are linked with mass shootings, according to the article, there has been no such evidence to substantiate those claimes. The article goes on to explain how the popular notion that mass homicides are linked to violent media was debunked all the way back in 2002 by a study conducted by the United States Secret Service; this study found that school shooters did not consume high levels of violent media. The article also responded to people who believe that the regulation, or even the complete removal, of violent video games and other violent media would have stopped these mass shooters from doing what they did: "If we could make it legal to regulate violence in games, would that have stopped
Lanza or any of the other mass homicides through history? No, not a one. We
should not be distracted from looking for the real contributing factors to
societal violence."
    In my opinion, violent video games, or any other violent media for that matter, DO NOT cause normal, perfectly sane individuals to go out and commit these heinous shootings and other violent acts; however, I will not go as far as to say that these violent video games don't have negative effects on individuals previously predisposed to violent tendencies. Violent video games do not turn sane people into mass killers; any individual who, after playing violent video games, is inspired to go out and kill innocent people was not sane in the first place. 

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Raj Bhagowalia
2/22/2013 01:38:06 am

I completely agree. Violent video games can have a negative effect on the mentally-ill and already violent people, but they do not make sane people killers. If that were so, we would have hundreds of millions of mass shooters, seeing that violent video games like Call of Duty are the most popular in the world. Having a study from the Secret Service just strengthens the argument even more than violent video games do not make killers out of normal people

Caswell Bennett
2/22/2013 02:51:52 am

How can you ignore the fact that before the age of explicit multimedia and a technological youth there were no school shootings among young adults. Guns were just as common before Columbine as they are now, so why weren't kids shooting each other? The video age of violence and especially first-person shooters are creating an environment where young minds are existing more in the cyberworld than in the real world. This break from reality is what allows grotesque violence like Sandy Hook to happen. As technology makes people less and less social, video games will become increasingly dangerous at creating deadly sociopaths. The Secret Service study said nothing about violent video games having no effect on shootings; it just said that school shooters do not play a lot of violent video games. That study is completely proven wrong by this CNN investigation that found that Lanza played high quantities of violent video games. Nick quotes, "We should look for the real contributing factors to societal violence." What exactly are those? I think it is the multimedia culture of this country, which includes Call of Duty.

2/22/2013 06:42:22 am

Just because there may not have been any notable mass shootings committed by young adults (and what ages encompass the vague term of young adults?) prior to what you define as the "explicit multimedia" age (and what is the exact date that constitutes the beginning of this age?), does not mean that there weren't violent acts being committed by youth. Yes, video games and other violent media are dangerous things when in the hands of the mentally unstable; however, they DO NOT cause sane people to become killers. Whenever terrible tragedies occur, people always look for something or someone to blame, which is a natural human reaction to want to stop dastardly acts such as these recent murders from happening; however, there is never a clear answer. It is impossible to ever know how/ why people could actually have the audacity to kill innocent people (especially children). For as far back in human history as I can think of, there has always been violence, whether it be with fists, knives, or guns; violence has (sadly) always plagued humanity.
Now to respond to what I meant by the "societal factors contributing to violence." I believe that the lack of sound parenting is contributing to the increase in violence. Many parents do not take an active enough part in raising their children the right way. Parents must take an active interest into what their kids are doing in their freetime (this includes monitoring violent video game consumption), and make sure that their kids are able to handle these games if they are going to play them. Parents need to better instill in their children that violence is wrong. Lastly, parents need to make sure that if their children exhibit even the slightest bit of violent or reclusive behavior, then they need to consider getting them an appointment with a mental health specialist. Moreover, I believe that as a society, we should be more worried about the easy accessibility of firearms, particularly high capacity assault rifles, which constitute the majority of the weapons used in these heinous acts.

2/24/2013 11:19:00 pm

I agree with Nick in that parenting is one of the biggest factors in how a person will behave and I think that modern society plays a role in how parents interact with their kids. Some are completely uninvolved and others are overzealous and drive their kids off the deep end. The kid has no moral compass and doesn't know right from wrong, or as Nick said in another comment, reality from fantasy.

Kate Ramundo
3/11/2013 12:17:04 am

I'm with Nick. Good parenting is key. However, I believe that the violent video games have desensitized kids to violence which may open the door to violence preformed by the person if they are ever in an unstable mental state.


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