Violence being blamed on video games again
I’m an avid gamer, and I’ve often talked about the demonizing of video games in today’s society. It seems like every time there’s an incident involving some fucked up teenager attacking another, some group comes out of the woodwork and accuses the video game industry of corrupting youth. Today it’s in England, which is proposing adding a tax on violent games. The man behind the idea, Richard Taylor, lost his son 9 years ago when he was stabbed by a fellow youth. Since then, he has led a crusade to rid the streets of gang violence.
If I was in his position, perhaps I too would try to find an external cause to blame. We would all prefer to believe every human being is intrinsically good, and it’s outside influences that make people do terrible things. The truth is never that simple. We can lament the fact society often glorifies violence, but it does not mean individuals are violent because of this subtle influence. There are monsters out there, and a few of them will have played a video game or two.
The truth is there will always be a contingent of the population who commit acts of vandalism, violence, and even murder. If a society tried to ban any expression of violence, the need for human beings to express this very visceral part of themselves might actually result in its physical display rather than the fantasized version most of us are accustomed to in games and music. Although it’s difficult for Mr. Taylor to fathom, there are many of us who channel our rage, anger, and violence thru art forms, and this includes video games. We are not all docile lambs certain religions would have us believe, but we can be more controlled if we have constructive ways of venting our more aggressive and savage tendencies.
Leave video games alone, Mr. Taylor, or many thousands of bored and angry teenagers might just decide to go act out their fantasies rather than play them out virtually.