Gun violence has become a pandemic in our fair nation. Especially among our youth. School shootings have been on the rise, and only become more common each and every year. Many have suggested solutions to the problem. Additional legislature or bans on military-style assault rifles have been the most common. Some argue that those looking to kill would simply find ways around it, or other means to kill. The arguments are always back and forth over the means of the killings, but never the source. The deep, underlying tension within our very people, the culture of violence and hate looming over our once great nation, pervading our children's minds. Thousands of studies have been done, and they all bring back the same result. Young children being exposed to violent themes are more likely to be violent themselves.
Violence is in almost everything we see. The media we consume, the music we listen to, the movies and TV shows we watch, and most of all, the video games that our children are glued to, every minute of the day, pumping their violent ideas into our children's impressionable minds. Video games are a booming industry. Children all over the nation are playing games. As someone who's worked at GameStop, I see it with my own eyes. Parents come in, and buy their little shits whatever they want. But it never occurs to them what kind of filth they're indoctrinating their children with. Games that elicit violence, hatred, or instability. According to the Surgeon General, young children playing games with realistic depictions of violence are considerably more likely to mimic the behavior. And over 89% of all games being made these days are incredibly violent. That's not to say all video games contribute to our toxic culture of glorifying violence. Like any other form of media, video games can also be used to teach, promote physical and mental health, and inspire empathy.
Take popular action game, Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto puts players in the shoes of a character that, more often than not, has some criminal inclinations. However, unlike the average macabre celebration of senseless violence that games are, Grand Theft Auto provides some important lessons to the growing child's mind. Should little Timmy go shoot up a strip club, beat a pregnant woman to death, or run his car into a crowd of people, he'll quickly find that his actions have consequences. The in-game police will be alerted of his actions, and he will be reprimanded. There is a clear cause and effect, a negative outcome from an action. Like when a mouse is electrocuted for taking a cheese. Should small children playing GTA torture a man for information, or film two unsuspecting, consenting adults mid-intercourse as a means to blackmail them, they will promptly be taught that such behavior is not tolerated. Would a child shoot up a school if they knew the police would come? They would certainly think twice, where children not playing the game would have no guarantees that they wouldn't shoot up a school. After all, were they ever expressly taught that it was wrong? Grand Theft Auto is only the tip of the iceberg, too.
There are other such positive influences on our kids, like Call of Duty, the popular military shooter. By putting our kids in the role of an American soldier, we teach them the valuable lesson of serving our country. Sure, they may shoot some people. Call of Duty may have them massacring civilians, or taking out their frustrations on a server full of other human players, spewing every vile slur known to man. But all of those murders are for a good cause. Our country. America kills people all the time. We call drone strikes on civilians, topple foreign governments, and even go so far as to be assisting Israel in committing genocide against the Palestinian people. But it's for America, so it's okay. We're the good guys. Call of Duty players would never shoot up one of our schools. Not an American school. Those are American civilians in those schools, and killing them would definitely not be in America's best interests.
Other video games, like the ever-popular Minecraft, are not so wholesome or educational. In Minecraft, players must do what they can to survive, no matter the cost. Players can punch innocent animals to death in order to consume their flesh, with not a single police officer in sight to correct the senseless violence. Enemies can be brutally killed with a myriad of weapons, from blades and axes to more creative tools, like a shovel or even one's bare hands. Players will punch trees in a grievously non-environmentally friendly manner to harvest their materials to build their house, mine all sorts of gold and fine gems, and never once pay Uncle Sam his cut. These Minecraft players don't have their proper permits or licenses for the architectural projects they're pursuing, they're not paying their taxes. There's no America in Minecraft. Is that the kind of message we want to send our children? To grow up and be a tax-evading murderer that beats animals to death like some sort of sociopath? Why is there no Whole Foods in Minecraft, so that players can simply purchase their food peacefully without mindless violence? And if you think Minecraft is the only thing training our children to kill in cold blood, that's only the tip of the iceberg.
Parents handing their child an iPad and having them play Angry Birds to keep them busy is an incredibly common thing. But few ever stop to play the game for themselves, or even look into what kind of radical ideas these incredibly displeased avian terrorists are spreading. The "Angry Birds" in Angry Birds are an organized militia of ethnocentric radicalists, committing heinous war crimes against the Pigs, a minority class attempting to live in their own land alongside these birds. The birds, however, refuse to acknowledge the poor pigs as anything more than animals to be round up for slaughter, and utilize suicide bomber-style kamikaze attacks to blow up entire buildings where these pigs live. This racism and hate fueled war against the indigenous pigs of the Angry Birds world shows our children what, exactly? That our differences are worth killing one another over, and self-destructive violence is a proper means to achieving one's goal? That certainly sounds like a school shooter to me. The correlation is unmistakable.
Angry Birds, Minecraft, Roblox, Club Penguin, the list goes on. And grows every year. Not every new game is as educational as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or Sonic the Hedgehog. Will parents ever learn to watch what games their children buy? God, no. Will they ever learn to actually parent their children and raise them to be normal, productive members of society? Of course not. That is way too much work. Would children having strong parental figures instead of being raised by television and video games help them grow into mentally stable adults? Yeah, probably. But hopefully not. Otherwise we’re fucked. Do you know how hard to is to communicate with your own children? It’s so much easier to just toss them an Xbox and let them figure out things themselves. Mental health has probably nothing to do with school shootings anyway, it's not even real. Just another one of those millennial buzzwords, like being vegan. Or CrossFit.
One can only hope that parents grow wise to the evil indoctrination going on in video games like Minecraft and Angry Birds, brainwashing our kids into becoming terrorists, anarchists, and tax evaders, and that our lawmakers will step up and ban these horrible games. Or at least ban children. Make all of our lives a little easier. Maybe we could just have, like, a parenting license? You know, like a driver's license, but for raising a child? That would probably help too. Only time will tell how these things work out. But chances are, like everything else, nothing will ever get done. God bless America.
References Dhiaa, Saba, and Waleed A Tawfeeq. “Prevalence of Exposure to Violent Video Games and Media among Primary School Children in Baghdad City.” Tikrit Medical Journal, vol. 21, no. 2, 2016, pp. 128–143.
“Game Industry Revenues Are Expected to Hit $230 Billion by 2022, with Big Growth on PC.” PCGamesN, 16 Jan. 2018, www.pcgamesn.com/game-industry-revenue-2018.
Nayar-Akhtar, Monisha C. “Do We Glorify Violence in Our Culture? Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Media and Violence.” Psychoanalytic Inquiry, vol. 36, no. 6, 2016, pp. 510–522., doi:10.1080/07351690.2016.1192403.