Video game violence

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  • Aspinelessmind Grand Junction, CO
    Feb. 7, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    Video games are yet again under the spotlight for causing real life violence. Jim Matheson’s attempts to impose strict ESRB laws have not been supported since the Supreme Court ruled that video games are protected under the first amendment.

    As an avid consumer of commercial media, I question Matheson’s merit. I have been playing video games since 1993 and fail to see the relevance between violence and video games. Research has been inconclusive in showing a direct link between video games and violent behavior. Aggressive behavior is shown to be evident when playing video games. But the same can be said with many variables. Playing sports, being stuck in traffic and receiving unwanted phone calls all can cause aggressive behavior.

    Why are we still talking about this? The past proves that blaming media for violent behavior is a waste of time. I look forward to the results of Obama’s Bill on this issue. Video games should be applauded for being art. But instead they are misconceived by our doubts and fears. Thank you for taking a second look.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 2:46 p.m.

    Disclaimer: I'm a 64 year old combat veteran, and while I spend too much time playing on my computer, I don't enjoy violent movies or video games.

    The problem with blaming video games is Japan. They sell and play some of the most violent video games in the world. At the same time, their rate of violent crime is one of the lowest in the world.

    This, of course, flies in the face of the NRA's standard-issue mantra of "Guns don't kill people. Video games kill people." The reality is that if having lots of guns in civilian hands made us safe, we'd already be the safest and most crime-free country on Earth.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Jan. 25, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    So guns don't kill but video games do? I did not realize that the Sandy Hook killer went in with arms full of video games to kill those children.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2013 8:54 p.m.

    I don't buy shooter games, I never thought it was a good idea for myself or my kid.

    Some may believe that guns used to be more available but the raw history shows that's not true. Not only have the gross number of guns increased year over year, the per capita number has increased as well.

    I think a factor may well be the separation we have from what used to be a necessary skill to hunt food with has become a hobby where the imagination runs wild of situations of using the guns on humans instead of deer.

    Where more people used to be raised in rural settings seeing death of animals as a necessity of life, more people are separated from that sight and action and some of society has become obsessed with death.

    The narrative in which children are exposed to guns has completely changed from the utilitarian use for obtaining food to the NRA's fear based propaganda that only guns keep us safe from multiple unknown dangers. I can't believe fathers are so blank as to tell their kids the NRA, Red Dawn scenario as if it were factual or imminent.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 24, 2013 6:50 p.m.


    So, with a 200 word limit, you want specific proof of each and every statement I make?

    How about you go first? So far you haven’t offered any.

    There are 20 dead children. There is going to be a political reaction irrespective of what you, I, or anyone here thinks or wants. The only question is what is going to change, not if something will change.

    These incidents may be statistically insignificant. But I recall well when (with firearms much more readily available) there were few if any such incidents. What has changed?

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    Twin Lights:
    [As to proof, check “Media violence 'unchained': Multiple studies show kids are adversely affected by violence in entertainment, news”]

    That isn't proof that isn't proof of:
    [Nor will it make every one of us go over the edge. But for those who already walk close to that edge, these may provide the push.]

    There is no proof that violent media makes even the most severely mentally ill commit murder. Like I said, if there was we'd at least expect to be seeing hundreds or thousands of killing sprees, as the cross section of severely mentally ill and gamers, but instead we're seeing only a few.

    [Of course no one wants to sacrifice. Hence my point about whose ox gets gored. Everyone wants their sacred cow left alone.]

    And I'm saying leave them all alone. It's reactionary to think anything needs to be done, based on statistically insignificant events, but it's childish to think anything can be done, especially with violent media. The internet allows access to it all.

    It really is silly to even compare video games to actual guns though. One is just a representation, the other is real.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 24, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    I'm in favor of ratings and restrictions for video games like we have with movies. For example, those rated "mature" could not be purchased by a minor without an adult. But, this won't change the fact that some parents make bad decisions. I remember one of my kids, probably in 8th or 9th grade wanted a particular game for his birthday. I asked the store clerk why the game was rated "mature" and when she explained the reasons, i thanked her and didn't purchase the game. My son accepted the decision and enjoyed playing other games.

    The policy that we adopted in our home was that guns and teenaged boys aren't a good combination. I never wanted to be one of those parents who came home and found a jilted-heartbroken young man had chosen lethal means to end his pain, or to have the experience of a curious teen injuring or killing his friend. I erred on the side of caution and have no regrets.

    However, we were not opposed to occassional visits to a shooting range with dad or at scout camp.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 4:00 p.m.

    If alcohol is not as regulated due to conservatism..

    why are there state run liquor stores?

    And, if more guns is the solution...

    why not more booze?

    Pick a standard, but don't try both, at the same time.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 24, 2013 3:53 p.m.


    Of course no one wants to sacrifice. Hence my point about whose ox gets gored. Everyone wants their sacred cow left alone.

    The question is what is the proper balance going forward?

    As to proof, check “Media violence 'unchained': Multiple studies show kids are adversely affected by violence in entertainment, news” published in the Deseret News on January 12, 2013.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 3:39 p.m.

    Twin Lights:
    [Again, it is not the only factor. Nor will it make every one of us go over the edge. But for those who already walk close to that edge, these may provide the push.]

    There is no proof of this. For the millions and millions of gamers we get a handful of incidents. That doesn't even represent any kind of cross section. The fact is, there are still thousands, if not millions, of severely mentally ill individuals who are playing these games and not killing.

    Just saying it over and over again, no matter how clever it might sound, doesn't make it true. There is nothing statistically significant here.

    [This comes down to a "whose ox gets gored" question. There are those who say do not touch firearms. There are those who say do not touch videos. Others who want no controls over the mentally ill.]

    Or there's those of us who don't want to sacrifice any of our rights for a handful of random, statistically insignificant events. No reason to take extreme action on events that aren't even one in a million.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    Pagan, Laws regarding the use of tobacco and alcohol by minors have been around since the early 1900's. Pretty hard to show that conservatives have had such a powerful death grip on legislative bodies for all that time.

    And it's Utah Democrats favorite son, Jim Matheson that is proposing the video game ban. Hardly your garden variety conservative.

    Or maybe this is just a very thinly veiled jab at them crazy Mormons and their religious beliefs.

    I guess we could do away with all laws and regulations of any kind and enjoy the "freedom" that would surely ensue.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 24, 2013 3:11 p.m.

    As many have pointed out, there is no doubt that the access to high capacity firearms is a common thread. That is the means. But there is still the issue of motive. The question is, do hyper violent and very realistic video games cause some to go over the edge?

    Will such video games make the average person into a killing monster? Of course not. But what about the young person who is already experiencing deep emotional disturbance? Are these videos good for him or her?

    Let's put it another way. If you were counseling a young man or woman with emotional disturbance and violent tendencies, would you advise them to play such games? Over and over again for hours each day?

    Again, it is not the only factor. Nor will it make every one of us go over the edge. But for those who already walk close to that edge, these may provide the push.

    This comes down to a "whose ox gets gored" question. There are those who say do not touch firearms. There are those who say do not touch videos. Others who want no controls over the mentally ill.

    Likely all need some review.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    The article claims that video games were the common denominator in these shootings. An even more obvious common element was the access to guns...

    If it's shooter and not the gum, why is it the game, not the gamer?

    This isn't the 1980's where gamers were a subculture, they are now as mainstream as movies. Calling it a common thread is the same as saying they all ate bread

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    No smoking, no drinking, no swearing, no violent video games.

    And conservatives want to claim they are about freedom?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    [But it would be foolish not to notice how violent video games are a common denominator in many crimes such as these.]

    Probably because a large percentage of 15-30 year old guys play video games. That's about as groundbreaking as taking a random selection of 10 Utahns and noticing that several of them are LDS.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    Who's yelling nasty things? Reality, though, rears its ugly head. Look how good the banning of alcohol and tobacco from minors works. When you have irresponsible parents and an inbred desire to do what you have been told not to do, (as teenagers often do), you can legislate all day long...

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    The irony of this is the fact that the liberals constantly scream and yell that what goes on in a person's house is their own business are the same ones telling us that we can't buy the violent video games.

    Personally I don't like them, and won't let my kids play them. However, that is my choice.

    Are the liberals also going to stop minors from watching R-rated movies in their own homes?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    The NRA and their conservative friends have been screaming that it's not guns that are the problem, but movies and video games.

    But now, when Matheson steps up and actually makes a proposal, they start yelling nasty things at him.

    Ah, well. I guess that makes as much sense as anything else they say they stand for.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    There is one little problem with this bill: the children whom this this bill is directed towards, are usually already incapable of buying these games without adult assistance. They aren't working, so they don't have the money to buy the game system or the games on their own - these items are bought for them by the adults in their lives. They are also unable to drive themselves to the store to buy or rent the games. There is already full adult participation in the process - this law serves no purpose and will change nothing.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    For 18 years the video game industry has used a ratings system to indicate the content of games and the appropriate age levels. Most games stores already will not sell 'M' rated games (similar to the R rating for movies) to minors. So what is the point of this bill, really?

    Are we to assume that in this day and age parents, who are expected to read and decode the nutritional labels on the food they stuff in their precious children, are now not smart enough to read the rating on the game they give to their child? Or is this just one more intrusion by the government into the parenting arena? Or is it just avoiding the real issue, which is that for every 1 person that goes off and kills someone, 1 million others play the same game and do no such thing?

    Parents have the ultimate say in what their children watch and play, or at least they should. Whether they make good choices or not, letting the Feds play nanny is not going to help.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    Matheson should be commended for finally making at least a tentative break away from his left-wing masters. He may well have had some ulterior motive, but regardless of his motives, his move to regulate video games is a move that is good for society.

    The vast majority of modern video games are full of violence and sexuality. Indeed, these games portray both violence and sexuality as purely recreational activities with no consequences whatsoever. As a result, millions of impressionable young people are imitating what they see portrayed in the games.

    If we as a society are serious about protecting innocent schoolchildren from being massacred, we must go even further than Matheson's proposal and must ban these games outright. The minor pleasure obtained from playing these games is not worth the terrible cost.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    [But it would be foolish not to notice how violent video games are a common denominator in many crimes such as these.]

    Young men play games, that is all. Millions and millions play games, but we have to keep hearing this nonsense over the handful of mass shootings. It isn't even statistically interesting. Of the 10s of millions of young, middle-class gamers, less than 100 have committed mass shootings. There isn't a trend here, and it isn't that games "affect people differently". Less than 0.00001%...

    This bill will fail. Its based on a faulty premise to begin with, that the government will enforce the voluntary game ratings they put on their games. Even if this joke of a law did pass Congress and the Supreme Court (which it wont), expect games to start go "Unrated" or with far lower ratings.

    The video game industry provides ratings as a service and won't let it be used as a weapon against themselves.

    Of course, why are games being singled out by this bill? Once again these bills are always suggested by old men who didn't play and don't understand video games.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    Yes, because banning certain video games is so much better than just not allowing the mentally ill to have access to guns. Thanks, nra.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 24, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Is it the role of the federal government to replace parents? Who was given stewardship to raise children, the government or the parents?

    Will the government be required to monitor all "poisons" that we or our children may take into our homes?

    Let's contrast Mr. Matheson's ideas with other ideas. We are counseled to gather around the family table every evening for dinner to discuss the day's activities and to keep communication lines open. How many do that? Will the government force us to eat dinner together so that problems can be nipped in the bud? We are counceled to spend Monday nights together as a family and to have wholesome family activities on that night, including outings, games, and teaching. Will the government force us to hold FHE?

    The 10th Amendment clearly leaves those responsibilities to the people, not to the government.

    Mr. Matheson's intentions may be good, but he is exercising authority that he does not have over our children. He sees an opportunity to make political hay. We don't need political hay.

    I'm 100% for keeping violence out of the family, but that is not the proper role of the federal government.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Jan. 24, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    Generally I am not impressed with Matheson's performance in office, but we do need to make violent interactive games less accessible. The best solution would be for the producers to take up a challenge to contrive games that are as enticing, but without the violence. That probably won't happen. I am glad Mr. Matheson recongnizes that something must be done.

    I've lived in Albuquerque, and it is a high crime city. The middle schools are especially frightening, and the high schools are a gathering place for drug use, alcohol promotion, temptations for immoral activity and extrememly disrespectful behavior. Students who try to get an education in that atmosphere are much challenged. I can easily imagine a teenager finding escape in internet games, but what a horrible way to spend "free time." Parents can also do a lot to help their children avoid violence, but many don't. What we need is a kinder more caring society. Each of us who believe that should work on solutions.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2013 12:23 a.m.

    Last month 20 children were gunned down in elementary school.

    Last week a 15 year old child took his families gun and killed them.

    A man purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition and went on to kill Americans in Colorado.

    More Americans have died from Domestic gun fire than in all the wars since 1968 combined.

    But by all means, ban video games.